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Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Platforms Compared

Foxconn Blood Rage

Features and Layout

Foxconn seems a little perplexed about the name of its latest Quantum Force motherboard, calling it "BLOOD RAGE," "BLOODRAGE," "BloodRage," or "Blood Rage" in various electronic and printed documents. We had to list every variation at least once to make them all “searchable,” but inconsistent naming aside, it’s a really striking product.

Extreme overclockers are the target market for the Blood Rage, as with previous Quantum Force products, and the highest-speed memory configurations will always use the minimum number of modules required to fill all channels. The lack of a second set of memory slots is forgivable in keeping with the Quantum Force overclocking theme, but users who want more than 6 GB of RAM must wait for 4.0 GB module availability.

Another thing that makes the Blood Rage unique is its ability to hold LGA-775-style coolers. The addition of legacy mounting holes makes sense when one considers the scant availability of LGA-1366-compatible water blocks during the first few months of Core i7's existence, and continues to allow extreme overclockers to use their earlier-design liquid-nitrogen cooling pots.

An additional feature that separates the Blood Rage from other products in today’s comparison is its support for 4-way CrossFireX (QuadFire) configurations using single-slot graphics cards. Four-GPU configurations using dual-GPU products, such as two Radeon HD 4870 X2 or GeForce GTX 295 units are also favored with an empty slot between cards assisting cooling. However, 3-way SLI users will be disappointed because placing double-slot graphics cards in the red slots will block access to the black slots. Foxconn could have made such 3-way configurations possible by swapping positions between the uppermost x16 slot and the x1 slot above it, but its engineers had other plans.

Cable placement is mediocre, with the eight-pin EPS12V connector exactly where it should be but the floppy header inconveniently stuffed under the bottom PCIe 2.0 slot. Windows XP still requires a floppy for adding AHCI or RAID drivers during its installation and many gamers still favor the established operating system. A few extreme overclockers still prefer Ultra ATA to SATA, so our normal suggestion to remove this interface and put the floppy connector in its place might be condemned by the Quantum Force target market.

All six of the ICH10R southbridge SATA connections face forward, requiring additional clearance between the motherboard’s leading edge and any nearby drive bays. Beneath these are power and reset buttons, while two outward-facing ports to the left use Marvelle’s PCIe-based SAS controller.

Foxconn Blood Rage (Initial Revision)
NorthbridgeIntel X58 Express
SouthbridgeIntel ICH10R
Voltage RegulationFourteen Phase Digital/Analog Hybrid
BIOSG13 (12/12/2008)
133.3 MHz Base Clock133.0 (-0.25%)
Clock GeneratorICS 9LPRS139AKLF
Connectors and Interfaces
Onboard3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (Pathways Shared in Pairs)
1 x PCIe x4
1 x PCI
1 x Sonar X-Fi Audio Riser (Proprietary)
2 x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector).
1 x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1 x Floppy
1 x Ultra ATA (2 drives)
8 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s
1 x Fan 4-pin (CPU)
4 x Fan 3-pins (Chassis, Power)
1 x Power button
1 x Reset button
1 x Force Reset button
I/O Panel1 x PS2 (keyboard)
8 x USB 2.0
1 x CLR-CMOS button
1 x Digital Audio Out (Coaxial)
1 x IEEE-1394 FireWire
2 x RJ45 Ethernet
2 x External SATA (eSATA) 3.0Gb/s
Mass Storage Controllers
Intel ICH10R6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)
JMicron JMB363 PCIe1x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)
2x External SATA (eSATA) 3.0 Gb/s
Intel ICH10R2x SAS 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0, 1)
Network
2 x Realtek RTL8111C PCIeDual Gigabit LAN with Teaming
Audio
Foxconn Sonar X-Fi Riser (Realtek ALC889 HD Codec)Eight-Channel (7.1 Surround) Output EAX Advanced HD 4.0, CMSS-3D, Crystalizer
IEEE 1394 FireWire
TI TSB43AB22A2x FireWire 400 (1x Internal, 1x I/O Panel)

While a single PCI Express x1 pathway is somewhat limiting for the four drives supported by the JMB363 Ultra ATA and dual eSATA ports, two pathways for the dual Realtek RTL8111C Gigabit Ethernet controllers are more than adequate.

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With only two 400 Mb, the TSB43AB22A IEEE-1394 Firewire controller needs nothing more than a legacy PCI interface for optimal performance.

A license with Creative Labs allows Foxconn’s Realtek ALC889-based codec card to support additional features, including EAX Advanced HD 4.0, with software.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • arkadi
    Some times it really hard to stay objective, but you did it, grate article.
    I would consider few other aspects as well, like service and RMA statistics.
    In some countries you wont have official representation of a vendor, and in case of RMA you can end up with different MB model, usually not for the best.
    From my experience i recommend for most of you to get more common boards.
    Reply
  • wdmso
    "Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Platforms Compared " this title will lead
    some less informed readers that they can get the cpu memory and MB for 300.00.
    It should read "Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Motherboards Compared"
    the title is misleading
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    I can't afford an i7 system, but when I see beautiful motherboards like that dfi and the foxconn board, I wish I could! That foxconn board almost makes me feel like looking at a beautifully built soltek board with uniform colors and good looks. Looks ain't everything, but looks do matter. I love my gigabyte board because it works great, but I would love it even more if it came 'styled' like the dfi green or the foxconn red board ....
    Reply
  • When you review the less-expensive X58 boards, I'd appreciate it if you would evaluate them in terms of which is the likely to be the most stable, most reliable, and most problem-free non-overclocked board. Thanks.
    Reply
  • phantom93
    Lol nice article, lol i love the soldering job on the port-80 diagnostics digits for the DFI lan party board.
    Reply
  • inversed
    It seems odd to have skipped mentioning the Gigabyte EX58's driver-less RAID capability. I was able to get Windows XP to boot off of a mirrored RAID without needing the floppy and the initial setup went very quickly. One unfortunate aspect of this mobo, however is that it cannot output digital audio and analog audio at the same time. So no switching between surround sound and headphones without changing settings in the audio control software.
    Reply
  • jeffunit
    Though the core i7 is a crazy fast processor, it doesn't offer ECC support. That is why I just bought an amd phenom II 940. Perhaps 'gamers' don't care about ECC but only how many graphics cards they can stuff in the mb. On the other hand, IBM estimated 1 error per gig per week. So at 4gb, that is less than 2 days between errors. Perhaps that isn't noticeable with microsoft operation systems, but I keep my machines up for weeks or months at a time...

    My cheap asus mb not only supports ECC, but ECC scrubbing, chipkill, and more. Who cares how fast a computer is, when it crashes often?
    Reply
  • jeffunit
    Though the core i7 is a crazy fast processor, it doesn't offer ECC support. That is why I just bought an amd phenom II 940. Perhaps 'gamers' don't care about ECC but only how many graphics cards they can stuff in the mb. On the other hand, IBM estimated 1 error per gig per week. So at 4gb, that is less than 2 days between errors. Perhaps that isn't noticeable with microsoft operation systems, but I keep my machines up for weeks or months at a time...

    My cheap asus mb not only supports ECC, but ECC scrubbing, chipkill, and more. Who cares how fast a computer is, when it crashes often?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    wdmso"Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Platforms Compared " this title will lead some less informed readers that they can get the cpu memory and MB for 300.00.It should read "Intel X58 Roundup: Six $300+ Motherboards Compared"the title is misleading
    You're right: I belive the word "Platform" was substituted by another editor to make the title shorter, so it would fit better in the headline bar. I might have chosen "Mobos" myself when encountered with such an issue, but they don't like using slang in titles.

    temporary87654When you review the less-expensive X58 boards, I'd appreciate it if you would evaluate them in terms of which is the likely to be the most stable, most reliable, and most problem-free non-overclocked board. Thanks.
    Good suggestions, but the problem is that all these boards were stable and built for reliability when overclocked. Using lower speeds increases stability and reliability, and you just cannot exceed "100% Stability". All the boards also used high-quality electrical components, which means a reliability test would require years to reveal any differences.

    inversedIt seems odd to have skipped mentioning the Gigabyte EX58's driver-less RAID capability. I was able to get Windows XP to boot off of a mirrored RAID without needing the floppy and the initial setup went very quickly. One unfortunate aspect of this mobo, however is that it cannot output digital audio and analog audio at the same time. So no switching between surround sound and headphones without changing settings in the audio control software.
    We'll have to see what we can do about getting the author some digital speakers or a digital receiver headset to test for such issues in the future. That particular issue hadn't come up prior to testing.
    Reply
  • ryanaxiom
    What about the Gigabyte UD5? I guess it doesn't fall in the 300+ category at $288 from Newegg, but stil...

    It has all the benefits of the EX-58-Extreme minus the gigantic NB cooler, but also allows use of an x8 RAID card in the open ended slot (I have one installed) and if you get straight risers/wearout protectors you can install a x1 sound card in the top slot! The best of all worlds!!!

    The only small complaint I have is that sometimes I have to try to boot twice since the AHCI bios doesn't always want to load after post.
    Reply