Close-Up - Board Features
The Foxconn 925XE7AA-8EKRS2 has an impressive layout. The red PCB contrasts well with the predominantly black and white components on the board. Foxconn appears to be taking a uniform approach to its color schemes, maintaining three to four colors through out the board, unlike other products that have a separate color for each header, drive connection and DIMM slot. Like the retail packaging, the appearance is more subdued than other high-end offerings, but it is still a great looking product in its own rite.
The list of features for this board is long. Thanks to the 925XE chipset and ICH6R Southbridge combination, the board doesn't really lack much. The 925XE7AA-8EKRS2 supports the latest Prescott-T processor using the LGA775 packaging, with both 800 and 1066FSB support, meaning it accepts the broadest range of Socket T processors, including the Pentium 4 Extreme.
As we noted earlier, the 925XE is a DDR2 solution that can handle up to 4GBs of non-registered DDR2 memory. There are a total of 4 DIMM slots that can accommodate 256, 512 and 1GB modules in each slot, thus peaking at 4GB. The slots are paired and color coded to easily distinguish the memory channels, allowing for single and dual-channel configurations. The board comes with a single PCI Express 16x slot which provides a total of 4GB/s bandwidth in each direction, 8GB/s in total. Handling the expansion capabilities, the board balances legacy with newer technology, offering three PCI Express 1x and three PCI slots.
The remaining features are driven by the ICH6R South Bridge which brings a host of options to the table. Starting things off, the board offers a slew of hard drive connectivity options, making it an extremely flexible solution. The ICH6R sports four SATA 150 ports capable of RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and Matrix RAID. Additionally, the South Bridge offers a single IDE connection rated for UDMA 100. Building on this, Foxconn includes a Silicon Image 3114 RAID controller which drives an additional four SATA ports, capable of RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD. Rounding out the bunch is an ITE 8212F IDE RAID controller that brings two more IDE ports rated for UDMA 133 operation, with RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD support as well. As you can see, the storage options with the Foxconn 925XE7AA-8EKRS2 are plentiful, making for extremely flexible storage configurations.
Looking at the rear of the board, we find it offers ample networking flexibility, coming equipped with dual Gigabit Ethernet ports. The motherboard is also equipped with a single IEEE 1394b port capable of 800Mbps data transfers, while two IEEE 1394a ports provide 400Mbps transfers through an on-board header and bracket. For audio, the Foxconn 925XE7AA-8EKRS2 provides 7.1 channel High Definition Audio through an integrated Realtek Codec. The audio ports off the rear of the case provide standard Line-In, Line-Out, MIC, Rear, Center ports while the SPDIF is handled by a bracket and on-board header.
Foxconn seems to have pulled off quite a balancing act with the 925XE7AA-8EKRS2. With extensive RAID options and a complete extended feature set, the 925XE7AA-8EKRS2 seems to have covered all the bases. Even with all of its integrated peripherals and features, Foxconn managed to design a motherboard with a clean layout that is balanced without appearing crowded.