It's now time to look at the board. Seeing a Core i7 board in a MicroATX format is extremely unusual. This is the top of the range platform from Intel and it's being packed into a small board. However, ASUS hasn't skimped at all; first off with the layout and by geez they have managed to do a great job with such a small amount of space.
ASUS have proven they can make a good layout, even with the limited space. The 24-pin ATX power connector along with the single IDE port is located behind the six DDR3 memory slots that the board supports. While small in size, it does pack a huge amount of memory slots. The 8-pin power connector is located behind the PS2/USB tower combo port on the left hand side.
On the lower right hand side of the board ASUS has placed the six SATA ports that are controlled by the ICH10R Southbridge on the very edge of the board and on an angle for better cable management. There is a single black SATA connector on its own that is connected to the same chip that runs the IDE port and the eSATA port on the Rear I/O.
ASUS has a very impressive power regulation system on the Gene board with a total of 8 phases which are controlled by the ASUS EPU engine to help reduce overall system power.
The rear I/O looks a lot like the normal ASUS layout with eSATA ports, digital S/PDIF audio ports; the whole shebang. While this board has the audio ports on the board, this doesn't use HD audio, but rather a Creative X-Fi chip tied into the PCIe bus.
Moving along, we come to the boards expansion possibilities. When we normally think MicroATX we don't really think of dual or quad graphics cards, however, this board is equipped with two PCIe x16 slots running full speed, thus allowing Crossfire or SLI graphics.
Between the two PCIe x16 slots is a universal x4 slot that will accommodate a third graphics card if you use single slot cards in the top x16 slot and the x4 slot. Lastly, there is a single PCI slot for legacy expansion.
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