Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB Motherboard Review
By Gabriel Torres on June 27, 2005


Introduction

Foxconn, a traditional OEM manufacturer, has recently entered the retail market with its own motherboard line, using its own brand. For AMD platform, it is using WinFast brand, which was licensed from Leadtek.

WinFast 760GXK8MB is a socket 754 motherboard based on the SiS 760GX chipset, aimed to entry level PCs, since this chipset has on-board video based on Mirage 2 graphics engine from SiS. This engine is DirectX 8.1 and we were very curious to see how it performed.

This motherboard is very simple, as you can see in Figure 1. Besides having on-board video, it also has one AGP 8x slot, allowing you to disable the on-board video in the future and install a “real” video card.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB
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Figure 1: Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB.

This motherboad has “everything” on-board: video, audio and LAN, bringing also two Serial ATA ports. It has two DDR-DIMM sockets, accepting up to 2 GB of up to DDR400/PC3200 memory; its on-board audio is controlled by the SiS 760GX chipset using the Realtek ALC655 codec, providing 6 channels and a signtal-to-noise ratio of 90 dB, which is very good for this motherboard class; its LAN is also controlled by its chipset, using the Realtek RTL8201BL chip to make the interface with the physical layer; eight USB 2.0 ports, four soldered directly to the motherboard and four available through an I/O bracket, but the board comes with a bracket providing only two ports. You can use the other two USB ports on your case, if it provides front USB ports.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB
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Figure 2: Two serial ATA ports and SiS 964 south bridge.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB
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Figure 3: Back connectors.

We were impressed by the quality of the electrolytic capacitors used on this motherboard. Usually low-end motherboards will also use low-end components, but Foxconn decided to use Japanese capacitors from Rubycon (http://www.rubycon.com) on this model, preventing the board from having the famous leakage that affects some motherboards after some years.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB
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Figure 4: Japanese capacitors from Rubycon.

In Figure 5, you can see the cables that come with this motherboard.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB
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Figure 5: Cables that come with WinFast 760GXK8MB.

Besides the motherboard drivers and utilities, in the CD-ROM that comes with this motherboard you will also find Norton Internet Security 2004 software for free.

Before going to the benchmarkings, let’s recap the main features of this motherboard.

Main Specifications

The main specifications for Foxxonn WinFast 760GXK8MB are:

* Researched on http://www.pricewatch.com/ on the day we published this review.

How We Tested

During our benchmarkings we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the motherboard being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Used Software

We adopted a 3% error margin; thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

Overall Performance

We measured the overall performance of this motherboard using SYSmark2002, which is a software that simulates the use of real-world applications. Thus, we consider this the best software to measure, in practical terms, the system performance.

The benchmarks are divided into two groups: Internet Content Creation and Office Productivity. The programs used on Internet Content Creation batch are the following: Dreamweaver 4.0, Photoshop 6.0.1, Premiere 6.0, Flash 5 and Windows Media Encoder. The programs used on Office Productivity batch are the following: Word 2002, Excel 2002, PowerPoint 2002, Outlook 2002, Access 2002, Netscape Communicator 6, NaturallySpeaking 5, VirusScan 5.13 and WinZip 8.0.

The software delivers specific results for each batch and also an overall performance result, all in a specific SYSmark202 unit.

Unfortunately we didn’t have other socket 754 motherboards with on-board video to compare to WinFast 760GXK8MB from Foxconn. Since usually all socket 754 motherboards have the same performance – because the system north bridge is embedded inside the CPU – we decided to include just one high-end motherboard in the comparison (MSI K8N Neo Platinum, based on nForce 3-250 Gb).

We also installed a Gigabyte Radeon 9800 Pro on the board being reviewed to see if by disabling its on-board video and installing the same video card we used together with the motherboard from MSI the board from Foxconn would be able to reach the same performance level of a high-end motherboard.

The results you see on the graph below.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB

K8N Neo Platinum from MSI was 4.03% faster than Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB, but when installed a Radeon 9800 Pro video card on it, its performance raised to the same level of MSI K8N Neo Platinum. This means that by installing an external VGA card you can “transform” the tested motherboard in a motherboard with the same overall performance level as a high-end motherboard.

Processing Performance

We measured the motherboard processing performance through PCMark04 software. We included a high-end motherboard (MSI K8N Neo Platinum) in the comparison, to check the performance of the Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB compared to a high-end motherboard. We also installed a Gigabyte Radeon 9800 Pro on the board being reviewed to see if by disabling its on-board video and installing the same video card we used together with the motherboard from MSI the board from Foxconn would be able to reach the same performance level of a high-end motherboard.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB

The results were quite interesting. Using its on-board video, WinFast 760GXK8MB from Foxconn was 24.41% slower than K8N Neo Platinum from MSI, but when installed our Radeon 9800 Pro on the reviewed motherboard, its performance was 32.72% greater, achieving the same performance level of MSI K8N Neo Platinum, which is a high-end motherboard. So, you can have this motherboard working at the same performance level of a high-end model by installing a “real” video card on it.

3D Performance: 3DMark2001 SE

We were very curious on how the integrated video from SiS 760GX would perform. We decided to compare SiS 760GX performance with the performance of other entry-level video cards we had available here in our lab: GeForce MX 4000 (128-bit 64 MB version from Chaintech), GeForce 4 MX 460 (128 MB 128-bit from ABIT), GeForce FX 5200 (128 MB 64-bit version from Leadtek) and GeForce FX 5200 (128 MB 128-bit version from XFX). We also installed our Radeon 9800 Pro from Gigabyte to check if, by installing this video card, the board would achieve the same 3D performance level of a high-end motherboard (MSI K8N Neo Platinum with nForce 3-250Gb, in our case).

3Dmark2001 SE measures 3D performance by making DirectX 8.1 simulations. SiS 760GX engine, called Mirage 2, is DirectX 8.1, so this would be the best software to measure the 3D performance of this integrated chipset.

You can check the results of our benchmarking below. All the listed video cards were installed on WinFast 760GXK8MB from Foxconn.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB

As you can see, the integrated graphics of SiS 760GX is not a great performer, beaten by all entry-level video cards we had available here in our lab. That was not a surprise, since on-board video tends to achieve a very low performance. Our 64-bit GeForce FX 5200 was 158.72% faster, our 128-bit GeForce MX 4000 was 274.68% faster, our 128-bit GeForce FX 5200 was 280.44% faster and our 128-bit GeForce 4 MX 460 was 286.70% faster than the integrated graphics from the motherboard being reviewed.

On the other hand, when we installed a Radeon 9800 Pro on this motherboard it achieved a performance similar to MSI K8N Neo Platinum using the same video card, meaning that installing a “real” video card can make this motherboard achieve the same performance level of a high-end board.

3D Performance: 3DMark03

We followed the same methodology described in the previous page, but now running 3Dmark03. Keep in mind that 3DMark03 simulates DirectX 9.0 games, and since the engine of SiS 760GX is DirectX 8.1 it is unfair to use this software to determine the 3D performance of this chipset. But we’ve used it anyway, since we are in 2005 and there are plenty of DirectX 9.0 games around.

You can check the results of our benchmarking below. All the listed video cards were installed on WinFast 760GXK8MB from Foxconn.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB

In this software our 128-bit GeForce 4 MX 460 achieved a score 110.94% higher, our 128-bit GeForce MX 4000 achieved a score 122.40% higher, our 64-bit GeForce FX 5200 achieved a score 464.05% higher and our 128-bit GeForce FX 5200 achieved a score 688.02% higher than the integrated graphics from the motherboard being reviewed.

On the other hand, when we installed a Radeon 9800 Pro on this motherboard once again it achieved a performance similar to MSI K8N Neo Platinum using the same video card, meaning that installing a “real” video card can make this motherboard achieve the same performance level of a high-end board.

3D Performance: Quake III

We used the demo four available on version 1.32 of Quake III to make our benchmarking with this game. We ran this demo three times at the game’s default configuration and we picked the middle value for our comparisons, i.e., we discarded the highest and the lowest values.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB

As you can see on the graph, this game is very sensitive to memory configuration. We can say that comparing the 64-bit GeForce FX 5200 result to the 128-bit GeForce FX 5200 result: the 128-bit version was 33.69 faster. The on-board video performance from Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB was on the 85 frames per second range, while the performance of the 64-bit GeForce FX 5200 was on the 270 frames per second range (218.47% faster) and the performance from other entry-level video cards tested was on the 360 frames per second range (they were 327% faster, on average).

With 85 frames per second, Quake III is “playable” on this motherboard, but don’t expect that newer games will have a great performance on this motherboard.

On the other hand, when we installed a Radeon 9800 Pro on this motherboard once again it achieved a performance similar to MSI K8N Neo Platinum using the same video card, meaning that installing a “real” video card can make this motherboard achieve the same performance level of a high-end board.

Overclocking

Being a low-end motherboard, this board doesn’t provide any fancy feature for overclocking, like voltage configurations. At least it allows you to change the external clock from 200 MHz to 232 MHz in 1 MHz increments. We were able to put our Athlon 64 3200+ (2 GHz) running externally at 223 MHz (2.23 GHz internally), an 11.5% increment over the standard clock. Not bad at all.

Even though this motherboard doesn’t have any extra overclocking feature, it allows you to change the memory timings, as you can see in Figure 6. So with some patience maybe you can squeeze an extra performance by lowering memory timings on this motherboard.

Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB
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Figure 6: Memory timings configuration.

A piece of advice. As you can see, on this screen the memory clock can be changed using the “Memclock index value” option. We don’t know why, but this board came to us with this option configured at 133 MHz. After finishing our benchmark we double check all setup configurations and noticed that this value was wrong, since we were using DDR400 memories. So, we change this option to “auto” and run again our benchmarking programs. The performance gain was amazing: 6.22% on SYSmark2002, 63.18% on 3DMark2001 SE, 44.36% on 3DMark03 and 54% on Quake III. So, double check this option to ensure you will get the maximum performance this motherboard can provide. The values we used in the previous pages were the values collected in this second round, i.e., with this option set to "auto".

Conclusions

The 3D performance of SiS 760GX is not comparable to entry-level video cards like GeForce MX 4000, GeForce 4 MX 460 and GeForce FX 5200. On the other hand, we didn’t have other socket 754 motherboards with on-board video to compare this one to, so we cannot say if the SiS 760GX performance level is good or bad compared to its competitors.

We were very impressed with the performance of Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB when installing a “real” video card on it: its performance was similar to high-end socket 754 motherboards. This means that you can buy this motherboard and, in the future, install an AGP video card on it to have a performance similar to high-end motherboards, paying much less (of course you won’t have all features provided by high-end motherboards such as RAID, more than three PCI slots, FireWire ports, etc – at least this motherboard already offers two Serial ATA ports).

We were also impressed by the use of Japanese electrolytic capacitors, which is not common on a low-end motherboard. Foxconn impressed us on that one.

This motherboard can be a good solution for offices and users that don’t want to run 3D games and are looking for a cheap motherboard which can have a regular VGA installed in the future. Our guess is that socket 754 motherboards with on-board video will become more popular in the near future, since socket 462 is being phased out by AMD, and Sempron based on socket 754 platform will replace Athlon XP and Duron as the entry level CPU from AMD.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Foxconn-WinFast-760GXK8MB-Motherboard-Review/159


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