FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review :: Foxconn C51XEM2AA Features

07-19-2006 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
Foxconn C51XEM2AA-8EKRS2H Spec Sheet
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Motherboard Photo
Part NumberC51XEM2AA-8EKRS2H
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ChipsetNvidia nForce 590 SLI
North BridgeNvidia nForce 590 SLI
SocketSocket AM2 (940)
Processor TypesAthlon 64X2, Athlon 64FX, Athlon 64, Sempron
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1GHz HyperTransport Bus Link
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory8GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
South BridgeNvidia nForce 590 MCP
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1, 5
FirewireIEEE 1394b/a
Expansion Slots
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

AMD launched their AM2 platform just two short months ago. AM2 uses a Socket 940 interface, meaning older CPUs based upon Socket 939 won't work on this motherboard. Newer CPUs like the 5000+, the FX-62 and the various other AMD CPUs on the Socket 940 interface will work. I tried the C51XEM2AA with a 4600+, a 5000+, a 3800+ Energy Efficient CPU and the FX-62 high-end. All installed without fail.

FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review DIMM Slots

DIMM Slots

Memory support on the AM2 platform consists of DDR2 memory. AMD moved to DDR2 memory with the launch two months ago. The FOXCONN board has 4 DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Modules). nForce 590 supports up to 4GB of DDR2 memory. DDR2 667MHz-1067MHz memory is supported. I tested a pair of DDR2 8500 memory, it clocked to 742MHz by default (10% over 667MHz)

nForce 590 SLI is the replacement for the nForce 4 x16 chipset. NVIDIA introduced new features including EPP Enhanced Performance Profile memory, DualNet, LinkBoost, MediaShield technology and more. The 590 chipset is designed for the high-end enthusiast wanting the absolute best performance and to that end supports features that go beyond other chipsets.

SLI stands for Scalable Link Interface. NVIDIA introduced nForce 4 SLI chipsets in late 2004. Early SLI motherboards had a maximum of 22 PCI Express lanes. A PCI Express lane can provide up to 250MB/second of bandwidth. A modern motherboard that supports PCI Express usually comes equipped with a X16 PCI Express slot for the graphics card. On a SLI or Crossfire enabled motherboard, there are two or more PCI Express x16 slots. Early SLI motherboards split the lanes into two x8 lanes. As graphics cards normally don't saturate x8 lanes, this worked well. Last year NVIDIA introduced the x16 chipset, supporting up to 46 PCI Express lanes.

FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review PCI slots

PCI slots

FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review PCI Express x16 slots

PCI Express x16 slots

Foxconn's board has two full x16 slots. What this means is, when there are two like NVIDIA cards (i.e. two 7900GTs, two 7800GTXs etc.), each card has access to 16 lanes of bandwidth. LinkBoost can boost the bandwidth to the PCI Express bus by 25% with SLI ready memory. This means that when combined with a 7900GTX or newer card the bandwidth available to the PCI Express bus is 5GB instead of 4GB. Also on the board are two PCI V2.3 compliant slots a PCI Express x4 slot and a PCI Express x1 slot.

FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review SATA ports

SATA ports

FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review IDE port

IDE port

The 590 chipset supports up to 6 SATA 2 devices natively. Serial ATA drives have all but replaced IDE hard drives on the market today providing up to 3Gb/second of transfer rate compared to the 133Mb/second of the fastest IDE hard drives. NVIDIA calls their drive storage trademark MediaShield. MediaShield supports up to 6 drives in RAID 0 (Stripped) Mode, 2 sets of 3 drives in RAID 5 (Mirror) mode, and RAID 1+0 Mode.

Audio screenshots

FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review
FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review
FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review
FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review
FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review

One of the weaknesses of modern NVIDIA motherboard chipsets has been the total lack of support for the new High Definition Audio standard set by Intel and other audio manufacturers to replace the AC'97 standard. Intel introduced the HDA standard in 2004, and most manufacturers have supported it. With the advent of nForce 5xx series, NVIDIA supports HDA throughout their lineup, nForce 590 SLI, nForce 570 SLI and nForce 550. The FOXCONN board sports the Realtek ALC882 CODEC.

HD Audio delivers significant improvements over previous generation integrated audio and sound cards. HD Audio hardware is capable of delivering the support and sound quality for up to eight channels at 192 kHz/32-bit quality, while the AC'97 specification can only support six channels at 48 kHz/20-bit. In addition, HD Audio is architected to prevent the occasional glitches or pops that other audio solutions can have by providing dedicated system bandwidth for critical audio functions.

FOXCONN C51XEM2AA AM2 Motherboard Review I/O


The rear I/O ports on the back panel of the FOXCONN motherboard consist of a PS/2 mouse,a PS/2 Keyboard port, 6 USB 2.0 ports, 2 IEEE-1394 (Firewire) ports,.6 audio jacks for the onboard audio. The inclusion of 6 USB 2.0 ports is notable in that most motherboards only come with 4 on the back panel. Also notable are the dual LANs and the two Firewire ports, with one being atypical on most motherboards.