Our focus keeps rapidly moving from one chipset for Intel processors on Core micro-architecture to another. Not so long ago Intel P965 Express was considered the best solution out there. The summer launch of the new Intel P35 Express that was very similar to the P965 seemed hardy that necessary at the time. However, our practical experiments showed that the performance drop during FSB Strap switching is barely noticeable on P35 Express based mainboards, unlike the predecessor that actually introduced this phenomenon to us. So, Intel P965 Express based mainboards were quickly forgotten.
Today we know almost everything about the Intel P35 Express chipset, but the Intel X38 Express titles are also already taking the front pages of many web-sites. It suddenly became known that it suffers from some problems and its life cycle is intended to be very short with X48 Express core logic already breathing down its neck. I have to admit that I am very anxious and at the same time concerned to see the new mainboards start selling. The interest to new solution is absolutely natural while the concern arises from scary-looking mainboard designs featuring sophisticated cooling systems and equipped with a variety of onboard controllers.
Those who do a lot of testing of the latest and greatest have the right to “forget” about existing products and express special interest to newcomers. But of course, common users will still find Intel P35 Express based products more acute at this time. It is always interesting to read about elite mainboards selling for $300-$400 as well as about high-end graphics cards priced at $600-$800, but there are very few wealthy computer enthusiasts who will actually go and buy them. There are much more modest workhorses that do their daily job in mainstream users and reasonable overclocking fans’ systems. So, you may think that we have studied all the ins and outs of the new Intel P35 Express based mainboards over those few months that have already passed since launch and all we can do now is try to fin tiny differences between xxx-B mainboard and its previous xxx-A modification. But, things are not so tragic yet and there are quite a few interesting mainboards we didn’t have a chance to discuss yet.
You are all familiar with Foxconn brand not only from the connectors and sockets installed on numerous mainboards, but also from the actual mainboards that start little by little conquering the market. Although there is no overwhelming expansion in the market yet, I should say. Foxconn mainboards are still pretty rare in stores and you do not come across them very often in overclocking statistics. Now it looks like the situation has every chance to change drastically: the company announced their intention to launch the whole lineup of Quantum Force products aimed at overclockers. At first we were very pleased with the news about extensive BIOS features of the new mainboards and the peculiarities of their first overclocker friendly mainboard aka Mars. Today we have a great opportunity to meet this solution in person.