Affordable SLI for rampant enthusiasts?
Foxconn is a manufacturer that is relatively unknown among enthusiasts, but they’re one of the largest suppliers of motherboards (and other components) to OEMs, including the likes of Dell. As we write, this is changing after the release of several motherboards with the required spin and features for the enthusiast to make use of.
The company are also looking to penetrate in to the UK market with their products. With the sheer size of the company, we expect that they’ll succeed in making Foxconn a household name for enthusiasts over time too. Today we are looking at their new NForce 4 SLI motherboard that is aimed at the lower end of the market, retailing at around $130 in the US and £80-90 in the UK.
As well as being cheap, it’s got a nice catchy name and is known as the WinFast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS. We suspect that the board is aimed at the more mainstream or price conscious enthusiast, but how well does it match up to the now mainstream SLI solutions such as DFI’s LANPARTY nF4 SLI-DR, MSI’s K8N Diamond and ASUS’ A8N SLI Premium? Read on to find out...
- Two, red SATA cables;
- Two SATA power cable providing power for four hard disks;
- Two ATA133 IDE cables;
- One floppy cable;
- SLI Bridge and retention bracket;
- Rear metal I/O shield;
- The usual array of manuals, drivers CD and floppys.
Unfortunately, there is not a complete complement of extras included in the box. The motherboard supports six SATA hard disk drive yet there are only two SATA cables and four SATA power cables included – a bit of a shame, despite this board being well-priced. There are two standard ATA133 ribbon cables and a floppy cable – not particularly sexy or easy on the eye from a modding perspective, we like to see rounded cables included (IDE cables never have been sexy, or did I miss something? - Ed.
There is also a lack of IEEE1394 Firewire and USB 2.0 PCI expansion brackets – why supply it on the board if you can’t use it at all out the box? Of course, you can recycle your PCI expansion brackets from your old motherboard if they came with your old board. However, if you didn’t get any with your previous board, you’re unlikely to be able to get hold of them as it seems that you can’t buy these expansion brackets anywhere.
If we consider that the motherboard is aimed at the consumer seeking the best bang for buck, they’re unlikely to start off with half a dozen disks in the same fashion that you might expect with someone looking to purchase DFI’s nF4 SLI-DR. It’s also possible that they’re not likely to want to use the additional IEEE1394 Firewire ports that would be provided by the additional PCI expansion bracket. The lack of a USB2.0 expansion bracket is not understandable, though.