Foxconn's Destroyer arrives in a hefty box that includes the ATX motherboard, manual, driver disc and a stack of IDE, floppy and SATA cables. It also comes with a number of intriguing extras such as a clear plastic board that is drilled to accept the supplied brass motherboard mounts. Fit the mounts and you can plug your Destroyer together for a dry run on the bench before you install it in your case. Most motherboards will happily sit flat on a table top but the Destroyer needs support to raise it slightly thanks to the second accessory.
This is the Heat-Pipe expansion module which screws to the Northbridge cooler and then hangs off the back of the motherboard behind the power and IDE connectors. We're all in favour of extensive passive cooling systems that help to keep the chipset and power regulation hardware under control but this is the first time we've seen an add-on that sits outside the footprint of the motherboard. The reason is simply that there is nowhere else for Foxconn to locate a cooler as the layout of the board is dominated by four PCI Express 2.0 slots. There's not much space around the CPU socket but even so it appears that Foxconn might have included a cooler along the lines of the Gigabyte EP45 Extreme or it could have taken a leaf out the book of the MSI K9N2 Diamond.
Having said that the Heat-Pipe expansion module (couldn't they do something about that name?) is effective and helps to keep the chipset reasonably cool. If the cooling needs some assistance you can reach for the third extra in the box which also suffers with a lousy name.
This is the Quantum Flow-GPU blower which is a 120mm case fan with a neat mounting bracket that attaches to one of your graphics cards to blow cooling air across the motherboard. The fan runs at high speed and made so much noise that we felt obliged to add a fan controller. Once we'd done that the results were very impressive.
The fact is that these add-ons all have their root with Nvidia. The 780a chipset is relatively toasty yet the four PCI Express slots for Quad SLI mean that the chipset cooler has to be incredibly low in profile to ensure that you can pack in the graphics cards without problem.
That Quad-SLI capability leads us onto the final extras in the box, which are three SLI bridges. There's a regular bridge to connect two graphics cards in slots one and three as well as two different Tri-SLI bridges to connect cards in slots one, two and three or slots one, two and four as you may prefer.
That's an impressive range of options but it highlights that the key feature of the Destroyer is the combination of SLI graphics with a Phenom processor. Quite simply, Intel rules the roost in terms of CPU performance so why would anyone use a slow CPU when they're using four graphics cards? This is ultra-high-end computing so it should use all the best stuff, surely? The only possible answer to that question centres on a clique of AMD fan boys who refuse to use Intel no matter the strength of the evidence.