Motherboard Guide

Foxconn P35A review

Foxconn P35A (Intel P35 + ICH9)

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Overclocking and Test Setup

Overclocking

  • FSB Settings: 200MHz to 600MHz
  • DDR2 Settings: 667/800MHz
  • CPU:MEM Ratio Settings: 1:1, 1:1.25, 1:1.66 / 1:2, 1:1.2, 1:1.5
  • PCIe Settings: 100MHz to 200MHz
  • CPU Voltage Settings: +0.0125V to +0.7875V (63 steps)
  • Memory Voltage Settings: 1.665V to 2.995V (48 steps)
  • PCIe Voltage Settings: 1.3875V to 1.950V (16 steps)
  • NB Voltage Settings: 1.2000V to 1.6267V (16 steps)
  • Multiplier Selection: Yes (unlocked CPUs only)


Like all Foxconn motherboards of late, the P35A features their FOXONE technology, a hardware ASIC similar to abit's uGuru and MSI's CoreCell, which helps improve monitoring and overclocking functionality of the motherboard in the BIOS level as well as under Windows. From our experience, we'd say Foxconn is split as to where to position the P35A. It doesn't have a fully featured overclocking BIOS, but what functions it has, come with impressive granularity for tweaking.

Among some of the newer options we've noticed in a few P35 based boards is the ability to set both the base memory frequency and the FSB:MEM ratio. In the case of the P35A motherboard, it can get a little confusing. Firstly, Foxconn only allows selection of DDR2-667 and DDR2-800 with their set FSB straps in the BIOS, which may seem restrictive for a P35 motherboard, and it is if you did not notice the additional ratio select option.

For example, if you were running at a 1066MHz FSB, set DDR2-667 in the memory options with the ratio select set to 'Auto', you would get DDR2-667. However, if you were to choose to use the manual ratio select and set it to 1:1 in the same scenario, you would be running DDR2-533 instead. Selecting DDR2-800 would give you another set to ratio selections as well. If you we're running on standard DDR2-667 or DDR2-800 memory, setting the board to auto will be sufficient, but overclockers should get a kick out of the board.

In terms of real overclocking capabilities, the Foxconn P35A is not too shabby an overclocker. We managed to get the board running at a stable 1800MHz FSB (450MHz base) with a Core 2 Duo E6300 with a NB voltage boost to 1.538V. However, we do have some reservations about the board as it is not a natural overclocker and not for the uninitiated. The board requires a lot of coaxing and incremental adjustments in order to attain high frequencies, but you will be able to run at 1333MHz without any problems.


Test Setup

Our initial tests with the P35A did not yield promising results due BIOS issues that prevented us from properly benchmarking the board. Foxconn has since helped us resolve most of the issues with our board that we feel it is now retail and benchmark worthy. We will benchmark the Foxconn P35A with the same test setup that we used before for the ASUS P5K Deluxe and MSI P35 Platinum. Results from both boards are included as well as our reference Intel P965 and NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI boards.

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor (2.93GHz)
  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR2-800 @ 12-4-4 CAS 4.0
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard disk drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • MSI GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB - with ForceWare 158.22 drivers
  • Intel INF 8.3.1.1013 and AHCI 7.5.0.1017 driver set (Intel P965 and P35 only)
  • NVIDIA nForce 9.53 driver set (NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI only)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (and DirectX 9.0c)

 

Benchmarks

The following benchmarks will be used in this review to determine the performance of the Foxconn P35A:-

  • BAPco SYSmark 2004
  • Futuremark PCMark05
  • SPECviewperf 9.0
  • Futuremark 3DMark06
  • AquaMark3