Normally we start on the package and contents, however the board we were sent didn't come in its retail box and was just plastered with shipping labels so unfortunately we were unable to comment about it. As such, we have decided to skip this part and go straight on to the board.
Being the budget oriented hope for NVIDIA, the board is a microATX layout with a few design no-no's. The 24-pin power connector gets placed between the CPU socket and the rear I/O ports, making you route the power cable either around if you have enough cable length or over the CPU heatsink itself, this reducing air flow in what is usually already a small and restrictive case. The 4-pin power cable is in a sensible spot in the top left corner behind the PS/2 ports. The single IDE port controlled by the 630a southbridge is located behind the four memory ports at the top right of the board.
The CPU area for a budget board is extremely clean. 3 phase power is used to supply the CPU with enough juice to handle any of the AMD Athlon 64 AM2 range of CPUs, but is it enough to overclock? We'll find that out shortly. The capacitors on this board are of the old electrolyte design and older coil voltage regulators are used rather than solid state as we are now getting spoilt by.
The rear I/O ports are nothing special apart from the inclusion of a DVI port which gives you the option for connecting your LCD through the DVI port. The GeForce 7050 chipset which powers this board is capable of HDMI output which we would have liked to have seen included. If it's supported, why leave it out? AMD 690G has already seen HDMI onboard.
We now come down to the expansion slots. If you're not into using the onboard graphics system that the GeForce 7050 provides, or you want to upgrade later on you have that option thanks to a single PCI Express x16 slot for graphics cards. Keeping with PCI Express the board has a single PCI Express x1 slot at the bottom of the board and two PCI slots between it and the PCI Express x16 slot.
Page 3 of 13
Further Reading: Read and find more Motherboards content at our Motherboards reviews, guides and articles index page.
Do you get our RSS feed? Get It!