Foxconn 945P7AA-8EKRS2 review
This Foxconn board does seem to tick all the right boxes. There’s RAID thanks to Intel’s ICH7R south bridge, 7.1 High Definition Audio from the Realtek ALC880 chipset and passively cooled heatsinks to minimise your system’s noise. It adds up to a decent board at a decent price; the problem for Foxconn is that, in this month’s company, it just isn’t outstanding.
To put the Foxconn into perspective, take a look at the ECS PF5 Extreme. This either matches or beats the Foxconn in every area for about £10 less. For instance, there’s a second RAID controller and ECS includes rounded rather than standard EIDE cables.
That said, Foxconn certainly includes plenty of extra cables in the box. Those with older hard disks will also be pleased to see three parallel channels, but note that all three are arranged around the bottom of the board, necessitating lengthy cable routing clutter. We’d also swap the floppy connector with the ATX power connector, moving the former to halfway up the board and the latter to top-right for easier power cable tidying. Plus, attaching and removing the stock Intel heatsink, with its twisting legs, is made unnecessarily tricky by the tall VRMs around the socket.
No back panels mean you’ll have to make do with the single FireWire and four rear USB ports unless your case can provide more. The rear does provide two Gigabit Ethernet connections to the ECS’s Gigabit and 10/100 pairing, but this alone isn’t enough to push the Foxconn into contention. In order for this to happen, its price needs to drop by about £15.