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Seven $260-$320 X79 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

Foxconn Quantumian-1

Spelled by Foxconn both with and without the hyphen, Quantumian-1 is a member of its recent re-focus on the enthusiast market. Therefore, we're naturally expecting advanced overclocking settings. Before we get to this platform's UEFI, though, let's have a look at its other enthusiast-oriented featues.

We find, for example, two Ethernet controllers, dual eSATA ports, and an additional pair of SATA 6Gb/s connectors. None of those features are remarkable in the enthusiast segment, but they do add a value kick to this $270 board.

Foxconn also presents four x16-length PCIe slots, which are spaced in such a way as to prevent most folks from considering a four-way SLI arrangement. The upper black x16 slot uses eight lanes from a Sandy Bridge-E-based CPU, while the lower black slot, when it's active, takes eight lanes from the lower red slot. Two-way CrossFire and SLI (admittedly more common than any four-way config) receive a cooling benefit from the extra space between the two red slots.

Foxconn places a row of voltage detection points along the Quantumian-1’s front edge specifically to please hardcore overclockers (along with base clock control buttons and a Port 80 diagnostics display). They all reside above the top graphics card to ease access in a completely configured system. Power and reset buttons are more remote, near the front of the board’s lower edge.

Except for the odd spacing of its eight-lane center slot, we have no other qualms about the Quantumian-1’s layout. The internal USB 3.0 header is located far above the top graphics card, the front-panel audio jack is moved around an inch forward of its traditional bottom-rear-corner location for easier cable reach, and the forward-facing SATA ports are perfectly matched to modern cases that have space between the motherboard tray and hard drive cage. The CD audio header is an odd find on modern boards, but it does nothing to detract from this platform's good overall design.

Eight SATA cables, two-way, and three-way SLI bridges complete a relatively sparse Quantiumian-1 installation kit.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.