During CES 2008 Foxconn displayed the prototypes of two motherboards targeted to overclockers: F1, which we have already talked about here, and Blackops. Blackops is based on the forthcoming Intel X48 chipset, have three PCI Express x16 slots, a myriad of overclocking options and a cooler that refrigerates the chipset and the transistors from the voltage regulator circuit that can operate as a simple passive cooler, as a water cooler or adapted to accept dry ice or liquid nitrogen. Sounds impressive? Read on.

The main new features of Intel X48 include support to PCI Express 2.0, support to DDR3 memories up to DDR3-1600 (Intel X38 only supports up to DDR3-1333), support for the new 1,600 MHz external bus and support for the new Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) memory standard, which competes with NVIDIA’s EPP (Enhanced Performance Profile). Just like Intel X38 and P35, X48 will be paired with ICH9 family of south bridge chips.

Foxconn Blackops X48 MotherboardFigure 1: Foxconn Blackops motherboard prototype.

Of course the most distinguish feature of Blackops is the heatsink that comes on top of the north bridge chip (see Figure 2), which is a central point to cool down the chipset and the MOSFET transistors from the voltage regulator circuit, since this heatsink is also connected to the heatsinks from the south bridge chip and from the voltage regulator transistors through heat-pipes (see Figure 1).

Foxconn Blackops X48 MotherboardFigure 2: North bridge heatsink.

This heatsink can be operated as a regular passive cooler, you can add a cover that will come with the product and transform it in a chipset block for a water-cooling system (Foxconn is still studying the material they will use for this cover, acrylic or copper) or you can add a tube that also will come with the product to cool down the motherboard components using dry ice or even liquid nitrogen.

Foxconn Blackops X48 MotherboardFigure 3: Cover that will come with the motherboard (Foxconn is still deciding on which material to use, acrylic or copper).

Foxconn Blackops X48 MotherboardFigure 4: Heatsink with the copper cover installed.

Foxconn Blackops X48 MotherboardFigure 5: Tube that will come for adding dry ice or liquid nitrogen on the motherboard cooler.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.