Foxconn Flaming Blade GTI review
The Foxconn Flaming Blade GTI is a ludicrous name for a motherboard, even an enthusiasts’ one, and it’s rammed home with the subtlety of a burning elephant by a red and black colour scheme. But underneath the posturing lies the real attention grabber: at £101 exc VAT it’s by some distance the cheapest Intel X58 board we’ve seen.
That chipset means it supports some of Intel’s fastest Core i7 processors, including the six-core i7-980X. Although these will soon be superseded by Sandy Bridge chips, there’s little doubt they’ll remain among the fastest CPUs around for some time yet.
Beside the processor sits a trio of DIMM sockets capable of handling 12GB of RAM. They’re joined by a pair of PCI-Express x16 slots, two PCI slots and a single PCI Express x4 slot.
Storage is handled by six SATA/300 sockets and, although that’s plenty, the budget hasn’t stretched to the newer SATA/600 standard. Although consumer hard disks and SSDs aren’t yet quick enough to take advantage of SATA/600’s increased bandwidth, it’s a mark off for the future.
Elsewhere, there’s an IDE socket, a pair of USB 2 jumpers and a floppy connector. We were disappointed by the meagre offering of just two fan connectors; once the single PWM-equipped connector is used for a CPU heatsink, that leaves room to power just a single case fan. The rest will have to hook directly to your power supply.
Despite its price, the Flaming Blade GTI lacks real enthusiast features. Aside from the two-character POST display in the bottom-right corner, there’s little to excite those who expect onboard power buttons or overclocking features. On the backplate sit eight USB 2 ports, PS/2, Gigabit Ethernet and the usual six audio jacks. Those hoping for USB 3, eSATA or FireWire, which are becoming standard on far cheaper boards, should turn to the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R, which offers all three.
The BIOS is full of standard options, from boot controls to hardware monitoring tools, but it’s not particularly well organised. One menu contains options pertaining to Windows 95’s need for a floppy drive, and other choices come without any explanation of their functions. Overclocking tools are sequestered away in Foxconn’s Quantum BIOS screen, but again, there’s little here that you won’t find on rival boards.
In fact, if you’re after an X58 board this is essentially the vanilla option, which is a little disappointing at this price. With Gigabyte’s GA-X58A-UD3R offering more flexibility and futureproofing for only £20 more, the Flaming Blade GTI looks to have a lot of hot air but no real fire.
|Motherboard form factor||ATX|
|Motherboard integrated graphics||no|
|Processor/platform brand (manufacturer)||Intel|
|Processor socket||LGA 1366|
|Motherboard form factor||ATX|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel X58|
|South bridge||Intel ICH10|
|Number of Ethernet adapters||1|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|CPU power connector type||8-pin|
|Main power connector||ATX 24-pin|
|Memory sockets total||3|
|Internal SATA connectors||6|
|Internal PATA connectors||1|
|Internal floppy connectors||1|
|Conventional PCI slots total||2|
|PCI-E x16 slots total||2|
|PCI-E x8 slots total||0|
|PCI-E x4 slots total||1|
|PCI-E x1 slots total||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||8|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||6|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Extra port backplane bracket ports||N/A|
Diagnostics and tweaking
|Motherboard onboard power switch?||no|
|Motherboard onboard reset switch?||no|
|SATA cables supplied||2|
|Molex to SATA adaters supplied||0|
|IDE cables supplied||0|
|Floppy cables supplied||0|