Package and Contents
For a motherboard based in the more mid- to high-end market, XFX has used a very large box for what actually comes inside. A lot of cardboard has been used in the packaging for shipping purposes so no damage can happen in transit. Well that is the theory behind it, in all a smaller box would be OK to cut down on costs here. The front of the XFX box is pretty bare with just the model and company logos.
On the back of the packaging XFX has gone the full hog and decked it out with quite a lot of info on the board's features as well as a large colour photo of the board itself. We are particularly fond of companies displaying photos of the boards they sell now, as it does eliminate a lot of confusion; if you are after a stylish board you know what you are getting and not a mystery prize as in the past.
XFX has not skimped on documents for the board or on its software. There are a total of two manuals; the black one is a quick install manual that gives you info on the headers as well as the front panel orientation. The white and green user manual gives full detailed descriptions as well as BIOS setup help. The software CD contains Windows XP, XP64 and Vista drivers so you are all set for whatever OS you want to run.
The cables and accessories supplied are reasonable, out of the six onboard SATA ports the board boasts, you only get four data cables and two SATA Y-splitters. That gives you out of the box support for four drives. Want more? You are going to have to beg, borrow, or steal (or buy) extra cables. There are single rounded and sleeved IDE and FDD cables for those drives.
As part of the reference design you get two PCI cover brackets. One contains a four port USB setup and the second gives you an extra Firewire port. If your case has a Firewire front port you can wire it up to the onboard header and eliminate one of the extra covers. A double spaced SLI PCB bridge is included so you can setup SLI if you so desire, and an ATX rear I/O cover is supplied for installing the board into any standard ATX case.