Articles: Mainboards

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PCB Design and Functionality

The mainboard is designed following traditional classical principles. All elements are where they should be and no obvious issues pop up at first glance. Moreover, the combination of black and yellow colors is very eye-pleasing:

The processor voltage regulator circuitry doesn’t amaze us with too many phases in it, but the components of it that run hot during work are covered with a uniquely shaped heatsink, and there is enough free space around the processor socket to accommodate large CPU coolers. Four memory DIMM slots can theoretically accommodate up to 32 GB of RAM, but when it comes to the memory operation modes, the information in the manual and on the official company web-site doesn’t match indicating 1066 or 1333 MHz for the lowest and 1800 or 2200 MHz for the highest frequency threshold. This discrepancy could be explained by the list of supported memory dividers, which will depend on the processor model. However, where is any mention of the graphics card slots? We can only assume that the available slots support not only ATI CrossFire, but also Nvidia SLI graphics configurations, that a single graphics card will work at PCI Express 2.0 x16 speed, and that with two graphics cards in the system the slots will work at half the original speed. The mainboard is equipped with only three four-pin fan connectors, and doesn’t know to control the rotation speed of the three-pin fans.

Among the additional elements, we could point out Power On and Reset buttons, a POST-code indicator and a row of contact spots for manual control of the most important voltages. Moreover, contemporary mainboards rarely come with PATA connectors, and in this case they used a Marvell 88SE6121 controller for that. It also provides support for the two eSATA ports on the back panel.

Overall, the backpanel contains the following ports and connectors:

  • PS/2 keyboard connector;
  • Six USB 2.0 ports, six more are laid out as three onboard pin-connectors;
  • Two USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors) implemented via Renesas (NEC) D720200F1 controller;
  • Coaxial and optical S/PDIF together with six analogue audio-jacks provided by eight-channel Realtek ALC888S codec;
  • Two eSATA 3 Gbps ports implemented via Marvell 88SE6121 controller;
  • A local network port (network adapter is built around Gigabit Realtek RTL8111E controller).

The table below sums up all the features and specifications of Foxconn P67A-S mainboard:

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