The IDE ports are tucked away close to the primary power connection. Their placement should make it pretty easy to get your cabling to the necessary devices, and their location toward the top edge of the motherboard will help make tidying the cables up a breeze. You won't have to worry about working miracles to get the cabling close to a frame of the enclosure since they're right there from the beginning.
The layout of the external ports is pretty straightforward. The Firewire port is in a bit different spot than I am used to, but accessing it was no problem. Also included in the setup is a backplate that will fit into any standard ATX style case so you won't have to worry about modifying your old one to fit this board.
One of the new features of the Neo 2 Platinum is this CoreCell module. The CoreCell feature is composed of four capabilities; Speedster (for overclocking), Power Pro (for power saving), Life Pro (temperature control and fan monitoring), and Buzz Free (for noise management). It is basically designed to help you out no matter what your goals in the system may be. From enthusiast to power-saving miser, the CoreCell is made to be make your life a little easier.
Remember when I said you had LAN capabilities included with this board? To be a little more specific, you have dual GigABIT Ethernet ports all made possible because of this little Realtek RTL8110S-32 chip embedded onto the motherboard. The backplate uses two standard RJ-45 jacks and automatically switches to 10/100/1000 Mb speeds.
I was a bit surprised to see a VIA chip attached to the motherboard that uses the nForce3 chipset, but here you have it. In actuality, this VIA VT6306 chip allows the use of Firewire (IEEE1394) capabilities. It used to be that you could only get Firewire on an Intel based system, but the transition has been successful for the AMD crowd to enjoy this feature too and you will find this particular chipset from VIA is very popular these days.
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