Compared to the AB9 Pro, the AB9 QuadGT is quite a different board. First off the PCB has changed colours from light brown to a dark blue. Size wise the board is the same full sized ATX layout.
Placements of the onboard connectors are reasonably sensible with the 24-pin power socket located behind the memory slots. The 4/8 pin combo power port is above the Silent OTESII cooling system just behind the PS2 ports. The FDD port is the only major gripe here, ABIT continues to place it in the most ridiculous spot at the bottom right of the board. The SATA ports are extremely well located as it keeps them well out of the way of any large graphics cards that you may want to install.
ABIT was the first motherboard manufacturer to design what they now call OTES which is essentially a heat pipe system that removes heat from the Northbridge and voltage regulation systems and vents it external to the case through special holes in the rear I/O plate - AB9 QuadGT has a new silent version, it is an all copper design rather than alloy on the Pro version. The heatsinks and pipes cool the 5 phase voltage system that powers the CPU and the Northbridge though an interconnected heatpipe. Since the ICH8R doesn't generate enough heat to warrant an extra pipe system, it is simply passively cooled. Active cooling isn't required since the heat pipes will be cooled by the CPU fan and from other air flow within the case and this helps in building a system which is quiet as possible.
Again like some recent ABIT motherboards, the QuadGT features all solid state capacitors made in Japan which is more expensive than regular types. Companies such as ABIT, ASUS and Gigabyte are leading the way moving to this more expensive capacitor which they generally operate cooler, provide better voltage regulation and last much longer than regular capacitors hence increasing stability, durability and overall product lifetime. DFI were probably the first to do it but ABIT have also switched to a digital PWM which provides a more stable platform especially when overclocking.
Since most of the engineers at ABIT are overclockers themselves, they've naturally tried to create a product which is ideal for us as well. Onboard you've got a very handy on / off buttons which will be perfect for when you're trying to hit the highest FSB. Quite a few companies include this feature these days but it's a surprise more don't do it.
ABIT has done a fantastic job with the QuadGT's rear I/O port configuration. Most notably are the two e.SATA ports that run off a JMicron SATA controller that also operates the Parallel ATA port which the board supports. There are also a couple SPDIF ports for digital audio in and out as well as a clear CMOS switch which means no more opening the case to reset the BIOS. You've also got a bunch of other connectors which are quite standard.
Expansion slots are also fantastic. First off compared to the older AB9 Pro, this board has two PCI Express x16 slots which is a requirement if you intend on running Crossfire dual graphics. There is a blue x16 slot that runs at full speed off the Northbridge and the black x16 slot only runs at x4 speeds - the same as the Gigabyte and ASUS P965 boards that are in the same class as this one. ABIT hasn't implemented a PCI Express switch system so there is only a single PCI Express x1 slot, whereas Gigabyte provides three on their DQ6 model.
As far as onboard features go, things are looking really impressive so far but how about overclocking? Let's find out!