Foxconn is not motherboard manufacturer whose name many readers will
be familiar with in North America, but there is a high possibility that you have used its products already if you have ever owned a Dell, HP or IBM brandname desktop PC. For the majority of its life, Foxconn has been involved in OEM computer peripheral manufacturing - making
everything from motherboards for
Dell PCs, to the slots, sockets, ports, brackets and
jacks which dot all manner of computer electronics.
Based on its experience producing mainboards for
other companies, Foxconn has within the last year and half been selling
motherboards under its own brandname - Foxconn
Winfast. Looking at
Foxconn's product line and prices, it seems as though the company is targeting
the entry level market. This makes sense since the company has a large
manufacturing capacity and the vast majority of consumer sales are in this
sector. The question we'll try to answer is whether or not Foxconn can build not only a
well performing board, but whether it also knows how to deliver a product
with all the features consumers actually want.
Today, PCStats will be
checking out the econo line Foxconn WinFast NF4K8AC-8EKRS socket 939
Athlon64 motherboard. This motherboard is based on the vanilla nForce4 chipset and it seems
like the only difference between this and the Ultra version is
Serial ATA II (this version supports standard SATA). Other onboard features include a PCI Express
x16 and two PCI Express x1 slots, an integrated 7.1 channel audio
codec, Gigabit LAN and IEEE 1394a firewire.
WinFast NF4K8AC-8EKRS (that's a mouthful!) PCB is a bland shade of tan brown, but that shouldn't be a big deal as
long as it does indeed perform well... As you can see, the NF4K8AC-8EKRS is full ATX size (24.5 x 30 cm), and
attaches to the motherboard tray via ten mounting screws.
of the NF4K8AC-8EKRS is decent and there is plenty of space around the nForce4 chipset should
you want to replace the heatsink with something else.
The mounting holes line up with
earlier generation chipsets, so there is already quite a selection of after market coolers on the
market. If you do go ahead, just make sure the cooler is not too tall otherwise
it might interfere with the PCI Express x16 videocard.
Despite being an entry level motherboard, we're happy to see that Foxconn WinFast included a full
version of Norton Internet Security in with the NF4K8AC-8EKRS. It will no doubt keep
users safe from viruses/hackers, now if Foxconn WinFast could only increase the
subscription period to a full year...
The quick install guide that comes with the NF4K8AC-8EKRS
motherboard is very detailed and easy to use. It almost makes up for the
motherboard not being labelled all that well. Still I would have liked
to see a full fledged (printed) users manual included with the NF4K8AC-8EKRS instead of just
the poster-sized quick start guide and digital manual on the CD.
The Foxconn WinFast NF4K8AC-8EKRS comes with a flurry of integrated peripherals - a better solution in our books than
a pile of PCI brackets and headers.
By that I mean, there is a IEEE 1394a Firewire as well
as a coaxial SPDIF output on the rear I/O. Of course I would have liked to see a
few more USB ports, four seems like too little.