Foxconn aren't one of those manufacturers that the average user will immediately think of when naming companies that produce motherboards.
However, everyone who owns a motherboard is likely to own a bit of Foxconn, as they are one of the handful of companies that produce all the parts that other 'boards are made of. If you've ever wondered why things like RAM slots and PCI-e slots look the same, that's why. It's almost a guarantee that you've either got a Lotes CPU Socket or, yes indeed, a Foxconn one.
So it's only natural that they'd take what they do best and instead of supplying another company, they build their own. Most of these Foxconn boards fly under the radar, but there is definitely a cult following. Mention the X48 BlackOps in the right company and you'll soon be left in no doubt about some peoples feelings.
Of course it hasn't all been sweetness and light, with the X58 Bloodrage and X58 Flaming Blade being solid but unspectacular offerings. So how has the move to LGA1155 and the P67 chipset gone? We will soon find out as today we look at the P67A Rattler.
A quick trip across to Foxconn's website and we see that the Rattler covers everything you'd expect to see, with a standard layout of two PCI-e slots for graphics, some SATA3 and USB 3.0 ports and the like.
|Processor:||Intel® Sandybridge processors|
|Chipset:||Intel® P67 Chipset|
|Memory:||Dual channel DDR3 2133(oc)/1866(oc)/1600(oc)/1333/1066 x 4 DIMMs, Max.32GB|
|Expansion Slots:||• 2 * PCIe2.0 x 16 (Slot 1&2 share 16X) |
• 3 * PCIe2.0 x 1 slots
• 1 * PCI bus slot
|Serial ATA(SATA)/RAID:||4* SATA II ; 2* SATAIII;RAID 0, 1, 5+10|
|Audio:||7.1 channel HDA|
|IEEE1394:||VIA VT6308S 1394 Chip supports up to 2 x 1394a ports - Transfer rate is up to 400Mbps|
|Back Panel I/O Ports:||1 x PS/2 keyboard port |
1 x S/PDIF out Optical port
1 x S/PDIF out Coaxial port
2 x USB 3.0 ports
1 x 1394 port
1 x Audio jack supports 6 jacks
2 x RJ45 LAN ports
2 x eSATA ports
6 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x CCMOS Button
|Internal I/O Connectors:||1x ATX 24-Pin power connector. |
1x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector.
1x 4-pin CPU Fan connector
3x 3-pin System Fan connectors .
2x 3-pin System FAN(no FAN control)
1x Front pannel header
1x Front Audio header
2 x Onboard Debug LED ports
3 x USB 2.0 connectors support additional 6 ports
3 x New LED Button for Quick Power/ Reset/ CCMOS
4 x SATAII connectors
2 x SATAIII connectors
1x IEEE1394a header
1x SPDIF OUT
1 x IDE connector
1x Speaker header
|BIOS Features:||Double 32Mb flash + 4M flashEEPROM w/ LAN boot PnP, ACPI, WfM, DMI 2.0|
|Support CD:||Drivers, Adobe Reader, SuperUtilities, Norton Internet Security|
|Standards/Manageability:||USB3.0, DMI 2.0|
|Form Factor:||ATX form factor 12.0 inch x 9.6 inch|
The packaging for the Rattler is exceptionally sturdy. It's great to see a change from some fantasy figure on the box too. Whilst I'm sure it's entirely unintentional, those of an older generation will remember the insanely famous dragsters Mongoose and Snake, so the use of Rattler for a Mustang makes perfect sense to me, and maybe anyone else who had a Hot Wheels collection.
The accessories come in an equally sturdy box with a big Foxconn logo emblazoned upon it. It contains everything you'd expect to find from Molex to SATA power adaptors, the IO Shield, manuals etc.
Here is the board in all its glory. Yes another red and black affair but thankfully devoid of any jarring white connectors. Even the fan headers are black. As you'd expect from a company that produces all these parts, no compromise has been made in keeping the colour theme across the entire board.
The muscle car motif is adhered to in the heatsink design too. The power-phase cooling doing its best V8 impression.
Up Close cont..
Starting at the DIMM end of the Rattler we have two fan headers alongside a diagnostic 7 segment display. There is also the OC button and an up and down arrow for adjusting the BCLK. Below that are the voltage measuring points.
PCI-e ports consist of two PCI-e x16 for graphics cards, three PCI-e x1 and one legacy PCI port for your older devices.
Below those we have the standard USB and audio headers, along with a clear CMOS jumper in one of the least user-friendly places we've seen.
On-board power and reset switches are nestled in the bottom right hand corner and are always a boon.
With the Rattler being a B3 revision there are no qualms about the six SATA ports, four SATA II and two SATA 3. It's quite a surprise to see an IDE socket alongside the SATA. By now it's a bit of a relic of a bygone age.
Round the back we have everything we'd expect, with optical out, twin LAN, USB and Firewire ports aplenty.
Our test setup today is our standard P67 rig we're sure you're all used to by now.
Foxconn P67A Rattler
Intel Core i5-2500K
4GB Kingston Genesis DDR3 2133MHz
Be Quiet Dark Power Pro
Windows 7 64-Bit
The Rattler proved to be an eager overclocker, easily taking our Core i5-2500K past a fairly standard 4.6 GHz. It quickly ran out of puff as the clock speeds increased though and in the end although we managed to boot at 4.9 GHz it quickly locked up. Backing things off slightly and with a vCore of 1.46v it was rock solid at a good 4.8 GHz. Not the highest we've seen but not inconsiderable either.
Time to get testing.
At stock the Rattler does well, being around the same results as similar scores we've seen. With our overclock in place it's a little bit of a mixed bag ,being very good but just shy of the very best we've tested.
There certainly is nothing lacking it the ability of the Rattler to get the most out of our Kingston Genesis kit at either stock or overclocked settings.
Similar to the results we saw in AIDA64, the Rattler performs very well in both scenarios, but hasn't quite got the grunt to really match the cream of the P67 crop.
The Multimedia benchmark in Sandra gives us our first pause for thought as, when compared to the previous benchmarks, the Rattler is left a little bit behind both in stock and overclocked trim. It's by no means a hideous result, just not quite pushing the very best as close as it had before.
CineBench from Maxon seems to echo the Sandra Multimedia results as the Rattler is just a hair off of where we'd expect it to be given our experience with this processor at these kind of speeds. Both overclock and stock are, whilst not terrible, disappointing.
PC Mark Vantage
In Vantage we have a very different set of results. At Stock the Rattler is lagging a bit behind, and yet when overclocked it's right up there with the best. The Productivity and Gaming suite is a little shy of the class leading Sabertooth, but the Memories and PC Mark test itself it actually heads the lot.
3D Mark 11
Such is the GPU limitation in the 3D Mark suite that it's more a test for an aberration in GPU bandwidth than likely to produce an earth-shattering result anywhere, and so it proves with the GTX570 in the Rattler giving us results as near as makes no difference to the rest of the motherboards.
3D Mark Vantage
Once again, business as normal.
The Foxconn Rattler is, to paraphrase the famous quote, a bit like a box of chocolates. For every strawberry cream or caramel cup there is a ginger or the kind of toffee that will leave you chewing for a fortnight and in the end you're left feeling full, but wondering why you didn't just buy a bar of Galaxy instead and avoid the less enjoyable ones. A tortured metaphor, but one that is apt for the Rattler because it isn't quite as good as it should be.
Packing is excellent. One of the sturdiest boxes we can recall handling ensures that even the most ham-fisted of delivery drivers wont damage it. The accessories, whilst covering all the bases, are slightly disappointing. So much effort has gone in to making everything on the Rattler black and red, even the fan headers, that to have yellow SATA cables when black ones aren't exactly hard to come by, is a tiny bit of a let down. It's a small thing, but the devil is in the details.
Equally the board is paved with good intentions, but slightly lacking in execution. We have a CMOS clear jumper, but it's not in the easiest place to get at, and if you've got a bottom mounted PSU it's downright fiddly. You could ignore it and remove the battery, but that's placed right under where the the GPU will sit.
Oddest of all have to be the overclocking buttons. Now we love the ability to overclock from outside the BIOS, but these curiously adjust the BCLK which, as we all know by now, isn't really adjustable on the P67 chipset as the overclocking is all done by adjusting the CPU multiplier. You might be able to squeeze a couple of MHz out of this, but the BCLK really should be locked at 100 MHz and so we're not sure why Foxconn have gone in this direction with the on-board overclocking.
Speaking of the BIOS, it's easy to navigate and everything is where you'd expect. But contrary to almost all of the latest boards it's still running a standard affair, rather than the infinitely easier to use/more aesthetically pleasing EFI BIOS. It, like the IDE socket, just leaves you with the impression that Foxconn have been left behind in what is expected from a modern motherboard.
Performance is good though. At stock it's around the same results as other stock boards we've tested. Generally scoring lower but not deal-breakingly so. Overclocking is easy and whilst we couldn't quite get the heights out of our chip as we have on some others, the Rattler did take full advantage of the performance available to it.
Pricing is good at a mere £150, so it's right in the heart of the 'good value for money' end of the market. Normally this would mean we could look past some of the more curious elements as we're not paying top money. However it's the same price as the EFI-equipped, 5GHz, all bells-and-whistles ASUS Sabertooth, which really is so good and so cheap that if you're in the market for a P67 motherboard it should be your only choice.
However if you're looking for something a little different and understand that moving away from the norm entails compromises, then the Foxconn Rattler is by no means a bad board. It's only a few tweaks away from being right up there, but right now it just feels a bit too last-gen for us to wholeheartedly recommend and so we award it the OC3D Bronze Award.
Thanks to Foxconn for supplying the Rattler for review. Discuss in our forums.