Using Quantum MARS as a brand name is just asking for a string of sci-fi related broadcasting references, so I'll just get them out of the way now: The latest P35 chipset based motherboard from Foxconn lets users who may have found overclocking a bit alien to take a quantum leap into the hobby and achieve smashing results with the minimum of hassle. OK, that's out the way, our normal service can resume unheeded.
Using the likewise-fantastically named Gladiator BIOS, the MARS claims to have already reached stable front-side bus speeds of 575MHz using a Core 2 E6700. Commonly used settings are marked out and a dedicated website with tips and tricks will launch alongside the board. Rumour also has it that the best overclockers will battle in the arena for the chance to gain their freedom, but no conformation is forthcoming as yet.
The Quantum MARS also has CMOS reset, power and reset buttons onboard, which any overclocker will testify to being highly useful. The BIOS also enable the user to save settings and there is an overclock recovery function, which automatically restores to the last stable configuration if a new setting fails to boot.
Processor support is there for all 1,333MHz, 1,066MHz and 800MHz FSBs and it also claims compatibility with 45nm Penryn chips. 7.1 channel sound, Gigabit LAN, solid capacitors (for increased lifespan and stability) and an Intel RAID controller supporting, 0, 1, 5 and 0+1 configurations. Four slots of 1,066MHz, 800MHz and 667MHz DDR2 RAM is supported allowing up to 8GB in total. As usual for P35, two physical x16 PCI-E slots are divided into x16 and x4 electrically, which could hamper Crossfire, despite it being certified for this.
Coming in September, pricing is slated to be about £125, which for an enthusiast board sounds reasonable, although we'll reserve our judgement until retail products are available.