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Old February 9, 2009, 07:50 PM
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Default Foxconn Bloodrage Build

Can't believe how long it's taken me to find some free time to actually start on it, but my own i7 build is finally starting!
New hardware will include:
  • Foxconn Bloodrage motherboard
  • 920 i7 CPU
  • Two WD 640GB Caviers hard disks (to run in RAID0)
  • 6GB Corsair PC-12800 Cas8 DDR3
Hardware cannibalized from my old system will include:
  • Nvidia GTX280 (great clocker, I've got the waterblock for it already, and it seems that I now have the option for software overvolting)
  • Ultra X3 1000W PSU
  • Auzentech Prelude
  • M3 T-Balancer fan controller
  • A metric-truckload of assorted watercooling hardware
  • Going inside a MountainMods 'Horizon' case, with a 'Duality' front panel, and a custom dual-200mm fan top panel.
I had hoped to try out the upcoming OCZ Vertex SSD's, but it doesn't look like it was meant to happen, and I'd hoped that the new PC-16000 C7 memory would be somewhat affordable, but that doesn't seem likely either. So I'll just have to make due with this stuff for now.

The board was a moderate pain in the ass to get, since there's apparently a great conspiracy to NOT sell this board in Canada. Even Newegg, despite offering it on their US site, didn't list it on their .ca site. Finally wound up grabbing it from Ewiz, and after a week or two of not getting further replies (and seeing other people complaining that they'd be told by Ewiz that they were backordered), emailed in asking for information, only to be told that it had already shipped, and the provided tracking number indicated that it had just cleared customs. Apparently, no one thought I might be interested in hearing about that myself. Anyway, it arrived, seemingly safe and sound.

The board, freshly lifted out of the box.
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Tastes vary, but I'm quite impressed by it. Heatpipe assembly is low-profile, plugs and power connectors nicely placed around the board. Can't imagine what I'll be doing with the floppy and IDE connectors, but no harm, I suppose. Only three memory slots is a common gripe, but I can't see myself needing more than six GB of RAM. Actually 4GB would have been fine for me, but 3GB just doesn't cut it for a few of the games I play. But I'm fairly certain that by the time I actually need more than 6GB, I'll either be 1) looking at a new board, or 2) able to get 4GB dimms for a reasonable price.

Taking a look at the back of the board, backplates can be seen on all hotspots, which is a nice touch for an enthusiast board. However, in all fairness, they're psuedo-backing plates, in that they're elevated off the motherboard, and only offer a small degree of protection against bowing. If it becomes an issue, I'll likely put a few layers of foam between those plates and the center-points of the hotspots, to take the pressure off the mounting hole areas. Of note is the fact that this board is drilled for socket 775 coolers as well. Personally, don't recommend it, since the board's metal plate behind the CPU socket will likely interfere with any backing plates, and imho, you have no business using a push-pin cooler on a high-end motherboard. And it's anyone's guess as to how strong the PCB is between the 1366 and 775 holes.
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Accessories aren't too bad (there's better, though), and mostly practical. Some SATA cables, an IDE cable, soem SATA adaptor cables (in case you spent all your money on this board, and couldn't afford a PSU with a few proper SATA power cords), mobo faceplate, an SLI bridge, an auxillary fan (and clips) to stick on the NB heatsink, a little baggie of aluminum heatsinks that can be stuck wherever you think they might be needed (no suggestions were given, though), and a soundcard. No idea whether the soundcard is worth squat, but I suppose that it's probably an improvement over Radio-Crab.
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The air heatsink on the NB is attached with four screws, and typical OEM grey gunk, and comes off with a small twist.
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Cooling options include the aforementioned air heatsink (with an optional 40mm fan that can be clipped on), an all-copper waterblock sized for 1/2" tubing (are you paying attention, Asus and Gigabyte?), and an aluminum pot. All use the same four screws for attachment to the NB plate. Attachment seems solid at this point, although the screwpoints don't actually go into the copper hot plate, but into the surrounding aluminum, so hopefully the aluminum isn't prone to being lifted up. All three cooling options look decent, although the airsink uses fairly flimsy-gauge fins, and I'm really no judge of pots. The waterblock is one-piece, and I can't tell if there are any fins or texture inside the block itself. I might go to work with a hacksaw and a thread tap down the road, but nothing is out of place to my eyes.
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Time to pop off the cooling assembly. Foxconn gets props here - BIG props. The fact that everything is screwed in, with nary a push-pin in sight is excellent. Even better, the screws are all attached to the baseplates, aiming upwards. Meaning that the old game of trying to thread a screw into something underneath the motherboard is over. Just push the baseplate/screws up through the board, and drop the spring-loaded nut onto it. Then snug down. A mag-screwdriver is still recommended, naturally.
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The heatpipe assembly is entirely one-piece (except for the memory PWM heatsink), and pretty unobtrusive in comparison to some others on the market. The red decorative plates probably aren't helping air reach the cooling fins, but time will tell if that even matters. Thermal tape is used between the pipes and the power circuits, and while I can't speak to its effectiveness, it's very thin stuff, which is likely a good thing. A thermal pad is used on the SB, and it didn't want to peel off the heatsink nicely, so it gets to stay for now. The NB oem-crap eventually came off with some Iso.
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The power circuits on this board are serious stuff (and one of the main reasons I wanted it). 14-phase main power sounds good in marketing literature, but these are hybrid independantly-controlled PWMs, which is a big step above typical analogue. As best I can find, the only other X58 board at this level might be the EVGA offerings. We'll see how well my overclocking attempts go, but I sure as hell won't be able to assign any blame here. On a side note, while the heatsink over the main bank of PWMs only uses two screws, the board is actually drilled for four, which can only help any aftermarket solutions.
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The memory power circuits are three-phase, which is overkill. But again, certainly won't be able to complain here either.
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Speaking of power, a growing trend on the top-end motherboard seems to be the provision of voltage measurement points, saving us the trouble of trying stick DMM leads into the circuits board without shorting out adjacent pins, or soldering wires onto the board beforehand. Having pads provided makes measuring actaul voltages much safer and easier, and this board offers pads for the important measurements... hidden behind the memory slots. Not a big deal on an open bench of course. The pad area is clear of obstructions and opportunties to slip and short something else out by accident.
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I'll be sticking a 920 into the socket, until I actually find evidence that it's lower multiplier is actually becoming a bottleneck. On avarage, reports on the internet suggest otherwise.
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And... here's the basic assembly of the board. CPU cooling will provided with a Swiftech GTZ waterblock. While I will be using the provided chipset waterblock, I'm curious to see what the airsink can do first, just to establish a basis of comparison.
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Yeah, you could just about stick this SOB on your coffe table, couldn't you? This is my first computer in five that I haven't had Mushkin sticks (I feel so unfaithful). Alas, things just didn't seem to work out, so Corsair gets the honours this time around. Maybe if something good comes out in the future...

Going to be a few days before I can go further, since I've got a couple liters of water to drain out of my current system (and I'm suddenly realizing that I forgot to include a proper drainline ), a couple of DDC pumps that need solder-mods, and a whole load of components to scrub, flush, and clean up.
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Old February 9, 2009, 08:06 PM
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The only thing that could make that sexier is those new Dominator GTs with the black and red heatspreaders. This is going to be a pretty sweet looking rig, I can't wait to see the end result. What GPU(s) are you going to be putting in this powerhouse?
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Old February 9, 2009, 08:08 PM
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You -really- need to tell us what you think of this mobo. I've considered it or Foxconn's other offer.
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Old February 9, 2009, 08:08 PM
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Common MpG, couldn't polish up your GTZ?

Anyways look like a nice setup.
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Old February 9, 2009, 08:15 PM
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You found one. Subscribed.
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Old February 9, 2009, 08:16 PM
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I like the look of the board, and I'm sure it's top notch, but 3 DIMMs + 6 slots = not enough engineering for the price.

Gigabyte seems to be the only one to manage this feat (seems basic to me) with their EX58-EXTREME. If I can afford $300+ for a motherboard, you can bet I'll be wanting proper NIC/Sound/RAID solutions to go along with my 2x dual slot video cards....
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Old February 9, 2009, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaRox View Post
The only thing that could make that sexier is those new Dominator GTs with the black and red heatspreaders... What GPU(s) are you going to be putting in this powerhouse?
I have a budget. $600+ memory just doesn't fit in it. And I'm just going to have a single GTX280. It clocks really well, seems to run everything maxed out, and I'm presently multi-GPU shy. Technically, nothing stopping me from adding a second one in the future, since the board's licensed for SLI.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3.0Charlie
You found one.
As I said, it was a little bit of a pita to get, and I had to ordered from a new retailer with nothing but good reseller ratings to go on. And they were pretty lousy on communication. According to various peoples in the supply chain, either Foxconn's distributors are slacking off on getting stuff to Canada, or the retailers just aren't willing to bring it in, or Foxconn's got a supply shortage (ironic, when you consider how many other companies they supply). The few stores in the US that had it, they seem to randomly remove it from inventory at times, too... basically, I got lucky.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Encorp
You -really- need to tell us what you think of this mobo. I've considered it or Foxconn's other offer.
I"m curious what this board can do too. It'll be a learning experience, regardless. From the sounds of it the Renaissance is a whole different ballgame, and oriented towards more casual builders. Completely different setups. There's also supposed to be a Bloodrage GT coming out at some point, that's pretty much identical except for giving up SAS and the extra cooling options. Sounds nice, but for $20-30, I'll take the provided chipset waterblock of this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linus
If I can afford $300+ for a motherboard, you can bet I'll be wanting proper NIC/Sound/RAID solutions to go along with my 2x dual slot video cards....
True, but as long you get the right waterblocks, single-slot video cards are always an option. My soundcard is PCI, and I haven't hit the need for a dedicated RAID cards yet. And considering that it came to $265US, it was actually priced better than a lot of other X58 boards.
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Old February 9, 2009, 09:26 PM
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Oh my lord!!!!!!!

That is one suweet looking piece of kit!!!

That's what an enthusiast board should look like, and the included accessories are out of this world!!! Absolutely love the beefy looking power CCTs!!

Looking forward to seeing what you can get out of it!
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Old February 9, 2009, 11:06 PM
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That is one nice looking board. So much better than the gigabyte baby blue *shudders*. Foxconn is seemingly doing the opposite of most board manufacturers these days, providing a lot of accessories. If it turns out that the board is quite good, it'll be a front runner when i upgrade to i7
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Old February 9, 2009, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by encorp View Post
You -really- need to tell us what you think of this mobo. I've considered it or Foxconn's other offer.
I bet you have and I was quite suprised not see this board here sooner. I was reading up on preview earlier tonight impressive set of features and overall performance, but I will let MpG fill you guys in with the rest.

EE
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