6. Final words
The Foxconn Z68A-S is an affordable motherboard for the LGA 1155 socket processors, designed to offer all these new features of the Intel Z68 chipset. Packed with a Sandy Bridge processor such as the Intel i5-2500K, it potentially offers a great platform for overclocking, performance through Intel's SSD caching features as well as smart graphics switching between the built-in processor HD graphics and an installed discrete graphics through the Lucid Virtu GPU Virtualization technology. However, all these are only part of the theory, as Foxconn's motherboard needs further optimization in order to attract overclockers and hardware enthusiasts.
The motherboard's performance was adequate in PCMark 7, CineBench R11.5 and the Sandra Memory benchmarks. In order to get your memory run at 2133MHz you'll have to manually make some adjustments, but nothing you won't be able to handle. No worries here, as the motherboard will operate with stability and may be a little bit faster than other Z68 solution such as the Gigabyte Z68X-UD3P-B3 we recently reviewed.
On the other hand, the motherboard could not operate in a stable manner under overclocking. The BIOS refused to apply any settings we manually tried to apply and it kept returning to stock speeds. This strange behavior could be attributed to either our CPU/memory or to a poor BIOS optimization by Foxconn's engineers. The latter seems to be closer to the truth as we have been using these same components with many other motherboards with great results.
Another issue we encountered was when we tried to use the Intel Smart Response technology. Once we installed the latest stable Intel RST Storage driver, our system's main HDD (WD 5001ALLS 7200 Black Scorpio Edition) just disappeared, indicating either a motherboard or a HDD incompatibility. Hopefully, we finally managed to run some system benchmarks and the Intel Smart Response technology proved to offer the expected boost to our system's performance.
The Foxconn Z68A-S motherboard is offering video outputs, allowing us to take advantage of the Intel HD 3000 graphics core of our Intel i5-2500K processor. Our benchmarks showed that the Intel HD 3000 is offering casual mainstream gaming capabilities at performance levels of an entry-level discrete graphics card. This means that you'll be probably able to play your favorite game as long as you keep the quality settings and the resolution low. In addition, you'll be able to playback your favorite MKV video files.
Speaking of graphics, we could not install the Lucid Virtu graphics driver to the Foxconn system in order to make some tests. Although all the Nvidia 2xxx, 4xxx, 5xxx and ATI 4xxx, 5xxx and 6xxx series should be supported, we had problems using the feature with our Nvidia GT 430 and GTX 560Ti graphics cards.
The Foxconn Z68A-S is an affordable, entry-level motherboard aimed mostly for users seeking for a stable operation and good performance levels but only at default speeds. For sure, Foxconn could make this motherboard much more competitive and attractive to experienced users by making BIOS optimizations.
- Very good build quality & clean layout
- Stable operation and good performance under default speeds
- Supports up to 2133MHz DDR3 memory
- SATA2 & SATA3 ports
- Graphics outputs (for CPU graphics)
- Intel Smart Response adds additional performance boost
- Affordably priced
- BIOS seems kind of messy
- Foxconn One software doesn't fully support this motherboard
- Vcore adjustments could not be applied
- Motherboard doesn't support X.M.P. memory profiles.