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Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H P965 Express Core 2 Duo Motherboard Review

Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H P965 Express Core 2 Duo Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H is one of least expensive P965 Express motherboards out there. Onboard goodies include a PCI Express x1-based Gigabit network card and an Intel Azalia High Definition 7.1 channel audio codec.
 84% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Foxconn Oct 03 2006   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H

FoxONE and External SATA

Foxconn's 'Fox One' chip controls the fan speed and noise output of the P9657AA-8KS2H system, with an eye towards reducing noise as much as possible. The catch is that SmartFan mode must first be enabled in the BIOS.

Focus on the Fox One Chipset

To turn SmartFan on press the Del key at system POST and go to the PC Health Status section in the P9657AA-8KS2H's BIOS. There you will find the SmartFan options. All you need to do is make sure it is set to 'PWM mode'. If that is the case, SmartFan will automatically adjust the heatsink fan speed according to the temperature values you set. All stock Intel LGA775 heatsinks uses a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) powered fan, but many after market heatsinks may not.

You can differentiate a PWM fan from the standard variety by the 4-pin fan power cable. Standard 12V DC computer fans will use either 2-pin or 3-pin fan power cables. The 3-pin connector is by far the most common as the third pin acts as an RPM sensor. The 4-pin PWM motherboard CPU fan header is backwards compatible with the 3-pin fan variety, but the extra controls PWM fans bring to the table are specific to that class of fan.

External eSATA Device Support

eSATAII (aka external Serial ATA) support is easily the most exciting feature to pop on motherboards recently. When it comes to external mass storage, bandwidth has always been an issue. While USB 2.0 (480 Mbps) and IEEE 1394a/b (400/800 Mbps) offer better alternatives than past connections like Serial and Parallel ports, they are slow compared to dedicated hard drive channels.

With the emergence of Serial ATA, external storage took a huge step forward. Serial ATA is an affordable solution that offers speeds at well past USB or IEEE 1394 levels. Serial ATA generation I has up to 1.5Gbps worth of bandwidth and Serial ATA generation II doubles that bandwidth to 3Gbps. Serial ATA makes even IEEE 1394b's 800Mbps bandwidth look paltry by comparison.

Foxconn has opted to place an external SATA (eSATA) port on the rear I/O of the P9657AA-8KS2H motherboard.

This connection uses a slightly modified cable, which is better suited to external connection. Standard internal Serial ATA cables are sufficient for internal connections, but SATA-IO governing body decided a while back that the external version should be somewhat different, thus creating the eSATA standard. The bracket that accompanies the Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H motherboard supports a eSATA I ('eye' not 'one') connectors, there are also eSATA L connectors so we'd advise you to double check what kind of jack is use on any device before you shop around for cables.

eSATA enclosures for hard drives are widely available, and the great thing is that hard drives connected over this standard are just as fast as internal devices. The connectors are hot swappable, so it makes adding and removing an external hard drive about as complex as clipping in a USB memory key.

The feature list of the P965 Express chipset and its ICH8 southbridge is almost as broad, and that discussion is up next.

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Contents of Article: Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H
 Pg 1.  Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H P965 Express Core 2 Duo Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — FoxONE and External SATA
 Pg 3.  Intel P965 Express and ICH8 chipsets
 Pg 4.  The Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H Motherboard Highlights
 Pg 5.  P965 Express and Core 2 Duo Overclocking
 Pg 6.  Test System Specs / Sysmark 2004
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: Sandra 2005, Super Pi
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: PCMark05
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: 3DMark06, FarCry
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: Doom 3, Quake 4
 Pg 13.  Conclusions: Intel Core 2 Value all the way?

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