Foxconn DigitaLife ELA
Taking a look at the ELA, its layout is quite standard for an ATX motherboard. It seems to be very well thought out with the sockets and jumpers spaced out well. However one slight issue which could arise during installation is the location of the floppy connector, this could be blocked by a large graphics card in the middle PCI-E socket.
Most motherboards usually look the same, with bland connectors and the usual Asus style black PCB. The ELA is slightly different, it features a red PCB and sockets in a range of colours: blue, white, red and yellow. The wide range of colours makes the board look quite colourful but unfortunately, they also give the board quite a cheap look as it almost appears that none of the parts were designed specifically for this board; more like they were taken from an excess bin.
On the left – in the usual placement – are the add-on card slots. In total there are 2 PCI slots, 2 PCI-E 1x slots and 3 PCI-E 16X slots. I hear your jaw break… and I did write that correctly. Foxconn have managed to design the ELA to support CrossfireX with the full x8 bandwidth for each card. The secret to how they’ve managed to do this lies between the first and second PCI-E slots. See that heatsink? Sitting below that is an integrated IDT PCI-E switch, this magically supplements the three lanes so triple graphics cards can be used.
At the front of the board are 6 side mounted SATA ports alongside a single IDE connector. Side mounted ports are far better for cable management, but can be frustrating when plugging in a cable in the ‘bottom’ socket when one is plugged into the top one.
Cooling the South Bridge (Intel ICH10R) is a simple copper heatsink with ‘Foxconn’ machined atop.
The North Bridge (Intel P45) is again cooled by a copper heatsink; this one however stands a whopping 3cm tall. A heat-pipe from the ‘sink then joins it to another.