Using the Asus M3A79-T Deluxe was like using an old friend… ok, maybe that did not sound right. What I meant was that as soon as I took this board out of the box, I had a feeling that I had already used this board before, like there was a history there between us somehow. Ok, that sounds corny; basically, one really nice thing about Asus boards is that they do not change a bunch of stuff around and monkey with what works for them. Therefore, when you use one Asus board, you will find a great similarity on the next Asus board that you use. Boy, that was an awkward beginning!
The board has a nice heatpipe running through the middle of the board that helps to keep things cool. It does a fantastic job, as we never had any heat issues at all with the board. You are also greeted with a big sticker that puts to rest any doubt as to whether this board can support the 140w CPU or not.
The top right of the board is the location of our four DIMM slots. The board supports up to 16GB of DDR2 memory at speeds of DDR2 1066/800/667 and also supports dual channel configuration. Right next to the DIMM slots is the 24-pin power connector.
The bottom right of the board is the location of six SATA2 ports and the lone IDE connector on the board. These are powered by the SB750 southbridge which supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. You can see the heatsink covering the southbridge in this pic as well.
You also have your front panel connector pins in the corner. Right next to those are some of my favorite things ever included on motherboards: the power and reset buttons! There are also a few USB headers here, which help to supply six of the available 12 USB inputs for the board. Take a closer look at the buttons…
The bottom left of the board is the location of our floppy connector, a firewire header, and of course, all of our PCI and PCIE slots. The Asus M3A79-T Deluxe has two legacy PCI connectors and four PCIe 2.0 x16 slots that support ATI CrossFireX (dual x16, triple x16 / x8 / x8, or quad x8 modes).
This is also the area of the board where we find our audio, LAN, and firewire chips. This board sports the Marvell 88E8056 Gigabit LAN controller and the LSI L-FW3227 firewire controller. For its audio solution, the Asus board has the ADI AD2000B 8-channel Hi Def audio codec which supports jack-detection.
The top left is the location of the CPU socket, which is clear of any obstruction that you may worry about when finding a cooling solution. The very left corner is the location of the 8-pin 12v connector for the CPU – a perfect location!
The back I/O ports include one ps/2 connection, one optical and one coaxial S/PDIF port, one eSATA port that is powered by the Marvell 88SE6111 SATA controller, one firewire port, one LAN port, six USB connections and your 8-channel audio ports.