The Pentium Elite, Part 2: 955X versus nForce4 IE

Foxconn 955X7AA: On The Right Path

Board revision : 1.0

BIOS version : 2005-05-18

Foxconn also has a premium motherboard with a 955X chipset. The board is equipped with outstanding features, yet has to admit defeat in the face of the equipment overkill from Abit, Asus and Gigabyte. Nonetheless, we consider everything that has been integrated into the motherboard to be quite reasonable.

The HD sound system, with 7.1 sound, also has digital outputs, which is typical for this class. In addition to the mass storage device controller of the Southbridge ICH7R chipset, Foxconn has added a Sil3124 with four additional ports, as well as the well-known ITE controller, to which two UltraATA channels have been added to allow the use of existing hard disks. Additional chips from Texas Instruments take care of Firewire 1394a and b. Network connections are provided by two Gigabit chips from Broadcom, while the 955X7AA offers plenty of flexibility with three PCI and three PCIe slots.

We did have a few problems with our attempt at fast memory timing, which we attempted on each of the premium boards. The Corsair DD2 top module at the moment permits CL3-2-2-8 - but for this, a 2.1 V memory voltage setting is necessary. Foxconn does not permit more than 2.0 V to be selected, and that setting actually only generates 1.98 V. We thus had to reduce the timing to CL3-3-3-8 ; this had minimal influence on the test results, and we were able to compensate for it. We also have to criticize the overclocking software Superstep here ; since it wasn’t visible to us, it was in actual fact useless.

The Taiwanese manufacturer is lavish with delivered goods and even provides real ATA round cables in addition to complete cable sets. (The individual leads of these are twisted, while in contrast many manufacturers prefer the cheaper version, in which a conventional cable is pressed into a rubber sleeve.)