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AMD 790GX Face-Off: Foxconn vs MSI

AMD 790GX Face-Off: Foxconn vs MSI



Foxconn A7DA-S

Foxconn A7DA-S

Like many motherboard vendors, Foxconn has a rather colorful 790GX board with its A7DA-S, with the colors signifying similar connectors or ports in a helpful way for enthusiasts. The specifications seem to be the standard issue 790FX, with the rear I/O signaling its integrated graphics capability with HDMI, analog VGA and DVI outputs. There's nothing particularly exciting here, though with only four USB ports at the rear, it's strangely feels like a mATX board.

The floppy and IDE connectors are all clustered near the DIMM slots and are aligned facing upwards, which is the common, though not exactly the most user friendly of arrangements. It's not ideal but it's not disastrous either. At least, Foxconn got it right with the layout of the SATA ports.

The expansion slots are well spaced, with the rarely used PCIe x1 slots in between the two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots and hence providing a buffer in case your pair of graphics card (to be CrossFired) is a dual-slot monstrosity. As we mentioned earlier, the pair of PCIe 2.0 x16 slots which is really served only by a 16-lane PCIe 2.0 interface and will be split to a set of x8 lanes when CrossFireX is enabled with two identical ATI graphics cards. For those wanting to do utilize the Hybrid CrossFireX feature (IGP graphics + discrete graphics), you'll need to match the Radeon HD 3300 onboard with a Radeon HD 3400 series card as the companion. Hybrid CrossFire won't work with higher range of graphics cards since those will be too fast to match up to take advantage of the IGP.

Foxconn did not further bolster the relatively few SATA ports on the SB750 with any additional controllers. There is however a VIA VT6308S FireWire controller for a pair of IEEE1394a connectors (1 internal), Gigabit LAN courtesy of a Broadcom chip and HD Audio using a Realtek ALC888 CODEC. Overall, the Foxconn A7DA-S has just about everything you would expect from a modern motherboard of its price segment but there are also not many frills. It's adequate no doubt, and hopefully it will be paired with a reasonable price tag.

Enthusiasts may wish to install Foxconn's software applications (FOX ONE, FOX LiveUpdate) that allow users to monitor and tweak the CPU settings or even update the BIOS through the Internet. Most of these programs are available from other vendors too so it's almost standard fare and not anything new. Still, they could come in handy.