For the most part, the layout of this board was just fine, with only one or two minor annoyances, which we will see. Let’s take a close-up look of the board.
First, at the top right of the board we have the floppy, and an IDE connector. That is right, one IDE connnector is located here. This is one of the annoyances that I was talking about. There is another IDE connector on the board, which we will look at is just a moment. But it is suffice to say that placing the two IDE connectors apart like this is annoying at best, and makes for some akward cable management.
Also on this part of the board, we have our 24-pin power connector. This is a typical placement, and works just fine. The dimm slots are also right here, and are color-coded for ease of use in a dual channel configuration. The board supports DDR2 533/667 DDR SDRAM in 4 x 240-pin DDR2 DIMM socket configuration up to 16GB.
On the bottom right portion of the board, we see the SATA connectors which are SATA II compliant and support transfer speeds up to 3Gb/s. We also see the bios chip on this part of the board, along with the clear cmos jumper and battery. You can also clearly see the placement of the NVIDIA MCP51 southbridge, which is passively cooled. The updated southbridge adds support for HD audio, which will be a nice touch to this board. This area is also where you will find the USB headers as well as the front panel connections. One of the irritating placements on the boards is also here. The IDE connector at the bottom of the board is rather annoying and can make for some awkward cable management if you happen to need to use this connector with more than one drive.
The bottom left part of the board is where we find all of our pci and pcie slots. The board has a total of three pci slots, which should be more than enough. You will not be able to use the top pci slot if you are running SLI with card that have oversize coolers on them. As stated, this board does support SLI, so it has two x16 pcie slots for your cards. Also included are 2 x1 pcie slots. Just to the left of the top pcie slots you can see the Marvell 88E1115 Gigabit LAN controller. To the left of the pci slots is where we find Realtek’s ALC883 audio solution which supports Intel’s High Definition 8 channel Audio.
At the top left of the board the first thing we notice is the actively cooled NVIDIA C19XE northbridge. The fan was not too noisy at all, and seemed to keep things cool enough enough during our overclocking. To the left of the NB, we see a standard four pin molex power connection that provides the extra power that is needed for stability when running in an SLI configuration. Just above that is where we find the four-pin 12v connector. This is an ok placement, though I prefer to see it at the very top edge of the board. Above that is the CPU socket, which has plenty of room to use any cooling that you would like. We also see the I/O connections here. The standard ps/2 for keyboard and mouse are present, as well as quite antiquated serial and parallel connection. Also included are 4 USB ports, a gigabit lan connection, the audio port, and two SPDIF out connections.