If you have recently read a mainboard review, then it was most likely a solution based on Intel P45 Express chipset. Of course, this remarkable statistics has been slightly messed up by the recent wave of articles on Intel Nehalem microarchitecture, which naturally included some information on the corresponding mainboards. By the way, we have posted one of the best materials on the topic that consists of two parts. The theoretical part discusses the peculiarities of the new microarchitecture and the practical part talks about benchmark results showing different application aspects of the new CPU as well as the entire LGA 1366 platform. So, if you haven’t yet checked out these articles for some reason, do it now and to hell with statistics :)
Anyway, Intel P45 Express based mainboards has been in the center of attention for a reason. It is the newest core logic set for the popular Intel processors on Core microarchitecture. Its specifications allow designing exclusive mainboards for computer enthusiasts as well as regular mainstream platforms for the mass market. Therefore, Intel P45 Express chipset is of great interest not only to manufacturers, but also to users and, of course, to reviewers. Therefore, there are a lot of similar articles about similar products out there… However, we wouldn’t take advantages of our readers’ dedication without good reason for it. We are not going to offer you yet another common Intel P45 Express based mainboard review. Our today’s hero is Foxconn ELA mainboard that has quite a few very interesting peculiarities about it. First of all, it is manufactured by Foxconn, one of the largest mainboard makers in the world and it would be unwise to ignore such widely spread solution. However, this is not the main reason.
If we rephrase one well-known saying: if you’ve seen one mainboard, you’ve seen them all. We will most likely see the processor socket at the top with the voltage regulator components around it and memory DIMM slots usually to the right of it but sometimes above. A little below and closer to the center of the PCB there is the chipset North Bridge and even lower – the expansion card slots… Unlike its all traditionally designed counterparts, Foxconn ELA boasts very original layout that is why we are particularly interested in it and would like to devote our today’s article to it. Of course, we hope that this mainboard turned out so unusual not because the engineers who designed it were bored, but because they were trying to make sure that it delivered better performance, better stability, more advanced processor overclocking functionality… Therefore, we are going to focus primarily on features for enthusiasts, namely, on overclocking. Besides, the board is equipped with three PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots. It means that it is targeted for the upper market segment and the users who want to put together a high-performance system and are not ready to compromise.
But, let’s not get too far ahead at this point. As usual, we are going to start our new product review with what the happy owner sees first: the package and accessories bundle.