Foxconn e-bot Small Form Factor PC

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BIOS and Overclocking


The BIOS of the Foxconn e-bot
So many options, so little time



The BIOS that controls the Foxconn e-bot was a customized variant of the Phoenix-Award BIOS that we're typically used to seeing.  The first main difference might be the inclusion of Foxconn specific features.  Here we found four specific settings, SuperBoot, SuperBIOS-protect, SuperRecovery, and SuperSpeed.  The first three settings control the way the system boots up - whether it's streamlining the process with SuperBoot or protecting and recovering BIOS settings with the other two settings.  SuperSpeed is directly related to overclocking by allowing direct input of desired front side bus speeds and changing the CPU to RAM divider when possible.

The remaining sections contained the typical fare for enabling or disabling various components, such as the on-board audio or LAN.  Within the Advanced Chipset Features were three other areas that delved into specific subsystems.  The DRAM timings could by detected BY S PD, using the ratings contained within the ICs, or set manually to more optimized timings, sometimes at the risk of system stability.  We actually ran into a few such problems when enabling performance mode and setting our GEIL DDR manually to 2-2-2-5 timings.  We tried testing both ways after this - with performance mode enabled and DRAM BY SPD, and then performance mode disabled but timings manually set to 2-2-2-5.  The latter offered the better results, which is what we used in our graphs.

Overclocking Tools
A little lacking, but will it be enough?


As we mentioned earlier, the front side bus could be entered in directly from the BIOS features screen, within the SuperSpeed block.  We could choose values between 200 MHz (stock speed) up to 350 MHz, and the CPU:DRAM automatically updated to whatever setting would keep the DRAM speed as close to 400MHz as possible.  This setting could be manually overridden, offering 1:1, 2:1, 3:2, and 6:5 ratios.  This seemed like a great start; a high range of FSB speeds to enter with many CPU:DRAM ratios to choose from.  What we found was sorely lacking, however, were any options to raise any voltages whatsoever in the Frequency/Voltage Control section of the BIOS.  In fact, the only two choices in this section were to "auto detect" the DIMM/PCI clock and enable or disable Spread Spectrum to minimize EMI.  Without the ability to raise the voltages at all, we weren't expecting to get to far with overclocking the Foxconn e-bot.

SANDRA CPU Benchmark

PCMARK04 Benchmark

While we fully expected to get cut short very quickly, we kept adding 5 Mhz at a time while updating the memory divider until we maxed out at 245MHz for the front side bus.  We were able to get a minor overclock on the memory using a 6:5 ratio, equaling 204MHz (408MHz effective) for the GEIL PC3500 DDR.  This was a higher overclock than we were able to achieve with any of our previous SFF PCs, and came without any changes in the CPU voltage which was very surprising.  We even ran a program called SuperStep that came with the e-bot to check on voltages, and found that it was still running close to the expected 1.5V.

As seen in the accompanying screenshots, we were now running our 2.4GHz Pentium 4 as high as 2.94GHz, without any major modifications and did not run into any problems with our benchmark routines like SiSoft's SANDRA 2005 or Futuremark's PCMARK04.  Each of these benchmarks gave us scores that were well above the original scores achieved at the stock speed.  Our new score in SANDRA was well beyond a 3GHz Pentium 4 CPU and was more comparable to the performance seen with an AthlonXP 3200+.  Perhaps jumping the gun a little bit, the PCMARK04 results we got while overclocked were 22% better for CPU performance and 12% better for the memory.  We were really impressed by how the Foxconn e-bot was able to get these kinds of gains with very little time or work invested by the user.  Of course, mileage may vary from user to user, so these results should not necessarily be expected with each setup.


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