First of all, the looks of this motherboard clearly justifies it name. Dominant black color with accentuated “blood-red” details. Since target user groups are gamers and overclockers looks is important. Gamers demand efficiency and good looks nowadays, so they can have a bragging material on LAN parties, while overclockers do appreciate good cooling solution. Whole heat pipe cooling system is held by screws and back plates for motherboard, which is solution that provides best contact compared to plastic clips. This mounting system is one of the “culprits” for good cooling performances. Our suggestion is to purchase additional 8cm fan and mount is on northbridge because it can get hot, so overclocking limits can benefit from actively cooled northbridge.
Foxconn BloodRage GTI is equipped with Power and Reset buttons that are, beside obvious advantages, also nicely designed and glow red in the dark. There is also digital two-character display that will provide valuable information if something goes wrong during overclock session. We also liked the presence of jumper that can cut-off power lines that go to BIOS so you won’t need to fiddle with battery and its removing, in case BIOS goes berserk. Only problem that we had with this jumper is its position: lower left corner –right beside lowest PCIe slot. On the other hand situations where you will need to use this jumper are not feasible, because this motherboard has two BIOS chips. Even if first BIOS fails you can always switch to second one with jumper. In BIOS can be set which chip is primary and which one is secondary. BloodRage GTI also has special Force Reset micro switch that is positioned right next to 24-pin power connector. This switch can be very useful if you have gone too far with overclock and want to boot-up motherboard with default (safe) values. Nevertheless, values set in BIOS before crash won’t be lost, so you can continue overclock session right where you have failed. Like all other switches on this motherboard this one also shines with red light. Foxconn BloodRage GTI supports coolers for 775 and 1366 sockets.
|SONAR X-Fi audio card|
|Sound card that came with this motherboard is signed by Creative but actually based on Realtek chip. After Realtek drivers are installed you need to install additional Creative software found on DVD and you can enjoy EAX 4.0 and few more interesting software tools. Technical characteristics are very good, with THD+noise test being the only underachiever in this case. Signal-to-noise ratio and frequency response are great for an integrated sound card. Stereo signal crosstalk is also at very low level which is another plus for this chip. We compared Creative X-Fi with Realtek ALC889 (Sonar X-Fi) and, as you can see from results, integrated X-Fi isn't better then original. On the other hand Sonar X-Fi you got for free with motherboard, so from that perspective there isn't better sound card at the moment.|
Layout of PCIe and PCI slots it very good. One PCIe x1 slot is not used for Sonar X-Fi card, which has its own connector – this is good news. Motherboard has 4 PCIe 16x slots: reds are in x16 mode, while blacks are in x8 mode. When two graphics cards in CrossFire or SLI are used one PCI slot will remain free even if two-slot cards are used. Back panel has 8 USB 2.0 ports, which in combination with 4 ports on motherboard gives total sum of 12 USB 2.0 ports. More than enough. There is also PS/2 port for keyboard, clear CMOS switch, two LAN ports, two eSATA ports and S/PDIF. LAN cards are backed up by Realtek 8111C chips. BloodRage GTI also has info LEDs near 24-pin power connector: one signals presence of power, and other two presence of SPD settings on memory modules or state of your system: S1 or S3 mode.
We saved best for last: power section on Foxconn BloodRage GTI. 14-phase power unit for CPU that is made of hybrid elements: combination of usually used capacitors (Japanese solid) and Ferrite Choke. Creative helped with “sound picture” that is backed up with Realtek ALC889 chip. Realtek HD audio supports 7.1 surround along with EAX 1.0 and EAX 2.0, while EAX 4.0 is supported by Creative software that uses main CPU to process audio signal. Since this is motherboard for Core i7 CPUs there will be enough CPU time for such operations.
Additional software can be found on DVD. Besides, more or less, usual software we especially liked Foxconn AEGIS Panel. This piece of software allows direct control of motherboard components voltages thanks to special chip present on motherboard. It is possible to set RPM of any fan along with component voltages and even save those settings in profiles.
Basic BIOS options are the same for most other Core i7 motherboards, but very interesting settings can be found in Quantum BIOS section. First detail that we notices is that parameters are set by direct input of values instead of selecting values from drop-down/toggle list. BIOS profiles are also supported with nicely picked names: Max FSB, 3D Benchmarking and so on. Basic frequency for CPU can go up to 500MHz or down to 66MHz, so low power consumption profile can be created for massive downloading sessions (this is for users that have “Download Internet” icon on desktop). 3 usual multipliers for QPI link (18, 22 and 24) are present, and settings for RAM are numerous. Voltage on this motherboard will never be a problem so we won’t go into further details.
Test Configuration: CM Aquagate MAX, WD 160 GB SATA2, Zotac Nvidia GTS250, WinXP Pro SP3
|Frequency Response [dB]||Noise levels [dBA]||Total Harmonic Distorsion (THD) [%]||Total Harmonic Distorsion + Noise [dB]||Inter-modulation Distorsion + Noise [%]||Dynamic Range [dB]||Stereo Crosstalk [dB]||IMD at 10KHz [%]||Final Score|
|ALC889||0.02 - 0.06||83.0||0.0027||76.4||0.024||82.7||81.2||0.091||Very Good|
|Creastive X-Fi Xtreme Music||0.03 - 0.01||95.8||0.0009||87.8||0.0055||94.1||96.7||0.0056||Excellent|
After some time spent with this motherboard, we managed to achieve respectable 220MHz for basic CPU frequency. After BIOS update we easily achieved 225MHZ (this new BIOS also allowed changes in PCIe frequencies that we raised up to 102MHz). At this settings CPU managed to pass SuperPi 1M test. Unfortunately at this same settings CPU didn’t pass SuperPi 32M, but interesting fact is that maximal BLCK was 215MHz. Since Core i7 920 have low multiplier this can get very handy. Foxconn BloodRage GTI has proven to be “jewel” among X58 motherboards. Benchmarks we used are adopted for gamers and overclockers. At same memory clock during overclock of CPU, motherboards nicely scaled performance levels – performance levels increased linearly. There are some models that during overclock can experience memory bandwidth drop and with this motherboard it is not the case.
Foxconn BloodRage GTI is an excellent product. It gets our unconditional recommendation because it scores 100 out of 100 on a target that was: overclockers and gamers. If you belong to one of those groups and plan to purchase, or upgrade, to Core i7 this is perfect choice for you.
|Foxconn BloodRage GTI|
|Memory Slots (Max. mem.)||3xDDR3 (12GB)|
|Chipset||Intel X58 + ICH10R|
|MultiGPU support||SLi + CrossFire|
|Sound||Realtek ALC889 7.1 HD Audio + Sonar X-Fi|
|SATA||6xSATA2 + 2xeSATA|
|Connectors||4 x PCI Express 16x 2.0, 1x PCI Express 1x, 1x PCI, 12 x USB, S/P DIF out|
|LAN||2 x RealTek LAN RTL8111C 10/100/1000 Mb/s|