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Digital-Daily : Motherboard Reviews : abit_foxconn_770

Foxconn A78AX-S and abit AX78 - value motherboards on the AMD 770 chipset

Foxconn A78AX-S and abit AX78 - value motherboards on the AMD 770 chipset
Author: Aleksandr Mitrofanov
Date: 30.06.2008

abit AX78
Foxconn A78AX-S
Chipset AMD 770 AMD 770
CPU Socket AM2+ HTT 200 MHz Socket AM2+ HTT 200 MHz
Memory DDR2 400/533/667/800/1066 DDR2 400/533/667/800/1066
HDD 1x UltraDMA/133
4x SerialATA(RAID)
1x UltraDMA/133
6x SerialATA(RAID)
Extras Audio HDA
10 USB 2.0
Gigabit Ethernet
Audio HDA
10 USB 2.0
Gigabit Ethernet
Price: ~75$ (Price.ru) n/a

Together with the top-end 790FX chipset, AMD has released two more versions, somehow cut-down: 790X and 770. Since they are built on the same architecture, it makes sense recalling the major traits of this series. Above all, the chipsets offer support for the HyperTransport v3.0 bus with the frequency 2600 MHz (the maximum bandwidth equals 20.8 GB/s). Today's Phenom processors use the HT frequency with the bus bandwidth being 16 GB/s, so the chipsets still have some "margin". In other words, motherboards based on the 7th series of AMD chipsets are compatible with future AMD Socket AM2+ processors, and their life span is long enough.

Secondly, the listed chipsets offer support for the PCI Express v2.0 bus whose bandwidth is two times as much than that of PCI-E v1.0. That means the performance of two video cards in the Crossfire in the 8+8 configuration is on par with the 16+16 configuration on the previous generation of AMD chipsets. Therefore, unless a joint operation of three or four video cards is planned, the 790X chipset is a perfect match for the Crossfire mode.

We now move on to the AMD 770 chipset. Basically, its architecture meets the top-end chipsets 790FX and 790X, except one point - one PCI Express bus controller is disabled (quite possibly, on the software level). So this chipset supports only one graphic port of PCI Express v2.0 to which 16 bus lanes are allocated. This product is aimed at value discrete systems (i.e., cheap computers without integrated graphics).

We have got two motherboards built on this chipset: Foxconn A78AX-S, and abit AX78 which make quite a big difference from one another. Even the south bridge is different in these motherboards!

By the way, originally chipsets of the 7th series were equipped with the south bridge SB600 which turned outdated still a year ago. Therefore, with the advent of modern SB700, all the manufacturers de-factor switched to using it. It is even used in value motherboards based on AMD 780G which offer a really wide functionality and high performance in 3D applications.

Specifications

Foxconn A78AX-S

abit AX78

Foxconn A78AX-S abit AX78
CPU - AMD Phenom X4/Athlon 64/Sempron with the bus speeds 200 MHz
- Socket AM2
Chipset - North bridge AMD 770
- South bridge SB700
- Interbridge communications: A-Link II
- North bridge AMD 770
- South bridge SB600
- Interbridge communications: A-Link II
System memory - Two 240-pin slots for DDR2 SDRAM DIMM
- Maximum memory capacity 4 GB
- Supported memory DDR2 400/533/667/800/1066
- Dual-channel memory access
- Four 240-pin slots for DDR2 SDRAM DIMM
- Maximum memory capacity 8GB
- Supported memory DDR2 400/533/667/800/1066
- Dual-channel memory access
- Power indicator
Graphics - One PCI Express x16 v2.0 slot - Two PCI Express x16 v2.0 slots
Expansion options - Three 32-bit PCI Bus Master slots
- Two PCI Express x1 slots
- Ten USB 2.0 ports (4 integrated + 6 additional)
- Integrated High Definition Audio 7.1
- Gigabit Ethernet LAN controller
- Three 32-bit PCI Bus Master slots
- One PCI Express x1 slot
- Ten USB 2.0 ports (4 integrated + 6 additional)
- Integrated High Definition Audio 7.1
- Gigabit Ethernet LAN controller
Overclocking options - HTT adjustable within 190 to 400 MHz in 1 MHz increments; multiplier adjustable (CPU, HT);
- Adjustable voltages on the CPU, memory, chipset (nb + sb), and HT.
- HTT adjustable within 180 to 400 MHz in 1 MHz increments; multiplier adjustable (CPU, HT);
- Adjustable voltages on the CPU, memory, chipset (nb + sb), and HT
Disk subsystem - One UltraDMA133/100/66/33 Bus Master IDE link (SB700; with support for up to two ATAPI devices)
- Support for SerialATA II (6 links - SB700, with support for RAID 0,1, 0+1)
- Support for LS-120 / ZIP / ATAPI CD-ROM
- One UltraDMA133/100/66/33 Bus Master IDE link (SB600; with support for up to two ATAPI devices)
- Support for SerialATA II (4 links - SB600, with support for RAID 0,1, 0+1)
- Support for LS-120 / ZIP / ATAPI CD-ROM
BIOS - 8 Mbit Flash ROM
- AMI BIOS with support for Enhanced ACPI, DMI, Green, PnP Features
- 4 Mbit Flash ROM
- Award BIOS Phoenix with support for Enhanced ACPI, DMI, Green, PnP Features and Trend Chip Away Virus
Misc - One port for FDD, two serial and one parallel ports, ports for PS/2 mouse and keyboard
- STR (Suspend to RAM)
- SPDIF Out
- One port for FDD, ports for PS/2 mouse and keyboard
- STR (Suspend to RAM)
- SPDIF Out
- 7-stage POST indicators
Power management - Wake-up on modem, mouse, keyboard, LAN, timer, and USB
- Main 24-pin ATX power connector
- Additional 4-pin power connector
- Wake-up on modem, mouse, keyboard, LAN, timer, and USB
- Main 24-pin ATX power connector
- Additional 8-pin power connector
Monitoring - Monitoring the temperature of the CPU, system, voltage levels, rotational speeds of the two fans
- Smart Fan
- Monitoring the temperature of the CPU, system, PWM, voltage levels, rotational speeds of the four fans
- FanEQ
Dimensions - ATX form-factor, 245mm x 200mm (9.63" x 8.2") - ATX form factor, 244 mm x 305 mm (9.63" x 12")

Retail boxes

We received the Foxconn board for tests in a ready package and with a full package bundle. As regards the abit product, we received only the motherboard. However, proceeding from our experience, we can infer that the package bundle of the boards will be scarce. However, we should keep it in mind that both the motherboards relate to the value sector, and their package bundle fully meets the retail price.

Foxconn A78AX-S

Package bundle

  • motherboard;
  • User's Manual in English + brief usage guide;
  • Software & drivers CD;
  • one ATA-133 cable, one FDD cable;
  • 1x SerialATA cable + a power supply adapter (1 connector);
  • a cap for the rear panel of the housing.

In practice, it turned out the way we expected: the package bundle of the Foxconn board contains only the most required items. These are the user's manual (+ a brief guide on system assembly), a CD with drivers and software,

Foxconn A78AX-S

ParallelATA and FDD cables, one SerialATA cable with a matching power supply adapter, as well as a cap to the rear panel of the housing.

Foxconn A78AX-S

Content:

  • Page 1 - Specifications, package bundle
  • Page 2 - Layout and Features; Expansion options
  • Page 3 - BIOS, monitoring, overclocking tools
  • Стр.2 - Page 4 - Performance and conclusions




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