Foxconn Renaissance

Written by Mark Mackay

April 7, 2009 | 09:16

Tags: #cake #crysis #cup #fox #heatsink #oc #overclock #overclocking #perform #sas #sata #sli #speaker #stability

Companies: #foxconn #test

Features List

  • Support for Core i7 LGA1366 CPUs at 4.8-6.4GT/s QPI
  • Intel X58 Northbridge and ICH10R Southbridge
  • Six 1.5V DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 24GB of memory
  • One Broadcom RTL8111C Gigabit Ethernet controllers
  • Four PCI-E Express 2.0 x16 slots (x16/x16/x4)
  • Two PCI-Express x4 slot
  • One PCI slot
  • Eight SATA II ports - six from Intel ICH10R (supporting Intel Matrix RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 and JBOD), two from Marvel 88SE6320
  • One IDE port supporting one device from JMicron JMB363
  • One eSATA port from JMicron JMB363
  • Twelve USB 2.0 ports - eight on rear I/O, four via pin-outs
  • JMicron JMB381 IEEE1394a FireWire supporting two ports - one via pin-out, one on the rear I/O
  • Harp Audio 7.1 Channel High-Definition audio codec
Foxconn Renaissance Features, Layout and Rear I/O Foxconn Renaissance Features, Layout and Rear I/O
Click to enlarge

Layout and Rear I/O

Overall the board feels like a quality product; clearly a lot of thought has gone into the component selection, with it sporting a strong orange and black colour scheme, which we appreciated and thought may even resemble a Renaissance masterpiece. Possibly the Mona Lisa (yes it's the only one we can name) after sufficient alcohol consumption.

In fitting with the theme of connectivity, the board boasts no less than four PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots, allowing you to fit a total of two graphics cards at full x16, or four at x8, in either CrossFire-X or SLI.

The board features six RAID-capable SATA ports which are powered via the Intel ICH10R Southbridge and are seated flush with the PCB, which makes for easier and neater cabling.

Foxconn Renaissance Features, Layout and Rear I/O Foxconn Renaissance Features, Layout and Rear I/O
Click to enlarge

A Marvel SAS controller runs the additional two perpendicular-sitting ports. We've seen SAS ports on the Asus P6T Deluxe but it's an expensive addition, even if they are "quick" and while it is backward compatible to standard SATA hard drives, very few people use them for SAS drives, especially with rapid SSDs becoming more affordable. Basically, this has just become a marketing tick-box.

Despite the Renaissance not being especially geared towards overclocking, it does nestle a cluster of handy OC features in one corner of the PCB. Near the SATA ports can be found an LED POST code display and clear CMOS button, in addition to backlit power and reset buttons, all of which are awesome for pre-build bench overclocking and debugging.

Audio is another area in which Foxconn have tried to push the proverbial boat out a bit, and the Renaissance is bundled with an audio daughter board that connects via a proprietary header, providing connectivity for 7.1 surround High-Definition sound. The card is also compatible with Dolby DTS Connect which can encode a stereo audio stream into a simulated 7.1 surround format.

Foxconn Renaissance Features, Layout and Rear I/O Foxconn Renaissance Features, Layout and Rear I/O
Click to enlarge

The layout of the X58 boards we’ve seen thus far have all been very similar, with the possible exception of Intel's DSX58SO Smackmybitchup, with its frankly befuddling name and obscure layout. Scanning the PCB of the Renaissance will reveal that the 24-pin power head and 8-pin CPU power header are where you’d expect to find them as are the six DIMM slots, staying out the way of a large heatsink installation.

That said, the Northbridge cupcake doesn’t provide so much clearance for the CPU heatsink since it's quite tall at 38mm, and also impeding on the heatsink area square. There was just enough room to install our test kit Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme to fit neatly over the CPU below, but if you have an oversize cooler it might be worth a quick browse around the web to see if anyone else with board has had issues in this department.

The rear I/O block consists of eight USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports a FireWire port, optical and coaxial S/PDIF out ports, one LAN port and one PS2 port for retro peripheral owners. The oversized heatsinks also extend over the block which allows a little hot air to get out of the case should any be blowing that way.
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