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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  • Mr Roboto - Thursday, February 26, 2009 - link

    But, but, it looks so coooool. Who really cares how well it works. I just want to show it off to people. I'm sure I can think of an excuse why it's not working if they ask me to fire it up.

    Everyone will think I'm cool for owning a $300+ motherboard.
    Reply
  • kompulsive - Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - link

    Epic over hype fail. Reply
  • cactusdog - Friday, January 09, 2009 - link

    Thanks for highlighting the issues with the motherboard.

    An issue like this could be terrible for a consumer, especially if it is their main computer.

    Consumer buys board,consumer spends several hours/days trying to get board working right. Consumer cant fix it so he researches the net for an answer for another few hours/days. Consumer learns PSU is not compatible and starts RMA process. Consumer now has no computer while he waits weeks for a replacement. Consumer buys another board because he needs a working computer while he waits for RMA.

    2 months after original purchase the $300+ board is working. Board is now obsolete because there are newer better boards available.

    Consumer is very annoyed.

    This is why its very important for reviewers to be upfront and not make excuses for manufacturers. Thanks for doing so in this article.
    Reply
  • kompulsive - Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - link

    Overrated motherboard fail. Reply
  • Kougar - Monday, January 05, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the early look at this book. Frankly it's not the benchmark results that are useful but reviews like these that try to cover issues and functionality. Unless there some deficiency the benchmarks are all going to be nearly the same between other similar chipset boards anyway, I find myself barely glancing at them anymore.

    Also I wanted to say thanks for the update. That is important info to know and I'm glad that was able to be sorted out. I wonder why so many motherboards are still having issues with very specific power supplies, seems to be several each year, year after year.
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, January 06, 2009 - link

    Hard to say Kougar. I guess standby voltages on a new platform and given that this board is very very power centric. Switch on surge and current draw may be on the brink of some of the earlier units coming out of a rest/cold boot. On a sidenote, PSU's can be equally to blame at times, revisions are sometimes made and not documented to the public until something like this happens and raises question marks.

    later Raja

    Reply
  • fjs - Monday, January 05, 2009 - link

    To echo the comments of an earlier poster, I would appreciate photographs in the article which demonstrate the available internal and external connectors adequately.

    I can see 2 SATA ports, and there are supposed to be 6. Where are the others hiding?
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, January 05, 2009 - link

    6 SATA ports are in the angled connectors at the bottom right of the board, below the IDE connector. Reply
  • fjs - Monday, January 05, 2009 - link

    Thank you. I can see now there are 8 SATA ports. The two I noticed were the Marvell-driven ones. The ones you refer to are orientated in the plane of the board, which I did not expect.

    Again, to AnandTech, a plea for more connector photos in future reviews.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, January 04, 2009 - link

    I personally am not coming down on you, or any Anandtech staff. You guys ( and gals? ) have a hard time making your readers, and supplying companies happy with your reviews.

    I would suggest however that Anandtech call it like it is, or just plain refuse to to document your findings on the web UNTIL things are corrected. As it stands, Foxconn is one of several name brands I would never touch, and this would be a perfect example why. Being name brand centric is nothing close to being a 'fanboi', it is simple common sense. Buy a $300 motherboard that does not work, or does not work correctly ? Sorry, I am not seeing the logic here. People pay extra for GOOD STUFF, not garbage. Also, like said at least a couple of times already, I am NOT a paying beta tester. I get paid to beta test, not the other way around.

    I also am becoming frustrated when reading these reviews. I often go out on my own any more, and research hardware elsewhere. Try explaining that to your advertisers. The above is not a threat, or someway for me to make you at anandtech feel bad; it *is* the truth.

    You guys seeing, or saw whats happening over at Toms Hardware ? It is the same thing I see happening here, just not quite as ridiculous yet.
    Reply

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