Foxconn C51XEM2AA 590 SLI
Board Layout and Features
For our initial test of the NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI platform, NVIDIA sent us the Foxconn retail motherboard that was based almost exactly on NVIDIA’s own reference board design. The advantage of this is that NVIDIA gets to showcase their entire lineup of features and users will still be able to purchase this exact product, unlike other reference boards we have tested here before.
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The board itself looks very much like other nForce SLI motherboards we have seen. Still using a two-chip design for their core logic, NVIDIA did not migrate to a single chip design like ATI’s XPress 3200 chipset did this year.
The new AM2 processor socket, nearly identical to the previous 939- and 940-pin packages, has a new heatsink retention mechanism that board vendors can choose to install horizontally or vertically based on their board’s requirements. Here the Foxconn motherboard used a vertical placement.
The expansion configuration has two full x16 PCIe slots for SLI support, two additional PCIe connections and two legacy PCI slots as well. If you use two single-slot video cards in SLI mode, you’ll have access to all the additional expansion slots but if you go for the 7900 GTX then you’ll find you have only a single PCI slot and one x4 PCIe slot open for additional components. If you add in a sound card, that means your upgrade options are very limited from that time forward.
The external connections shown here include both a 4-pin and 8-pin FireWire connection as well as six total USB 2.0 ports. Audio output for 8-channel analog is available as is a single optical SPDIF output too. There are two GigE networking connections provided by the nForce 590 SLI MCP as we went into detail on earlier as well.
The Zalman heatsink that NVIDIA sent along with the review kit fit well on the Foxconn motherboard, though the DIMM modules were coming very close to making contact with the heatsink fins as you can see here.