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Foxconn might not be a familiar name to you, but chances are that its technology is already in your current PC as it makes the I/O connectors and cables for many motherboard manufacturers. Recently, it decided to move into the motherboard market as a brand in itself and the 955X7AA, based on Intel’s 955 chipset for Socket 755 processors, is the first of its products to arrive at TrustedReviews for review.
For its AMD chipset boards, Foxconn is using the Winfast brand, which confusingly is used by Leadtek for its graphics cards. The Intel chipset boards are simply labelled Foxconn. I was really impressed with the box that this motherboard came in. It’s made out of very thick cardboard with a magnetic lock, which is fairly pointless, but pretty cool.
The board itself is rather dull looking with a red and black colour scheme with a few white slots. This doesn’t really matter unless you’ve got a case with a window and loads of fancy lights, but aesthetics has become an important factor these days. Personally, I think features are more important and Foxconn doesn’t disappoint here as the board is crammed full with the latest technology. As the name suggests the 955X7AA is based on the Intel 955X chipset and supports all the latest Intel Pentium 4 and Pentium D processors – as well as the 1066MHz bus Extreme Edition parts. As the current Intel chipsets have a limitation of a single IDE connector for up to two devices, Foxconn have added an ITE IDE RAID controller which adds support for another four devices.
If you’re building a new system and are planning to use SATA drives then the 955X7AA has plenty on offer. On top of the four SATA devices that the Intel chipset offer there's an additional Silicon Image controller that adds support for another four devices. In addition there’s dual Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet contollers – one on the PCI Express bus and one PCI bus – as well as FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 support. That’s not a bad set of features and the latest FireWire technology could be particularly useful if you need to shift a lot of large chunks of data using something like this external Maxtor FireWire 800 drive.
The features don’t stop there though , with USB 2.0 and 7.1-channel Intel High Definition Audio to add to the list. Looking at the I/O connectors on the back you’ll find two PS/2 ports, a single serial and parallel port, four USB 2.0 ports – with a further two on a supplied bracket – the two Ethernet connectors, optical and coaxial S/PDIF output and six 3.5mm audio jacks for the 7.1-channel audio as well as line in and microphone inputs.
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