Board & Features Overview

Foxconn Blood Rage X58
Market Segment High End-Gaming & Benchmarking
CPU Interface Socket LGA 1366
CPU Support LGA1366-based Intel i7 Nehalem Support
Chipset Intel X58
BCLK Ref Clock Range CPU Default or Manual 66-500MHz in 1MHz increments
DDR3 Memory Speed Auto, 6X-16X Multipliers Available. Upto 2133MHz Support
Uncore Multiplier Selection Auto, 12X-24X Multipliers Available
QPI Multiplier Selection Auto, 18X-24X Multipliers Available
CPU Core Voltage Auto Default - +1260MV (1.26V Over Stock) in 10mv Increments
CPU Clock Multiplier 12X-31X Multipliers Available (Dependant On Processor)
DRAM Voltage DDR3 Auto, 1.50V ~ 2.86V in 0.01V increments, 1.50V standard
DRAM Timing Control tCL, tRCD, tRP, tRAS, tRFC, tWR, tWTR, tRRD, tRTP + XMP Support IMC Channel/Interleaving Settings Available
DRAM Command Rate Auto, 1T, 2T, 3T
X58 (IOH) Voltage 1.10V-2.36V in 0.02V increments
SB Voltage 1.40V ~ 1.80V in ~ 0.02V increments (1.506V Default)
CPU VTT Voltage Default - +1260mv in 20mv increments
1.8V PLL Voltage Default, 1.60V ~ 2.405V in 0.0.4V increments (1.80V Default)
CPU Vdroop Compensation Enabled, Disabled
DIMM Slot 1-3 Vref Address and Data Ref Voltage Adjustment for each slot 0.50X (Default) 0.496X - 0.674X Multipliers Available in 62 Steps
Memory Slots Three 240-pin DDR3 DIMM Slots
Triple Channel
Regular Unbuffered DDR3 Memory to 6GB Total
Expansion Slots 4 - PCIe 2.0 x16 Mechanical
(Supports up to NVIDIA 3-way SLI Technology; 2 Slots support full 16X Bandwidth. 3-Way SLI support in 8X speed, 4 Slot Operation at 8X Speed.)
1 - PCIe (1.x) x1
1 - PCI Slot 2.2
Onboard SATA/RAID 6x SATA 3.0Gbps Ports - Intel ICH10R
Hot Plug and NCQ Support, RAID 0, 1, 5 RAID 0+1 Support & Intel Matrix Technology Support
Additional SATA & IDE Marvell 88SE6320 SAS/Sata (2 Ports) 3.0Gbps, Hot Plug and NCQ Support, Raid 0, 1.Onboard Jmicron JMB363 IDE Connector. Floppy Drive Connector
Onboard Connectors 12 USB 2.0 Ports - (8) I/O Panel, (4) via headers
2x 1394a Ports - (1) I/O Panel, (1) via header
Onboard LAN with Teaming 2X Realtek 8111C Gigabit LAN with Teaming Support
Onboard Audio Sonar X-Fi Xtreme Soundcard - 7.1 Channel HD Audio with EAX 4.0 & CMSS 3D Support
Power Connectors ATX 24-pin, 8-pin ATX 12V
I/O Panel 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
2 x eSATA (Jmicron JMB363)
1 x SPDIF - Coaxial Out
1 x IEEE 1394
2 x RJ45
8 x USB 2.0/1.1
Fan Headers 4 - 1X CPU, 3XSystem/Chassis
Fan Control Full Fan Control For All Fan Headers in BIOS
BIOS Revisions Used G13 Retail Shipping BIOS


There's no shortage of options on the Blood Rage, although the slot configuration may be viewed as a curious one for some users. Foxconn decided to opt for a layout favoring dual SLI/CrossFire rather than giving preference to clearing enough PCIe slots for triple SLI/CrossFire goodness. Water-cooling maybe an option to get around slot spacing if using three graphics cards, but we're not sure if such a narrow profile waterblock is available, you've only got ~2cm of space between adjacent PCIe slots to play with. For benchmarking, you'll probably have to resort to using a PCIe flexi-riser, although GPU overclocks can be limited somewhat by the added trace lengths these introduce. That is assuming of course that you can find or have a suitable 3 way SLI connector for the cards. The current retail box includes a 2 way PCB SLI bridge only.

LGA 775 mounting holes are also present around the CPU socket, a nice option, but bear in mind that Nehalem's socket specification already includes a backing plate of it's own which is pre-attached to all boards. If your socket 775 cooler is not of the push-pin variety, you may find the standard backplate provided with your cooler does not sit well over the Nehalem one. We'll be checking out a few of our LGA 775 air-coolers in time for the full review.

Power regulation is where things get really serious on this board. The 12-phase power for the CPU uses the International Rectifier IR3502A controller. This is a true 12-phase solution without any of the associated marketing bunk that seems so prevalent in this section of the industry. VTT/Uncore is a required 2-phase implementation , while memory gets a 3-phase setup. Both memory and VTT power are supplied by using the IR FETs with an Intersil controller. Solid polymer capacitors are used throughout for power supply decoupling, with liberal use of MLCC capacitors to augment high frequency decoupling where the Polymer caps roll-off. There's no doubt this power supply design will have the extreme crowd licking their lips.

On the subject of 'extreme' use, the dual BIOS chip configuration that we first saw on the Black Ops is still intact on the Blood Rage. This allows 2 seperate BIOS files to be stored on the board or two similar ones - in case the first fails. Just move the jumper over to the second chip and voila, it could not get any easier. 

You'll also notice that there are only three memory slots. This'll allow you to run up to 12GB using 4GB DIMMs, which is more than enough for your high-end enthusiast PC, unless you happen to need more memory for large file or virtualization purposes. Finding 4GB DDR3 DIMMs on the other hand could prove to be problematic (and expensive), making 6GB (3x2GB) the most likely configuration. Foxconn's reasoning behind this move is to improve overclocking by reducing trace length to vital signaling and power lines. A centralized PWM circuit allows utilizing the low impedance output of the IR FETs without resorting to large amounts of capacitance for compensation.

We support this kind of design decision on a dedicated high-end overclocking board. There's no point in going to the lengths of employing superior circuits if the implementation is shoddy. We've also noticed that some of the six memory slot boards from ASUS are too wide to be used in some of the smaller gaming cases as they leave scant if any room between drives bays and the SATA ports. The Blood Rage's conventional width means it should have no problem fitting in such PC cases. However, the maximum memory limitation means this board is not as attractive to those looking for an all-around workhorse.

The bundled accessory range is impressive, containing four different cooling options (passive, air (fan), water, and a pot for LN2/DI) for the uni-connected heatsink. For the gamers out there, the bundled Sonar soundcard employs a Creative X-Fi chipset with EAX 4.0 capabilities via software, a welcome move compared to the standard Realtek offerings. A standard slew of IDE/SATA/SAS cables are all on tap, together with USB and 1394 I/O modules. The AEGIS panel software and a collection of motherboard related tools are also included in the package.

The $300 price tag was a bit of a surprise move from our perspective -- we were expecting a bundle like this to come in toward the $375-$400 mark. $300 and up is a lot of money for a motherboard, but is actually competitive (go on shoot us for saying that!) within this target segment. We've been keeping a close eye on Newegg over the past few days and have noticed that the boards are selling out as soon as they arrive, although we did manage to grab one.

Our testing was all performed on the G13 shipping BIOS -- the same BIOS you'll be firing your board up on if you buy one right now. For once, we're in the lucky position of having no fewer than three of these motherboards in our test labs. Two full-retail package boards were sent to us by Foxconn and we went on to buy a third one to confirm our results against our sample retail boards. It'll please you to know all three boards exhibit the same traits when used with the exact same components. What is not pleasing is the current state of the shipping BIOS that we will discuss shortly.

Foxconn Blood Rage
Overclocking / Benchmark Testbed
Processor Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz CPU, 20X Default Multiplier 4.8GT/s QuickPath
Cache: 256 KB L2/core and 8 MB shared L3
CPU Voltage Various
Cooling Dtek Fuzion CPU cooler, 2 x PA120.2 Radiators, 3X Noctua NF-P12 120MM fans, DDC Ultra with Petra top. Cascade cooling 2x1.5HP rotary compressors
Power Supply PCP1200W
Memory Kingston Hyper X KHX16000D3K3/3GX 3X1GB Kit
Memory Settings Various
Video Cards EVGA GTX 280
Video Drivers 180.48 WHQL
Hard Drive Western Digital 7200RPM 250GB SATA 3/Gbps 16MB Buffer
Optical Drives Plextor PX-B900A, Toshiba SD-H802A
Case Open Test Bed - Dimastech Benching Station, Lian-Li V2110
BIOS G13 Retail
Operating System Vista 64-bit, XP 32-bit
.

All testing was performed under the Vista 64-bit OS with SP1 utilizing a fresh install. Windows XP Professional 32-bit SP3 was thrown into the mix just to confirm the working/non-working state of the bundled AEGIS panel motherboard software utility. Foxconn has revamped the AEGIS panel GUI for the Blood Rage. Use of this software has been hit and miss for us. Although it installs fine on Vista and XP, we found that the overclocking utility does not work correctly for making changes, resulting in an information only application at this point. Any changes to voltages, bus speeds, or even pressing the apply button without making a change results in an operating system freeze.

We also attempted bus speed changes with SetFSB using the correct PLL part entry. Again, regardless of a change or non-change setting, pressing the apply button results in an OS hang-up. We've reported this back to Foxconn and await confirmation that they can re-create this problem and perhaps instigate a speedy fix. Onwards to initial results….

Index It's All About Brawn... Well, Maybe
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  • JarredWalton - Friday, January 02, 2009 - link

    Well, 12GB would require 4GB DIMMs, which I don't think are in supply at all right now (if they even exist). I can find 4GB DDR2 DIMMs, but not DDR3. Reply
  • gemsurf - Friday, January 02, 2009 - link

    It seems a waste of time to bother with motherboard articles on this site anymore. None of them are of a "finished" product and all have "nothing fatally wrong that can't be fixed with some bios updates" and "were hopefull fixes will be forthcoming"

    I thought you guys actually were starting to get it! All those incredible components and specs mean nothing if it doesn't produce a workable product in the end! So that promise of turning over a new leaf at Anands is still awaiting a "bios update" too?

    It is way past time to call them what they are people! Crappy products not ready for release so don't buy them until they are!
    We are you're constiuents, and we are the reason you can sell the ads here on Anands. We are who you need to "tell it like it is" to!

    Many of us, like myself have been coming here since the geocities days because we have had great respect and trust in your efforts and opinions. That seems to have changed. If you want to be a beta test lab, then please change the business model and site name so we know what to expect.
    Reply
  • jackylman - Friday, January 02, 2009 - link

    They ARE telling it "like it is". This board, like several others, has great potential, but some quirks need to be worked out in the BIOS. This is an accurate reflection of the product that a consumer can buy today.

    One of the reasons I stopped coming to this site was because it had the tendency to use special versions of a product or BIOS that the consumer was never able to actually obtain, but reviewing an actual retail board remedies this.

    If you're looking for a motherboard that has a perfect BIOS from day one of availability and never has any updates sans maybe some new CPU ID's, GOOD LUCK (and let me know when you find this magical mobo). The sad fact is that mobo manufacturers force consumers to do the beta testing, especially with new tech like the X58 chipset. IMHO, you can't rightfully blame anandtech.com for this.


    Reply
  • gemsurf - Friday, January 02, 2009 - link

    I understand what you are saying, but these boards seem to have more serious issues that do affect the everyday performance. I appreciate that there are always issues with boards and bios updates are a neccasary part of it.

    All I expect once again is for them to say "no, its not ready for prime time, or yes, it is ready for prime time!" Thats all!
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, January 04, 2009 - link

    Guys, the whole point of article such as this is so *you* know what to expect from it. If you want a rock solid motherboard for a rock solid system THAT IS YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY.

    Read the reviews, and not just from this website, then go read the user reviews on newegg( and I do not care if you plan on buying from newegg or not ). Someone with half a brain should be able to figure out on their own what will work for them, or not. Do not expect someone else to do your homework for you.

    Besides all this, I do not know what you all are getting so wound up about; this is after all a foxconn board, not exactly known for their reliability. If you want reliability, go with Gigabyte, MSI, whatever ( depending on the board/feature set ) and make sure to research your hardware . . .
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Friday, January 02, 2009 - link

    This board has been on my test bench for three days. In that time I've done my level best to look at as many aspects of the board as I think the target audience will but it for on a whim. The fact that we are the only site highlighting the current BIOS inadequacies says something in itself. There was no way we could post a complete review without a partial look in the time at hand.

    The BIOS this board was tested with is current and what you'll get - we've highlighted the flaws we've found in those 3 days of testing. It takes copious hours to compile the 'little' data you see here. In that time we tested all the peripherals a basic system can provide - with the others to be covered over the three week period. What would you rather have? A full review in 2 weeks time - with a newer BIOS on the shelf or an honest look at what's here right now, albeit with limited testing?



    Reply
  • DaveLessnau - Friday, January 02, 2009 - link

    The thing is, it doesn't MATTER how pretty the board is or how kewl its specs are if the darn thing will not "cold or stop-cycle-boot without pressing the "Force Reset" button." As soon as you found this, you should have just stopped the review process and written it up with the headline: "Unable to review since it won't boot-- DO NOT BUY." And that's it. Instead, you don't even mention it until the 3rd page of the review (after fawning over the board for the first two pages). I'm sorry that you wasted "3 days of testing." But, that's your problem. You shouldn't foist it off onto your audience as some way to recover sunk costs. The board fails. Period. Anything else is moot. Do yourself and your audience a favor and just say that. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Saturday, January 03, 2009 - link

    Agreed. Gross faults like not being able to boot without pushing the forced reset button (my computer like many people's is under my desk in an enclosed space; I would laugh at anyone that asked me to crawl under there, open the case, and push a button routinely until they can get a bios fix), ports/features that don't work, and other major issues are not going to help the consumer and ultimately not help the manufacturers.

    Unfortunately we don't have the voice to tell these manufacturers to get their acts together. We come off simply as anti-fanboys, or anecdotal evidence at best. You and this site have the ability to directly affect sales and quality. This article should have been 1 page. Put the picture of the board with the name, and an X through it. Mention it has critical faults that are currently not fixed in the RETAIL available board selling for >$300 USD, and post it up on the main page.

    And do it for the next one, and the next one, until the companies get the idea that we are not beta testers. Can you imagine if the hardware industry becomes the game industry?
    Reply
  • bob4432 - Saturday, January 03, 2009 - link

    this b.s. is why i will never buy the newest gen chip/chipset/m/b/anything - i can not be a beta tester. i have serious back issues - both neuromuscular and structural - i build my machines, get them stable and they sit next to my desk for ~6mos at which time i blow them out w/ compressed air. even if i wanted to subject myself to constant frustration and the pain i would experience for crawling next to my machine and hitting a little button all the time, i wouldn't do it because i spent ~$300 on a m/b. for that kind of $$$ it should work out of the box the way the box says it will.

    i would much rather have a mature p35/p45 m/b for $80-$100 and have it be ultra stable and get 90%+ of the performance of this board and save the frustration for you guys.

    why don't you guys put up a pass/fail on the first page? don't ooh and ahhh over it because it may look cool to you but run like sh!t - i am not a all show no go kind of person, in fact the opposite. i don't get wet from some black and red anodized/painted/dyed heatsinks/slots and board colors....
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Saturday, January 03, 2009 - link

    Fact is there are users without any problems, go check the Foxconn Support forums or ask their staff. Making a blanket statement like that would require the board to be bad in all situations - when it is clearly not. I'm not going to do that unless I know for sure, so what you'll get from me is a maybe. In the end I had to leave it as a possible and made the notification which it's clear you all understand. Initial reaction from users and support at Foxconn is that they're looking at the PSU's we used but cannot recreate it.

    Reply

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