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Monday, December 18, 2006
Foxconn Q9657MC Motherboard

2. The Package

There's nothing particularly flashy about Foxconn's retail package and is available at the retail price of €115, making it an affordable solution for all levels of users:

Below is a list of what's included in the retail package

  • A printed manual
  • A CD with drivers
  • 2x UltraDMA IDE cables
  • 1x FDD cable
  • 1x I/O shield
  • 2x SATA cable
  • 2x SATA power cable

It's rather funny that Foxconn has bulked IDE and Floppy cables since the motherboard doesn't support either of those ports. The board itself is densely packed with components but all parts can be easily identified.

Located mid right on the motherboard, we find the CPU socket. At the center, under the passive heatsink lies the 965Express chipset, while at bottom left, under a smaller passive heatsink is Intel's X3000 embedded chipset.

The CPU region is not as densely populated, so it should fit some of the larger third party CPU coolers:

Intel's X3000 chipset promises superb performance, compared with the previous G9xx generations. We will find out if this promise is kept, later on in our review:

The board has the ability to take a PCI-E graphics card, that automatically disables the integrated VGA card, for faster and better graphics capabilities. 2x PCI are still offered and the SATAII connectors can accommodate up to six storage devices (either HDD or optical drives). There are several extra connection on the motherboard for USB2.0, Front Panel Audio, COM2 and Firewire. However, Foxconn has not included cables for those in the retail package, to keep the retail price down. The back I/O panel has the usual connections, 7.1 channel Audio jack (6 jacks), PS/2 keyboard and mouse, 1 x parallel, 4 x USB 2.0, 1 x 100 LAN and lastly 1 x D-Sub15 VGA port. The bulked disc includes all drivers to get everything going:

After having used the board for a while, we found that because of the close proximity, if you plan to use the onboard VGA adapter and any bulky USB devices such as memory sticks, you will run into problems. As our photo below shows, there is a small gap from the VGA connector with just a standard USB cable plugged in:

Everything works ok in this case...

However, with something larger such as this USB stick, is a no-go situation.

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