During CES 2008 Foxconn showed us a prototype of a motherboard based on a non-revealed Intel chipset (probably Intel’s forthcoming P45 chipset) that will have four PCI Express x16 slots, allowing four video cards under CrossFireX using an Intel solution. It is not only that, this prototype – internally known as F1 – will come with a water-cooling solution to cool down the chipset and the transistors from the voltage regulator circuit, and below the north bridge block it has a thermoelectric cooler (TEC, a.k.a. “Peltier”).

Foxconn F1 Motherboard PrototypeFigure 1: Foxconn F1 motherboard prototype.

Foxconn F1 Motherboard PrototypeFigure 2: Prototype with four video cards under CrossFireX installed.

If you pay close attention in Figure 1 you will see two big chips installed between the PCI Express slots; these are probably PCI Expess switches.

Foxconn didn’t want reveal us the chipset this motherboard was using, but we guess that the motherboard we saw was using Intel P45, the next mainstream chipset from Intel, especially because last month we heard rumors that Intel P45 would support CrossFireX from AMD/ATI. If this is correct, other motherboard manufacturers will also release similar products – i.e., socket LGA775 motherboards with four PCI Express x16 slots supporting CrossFireX.

This motherboard, however, will come with water-cooling blocks and pipes made of copper to cool down the chipset and the MOSFET transistors from the voltage regulator circuit.

It is interesting to see Foxconn trying to enter the very high-end market with very different products (they showed us another prototype based on Intel X48 chipset targeted to extreme overclockers also featuring a water-cooling solution that we will discuss on another article). But it is important to keep in mind that both products are just prototypes and Foxconn is just testing waters to see the market response for their final decision on whether they are going to actually release these products or not.

This motherboard is very big, using the Ultra ATX form factor. Also because of its size you will need to have a full tower case with 10 slots – keep in mind that the majority of cases found on the market have only seven slots. Besides the four x16 PCI Express slots, this prototype also featured four x1 PCI Express slots and two regular PCI slots.

Foxconn F1 Motherboard PrototypeFigure 3: Slots present on the prototype.

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.