Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 Motherboard Page: 1
Introduction Foxconn DigitaLife logo
 
Very recently we had the opportunity to review the Foxconn A79A-S DigitaLife AM2 motherboard based upon the 790FX + SB750 chipset. While the motherboard pulled out a few surprises, more notably, its overclocking prowess and very good motherboard layout, there were a few things that we didn't like about it. A garish colour scheme; clunky BIOS layout; poor bundle and an over-the-top asking price all managed to make it a mediocre option for your dollar.
 
This time around, we are taking a look at the Intel P45-based Foxconn ELA DigitaLife motherboard, and we have high hopes of it redeeming Foxconn's reputation. I'm not sure what the ELA acronym stands for, but I figure we can have a guess  - Everyone Loves Arithmatic...Electrical Loads Analysis...Eel Lovers Anonymous...Enterprise Licensing Agreement??? Anyone who tells me the right answer wins a cookie.
 
It's hard not to make a comparison between the 'what could have been' Foxconn A79A-S, especially when we've been spoilt by the sheer awesomeness that is the Foxconn BlackOps. Here's what Foxconn have to say about their Foxconn ELA motherboard:
 
Part of the Digital Life series of motherboards, the ELA offers enhanced connectivity and entertainment capability, backed-up by high-performance features and components. Based on the Intel® P45 chipset and supporting processors up to 1600MHz FSB (via overclocking). 3* PCIe Gen2.0 x16 slots are provided, enabling support for ATI CrossFireX™ technology, which harnesses the power of up to 3 ATI graphics cards. The ELA is designed for high-performance systems and supports Dual DDR2 1066MHz memory for better overall system performance. The onboard 95dB SNR audio includes both DTS CONNECT™ and Dolby Digital Live™ certifications, and can split 2 different sound sources from your PC thanks to Dual Digital Audio technology, which also provides more audio output options - via analogue or 2 digital audio S/PDIF outputs.
 
Anyway, there's no point in crying over spilled milk, so without further-ado let's begin the review by taking a look at the Foxconn ELA's specifications.
 
 
Specifications
 
Processor: Intel® Core™2 Quad, Core™2 Extreme, Core™2 Duo, Pentium® Dual-Core, Pentium® Dual-Core processors, Socket T (LGA775)
Chipset:
Intel® P45 + ICH10R
Front Side Bus: 1600(oc**)1333/1066/800 MHz (FSB)
Memory: Dual channel DDR2 1066(oc**)/800/667 x 4 DIMMs, Max. 8GB
VGA on Die: Discreted
Expansion Slots: 3* PCIe2.0 x16, 2* PCIe2.0 x1, 2* PCI
IDE: 1* ATA133
Serial ATA(SATA)/RAID: 6* SATAII + 2* eSATA w / RAID 0, 1, 10, 5
Audio: 7.1 channel HDA by Realtek® ALC888SDD, with DTS CONNECT™ and Dolby Digital Live™ certifications
LAN: Gigabit LAN by Realtek® RTL8111C
IEEE1394: 3* 1394a connectors (rear panel x2, pin header x1)

Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 mouse port
1 x S/PDIF Coaxial Out port
1 x S/PDIF Fiber Out port
2 x IEEE1394a ports (with 1* mini IEEE1394a)
1 x Audio jack supports 6 jacks
2 x eSATA ports
6 x USB 2.0 ports
1 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 ATX 12V power connector
2 x 4-pin CPU / System fan connectors
3 x 3-pin fan power connectors
3 x Onboard On/Off/CMOS Reset buttons
1 x Front Panel connector
1 x Floppy connector
1 x CD-in connector
1 x IrDA header
3 x USB 2.0 connectors support additional 6 ports
3 x SATAII connectors
1 x on-board power_LED
1 x IEEE1394a header
1 x Intrusion Alarm haeder
1 x S/PDIF Out header
1 x IDE connector
1 x Front Audio header
1 x Buzzer

BIOS Features: 8Mb flash EEPROM w/ LAN boot PnP, ACPI, WfM, DMI
Support CD: Drivers, Adobe Reader, SuperUtilities, Norton Internet Security
Standards/Manageability: PCI 2.3, USB2.0, DMI 2.5

Special Features:
** Achieved by overclocking
* 3* PCIe2.0 x16 with integrated IDT PCIe switch provides ATI CrossFireX™ support with 3 slots x8 bandwidth
* 8 phase Digital PWM provides more robust power delivery
* DTS CONNECT™ and Dolby Digital Live™ certified audio
* Dual Digital Audio function enables separation of 2 different sound sources from your PC, and also provides 2 digital audio outputs via S/PDIF Coaxial and Fiber
* 100% SOLID Capacitor design and Ferrite Choke power delivery ensure a stable basis for overclocking and increased reliability

Form Factor: ATX (12" x 9.6")
 
Since the release of the Intel P45 chipset we have seen an impressive array of motherboards from other manufacturers', let's hope the Foxconn ELA continues the trend. Let's head over the page to see how the motherboard should arrive on your doorstep...


Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 Motherboard Page: 2
Packaging and Contents
 
The Foxconn ELA packaging features an orange and black themed box (orange on the front and rear, and black on the sides), that features an image of a cartoonish-like character sticking out of a monitor with speakers behind him. It's an interesting interpretation of multimedia, but hey, who am I to argue when it comes to art. The front cover also features logo's illustrating that this is in fact an Intel based motherboard that supports Core 2 and the latest 45nm processors; ATI's CrossfireX, and is Windows Vista certified.
 
On the rear of the box, Foxconn highlights some of the features of the Foxconn ELA and they are: 8-phase Digital PWM; CrossFireX support; Dual Digitasl Audio, DTS CONNECT and Dolby Digital Live. Around the sides of the motherboard are copies of the main one on the front of the box, as well as the motherboard's specifications.
 
Foxconn ELA packaging _front Foxconn ELA packaging_rear
 
Like ASUS' Republic Of Gamers (ROG) motherboard packaging, Foxconn has a similar style of packaging that includes a secondary lid that provides additional information on the product. On the bottom Foxconn has included an image of the Foxconn ELA again highlighting additional features of the motherboard, and on the top flap there is further details on the prominent technology contained within the board.
 
One thing that I found particularly interesting about the DigitLife packaging is that it is a completely different theme for the Foxconn A79A-S and the Foxconn ELA. I would have thought that the logo's and the name on the front of the box would be enough to differentiate between the two platforms.
 
Foxconn ELA insert lid_1 Foxconn ELA insert lid_2
 
Opening up the lid of the main box, there is a secondary double-walled cardboard box contained within. Inside the secondary box are two further boxes - one containing the Foxconn ELA motherboard in anti-static packaging, and the other holds the accessories. This multi-layered packaging should be more than enough to thwart dodgey couriers, and should keep everything in perfect condition during shipping.
 
Foxconn ELA insert boxes
 
Contained within the accessories box are the following:
 
* Quick Install guide
* Support CD
* User Manual
* 4x SATA cables with straight plugs
* 4x 4-pin molex to SATA power cables
* 1x IDE ribbon cable
* 1x Floppy drive ribbon cable
* 1x OEM I/O plate
* 1x 2-port USB 2.0/1394 extension cable
* Intel RAID driver floppy disk.
 
 
Foxconn ELA quick install guide_support CD and manual Foxconn ELA cables_I/O plate and RAID setup disk
 
Once again, I'm feeling disappointed by the bundle - it is an OEM offering and nothing more. Even the additional software on the support CD isn't anything really to rave about...Norton Internet Security FTL!
 
Let's head over the page to see the Foxconn ELA motherboard itself in a lot more detail...


Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 Motherboard Page: 3
Board Layout
 
First impressions are usually lasting ones, and again it seems that the Foxconn ELA has received the same mismatched colour scheme that the A79A-S had. If you managed to read the Foxconn A79A-S review, you'd know that the colours did nothing for me then, and they still do nothing for me now.
 
To Foxconn's credit, they've managed to keep all of the available connectivity options of the motherboard within the ATX format. However, there are some caveats that come along for a ride when trying to cram so much motherboard onto such a limited space. Over the next few paragraphs I'll attempt to highlight all of these to you as best I can. Turning to the rear of the motherboard I would like to direct your attention to the heatsink fastening systems that are present. You will notice that there is only one metal backplate for attaching the North Bridge heatsink to the motherboard and this uses spring-loaded screws which provide a better mount and surface contact for the chipset. All the other heatsinks are attached by the usual spring-load nylon pins.
 
Foxconn ELA motherboard_1 Foxconn ELA_2
Foxconn ELA rear of motherboard
 
Beginning our tour around the motherboard at the expansion card slots, we can see that Foxconn has included three PCIe x16; two PCI, and two PCIe x 1 slots. The Foxconn ELA supports CrossFireX with each PCIe x16 slot providing 8x bandwidth, should you be using just two cards then the red and topmost blue slot will provide 16x bandwidth. CrossFireX support is made available due to an integrated IDT PCIe switch which can be found under the small copper coloured heatsink. If running a CrossFireX setup then you can expect to lose pretty much every expansion slot other than the second PCI x1 slot. Such is the scrifice required for running a multi-GPU setup. To the left of the expansion slots is a RealTek ALC888SDD, which provides both DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live and drives the 6 audio jacks and the optical/coaxial audio connectors.
 
Continuing on along the bottom edge of the motherboard we have the front audio; CD_In; SPDIF Out; 1x IEEE 1394; 3x front USB; IrDA; front panel and FDD connector. Personally I'm not a huge fan of the FDD plug being anywhere other than the leading edge of the motherboard, but considering that it's a seldom used connector these days, it becomes less of an issue. IEEE 1394 support is provided by a VIA VT6306 chip which is visible to the left of the middle PCIe x16 expansion slot. 
 
PCIe, PCI slots and IDT PCIe switch SB, USB and PWR,RESET buttons
SATA and IDE ports
 
In the bottom right hand corner of the motherboard we have the PWR/Reset/CLR_CMOS buttons; digital de-bug LED's; 6x right angled SATA ports and the IDE port. The SATA ports are controlled via the ICH10 chipset and a JMicron JMB363 Host Controller which can be seen above the South Bridge. Also present here are an onboard speaker; AMIBIOS flash ROM; Fox One chip (monitors critical motherboard components) and CLR_CMOS jumpers. The South Bridge bears the DigitaLife logo and is passively cooled by a low profile copper heatsink.
 
Moving up the right hand side of the motherboard we have the 24-pin ATX Power connector and four DDR2 DIMM slots. The DIMM slots are powered by a single-phase analog PWM circuit which is more than sufficient for DDR2 and are able to accommodate 8GB of DDR2 memory. Due to the slightly cramped conditions on board, when installing a full length graphics card in the top PCIe x16 expansion slot it means that the RAM retention clips foul on the graphics card PCB. It's not a major issue, but if you swap out RAM frequently it may become one. Immediately to the top left of the memory DIMM's we have the system battery compartment and the ATX 12V power connector.
 
Foxconn ELA NB and memory DIMMS
 
Moving around to the CPU socket area we can see the new position for the P45 North Bridge chipset and passive heatsink. Due to the inclusion of 8 phase Digital PWM it means that the CPU socket remains relatively clean, however the North Bridge heatsink may become an issue with aftermarket CPU cooling solutions. A copper heatpipe connects both the North Bridge heatsink and PWM heatsinks in an effort to maximise cooling efficiency. The Foxconn ELA uses FP4-200 0.200UH 30A Ferrite chokes which can be seen in front of the large rectangular heatsink which cools the Digital PWM's.
 
Foxconn ELA CPU socket area Foxconn ELA Digital PWM
 
The rear I/O panel features a plethora of connectivity options. A legacy PS/2 mouse port is there along with six USB 2.0 ports. The two eSATA ports and the FireWire port provide plenty of high-speed access while the coaxial, optical and 6 audio jacks enable many different audio outputs. The somewhat surprising single gigabit Ethernet port is powered by a RealTek RTL8111C controller.
 
Foxconn ELA rear I/O
 
Well that concludes our trip around the Foxconn ELA, and I must confess that although the layout is somewhat 'different' to what we're used to, it makes use of the limited space available quite well. Let's head over the page to check out the Foxconn ELA's BIOS.




Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 Motherboard Page: 4
BIOS
 
Foxconn ELA splash sc reen oxconn ELA AMI BIOS
 
The Foxconn DigitaLife ELA uses a modified American Megatrends BIOS. Most of these screens will look very familiar, only the Gladiator BIOS in the top right hand corner of the options screen is new compared to the hundreds of other boards that use this BIOS. During our trip around the Foxconn ELA BIOS today, I will be concentrating purely on the tweaking/tuning/overclocking settings in order to save time as I'm sure many of you are already familiar with the other pages.

Interestingly, Foxconn has decided to include two areas where you are able to adjust memory timings - in the Gladiator BIOS and under the North Bridge Configuration settings. I'm not really sure why, but I'll take an educated guess that the Gladiator BIOS is tacked onto the existing AMI BIOS, and the result is an overlap of the two. The timings are also setup in a non-standard layout with the primary timings scattered amongst the secondary timings which ultimately makes it even harder to tune this board using decent memory.
 
Foxconn ELA Advanced chipset Foxconn Advanced chipset_2
 
Upon entering the Gladiator BIOS section we are greeted with CPU Configuration, Voltage Options, FSB, memory divider, and PCIe/PCI clock dividers. Also of interest is the fact that when you set the motherboard to 'Optimized Defaults' it keeps the Spread Spectrum;Auto Select PCI Clock; C1E and EIST Function to enabled - neither of which are of which are particularly helpful when trying to push the motherboard to the limit.
 
 Gladiator BIOS screen Gladiator BIOS_2
Gladiator BIOS dividers Gladiator BIOS CPU options
 
There are a plethora of divider options available in the CPU Clock vs Memory Speed configuration and this is identical to that found in the Foxconn BlackOps motherboard that we reviewed earlier. This combined with the memory voltage multiplier and the ability to shut down CPU cores for benching (Core Multi-Processing) is unfortunately where the similarities end between the Foxconn ELA and the BlackOps.

Under the CPU Configurations tab we can see the obligatory C1E Function; Hardware Prefetcher; Adjacent Cache Line Prefetch; PECI and EIST Function. Hang on a minute, are we missing something here? Where the hell do we adjust the CPU multiplier? Leaving out this critical function on a P45-based motherboard is akin to having a one legged man in an arse kicking competition. The motherboard is effectively crippled!

Under the Voltage Options tab Foxconn has made some shall we say, interesting inclusions. In what can only be described as a crazy way of adjusting CPU voltage, you basically pick a number from zero (1.20V) through to sixty four (1.6V max) with a voltage stepping of 6.25mV. A simple drop down menu would have been a way easier way of adjusting CPU voltages Foxconn. Furthermore; if you factor into the equation the presence of the CPU voltage multiplier, the likelihood of a fried CPU becomes a very real possibility. Memory voltage sees a much more maligned 1.8V (default) through to 2.3V - of course if you use the memory voltage multiplier then remember to adjust accordingly.
 
 CPU voltage CPU voltage multiplier
DRAM voltage voltage control
MCH voltage FSB VTT voltage
 CPU PLL voltage
 
Below I have included a summary of some of the more common voltage options and included their configurations below:
 
Foxconn ELA major voltage configuration
 
PC Health status 
 
Under the PC Health Status tab we have a collection of monitored voltages. Disappointingly, more important voltages were omitted, and the mundane voltages included. If you were looking towards purchasing this motherboard for overclocking duties then you would want to be informed of more critical motherboard voltages like the North Bridge and perhaps memory.The Case Open Warning and Smart Fan configurations round off the PC Health Status tab.

In all honesty, the Foxconn ELA BIOS provides some nice features but at the same time blurs the lines between what this motherboard is, and what it can be. For a multimedia motherboard, the BIOS 'cuts the mustard' but for overclocking it unfortunately falls well short in my opinion.

Let's head over the page to see how we're going to test the Foxconn ELA...


Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 Motherboard Page: 5
Test Setup and 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

• Crysis
• Race Driver: GRID
• Unreal Tournament 3
 
 
Overclocking

Unfortunately, overclocking on the Foxconn ELA proved to be an exercise in self control and restraint. Pushing the Intel Q6600 processor any higher than 3.246GHz resulted in a subsequent BSOD or frequent lockups, and it required 1.5V Vcore to maintain ORTHOS stability at that clock speed. I even resorted to the included Fox One software in attempt to gain some additional performance from the motherboard, but unfortunately I experienced the same issues. No amount of tweaking or fiddling would allow me to push the processor harder and I had to admit defeat.
 
 Foxconn ELA @ 3.246GHz
 
 
Due to the lack of a CPU multiplier adjustment in the Foxconn ELA's BIOS, I was unable to drop the multiplier to see how far the front side bus could be pushed. As a result, I have the highest attainable overclock CPU-Z screenshot available only. I wanted to try a dual-core CPU to see if the performance was any better but unfortunately I ran out of time.

During the benchmarking phase of the Foxconn ELA motherboard, our Q6600 'G0' stepping processor will be clocked to 3.246GHz (highest attainable clock), where the comparison motherboards were overclocked to 3.6GHZ. Let's see how the Foxconn ELA performs against some of the 'bigger boys' out there, including the P35 ASUS Blitz Formula SE...




Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 Motherboard Page: 6
SiSoft Sandra 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.
 
 




 
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.
 
 


 
 
Results Observations
 
It's interesting to note that the Sisoft Sandra CPU Arithmatic benchmark doesn't appear to be dependant upon processor clock speed. With the Intel Q6600 running at 3.2GHZ on the Foxconn ELA, there is marginal difference between the results of the other three reference motherboards. However, the CPU Mulimedia (Integer and Floating Point) benchmark illustrates a different story, by showing the Foxconn ELA lagging considerably behind the two X48 and P35 motherboards.

DDR2 memory performance (Read, Write and Latency) was substantially better on the Foxconn ELA than the P35-based ASUS Blitz Formula SE. Unfortunately though, better performance was provided by the X48 motherboards with an increased CPU clock speed and DDR3 RAM.



Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 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
 
The ViMark benchmark shows a significant performance deficit between all three comparison motherboards over the Foxconn ELA, with the exception of AVI encoding where the difference is minimal. Surprisingly, the Foxconn ELA manages to pull ahead of the competion in the 7-Zip Compression benchmark, even with less clock speed than the other motherboards. However, once again we see the Foxconn ELA's performance fall away during the Decompression benchmark.


Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 Motherboard Page: 8
HDTach 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.
 
 
 
 
 
SiSoft Sandra 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
 
The Foxconn ELA managed to keep up with the reference motherboards during testing of its disk subsystem. The results were very close between all the motherboards, and the Foxconn ELA managed to provide the lowest Random Access speed. Unfortunately, HDTach illustrated an increased CPU usage on the Foxconn ELA of 2%, but this was an identical result for the ASUS Rampage Extreme.

Sisoft Sandra's HDD benchmark showed that the Foxconn ELA performed well during the Disk Read Index benchmark, where it managed to pull second place just behind the X48 ASUS Rampage Extreme. Again, Disk Read Access performance was identical to that of the Foxconn BlackOps and the ASUS Blitz Formula SE.


Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 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 logo 3DMark06 logo
 
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 Cinebench 10 Rendering and OpenGL benchmarks illustrated the difference between the motherboards and how much CPU clock speed makes a difference. The Foxconn ELA fell quite badly behind the pack here with a 400-odd point deficit between the leading Foxconn BlackOps during the 1x CPU test, and around 1700 points for all four cores. OpenGL performance also took a hit here with the Foxconn ELA coming in last by quite a margin against the three reference motherboards.

This trend continued further with the 3DMark05 and 3DMark06 synthetic tests. However, the deficit between all the motherboards is now significantly reduced. I can't help but feel that if the Foxconn ELA had been able to be overclocked to 3.6GHz like the reference motherboards, then the results would have been significantly more interesting.


Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 Motherboard Page: 10
Crysis 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.
 
 
Race Driver GRID
 
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 a run-through of the Shangri-La 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
 
Unfortunately, we again see the theme continued with the 3D gaming benchmarks where the Foxconn ELA comes in last place. Admittedly, the frame rates that the Foxconn ELA provided are more than acceptable for gaming, but we always thirst for additional performance when gaming.


Foxconn DigitaLife ELA P45 Motherboard Page: 11
Conclusion Foxconn ELA
 
So how well did the Foxconn ELA perform in today's review?

The Foxconn ELA is a well laid out motherboard with some excellent features. Foxconn should be commended for squeezing so much onto an ATX PCB. Admittedly, the colour scheme may not be to everyone's liking but you could probably deal with that if there weren't other issues that make purchasing this motherboard questionable.

As I mentioned during our trip around the BIOS, the way in which Vcore adjustments are made to the CPU is just crazy. A simple drop down menu would have been much easier and quicker. In addition to the CPU voltage options, the inability to adjust the CPU Multiplier defies logic. Admittedly, the motherboard is targeted towards the HTPC enthusiast, but decking the motherboard out with a P45 chipset and 'some' overclocking options is just a tease. I wanna clock the nuts off it for gods sake...not coddle it.

These issues highlighted above brings me to my third point, and that is the price. For £200.63 from Ebuyer, I just don't feel like I'm getting anywhere near value for money. Yeah sure the Foxconn ELA has the makings of a great HTPC motherboard, but I don't think the asking price is justified. Our Australian readers can get their hands on the Foxconn ELA from Altech Computers for AUS$489.00 inc. GST.

The Good
+ Excellent connectivity options
+ Quality build
+ Digital PWM FTW!
+ An excellent HTPC motherboard so long as you don't plan on overclocking it.
 
The Mediocre
* CPU voltage adjustment in the BIOS
* Lack of CPU Multiplier adjustment
* Colour scheme may not be to everyone's taste
* Lacking a substantial bundle for the money
 
The Bad
- Price
 
 

Overclock3D would like to thank Altech Computers for providing today's review sample
 
Discuss this review in our forum