I am afraid that now that you have read this whole article you may think that Foxconn Mars mainboard is not a good product after all and has a lot of drawbacks. However, I have to warn you against such conclusions, as they are simply not true. I personally loved this mainboard. We pointed out all those small things on purpose, so that the potential owner of this mainboard could know in advance what he may need to look out for. And in conclusion I would like to point out those things once again so that you could take another fresh look at them and realize that they are not crucial at all. These are not issues, but mostly our recommendations to the manufacturer. If corrected, they will make this excellent product even better.
See for yourself: can we actually call the not very successful name or package design a drawback? And as for the bundle, we would love to see something more useful than a dozen of stickers, but is it really an issue as well? As for the PCB layout, it is simply impeccable and it is evidently one of the biggest advantages of Foxconn Mars mainboard. Yes, the cooling system is a little puzzling and even the additional fan will be hard to replace when out of service because of its usual shape. The default Cool Pipe system is not efficient enough, IMHO. Unfortunately, from the pictures of the upcoming Foxconn mainboards, such as X38A “Digital Life”, for instance, we still see the same CoolPipe system that seems to have become Foxconn’s brand name feature.
Speaking of Gladiator BIOS we have to admit that the options it offers are excellent – it is the second great advantage of Foxconn Mars. However, there are a few things that can be improved. For example, it would be much easier to work with profiles if we could name them and add appropriate descriptions. It’s a pity that detailed fan rotation speed management is only possible on the software level. When Instant O.C. is set high, it would be nice to have an option to increase memory and North Bridge voltage as well. And finally, it would be very convenient to have a built-in BIOS reflashing tool. So, tell me, are these drawbacks or recommendations?
As for the software, EOX LiveUpdate utility is totally cool while AEGIS Panel is inconvenient to work with and definitely not a success. Maybe it will acquire the promised overclocking friendly options later on, but its interface is a way too bulky for constant use. I cannot complain about its monitoring skills, but it would be nice if the reports could be recorded into a log-file.
And finally a few words about not very successful processor overclocking. I wouldn’t use this mainboard as an overclocking testbed. However, I would love to have it in my home system. I am not discouraged with its inability to overclock beyond 470-480MHz FSB, because I am not going to purchase any CPUs with 7x clock frequency multiplier. As for everything else, the mainboard suits my needs perfectly. What do we actually need from a mainboard? The chipset doesn’t really affect the speed, so the board should be convenient to assemble a system, to set up and work with, should provide all the necessary interfaces, and Foxconn Mars has it all. So, if I ever decide to go with an Intel P35 Express based mainboard, Foxconn Mars will be one of the first ones on my list. Although a lot will definitely depend on its availability and pricing.
Since we mentioned the pricing, I have to point out that the competition in the mainboard segment has gone down lately, since a lot of so-called second-tier makers have vanished from the market. We haven’t seen solution from Acorp, Chaintech and EPoX for a while already. Although they used to offer pretty inexpensive but functional solutions before. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the prices have gone from $70-$80 up to $150-$200 over the past few years. From this standpoint, the arrival of a strong player like Foxconn will do the market only good. Especially if they are offering an impressive solution like Foxconn Mars.