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Intel's 955X Dual-Core Chipset Better For Business Users Than NVidia's nForce4

Foxconn 955X7AA

Taiwan’s number two motherboard player continues to fight its way into retail slowly but surely. The Foxconn 955X7AA is the company’s current top-of-the-line Intel board and plays by Intel’s rules for the 955X chipset. That’s why we found only one x16 PCIe graphics slot, plus 3 32 bit PCI and one x1 PCIe slots on this mobo.

A Silicon Image Sil3114 chip enables two additional SATA ports, and an ITE chip does the same for two Ultra-ATA channels. Four more SATA-ports are available, courtesy of the ICH7 Southbridge processor. Two network chips from Broadcom make a single gigabit Ethernet port available, tied into the mobo through a PCIe line. Two Texas Instruments chips provide support for FireWire 1394a and 1394b.

We had to raise our memory timings for this motherboard to CL4-3-3-12, before the system ran cleanly. Memory power was adjustable in 0.2 volt increments up to 2 volts over normal, but this proved insufficient to drive the fast Corsair DIMMs to their limits. We don’t think it’s fair to assign blame in this case, though, because FoxConn apparently heeded Intel’s memory specifications more closely than the memory manufacturer did.

Software extras from Foxconn include Norton Internet Security 2005 and WordPerfect Office 12. For once, we saw some giveaways that are actually useful.