Foxconn NF4K8AC-8EKRS

Foxconn has recently established itself as a vendor of low-priced yet well-featured motherboards and the NF4K8AC-8EKRS continues that trend. It's an AMD-based motherboard, capable of accepting Socket 939 Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2 and the latest Athlon 64 FX processors.

It runs an NVIDIA nForce4 chipset and it has support for a PCI Express graphics card, Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives and either RAID 0 or 1 hard drive arrays.

We tested the board using an Athlon 64 3800+ CPU, 512MB of OCZ RAM, GeForce 6600 DDR2 graphics adapter and a Western Digital Raptor hard drive. It produced a result of 103 in PC WorldBench 5, which is a very competitive score and we were also impressed by this board's stability.

The board is full-sized and its four SATA ports and four memory slots are fairly easy to access, but the heat sink on the chipset makes uninstalling a graphics card quite challenging, as the release lever needs to be manipulated from the top, rather than the bottom.

CPU installation posed no problems as there are no awkward capacitors to get in the way of the heat sink assembly. Its two IDE ports are separated by a good margin along the right edge of the board and the floppy port is located on the bottom edge of the board.

We're disappointed that a product manual does not ship with the board - instead, it comes with a large setup poster. What we like about this board is its performance and stability and that it includes optical audio-out and FireWire for its competitive price tag.

URL: www.altech.com.au

VERDICT: Recommended for those looking to build an inexpensive AMD Athlon 64-based system.

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