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Foxconn Quantum Force BlackOps review

The sneakiest, stealthiest motherboard out there – with plausible deniability

Quantum Force Blackops
The BlackOps is squarely aimed at extreme overclockers

Our Verdict

Solid overclocking platform let down a bit by a ridiculous price tag and wonky Engrish interface


  • Great for overclocking
  • Chimney


  • Unsuitable for novices
  • Not that great

Black Ops traditionally refers to a group of soldiers who answer to no government and are unidentifiable.

Which is kind of bad news if you've just bought a Foxconn BlackOps motherboard – who do you return it to if it goes wrong?

There's probably a secret BIOS setting that sends Jason Bourne crashing into your house, only for him to shoot you in the head and make off with your beloved mobo. Well, actually it just goes through the normal channels. Missed opportunity there – nil points for marketing.

Retro styling

Foxconn's motherboard is based on Intel's X48 chipset; and yes, that's the expensive, high-powered one.

It includes a nifty swappable cooling system that allows for passive, active, water or a chimney for liquid nitrogen cooling. Let me just reiterate that. This is the motherboard that comes with a chimney.

Extra, bonus points for steampunk retro-aesthetics.

Lacklustre performance

Other innovations (is there a motherboard that doesn't have any these days? Does Intel ship its chipsets with a bucket of goo labelled 'innovation juice?') Include an 8-phase digital PWM, which promises to keep the power to the processor steady and constant; and a breakaway daughter card for HD audio.

The BIOS screen has been tweaked to allow easier overclocking, and you can even overclock it from within Windows.

And yet, in its un-overclocked state, the BlackOps didn't perform amazingly. It beat Asus's P5Q-Deluxe, which is based on Intel's lower price latest P45 chipset, but only by a nanohair's breadth.

Crucially, the current range of P45 boards are over £100 cheaper, and most designed with overclocking in mind.

Lost in translation

In addition, the Windows overclocking software supplied with the motherboard is, well, a bit odd.

It looks like something from an Alien movie that Ripley would fly around in, and has possibly the worst-translated text I've ever seen. "Would you like to restores the settings from the past times?" it asked me, as if it were some task-bar time machine.

It's certainly not for novices, but it seems to work, eaking out a little extra performance in PCMark05.

A motherboard for the daring

The BlackOps is squarely aimed at extreme overclockers: brave folks who would actually consider pouring volatile freezing chemicals onto their shiny £260 motherboard.

And it won't let them down, especially if they're pushing their motherboard to faster-than-lightspeed levels.

But for everyone else, it's bordering on the absurd, and also rather expensive.