FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 1
Introduction Foxconn BlackOps banner
 
Foxconn is the trade name of the Taiwan based firm Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (Ltd.). Foxconn are one of, if not the largest motherboard manufacturers in the world. Traditionally Foxconn has been known as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to both Dell and Hewlett Packard; however in recent times we have seen the company move from relative obscurity to full-blown enthusiast hardware manufacturer in a short space of time.
 
Foxconn made their first move into the enthusiast market with the release of their Foxconn Mars motherboard. After managing to get some DFI motherboard engineers to defect over to Foxconn, and some smart marketing, the company has seen a significant progression into the enthusiast market. However, the Foxconn P35 Mars was just the beginning. Foxconn had a swathe of motherboards in development - namely the 790i Dreadnought, P45 Avenger and the 780a Destroyer. One of those motherboards that was rapidly gaining notoriety for all the right reasons was the Foxconn BlackOps.
 
Foxconn enlisted the help of the self-confessed 'overclocking evangelist' Peter 'Shamino' Tan to oversee the development of these overclocking behemoth motherboards, and to outlay the ideology behind Quantum Force. The Quantum Force series is the high-performance, enthusiast range that centres around value for money as well as focusing on user feedback. The site features Beta BIOS downloads, and tutorials on how to get the most out of the motherboards. Anyways, enough of the chit-chat, let's begin the review of the Foxconn BlackOps motherboard by taking a look at its specifications.
 
Specifications
 
The specifications were unashamedly copied directly from the Foxconn BlackOps product page.
 
Processor: Supports Intel® Core™2 Quad, Core™2 Extreme, Core™2 Duo, Pentium® Dual-Core, Pentium® Dual-Core and 45nm processors, Socket T (LGA775)

Chipset: Intel® X48 + ICH9R Chipset

Front Side Bus: 2000(oc**)1600/1333/1066/800 MHz.

Memory: Dual channel DDR3 1600/1333/1066800/667 x 4 DIMMs, Max. 8GB

VGA on Die: Discreted

Expansion Slots: 3* PCIe2.0 x16, 3* PCI

IDE: 1* ATA 133

Serial ATA(SATA)/RAID: 6* SATAII + 2* eSATA w / RAID 0, 1, 5, 10; Intel® Matrix storage technology and Intel® Rapid Recover Technology

Audio: SONAR audio card, Realtek® ALC885, 7.1 channel Audio

LAN: Dual Gigabit LAN by Broadcom™ PCIe and PCI LAN chip

IEEE1394: 2*1394a

Back Panel I/O Ports:
1 x PS/2 keyboard port
1 x PS/2 mouse port
1 x SONAR card with 6 audio jacks,CD-in and Front audio integrated
1 x S/PDIF Coaxial out port
1 x S/PDIF Fiber out port
1 x IEEE1394a port
2 x eSATA ports
6 x USB 2.0 ports
2 x RJ45 LAN port

Internal I/O Connectors:
1 x ATX 24-pin power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x 4-pin CPU fan connector
2 x 3-pin System/NB fan connectors
2 x 3-pin fan power connectors
1 x Floppy connector
1 x IrDA header
1 x COM header
3 x USB 2.0 connectors support additional 6 ports
3 x Onboard On/Off/CMOS reset buttons
6 x Serial ATAII connectors
1 x Front panel connector
1 x On-board power_LED
1 x ATA133 IDE connector
1 x IEEE1394a header
1 x Buzzer

BIOS Features: 8MB flash EEPROM w/ LAN boot PnP, ACPI, WfM, DMI 2.0

Support CD: Drivers, Adobe Reader, Norton
 
Standards/Manageability: PCI 2.3, USB2.0, DMI 2.5

Special Features:
** Achieved by overclocking
* Quantum Force segment, based on Intel® X48 chipset
* Supports latest Intel® 45nm processors
* 3* PCIe x16 Gen2.0 with ATI CrossFireX™ support
* Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz support
* 4in1 Quantum Cooler
* 8 phase Digital PWM
* Quantum BIOS
* SONAR Audio – 7.1 channel HDA daughter card with 106db SNR
* Quantum Flow and Quantum Lap unique accessories
* 100% SOLID Capacitor design and Ferrite Choke

Form Factor: ATX (12" x 9.6")
 
Let's head over the page to see how the Foxconn BlackOps should arrive at your door...


FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 2
Packaging and Contents
 
The Foxconn BlackOps motherboard packaging is extremely attractive and eye-catching. The packaging itself features a really cool black, grey and white theme. On the front of the box, there is a group of soldiers decked out in army special forces regalia. The rear of the package highlights the features of the Foxconn BlackOps motherboard - including the 4-in-1 northbridge cooler and charts illustrating the increased voltage provisions of the motherboard. The packaging also features a welcome carry handle and the other side provides a detailed specifications list.
 
Foxconn BlackOps front Foxconn BlackOps rear
Foxconn BlackOps top
 
Foxconn have included a foldout front cover on the box which gives you a glimpse as to what is contained within, and the top of the foldout section details the technologies built into the motherboard.
 
Foxconn BlackOps inside cover top Foxconn BlackOps inside cover
 
Removing the outer shell of the Foxconn BlackOps packaging reveals an inner box that houses the motherboard and its associated goodies. The inner packaging is nicely compartmentalised to provided adequate protection to the hardware contained within. This box could take a serious flogging from a courier and still arrive with hardware intact. Removing the top box containing the motherboard, soundcard and 120mm fan, I was pleasantly surprised to see the inclusion of another two cardboard boxes which house the accessories.
 
Foxconn BlackOps cardboard insert Insert contents
Accessories boxes
 
To say that the Foxconn BlackOps comes with some accessories would be the understatement of the year. Accessories by the truckload would be a more accurate description. There is quite simply so much stuff included here, you feel like you're getting exceptional value for money. Although, I will say that some of it feels a little cheap - like the barbs for example which feel less substantial than those of say EK. Furthermore, the DICE/LN2 tower for the NB 4-in-1 cooler is made of plastic instead of light gauge metal. The dog tags too feel a little like an afterthought, as many enthusiasts probably wouldn't even give them a second look. I have included a list of the items included in the Foxconn BlackOps box below:
 

Foxconn BlackOps bundle

 Accessories_1 Accessories_2
Fan and Sonar soundcard variable resistors
Installation CD and manual I/O backplate, dog tags and IDE/floppy cable
perspex bench board cables
 40mm fan
 
However, if you ever needed further confirmation that the Foxconn BlackOps is targeted at the performance enthusiast, the variable resistors that are thrown in should bring you screaming back to reality. Foxconn has also seen fit to include a Perspex benching board, which is quite simply unheard of as part of any motherboard inclusion package that I have ever seen before. In addition, Foxconn has included two trim-pots ready for volt mods(20K and 50K). Man how cool is that!  I'm feeling as giddy as a schoolgirl like a kid in a candy store.
 
Let's head over the page to have a look at the Foxconn BlackOps motherboard in a little more detail...


FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 3
Motherboard Layout
 
With the exception of the 4-in-1 northbridge cooling solution (which I will go into a little more detail shortly), the Foxconn BlackOps has quite a sedated and simple look to it. It is certainly a different beast on first impressions than say, the ASUS Rampage Extreme that we reviewed a short while ago. But don't be fooled - this motherboard has grunt by the truckload, and provides more than enough voltage to reduce your hardware to puddles of molten silicon. The Foxconn BlackOps shares the now popular blue and white theme for the DIMM and PCI slots, and solid polymer capacitors expected on such a high-end motherboard. Let's dive right in and make ourselves a little better acquainted with the motherboard shall we?
 
The rear of the Foxconn BlackOps motherboard is clean and for the most part uncluttered apart from the backplate of the VRM cooler. The heatpipe assembly that incorporates the voltage regulation heatsink, the North Bridge cooler and the South Bridge cooler are all attached via spring-loaded screws, instead of the spring-loaded plastic lugs that other manufacturers use. The spring-loaded screws allow for better contact and a stronger method of attaching heavier heatsinks.
 
Foxconn BlackOps motherboard front Foxconn BlackOps motherboard back
 
Starting off in the lower left hand side, the Foxconn BlackOps features three PCI slots and three PCI-E x16 slots. It is worth mentioning, though, that with the first two PCI-E x16 slots filled, the third will operate at PCI-E x4 mode. In most scenarios you will have access to at least two PCI slots and two PCI-E x16 slots for expansion cards. However, if running a Crossfire setup, this will be reduced significantly.
 
Along the bottom edge of the motherboard, Foxconn has included a speaker header, an IEEE 1394 port, a COM port and three USB 2.0 ports. In the far right hand corner there is also the front panel header and an IrDA connector should you have an infrared wireless transmitting/receiving device in your setup. Moving up the right hand side of the motherboard, Foxconn has included onboard Power, RESET and CLR_CMOS buttons which have become the norm for high-end motherboards
 
The Foxconn BlackOps provides six SATA plugs, which should be more than enough for both bench work and those who wish to utilise the motherboard in the more traditional approach of mounting it in a high-end PC. Immediately above the SATA ports there is a CLR_CMOS jumper cap which can also be used to clear the CMOS memory via the more traditional way of shorting the pins. Two onboard digital debug LED's have been included to assist with troubleshooting boot issues.
 
Internal connectivity Internal connectivity continued
 
The Foxconn BlackOps motherboard has a dual-BIOS setup which is extremely handy for those times when things go horribly pear-shaped. The jumper pins next to the BIOS chips allow you to switch between a corrupted BIOS and over to the remaining working one.
 
Moving further upward we can see the four DIMM slots. The Foxconn BlackOps is able to accommodate up to 8GB's of memory in both single- and dual-channel configurations. It's important to point out here that the DIMM's locking mechanism can't be fully opened when there is a graphics card present in the top PCI-E x16 slot. While it isn't a major flaw, if you're prone to swapping out gear frequently it may become an annoyance.  Immediately to the right of the memory DIMM's is an IDE, Floppy and ATX Power connector. These are nicely situated to the leading edge of the motherboard to prevent fouling of any cables.
 
Foxconn BlackOps dual BIOS DIMMs, EATX connector etc
 
Heading across the top of the motherboard to the CPU socket, we can see what can only be described as the cleanest socket area that I have ever seen. It is exceptionally spaceous and uncluttered. There's more than enough room in here to accommodate the largest of CPU coolers, waterblocks/DICE slug/evap head. I tested the socket area with the largest CPU cooler at my disposal - the Scythe Orochi, and there were no clearance issues to highlight other than the 4-in-1 cooler's height reduces the orientation possibilities of the cooler.
 
The Foxconn BlackOps uses an 8 phase PWM which promises robust power delivery. It will be interesting to see how the 8 phase PWM compares to the ASUS Rampage Extreme's 16-phase PWM when it comes to testing time. Not surprisingly, the BlackOps utilises a Volterra 1115MF PWM controller and accompanying Volterra MOSFETS in an 8-phase delivery configuration to supply processor power. DFI also use Volterra MOSFETS, but the ones used here are almost double the size of the ones we are used to seeing on DFI's boards, and are no doubt a lot more expensive. In order to get the most out of the Volterra MOSFETS they need to be adequately cooled to cope with the voltage that this board promises. The PWM cooler to the left hand side of the CPU socket is a bolt-through affair with backplate, and should ensure that optimal contact and heat transfer occurs.
 
Heading back around to the rear of the motherboard, the Foxconn BlackOps I/O area has been issued with a total of six USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one IEEE 1394 and a legacy PS/2 keyboard and mouse port. The Foxconn BlackOps also provides an Optical S/PDIF Out and Coaxial S/PDIF Out connectors. Audio duties are handled courtesy of the Sonar Daughter-board which plugs into the HD Audio header to the left of the battery holder.
 
CPU socket area I/O panel
 
One of the biggest drawcards of the Foxconn BlackOps is the 4-in-1 cooler. The 4-in-1 cooler provides cooling to the X48 North Bridge in a way that can only be described as pure genious. I don't know why it hasn't been implemented before. The copper block that forms the base of the 4-in-1 cooler is something special to behold and looks like it was manufactured in god's own machine shop. The block can be used in a passive capacity, or you can whack on the included 40mm fan for an active cooling solution. Thought has even gone into the fan that Foxconn included; instead of an average whiny 40mm fan a 20mm thick one with sizeable blades has been used.
 
Should you prefer to water-cool your Northbridge as part of a water-cooling loop - no problem. Simply whack on the water-cooling top and your barb of choice (3/8' or 1/2') and away you go. For those who prefer even more extreme cooling measures, by simply screwing on an appropriately-sized rectangular pot, the North Bridge cooling solution is ready for dry ice.
 
 
So that concludes our trip around the Foxconn BlackOps layout. If you would be so kind as to return your tray to the upright position, and make sure that your onboard luggage is stowed securely under your seat; we will be making our landing in the BIOS on the next page...


FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 4
BIOS Options
 
The Foxconn BlackOps' Quantum BIOS is based on the Phoenix Award layout, and provides a plethora of tweaking options that will keep the hardcore bencher happy. On our trip through the Quantum BIOS today, I will be predominantly concentrating upon the important overclocking features, as there are many functions that can generally be left safely at defaults or are self-explanatory to those who benchmark. The BIOS version that will be used in today's review is G28 beta.
 
Foxconn BlackOps splash screen
 
The main BIOS page provides all the usual options of your typical BIOS, but it's the Quantum BIOS tab that we're most interested in. Hitting the Quantum BIOS tab takes us immediately into the overclocking options. Contained within are: the CPU features; memory timing configuration; voltage selection and Overclock Phase Select options.
 
Quantum BIOS main page Overclocking options
 
The Overclock Phase Select allows for the user to keep the motherboard default settings without overclocking, manually adjust overclocking settings, or utilise the 'Automatic' overclocking functions. Because we here at OC3D like to fiddle and tweak, we'll be using the manual overclocking settings.
 
Overclocking options CPU options
 
Entering into the CPU features screen, we can see the usual options that need to be disabled when overclocking, like C1 and EIST. However, the last two options - Core Multi-Processing and Cold Bug Boot Fix certainly warrant a mention. The Core Multi-Processing function allows the user to disable processor cores, which comes in handy when you're chasing a higher FSB  - particularly when benching with quad-cores.
 
It's widely known that X38/X48 based motherboards have issues when it comes to booting at temperatures below -50 degrees Celcius. As a result, Foxconn has implemented the Cold Bug Boot Fix which essentially shifts the PWM sensing of the processor max-min temperature threshold down to 50C, allowing the board to boot below -120C. But if you're thinking of enabling it without your processor being cooled to at least -50 Degrees Celcius - don't!
 
Memory timing configuration memory timing configuration config
DRAM ref voltage
 
The Memory Timing menu allows for your memory modules to be detected according to their SPD profiles, or you can take the manual route. We'll be taking that, thanks, although detection by SPD worked perfectly on our Kingston HyperX DDR3-1800 modules. The Quantum BIOS Memory Timing section has a couple of gems included to squeeze the maximum performance from your DDR3 modules.
 
The R2RD (Same), R2RD (Different), W2RD (Same), W2RD (Different) settings directly affect memory access latency and read bandwidth. And while the default settings are fine as they are, adjustment of these settings can lead to better FSB scaling.
 
The FSB Gain 1, 2, 3, 4 settings directly affect memory copy bandwidth and higher, more aggressive numbers in all scales generally means better performance.
 
CPU Voltage CPU vDroop compensation
Remainder of CPU voltage settings
 
Like the ASUS Rampage Extreme, the Foxconn BlackOps' Quantum BIOS also allows for vDroop compensation, and the feature is actioned by simply enabling the CPU vDroop compensation option. The voltage tweaking options are far too numerous to mention, but pretty much everything is able to be tweaked, probed and prodded. Those of you who are looking at the CPU voltage settings and saying "1.6V WTF!!!", please remember that the CPU voltage settings has a multiplier itself and can attain 2.4V.
 
The Foxconn BlackOps Quantum BIOS also features a neat PC Health Status page that allow you to set the shutdown temperature, and monitor/adjust fan settings.
 
CPU multiplier PC health status
 
I have taken the liberty of providing some of the more common voltage options and included their configurations below:
 
Voltage options 
 
Let's head over the page to see how we're going to test the Foxconn BlackOps motherboard


FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 5
Test Setup & Overclocking

To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration used in this review can be seen below:

Test setup
 
During the testing of the setup above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used before the benchmarking began, with a full defrag of the hard drive once all the drivers and software were installed, preventing any possible performance issues due to leftover drivers from the previous motherboard installations. For the 3DMark and gaming tests a single card configuration was used.

To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:

Synthetic CPU & Memory Subsystem
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c
• Lavalys Everest 4.0

File Compression & Encoding
• 7-Zip File Compression
• River Past ViMark

Disk I/O Performance
• HDTach 3.0.4.0
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c

3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• 3DMark 05
• 3DMark 06

3D Games
• Call of Duty 4
• Quake 4
• Unreal Tournament 3

Overclocking

With so many options available, moderate overclocks were easily gained through the AUTO options and Level up configurations. Better overclocks were accomplished tweaking the Vcore/NB/VTT voltages.

Highest overclock Highest FSB

You can see from the included CPU-Z screenshots (above) that the Foxconn BlackOps managed to extract a very reasonable overclock of 3.8GHz on my Q6600. This is made even more impressive by the fact that the Foxconn BlackOps managed to attain it with less voltage than required on the ASUS Rampage Extreme. The process of overclocking on the board was a pleasure too, with very little adjustments outside of the usual FSB, Vcore and Memory needing to be made. The BIOS also felt extremely mature and recovered extraordinarily well from failed overclock settings.

Dropping the multiplier to six, we set out to see how far we could push the FSB. I was expecting big things here from the Foxconn BlackOps, but it appears the motherboard doesn't like anything much over 450MHz on Quad-cores. This isn't too bad considering that most Quad's will top out around 470 - 500 FSB, and is no way a bad reflection on the motherboard - it's an overclocking beast. I did manage to get significantly better results from a dual-core.

During the benchmarking phase of the Foxconn BlackOps, our Q6600 'G0' stepping processor will be clocked to 3.6GHz to prevent any bottlenecking.

Let's head over the page to see how the Foxconn BlackOps performed in the benchmarks...


FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 6
SiSoftware image
 
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Everest logo
 
Everest is in many ways similar to Sisoft Sandra. Focusing mainly on software and hardware information reporting, Everest also comes with a benchmark utility suitable for testing the read, write and latency performance of the memory subsystem. Each of these benchmarks were performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average calculated from the remaining 3.
 
 
 
 
Result Observations
 
The Foxconn BlackOps, Rampage Extreme and Blitz Formula SE boards performed very closely to one another. However, in the memory testing there is now quite a difference. This is most likely down to the extra bandwidth that DDR3 provides over the DDR2 of the Blitz Formula.


FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 7
 
ViMark logo
 
ViMark is the latest addition to the OC3D motherboard testing process and a relatively new benchmarking application in general. Designed to take the inaccuracies and guesswork out of measuring the time taken to encode video files, ViMark produces easily comparable and consistent results for encoding raw video into Windows Media, Quicktime, AVI and Gif formats. As always, a total of 5 benchmark runs were performed with the highest and lowest scores removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 scores.
 

 

 

 
 
7-Zip logo
 
7-Zip is an open source Winzip-style file compression utility that has the ability to compress and decompress many file formats including its own .7z compression scheme. 7-Zip also comes complete with its own benchmarking utility for gauging the compression and decompression speed of the system that it is installed on.
 

 
 
Results Observations
 
Once again a fairly even range of results with the DDR3 based Foxconn BlackOps and Rampage Extreme showing an improvement over the DDR2 based Blitz Formula SE in 7-Zip compression and decompression benchmarks.


FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 8
HD TACH logo
 
HDTach is a free hard disk benchmarking program from SimpliSoftware. This benchmark is not only capable of producing results on hard disk access times but also CPU usage required during disk access. The "Long bench" was run a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being omitted and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.
 

 

 

 
 
SiSoftware logo
 
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.
 

 
 
 
Results Observations
 
Interestingly, both the Foxconn BlackOps and the Rampage Extreme perform slightly better than the Intel P35 Blitz Formula SE chipset, even though all boards make use of the ICH9R controller.


FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 9
Cinebench 10 logo
 
Cinebench 10 is a benchmarking tool based on the powerful 3D software Cinema 4D. The suite uses complex renders to guage the performance of the entire PC system in both single-core and multi-core modes. Testing was performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being omitted and an average created from the remaining 3 results.
 

 

 
 
3DMARK05 3DMARK06
 
3DMark is a popular synthetic gaming benchmark used by many gamers and overclockers to gauge the performance of their PC's. All 3DMark runs were performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.
 

 
 
Results Observations
 
The extra bandwidth of DDR3 memory used on both the Foxconn BlackOps and Rampage Extreme doesn't seem to carry much weight when it comes to Cinebench and 3DMark, with many of the results only being slightly better than the DDR2 based Blitz Formula SE. Interestingly, the only real major difference appears to be during the OpenGL test


FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 10
Call of Duty 4 logo
 
Call of Duty 4 is quite possibly the 'must have' online multiplayer FPS of 2007/8. This is the fourth incarnation of Infinity Wards best-selling series and is set to become a stalwart of the FPS genre. The training sequence was run 5 times with the fps being recorded via Fraps and the average fps then deduced.
 
 
Quake 4 logo
 
Quake 4 is a game built on the Doom 3 engine. Benchmarking was performed using Quake4Bench and a custom timedemo recording along with 0xAA, 0xAF settings at a resolution of 1024x768. The benchmark was set to run a total of 5 times, with Quake4Bench automatically calculating an average result at the end of the run.
 
 
Unreal Tournament 3 logo
 
Unreal Tournament 3 is the highly anticipated game from Epic Games and Midway. The game uses the latest Unreal engine, which combines fast gameplay along with high quality textures and lighting effects. All benchmarks were performed using UTbench with a fly-by of the DM-BioHazard map. As usual, all benchmarks were performed 5 times, with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining three.
 
 
Results Observations
 
The Foxconn BlackOps doesn't show the ASUS Rampage Extreme or Blitz Formula SE a clear set of heels in the gaming performance testing either. Although it does perform near identically in each benchmark, the difference between the three boards is negligible.


FOXCONN BlackOps X48 Motherboard Page: 11
Conclusion Foxconn BlackOps
 
So how well did the X48 based Foxconn BlackOps perform in today's review?

In this day and age, the motherboard market is a cut throat affair, and there is a need for products to really stand out from the competition. To be the same in this industry is to be non-existant. With the X48 chipset now an established performer in the market, and the very recent release of the P45 based motherboards showing some very impressive overclocks, it does beg to question as to what motherboard should you opt for. You could even throw the impending arrival of X58 and Nehalem just around the corner into the mix. Obviously, the choice is ultimately yours and at the end of the day I guess the final verdict will be based upon the hole in your wallet and overall performance.
 
The Foxconn BlackOps is an amazing piece of motherboard engineering, and while it may not  be as 'aesthetically pleasing' to the eye as some other manufacturers' motherboards out there, it's a proven performer. Foxconn has formed a close partnership with the enthusiast community, and this relationship has allowed the inclusion of features into the BlackOps that may have otherwise been overlooked. And these inclusions haven't been added as a last thought, but tastefully integrated into the development process of the motherboard. It's nice to see a manufacturer giving a 'sense of ownership' to enthusiasts and taking the time to provide a product with features that we want to see, not what they think we want to see.
 
The Foxconn BlackOps is known to be a powerful overclocking motherboard, while maintaining incredible stability throughout the whole process. The sheer amount of tweaking options in the BIOS, and the inclusion of reliable and functional voltage options which can only be termed as 'insane', make this the motherboard of choice for the bencher or serious overclocking enthusiast. It also warrants a mention here that the Foxconn BlackOps recovers from a bad overclock like no other motherboard that I have ever used before. Instead of farting around before finally deciding that your last overclock was a bit keen, it simply reboots itself and allows you back into the BIOS to make the necessary adjustments. It should always be this simple.
 
Pricing for the Foxconn BlackOps is certainly at the high end of town, coming in at £255.01 inc vat from YoYoTech. Our Australian readers can pick up the Foxconn BlackOps motherboard from Altech Computers for AUS$685.00 inc. GST. But before blatantly refusing to pay that much money for the Foxconn BlackOps, you need to look at what you're getting for that outlay of cash. A proven pedigree for overclocking; an insanely featured motherboard with useable features including a NB cooling solution that caters for the extreme, and a membership to the Foxconn community is what you are spending your hard earned cash on. It's a winner!
 
The Good
+ Quality
+ Proven overclocker
+ 4-in-1 NB cooling solution
+ Bundle
 
The Mediocre
* Can be fickle with RAM, although the latest BIOS revision has improved compatibility
 
The Bad
- Price
 
Best in class award OC3D Innovation award
 
Overclock3D would like to thank Altech Computers and Foxconn for making this review possible.
 
Discuss this review in our forum