- Stable, good connectivity, excellent performance
- No firewire, poor capacitor placement.
We liked the stability and connectivity features of this board, which includes FireWire800, but we are disappointed that the board does not ship with a FireWire expansion bracket as standard.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
The striking red backdrop of the circuit board against black ports gives the 955X7AA a "don't mess with me" attitude, but if you're contemplating using an Intel Pentium Extreme Edition CPU then you will definitely want to mess with it. The Intel 955X-based Foxconn has good connectivity, a competitive price tag and it performed solidly in our tests.
We installed Windows XP without a hitch on the integrated Intel SATA RAID controller, where we set up a RAID 0 array, and Foxconn is good enough to provide a floppy disk with the RAID drivers on it so you won't have to create your own off the CD-ROM.
In addition to the integrated four-port Intel RAID SATA controller, Foxconn has added a four-port Silicon Image SATA RAID controller, which gives the system a total of eight SATA ports. If that's not enough to satisfy your storage needs, you can also use the four-port ITE ATA RAID controller, which would come in handy if you had older parallel ATA drives lying around and wanted to put them to good use.
External drives can also be connected through the USB 2.0 ports on the rear port cluster of the board, which also houses legacy (serial and parallel) ports as well as dual Gigabit Ethernet ports that are attached to individual Broadcom controller chips.
The layout of this board is a little busy, and the lack of colour coding or labelling of the front panel connector pins is slightly inconvenient.
A heat sink and fan assembly sits atop the Northbridge chipset, which is very close to the PCIe graphics slot. Capacitors around the release lever for this slot could make graphics card removal painful. We did like the stiff memory socket levers, which lock into place very securely and ensure that your modules won't wriggle out of place during transit, or by inadvertently being knocked while you work on other parts of your system.
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Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
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