Small Form Factor PCs
are great, but until recently the SFF options for enthusiasts have been limited.
Sure you could buy an off the shelf SFF PC kit, but that's
like asking an enthusiast to buy a Dell or HP to use as their main
box. Enthusiasts want custom machines, with features they can customize.
With the release of
the nVIDIA's GeForce 6100-series chipsets, enthusiasts now have a high powered integrated
option that does not well... suck.
Current chipsets featuring integrated video are
loaded with features but lack performance especially when it comes to 3D games.
On the flip side, consumers looking to build a budget workstation machine can
save a bit of money with a good integrated video motherboard, which precludes the need
to buy a standalone videocard right off the bat.
Integrated video; it's an area where AMD has not had a presence since the dawn of
the Athlon 64 processor, and unfortunately it is also one of the largest
The new nVIDIA GeForce 6100 and 6150-series 'C51' chipsets will give AMD
and its supporters an excellent entry into this budget realm.
Foxconn is one of the first manufacturers to release an GeForce
6100-series motherboard, and the 6150K8MA-8EKRS specifically uses the best of
class nVidia GeForce 6150 iteration and nVidia nForce 430 Southbridge.
The Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRS mini-ATX motherboard which supports all
Socket 939 AMD Athlon64 X2/FX processors on the market, as well as up to 4GB of
PC3200 DDR RAM. In terms of goodies, the motherboard incorporates onboard analog
video, a 7.1-channel Azalia audio codec, a single Gigabit LAN port and IEEE
The nVidia GeForce 6150 chipset integrates in a Geforce 6 series-class
videocard which shares up to 128MB of system memory, and offers DirectX 9 Shader
Model 3.0 support. A standalone graphics card can also be installed in the
single PCI Express x16 slot if desired. There are three 32 bit PCI slots
for other expansion peripherals, such as a wireless network card or TV
The Foxconn WinFast 6150K8MA-8EKRS motherboard has its IDE/floppy and main
ATX power connectors in the most ideal location to the right of the DIMM slots.
All the bracket headers are at the bottom of the motherboard, which helps keep
things tidy. Foxconn include a decent software bundle here; with a full copy of
Norton Internet Security 2005 among the titles.
Both the nVidia GeForce 6150 chipset and nForce 430
Southbridge are cooled with (silent) passive aluminum heatsinks. The particular
board we tested did not come with a user's manual, which is a bit surprising,
however there is one included on the driver CD.
There has been a lot of focus on motherboard capacitors in the last
year, so we make a point of listing the brands used on the boards we test. The
electrolytic capacitors on the Foxconn WinFast 6150K8MA-8EKRS are the
brands 'KZG,' 'OST' and 'Leloa.'
If we could suggest one change for this board, it would simply be
to colour coordinate the front panel I/O and USB headers. Other
manufacturers are already doing this, and it really does same DIY'ers time and
The nVidia GeForce 6150
chipset supports High Definition (16:9) playback thanks to PureVideo, but the Foxconn WinFast 6150K8MA-8EKRS motherboard only sports a S-Video output. It makes the Foxconn WinFast 6150K8MA-8EKRS
slightly less attractive for use as a HTPC motherboard, which would
seem to be the ideal application for a Geforce 6150-based miniATX motherboard. If you watch movies
mainly on your monitor, you can still enjoy the benefits of
the GeForce 6150's HD accelerator there.