Foxconn is a relative newcomer to the commercial motherboard market, but they are no stranger to the industry. Like we reported when we reviewed the Foxconn 875A02, they have been producing computer parts for quite a long time, but mostly as a component maker for different OEMs. With the manufacturing facilities already in place, it was a logical progression to move directly into the retail channel and reap some of the monetary benefits of selling components under their own brand name.
Our first experience with Foxconn was with the above mentioned board based on Intel's proven i875 "Canterwood" chipset. This time around we take a look at another of Foxconn's creations in the form of the 755A01-6EKRS. This board was designed with the Athlon 64 in mind, powered by the promising SiS755 Chipset. There has been a lot of talk of how the SiS755 chipset is a performance powerhouse, so naturally we were eager to test a retail-ready board based on this chipset for ourselves. Pitting the SiS755 against VIA's market dominant K8T800 should be a good test to see how just how good the SiS755 chipset is. Lets take a look and see what the Foxconn 755A01-6EKRS brings to the show.
Socket 754 for AMD Athlon 64 processors
Front Side Bus (FSB)
Up to 1600MT/s Front Side Bus
SiS 755 + SiS 964 - MuTIOL 1GB/s bandwidth HyperStreaming Engine (HSE)
3 x 184-pin DIMM sockets up to 3GB PC3200 / PC2700 / PC2100 DDR DRAM
1 AGP slot supports 8X / 4X modes and 5 PCI slots
2 UltraDMA 133 - supports up to 4 devices
Serial ATA (SATA)
Supports 4 Serial ATA /150 devices ( 2 by SiS 964 & 2 by Silicon Image 3112 SATA/150 )
Realtek ALC655 5.1 channel audio ( AC97 2.3 ) - support S/PDIF-out interface
Realtek 8110S Gigabit Ethernet LAN Controller (10 / 100 / 1000 Mbit )
|Rear Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 keyboard
1 x PS/2 mouse
1 x RJ45 (LAN)
4 x USB 2.0
1 x line-in, line-out, and MIC (audio)
1 x parallel (SPP/BPP/ECP/EPP)
2 x COM1 (16550-compatible UART)
1 x IEEE1394 (FireWire
Internal I/O Connectors
2 x USB 2.0 headers ( support 4 ports ) S/PDIF header
S/PDIF-out connector, IEEE1394 ( FireWire ) header
4Mb flash ROM w/ LAN Boot, PnP, DMI 2.0, WfM 2.0, SMBIOS 2.3, ACPI 1.0b
PCI 2.3, USB2.0, WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0, WOL by PME, LPC 1.1 Interface, PC2001
Wake on ring, LAN, USB, keyboard & mouse
STR (Suspend-to-RAM); STD (Suspend-to-Disk)
SuperRecovery, SuperBoot, SuperBIOS-Protect, BIOS SuperSpeed, SuperStep, SuperUpdate
Support CD, User's Manual, 1 UltraDMA 133 Cable, 2 SATA Signal Cable, 1 SATA Power Cable ( Supporting 2 Devices ) 1 FDD Cable and I/O Shield
ATX ( 12" x 8.8")
Based on this list of specs, the Foxconn 755A01 has a lot to offer with Gigabit Ethernet, SATA RAID, IEEE1394, backed by the performance of SiS' proprietary MuTIOL Hyperstreaming Engine. We got our first taste of MuTIOL back when the 655FX chipset was released for the Intel platform. This is a key feature that allows for a full 1GB/s of bandwidth between the Northbridge and Southbridge, optimizing data flow between the two. Below is a breakdown of the SiS755 and SiS964 architecture.
The package is completely devoid of outdated games and other empty "lures", instead offering a modest collection of hardware and software. To start off, the package comes with an oversized diagram of the board with its key components clearly labeled for easy identification. The User's Manual was quite thorough in its breakdown of information. Each area of installation was covered in complete detail, from processor and memory installation to BIOS configuration and Driver installation. Additionally, a manual was provided that exclusively covered SATA RAID setup.
From a complimentary hardware perspective, Foxconn included the bare necessities including a custom I/O shield, 1 Floppy and 1 80 - conductor IDE cable, 2 SATA cables and a power adapter that turns 1 Molex connection into 2 SATA power plugs. A drivers CD includes current drivers for the system's main components including chipsets, SATA controllers, Ethernet and Audio controllers. Additionally, a copy of Norton Internet Security 2004 was included as well as Foxconn's proprietary SuperUtility. SuperUtility is comprised of three components: SuperStep, SuperUpdate and SuperLogo. SuperStep is a system monitoring / overclocking utility that lets you view system voltages, fan speeds and temperatures while giving access to the system's clock generator for overclocking. SuperUtility is used for downloading the latest BIOS updates and applying them from within Windows. SuperLogo is a handy utility design to let users customize their system's boot logo with a JPG or BMP of their choice.
Overall, the Foxconn 755A01-6EKRS offers a good selection of features and functionality backed by a modest bundle of hardware and software. Next we'll take a closer look at the Foxconn 755A01-6EKRS and the BIOS that drives it.