Foxconn 915A03-P-8EKRS - Page 3

..:: 915A03-P-8EKRS Layout: Socket Area ::..

Now that we’ve had a chance to examine the product package, it’s time we took a good look at the board design and layout scheme. As far as an initial overview of the motherboard goes, I must say that I like that overall look of the 915A03-P-8EKRS in that it comes with a vibrant blue PCB, along with yellow PCI-E x1 slots, and blue / gold DIMM slots as well. Normally we only seen blue PCB’s heading out of the Gigabyte or Albatron factories, so it’s nice to see another manufacturer using a blue PCB. Of course, I’m slightly partisan when it comes to anything in both blue and gold, but that’s a whole other story, heh. Well, let’s examine the 915A03-P-8EKRS on a more minute level to see what we find.

The Socket T is oriented lengthwise from East to West across the motherboard. Due to the much improved mounting mechanics for the new LGA 775 processors, Intel has done away with the large retention bracket that was needed on the older Socket 478 implementations. The new mounting method simply requires pushing some pins through the four mounting holes, and you’re done. Around the Socket T, we find that Foxconn, as with several other manufacturers, has put to use the low profile component zones for the core voltage power supply. Foxconn has implemented a three-phase design for the 915A03-P-8EKRS, as can be seen with the three side-mounted inductors, complete with their own encasings. There are silk screen markings on the PCB surface that would allow for a four-phase power supply to be implemented as well. This is the second three-phase power solution that we have seen so far for any of the LGA775 motherboards, so we’ll see if this board runs smoothly as did the Albatron motherboard which also only had a three-phase design

The components that make up the processor portion of the 915A03-P-8EKRS deal with the core voltage supply. Along the right hand side of the processor socket, we find the main voltage regulation chip, along with the ITE “Jumper Free” clock controller. This area also houses the four-pin power connection for the CPU fan. These new four-pin power headers are likely to be found more on the Foxconn motherboards than they are on some of the other more mainstream enthusiast options on the market. Foxconn has also shifted the secondary core voltage connection further down the board, towards the bottom end of the series of capacitors, MOSFET’s and inductors. This was the typical location on i875P / i865PE motherboards, and we’ve seen this used twice now on LGA775 motherboards.

Other than these core electrical components, the processor portion of the 915A03-P-8EKRS is nice and clean. Foxconn has implemented their three-phase power solution for the 915A03-P-8EKRS with high quality, ultra-low ESR capacitors, as well as high quality control components. As we mentioned earlier, there is also room for a four-phase design to be built into this board, though these seems to be found more often on the i915G and i925X motherboards. The reason we’ve seen shifts to four-phase solutions is due to the power draw from these new processors. By increasing the number of phases, the processor can obtain a cleaner and steadier voltage, providing for solid power delivery. Hence, it makes more sense for these four-phase designs to work with the more power intensive i915G and i925X boards.