2. The Package
5. Everest Ultimate Edition 2006
6. PCMARK - 3DMARK
7. Science Mark - PovRay - Nero Digital
8. CINEBENCH -SuperPI
9. F.E.A.R - Prey
10. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory - Half Life
12. Intel GMA3000 chipset information
13. Intel GMA3000 chipset Tests
Foxconn, released the Q9657MC-8KS2H, a motherboard based on Intel's vPro platform. Using Intel's Q965Express chipset, we expected to see very good performance, paired with an Intel Core2Duo processor.
First of all, this motherboard supports all currently sold Intel processors for the 775 socket - Intel® Core™ 2 Duo/ Intel® Pentium® D/Intel® Pentium® 4/ Intel® Celeron® D processor. Another special feature is the integrated graphics processor, again from Intel, the GMA3000 series.
Throughout all our tests, the Q9657MC-8KS2H was in most cases slower than the Asus P5B Deluxe, although in some tests, we saw the Q9657MC-8KS2H outperforming both the Intel DX975XBX2 and Asus P5B Deluxe. It depends on each benchmark and memory configuration. All three motherboards have a totally different "audience" and retail price :-)
We were very curious to see how Intel's GMA3000 IGP would perform. Intel currently ships two series, the G965 and Q965 chipsets with different features and performance. After having tested the Q965 chipset, we can say it's an improvement over the previous GMA950 series. In 3D games, you can have acceptable performance, even with the very popular 3D person shooters (like F.E.A.R and NFS Carbon), depending of course the resolution and visual improvements. Some games refused to work, due to the lack of SM2.0/3.0 (software emulation only). We imagine that G965 that supports SM3.0/HDR effects in hardware would be the ideal solution for corporate users who want, once in a while, to test their skills with 3D Games.
On the other hand, Video playback performance was very good, with very low CPU % usage. Even with WMV 720p files, CPU Usage never passed 20%. You can also install a PCI-E card and get even better performance.
Passing to the board itself, the overall design is good. There is no IDE channel, nor floppy drive support! Curiously, Foxconn bulks IDE and Floppy cables with the retail package. Of course, that is what Intel "demands", in order to be vPro platform compliant. There are 6x SATAII connections available for HDD and optical storage devices. Extra connections are also available, but the required cables are not included in the retail package, so you'll need to buy them if want to use them. Something to be aware of is the lack of any overclocking/tuning options in the BIOS. There are no voltage/D-RAM configuration tabs, and CPU-Z couldn't recognize the exact memory timings of our test PC!
Ending our presentation, we can say that for a retail price of US$115, we were satisfied with this motherboard. The performance was good, even compared with the very popular Asus P5B Deluxe. The built-in VGA card (GMA3000), seems to work quite well and we didn't face any major problems.
If you are looking for a low cost motherboard supporting Core2Duo with 965Express chipset, this is definitely a product you should take a look at.