Foxconn 755A01-6EKRS AMD Motherboard Review

Admin - 2007-02-19 15:33:25 in Motherboards
Category: Motherboards
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: May 6, 2004
Price: $85 USD

Introduction: When I was first told I'd be reviewing a motherboard from Foxconn, my first reaction was “that's nice, but who the heck is Foxconn?” I don't think I had ever heard of Foxconn till that day, at least if I had heard of them I didn't give the name much thought. It wasn't just me though, even Matt didn't even have Foxconn on our motherboard manufacturer list, and even many of our site members hadn't heard of the company.

Anyway, today we'll be looking at the Foxconn 755A01-6EKRS AMD Athlon 64 motherboard which uses the SiS755+964 chipset. To see how well it preforms, we'll be putting it up against our ZNF3-150 motherboard from Chaintech.



Company Profile

Foxconn is the registered trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. Hon Hai is a global leader in providing mechanical and electromechanical solutions to the communications, consumer, and computer industries. The world's largest manufacturer of PC connectors and enclosures, Hon Hai is also one of the world's largest manufacturers of cable assemblies and motherboards - 26 million motherboards having been produced in 2003 (second highest volume in the world).

Founded in 1974, and listed on the Taiwan stock exchange in 1991, Hon Hai has experienced a compound average annual growth rate, over the last 10 years, in excess of 62 percent. The company, which has well in excess for 100,000 employees, is the largest private sector company in Taiwan and the largest exporter from mainland China. It has a market capitalization of over $11 billion USD. Sales in 2003 exceeded $10 billion USD.

The information above was from Foxcon's website. After digging for more information I find out a bit more. Foxconn Electronics, is a top contract electronics manufacturer, some of the company's products include connectors, cable assemblies, enclosures, flat-panel displays, game consoles, mobile phones, and servers. In addition to that, Foxconn also provides design engineering and mechanical tooling services.

A few of Foxconn's customers include big names like Apple, Cisco, Dell, Nokia, Intel HP/Compaq, and Sony.

Specifications:
The following are the specifications for the 755A01-6EKRS as provided by Foxconn.

Form Factor
  • ATX (12.0" x 9.6" or less - see User Manual)
CPU
  • AMD Athlon™64
  • Socket 754 (754-pin)
Chipset
  • SiS755 + 964
Main Memory
  • Unbuffered
  • 2.5V DDR266/333/400
  • (3) 184-pin DIMM sockets
  • Max 3GB
Expansion Slots
  • One AGP slot - 4X/8X AGP
  • Five PCI slots
Audio
  • Integrated
  • 5.1 channel AC97
  • Including front audio and S/PDIF headers (Realtek)
Video
  • Video 4X/8X AGP Discrete (non-integrated) - use expansion slot
IDE Ports
  • 2 x ATA/133
  • 4 x SATA/150 (up to 2 x 2-drive RAID 0, 1 arrays)
Internal
  • 1 x floppy disk drive
  • 2 x USB 2.0 headers (supports 4 ports)
  • 1 x IEEE-1394 header
  • Front audio header
Rear Panel
  • 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/mic (audio)
  • 1 x parallel (SPP/ECP/EPP)
  • 2 x COM (16550-compatible UART)
  • 1 x IEEE-1394
LAN
  • Integrated Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000) controller (Realtek)
IEEE-1394
  • Integrated (VIA)
  • 1 x rear
  • 1 x front I/O header
BIOS
  • 4Mb flash EEPROM w/ LAN boot, PnP, ACPI, WfM, DMI 2.0
Features
  • Wake-on-LAN (WOL)
  • suspend-to-RAM (STR)
  • Suspend-to-disk (STD)
  • SuperUtilities
    • SuperBoot
    • SuperBIOS-Protect
    • SuperRecovery
    • SuperSpeed
    • SuperStep
    • SuperLogo
    • SuperUpdate
Accessories
  • Support CD
  • User manual
  • 1 x floppy drive cable
  • 1 x ATA/100 cable
  • 1 x SATA data cable
  • 1 x SATA power cable
  • Rear I/O shield

Closer Look:
The overall package isn't anything exciting, and what's included inside the box is even less thrilling, especially when compared to everything that Chaintech included.

As you can see in the picture, we have the following items:

Flat Ribbon cables? Common, who uses these things anymore? Not shown above is the user manual and software/driver CD. Since the package wasn't all that impressive, let's hope that the motherboard's performance is more exciting.

The motherboard doesn't really have anything that stands out. No flashy colors, no special exhaust systems, and no cool looking heatsink. And to be quite honest, I kinda like that about this board. It's simple, and doesn't have a lot of extra stuff. Sometimes you just want a simple board.

I do like the color of the motherboard, almost an OverclockersClub blue isn't it? ;)

You can see in the picture and in the specifications list on the other page what all the board has, and now we get to see it. :)

5 x PCI - 1 x AGP - 4 x SATA
2 x IDE - 1 x FDD - 3 x DDR Slots




One thing I noticed as I started working on another review is that the metal plate on the backside of the board cannot be removed. This won't be a problem to those using standard heat sinks (Thermaltake Silent Boost for example), however if you use a non-standard heat sink, or a heat sink that requires a different mounting bracket (for example, the Coolermaster Hyper 6) you are screwed. - Just something to keep in mind, nonstandard heat sink + this board = bad.

Yellow-Greenish Northbridge Heatsink
Northbridge Chipset

Southbridge
BIOS

Silicon Image SATA RAID Chipset
ITE SuperIO

VIA 1394 Controller
Realtek Gigabit Ethernet Chipset

Other than the color of the board, one thing I really liked about the board is that SATA ports 1 and 2 can either be used in a RAID setup or as individual channels. When using SATA 1 & 2 in RAID the system uses the SiS chipset, however the SATA 3 & 4 ports (which are RAID only) are using a Silicon Image chipset.

Closer Look (Cont.)
Like the ZNF3-150, the 755A01-6EKRS uses the Phoenix AwardBIOS, however the 755A01-6EKRS doesn't look to be as overclocking friendly. We'll see how well this board overclocks in a moment, but first, here is what the BIOS looks like.


As you can see, from the main BIOS screen, there are 9 sections that can be entered. They are:

In addition to those sections, you asl have the options to:

Standard BIOS Features
This is where you get to set all of the IDE information, as well as the BIOS time and date. Selecting an IDE device, will allow you to either auto detect it, or manually specify information for it.

BIOS Features
This is where the general system features are setup. This is also where you can adjust the CPU clock (overclock). Hrmm... overclocking is a general system feature? I kinda like that. As you can see in the 2nd image, you only have a 32Mhz increase window. This doesn't look all that great, but considering the AMD64 doesn't overclock to well, it's more than enough. -- Sadly, I couldn't get this motherboard to boot with just a 5Mhz increase (205Mhz x 10 = 2.050Ghz = 50Mhz overclock).

Advanced BIOS Features
This is the section that contains a lot more of the BIOS features. You can adjust the boot order, Num Lock status, enable/disable the CPU cache, allow for virus warning, and adjust several other options, including the Hard Disk Boot Priority.

Closer Look (Cont.)
Advanced Chipset Features
Here we have the ability to adjust some of the AGP settings.

Hidden away in the Advanced Chipset Features menu is a DRAM Configuration menu. As you can see in the images below, you have the ability to change just about everything related to your memory to help get the best performance possible.

Integrated Peripherals
There are three subsections to this menu:

Power Management Setup
Nothing out of the ordinary here. This section allows you to control the various ACPI settings, the state the system is at after power failure, and several "Power On By" settings which allow you to turn the system on via a click or press of a button.

PnP/PCI Configurations
This section is for IRQ and DMA settings. You can also reset the ESCD from this screen.

Closer Look (Cont.)
PC Health Status
As you might guess, you can see various system temps and other information here. You also have the ability to set a “Shutdown Temperature”. Most BIOSs will usually include a “Shutdown on CPU Fan fail” and and “Alarm Temperature” temperature setting, I've always found both of those settings to be pointless, and they are not available in this BIOS. - Just remember to set the “Shutdown Temperature” setting, so if your CPU fan does happen to quit working, you wont fry your AMD64.


The Smart Fan Control option, allows the system to automatically adjust the CPU fan speed as needed by increasing temperature. Personally, I like to keep my fan running at full speed.

 

Frequency/Voltage Control
On the Chaintech motherboard, this was one of the best menus, as you could change just about everything. With the Foxconn motherboard, this menu is just about useless.

 

Silicon Image RAID BIOS
The Sil RAID BIOS/Configuration is available as the system boots, and allows you to configure the RAID settings on SATA 3 & 4.

 

SiS RAID BIOS
The SiS RAID BIOS/Configuration is available as the system boots, provided that you have the SiS Serial ATA Mode set to RAID in the SiS OnChip PCI Device sub menu of Integrated Peripherals in the main system BIOS.

Testing:

For those of you who remember the review of the Chaintech motherboard, the testing on it was a bit skewed since we didn't have another AMD64 motherboard to use for comparison. Our review today should be a bit better, as both motherboards are AMD64 boards. However, keep in mind, each board uses a different chipset.

 

Since some of our test will use benchmarking software by Futuremark, and they have the whole this saga going on about cheating and driver optimization, we will be preforming those test using the “Futuremark Approved” nVidia drivers (52.16), as well as the latest nVidia drivers (56.72) for those who want that information.

For each motherboard, a clean install of Windows XP Pro SP1a is used with DriectX 9.0b and the services have been optimized so that only the system essential services are running. For test other than the Futuremark test, we will be using the 56.72 drivers from nVidia.

Also, the same components will be used in each system, and those components are:

  • XFX GeForce 4 Ti 4200 (AGP8x)
  • 1024M Mushkin PC3200 (400Mhz) Level One DDR Black (NOT dual channel)
  • Creative SBLive! Platinum 5.1 (without the LiveDrive)
  • 1x 160G 7200 RPM HDD
  • 1x 40G Maxtor
  • 2x 200G Seagate SATA HDDs
  • Creative PC-DVD ROM 8x DVD Drive
  • Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A CD-RW
Benchmark: Futuremark Test
3DMark 03 (v3.4.0) was used as one of our DX9 test. 3DMark 03 attempted to build on what was started 3DMark 01, but due to controversy concerning “driver optimizations”, it seams to have slipped some in the eyes of many. This isn't to say that 3DMark 03 isn't a popular benchmark, because it is extremely popular.




3DMark 03 (v3.4.0)
Chaintech
FM Approved
Latest nVidia
52.16
56.72
1660
1548
 
 
 
 
Foxconn
FM Approved
Latest nVidia
52.16
56.72
1566
1566

 

3DMark 01 SE was one of (if not the) the most popular DX8 test. Even though it was not originally designed for DX9 benchmarking, it is still commonly used today. Again, this test will be preformed using DX9.0.



3DMark 01 SE
Chaintech
FM Approved
Latest nVidia
52.16
56.72
12401
11981
 
 
 
 
Foxconn
FM Approved
Latest nVidia
52.16
56.72
12693
12137

 

PCMark 04 is a "application-based benchmark" from the same people that brought us the 3DMark utilities. As you'll see, the video drivers don't make much of a difference in this benchmark, however since it is a program from Futuremark, I wanted to make sure I at least tested with their "approved drivers" as I did with 3DMark01/03.



PCMark 04
Chaintech
FM Approved
Latest nVidia
52.16
56.72
3799
3768
 
 
 
 
Foxconn
FM Approved
Latest nVidia
52.16
56.72
3848
3837

Benchmark: Performance Test v5.0
Passmark Performance Test is an award winning PC hardware benchmark utility that allows everybody to quickly assess the performance of their computer and compare it to a number of standard 'baseline' computer systems. I was amazed when I saw how many different things this little program could test.

Performance Test v5.0
 
CPU - Integer Math
CPU - Floating Point
CPU - MMX
CPU - SSE/3DNow!
CPU - Compression
CPU - Encryption
CPU - Image Rotation
CPU - String Sorting
Graphics 2D - Lines
Graphics 2D - Rectangles
Graphics 2D - Shapes
Graphics 2D - Font & Text
Graphics 2D - GUI
Graphics 3D - Simple
Graphics 3D - Medium
Graphics 3D - Complex
Memory - Allocate Small Block
Memory - Read Cache
Memory - Read Uncached
Memory - Write
CPU Mark
2D Graphics Mark
Memory Mark
3D Graphocs Mark
PassMark Rating
Chaintech
149.6
294.6
279.6
98.7
1843.2
9.0
126.2
1081.4
119.2
158.0
31.7
175.8
174.1
447.2
895.8
524.5
1799.9
690.7
673.5
699.4
409.1
168.0
376.7
622.5
406.5
Foxconn
153.0
307.6
281.3
98.9
1848.3
9.0
126.3
1083.5
118.2
157.9
28.5
173.5
182.4
454.3
953.0
576.8
1753.0
691.2
673.3
708.3
413.0
166.9
373.0
661.3
353.3
 
MOps./Sec.
MOps./Sec.
Million Matrices per second
Million Matrices per second
MBytes processed per second
MBytes processed per second
Image rotations per second
Thousand strings per second
Thousand Lines/Sec
Thousand /images/foxconn/Sec
Thousand Shapes/Sec
Operations per second
Operations per second
FPS
FPS
FPS
MBytes transferred per second
MBytes transferred per second
MBytes transferred per second
MBytes transferred per second
Composite average
Composite average
Composite average
Composite average
Composite average

Benchmark: SiSoftware Sandra Professional 2004 SP1
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is probably one of the most popular testing suites. It doesn't have all the information that Passmark had, but does still provide us with some nice information.

SiSoftware Sandra Professional 2004 SP1
  
CPU Arithmetic Benchmark
» Dhrystone
» Whetstone
CPU Multimedia Benchmark
» Integer
» Floating Point
Memory Bandwidth Benchmark
» RAM Bandwidth Int Buffered
» RAM Bandwidth Float Buffered
Chaintech
---
8667
3165/4142
---
18856
20538
---
3033
3034
Foxconn
---
8704
3168/4145
---
18806
20555
---
3035
3035
 
 
MIPS
MFLOPS
 
it/s
it/s
 
MB/s
MB/s

 

Benchmark: SpecViewperf 7.1.1
Don't see to many people referencing this utility to often, so here is a blurb about it... SPECviewperf is a portable OpenGL performance benchmark program written in C. It was developed by IBM. Later updates and significant contributions were made by SGI, Digital (Compaq, HP), 3Dlabs (Creative Labs) and other SPECopcSM project group members. SPECviewperf provides a vast amount of flexibility in benchmarking OpenGL performance.

SpecViewperf 7.1.1
  
3D Studio Max 02
Lightscape (light-06)
DesignReview (drv-09)
Pro/Engineer (proe-02)
Data Explorer (dx-08)
Unigraphics (ugs-03)
Chaintech
9.53
13.89
33.55
13.18
58.35
5.39
Foxconn
9.67
13.77
29.04
10.84
58.36
5.55
*All results are in Frames Per Second

Benchmark: Ziff Davis Media WinBench 99 v2.0

Ziff Davis Media WinBench 99 v2.0
 
DirectDraw/Animate Screen Size (1024x768)
DirectDraw/Animate Screen Size (1600x1200)
DirectDraw/Animate Color Depth (16 bit)
DirectDraw/Animate Color Depth (32 bit)
DirectDraw/Animate Full Screen
DirectDraw/Animate BLT size 4096 pixles
DirectDraw/Animate Memory Source & Work Area In System
DirectDraw/Animate Memory Source & Work Area In Video
DirectDraw/Animate Color Depth (16 bit color)
DirectDraw/Animate Color Depth (32 bit color)
Chaintech
1770
1780
1280
688
647
1760
275
1780
3730
2010
Foxconn
1780
1790
1300
696
655
1820
362
1810
3740
2010
 
Million Pixles/Sec
Million Pixles/Sec
Million Pixles/Sec
Million Pixles/Sec
Million Pixles/Sec
Million Pixles/Sec
Million Pixles/Sec
Million Pixles/Sec
Million Pixles/Sec
Million Pixles/Sec

AquaMark 3



AquaMark 3
  
AquaMark Score
- CPU
- GFX
Chaintech
16008
9164
1752
Foxconn
15871
9135
1737

 

Yeti Studios' Gun Metal Benchmark

Gun Metal
  
Gun Metal - Benchmark 1
Gun Metal - Benchmark 2
Chaintech
22.23
25.73
Foxconn
20.82
24.63
*All results are in Frames Per Second

 

3D RightMark

3D RightMark
  
Geometry Processing Speed (Ambient)
Pixel Shading (Psychedelic)
Point Sprites (Medium Size)
Chaintech
46.53
323.81
267.80
Foxconn
48.44
322.51
267.87
*All results are in Frames Per Second

Benchmark: Graphics

Codecult's CodeCreatures



CodeCreatures
Chaintech
22.23
Foxconn
20.82
*Result is in Frames Per Second

 

nVidia Chameleon Demo (a.k.a. Chameleon Mark)



Chameleon Mark
Chaintech
79.097
Foxconn
77.381
*Result is in Frames Per Second

 

Vulpine GL Mark



Vulpine GL Mark
Chaintech
68.9
Foxconn
67.9
*Result is in Frames Per Second

 

Vana'd Bench 2: Final Fantasy XI Official Benchmark



Vana'd Bench 2 (High)
Chaintech
3579
Foxconn
3726

Benchmark: Games
Since a majority of our readers buy parts for a gaming rig, we couldn't go on without reporting a few game benchmarks, now could we? All test were run using the default settings in Benchem'All 2.57. All test results are in Frames Per Second (FPS).



Unreal Tournament 2004
Chaintech
86.356
Foxconn
87.322

 



Call of Duty
Chaintech
58.1
Foxconn
57.7

 



Halo
Chaintech
26.93
Foxconn
26.98

Benchmark: HDTach 2.71 (PATA/SATA/USB/FireWire)
HDTach will be used to test the IDE/PATA and SATA drives, as well as the USB and FireWire ports. For those of you unfamilure with HDTach, it is a low level hardware benchmark for random access read/write storage devices such as hard drives, removable drives (ZIP/JAZZ), flash devices, and RAID arrays. HD Tach uses custom device drivers and other low level Windows interfaces to bypass as many layers of software as possible and get as close to the physical performance of the device possible.

HDTach 2.71 - SATA RAID
 
Chaintech
Foxconn (SiS)
Foxconn (Sil)
 
Random Access Time
Read Burst Speed
Read
» Max
» Min
» Average
Write
» Max
» Min
» Average
19.9
105.8
---
97.5
33.2
63.5
---
40.9
13.3
21.8
19.3
154.4
---
111.2
36.2
66.5
---
51.4
10.0
24.6
17.8
112.2
---
105.7
58.4
87.1
---
37.2
11.4
20.2
ms
MB/s
---
MB/s
MB/s
MB/s
---
MB/s
MB/s
MB/s

To test the IDE port, a 40G Maxtor HDD was used on the Primary Slave Channel. You see in this test, the Chaintech board actually preformed slightly better.

HDTach 2.71 - IDE
 
Chaintech (IDE)
Foxconn (IDE)
 
Random Access Time
Read Burst Speed
Read
» Max
» Min
» Average
Write
» Max
» Min
» Average
18.3
93.7
---
39.7
22.1
33.8
---
22.4
12.1
17.3
18.8
93.7
---
39.7
21.0
33.5
---
22.4
11.8
17.2
ms
MB/s
---
MB/s
MB/s
MB/s
---
MB/s
MB/s
MB/s

To show the difference between using SATA in a RAID or standalone configuration, I decided to benchmark the SATA 1 & 2 ports independently, as well as in a RAID setup (results SATA RAID).

HDTach 2.71 - SATA No RAID
 
Foxconn (SATA 1)
Foxconn (SATA 2)
 
Random Access Time
Read Burst Speed
Read
» Max
» Min
» Average
Write
» Max
» Min
» Average
22.2
114.3
---
65.2
26.0
46.8
---
60.1
7.0
15.3
16.4
116.5
---
62.6
26.8
46.4
---
59.7
11.0
23.2
msms
MB/s
---
MB/s
MB/s
MB/s
---
MB/s
MB/s
MB/s

Benchmarking of the USB/IEEE 1394 (that'd be FireWire) ports were also done with Simpli Software's HDTach (v2.71). - For these test, a 40G Seagate Barracuda drive in an external USB2/IEEE 1394 case was used.

HDTach 2.71 - USB / FireWire
 
Foxconn (USB2)
Foxconn (1394)
 
Random Access Time
Read Burst Speed
Read
» Max
» Min
» Average
Write
» Max
» Min
» Average
15.1
24.8
---
16.7
12.4
14.6
---
14.7
11.8
13.7
16.4
116.5
---
62.6
26.8
46.4
---
59.7
11.0
23.2
msms
MB/s
---
MB/s
MB/s
MB/s
---
MB/s
MB/s
MB/s

Testing: Overclocking
One thing I found out real fast was this board doesn't overclock real well. Actually, when trying to overclock through the BIOS, I couldn't get the system to even POST with just a 5Mhz increase to the HTT.

With the included overclocking/monitoring software (see next section) I was only able to get a 14Mhz increase to the HTT before the system would lock up. Part of this was the boards fault, and part of this is because the AMD64 just doesn't overclock well. Even the Chaintech board was only able to get a 30Mhz increase to the HTT.

Overclocking Results
Board Settings
 
Benchmark Results
HTT
CPU Speed
Memory Speed
199.9
1999.4
399.8
205.1
2050.5
410.2
210.2
2101.7
420.4
213.8
2137.6
427.6
 
 
 
 
 
3DMark 03
PC Mark 04
Aquamark 3
1566
3848
15835
1569
3934
15874
1574
4026
15875
1576
4097
15875

Configuration:
If you read through the last section “Testing: Overclocking” you know that this motherboard included a hardware monitoring / overclocking utility. This utility is “SuperStep”. As you can see in the below image, it monitors voltages, temperatures, as well fan speeds. - Actually it also displays the CPU speed on the screen where you can adjust the HTT.

 

 

The 2nd utility included with the motherboard is “SuperUpdate”.Which is a utility that allows you to update and backup your system's BIOS from within Windows.

 

The last utility included is SuperLogo, which I found to be SuperUseless. It allows you to change the BIOS sign on logo from within Windows.




Conclusion:
Well, I must say, this board surprised me. I expected this motherboard, from a company I had never heard of, to suck. I guess it just goes to show, “you can't judge a book by it's cover.”



It may not have stomped the Chaintech motherboard in all of the test, it did show better results in well over half the test. When you factor that in with the cost of the two boards, the Foxconn clearly stands out as the better price/performance motherboard ($85 vs $165). Though I will say the Chaintech board still stands out if you are looking for overclocking and extras.

Pros

  • Price
  • Performance
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2x RAID or Standalone SATA ports
  • Included monitoring software

 

Cons

  • Flat Cables
  • Few Extra's
  • Not many overclocking options in BIOS
  • Doesn't overclock well
  • Can only use standard heatsinks / Mounting plate is not removeable