In terms of expansion slots you get a single x16 PCI Express slot followed by three PCI slots and three x1 PCI Express slots, so there is plenty of expandability options available. This is also the first motherboard I have come across that features a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) connector, although no module was provided with the board.
Looking at the board design I’m sorry to say that this is one of the messiest boards I have seen in a long time with connectors and headers scattered all over the board. It’s also quite disappointing to find only a single spare fan header, as the second one is taken up by a fan used to cool the chipset heatsink. Again, this is a slight letdown, as passive cooling would’ve been preferred. On the other hand the ICH7R is passively cooled by a small heatsink.
Moving on to the accessories in the box you get two rounded IDE cables, a rounded floppy cable, a FireWire 800 and a four and six-pin FireWire 400 brackets, eight SATA data cables (only two pictured as six were missing) and two SATA power splitters – each with support for two drives.
The manual isn’t bad, but if you follow it to the letter you’d be stuck with some outdated hardware as it suggests that you can only use certain certified memory, graphics and CPUs with the board, which is somewhat restrictive. There’s also a multi-lingual quick setup sheet which covers the basics and gives you a large colour overview of the board and its connectors.
So on to the test results. We’ve moved onot a new test platform for Intel motherboards to aid future comparisons but for now these are stand alone results. The 955X7AA scored an acceptable 203 points overall in SYSMark 2004. Moving on to PCMark 05, the Foxconn turned in a score of 5025, while in 3DMark 05 it hit 4918. This is lower than previous 955X results, but then the 3.8GHz Pentium 4 670 is a slower performer than the 3.73GHz Extreme Edition we were using.
At £135.11 the 955X7AA is reasonably priced for a 955X based board but there’s nothing exceptional about the features or performance and Foxconn needs to improve the board layout before it can compete with the long time established brands.
The Foxconn 955X7AA is a feature laden board at a reasonable price; however the board layout could do with some work.
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