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X58 Motherboard Round-Up January 09

by Stuart Davidson - 9th January 2009
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Foxconn BloodRage

The BloodRage board, part of the Quantum Force family, is packaged in a box with a rather cool design and it certainly stands out from most other motherboard packaging. As well as looking good it also features a few logos which give the main specifications of the product, the most noticeable of these being the selection of X-Fi logos. These feature here as a Realtek ALC889 sound card supporting Creative’s X-Fi software is bundled with this product. Also included with the motherboard are a huge selection of cables and connectors which should cater for the needs of most consumers. We also have a huge amount of documentation, an SLI connector and various cooling options for the Northbridge. As standard the X58 chipset is passively cooled but we can add a fan, waterblock or a tube for more extreme cooling.

Foxconn use a red and black design for the BloodRage and overall it is quite a stylish board with some nice touches such as the shape of the heatpipe running from the X58 to ICH10R. There is also no shortage of cooling with heatsinks surrounding the power circuitry on three sides of the CPU and a further heatsink on the right of the memory slots.

As with the Renaissance board on the previous page the product literature for this board states that it has support for CrossFireX and 3way SLI and certainly the slots are available for it. We have one PCIe 1x, two PCIe 16x, two PCIe 8x and a single PCI but for anyone with GeForce cards which use standard cooling there will not be room for three cards on this board, at least two of your GTX models would need to be water-cooled on a single slot cooler to take advantage of 3-Way.

Onboard buttons for power and reset make an appearance on the bottom right of the board as does the diagnostic LED although we lack an internal clear CMOS button. There are however two interesting items elsewhere on the PCB. The first is a vBat header which clears the CMOS and chipset settings by simulating the removal of the battery; the second is a force reset button. This button enhances the success rate of overclocking by reinitialising and retuning the motherboard when rebooting, before loading the overclocking settings. Drive connections on this board are identical to the Renaissance with eight SATAs, two of which are SAS enabled.

Up to this point in the review the motherboards have all featured six memory slots but the BloodRage cuts this down to three. This gives us a maximum installed memory volume of 12GB over three channels, more than enough for most users and Foxconn claim that the use of three slots instead of six will enhance overclocking potential/stability. On the back panel of the product we can see the reason for the lack of internal Clear CMOS, there is a button located here which is just as useful, if not more useful. Back panel connectivity on the BloodRage features PS/2, eight USB 2.0, Firewire, Dual GB Lan (Realtek 8111c), two eSATA and Coaxial audio. An optical audio port would have been nice to have but other than that we are happy with the options available.
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