Now, as we always do we move onto the board. The layout is extremely well designed. ASRock has not gone for the full ATX PCB with this board, rather the standard ATX size. This board can be fit into smaller full tower ATX cases. The 24 pin power connector has been placed behind the four DDR3 memory slots right at the very top edge of the board, a fantastic spot indeed as it keeps the very large ATX cable well out of the way of the CPU and memory modules. The 4/8pin EPS power connector is located behind the S/PDIF output ports on the left hand side.
Using all solid state components for the voltage regulation system, the CPU area is extremely clean of any large components that may block large heatsink installs like we have seen in the past. The CPU is fed power through a 5-phase voltage regulation system to keep things as cool and stable as possible. There are no heatsinks on the Mosfets of this board.
Moving right along, we see the additional storage options that the board includes. The Southbridge used for this board is the AMD SB710, basically the same as the SB750, but lacking any RAID 5 support. This means it does have six SATA ports, only four are available for internal storage. The last two are routed to the two eSATA ports on the rear I/O. A single IDE port is also included for any legacy storage devices such as HDD's and ATAPI devices.
The I/O ports are nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary apart from the inclusion of two eSATA ports which are run off two of the six SATA channels provided by the AMD SB710 chip.
Last on our hit list are the expansion slots. ASRock has managed to get around the lack of Crossfire support that the AMD 770 chipset lacks by using the same tactics that Intel P35 chipsets used to get Crossfire working, a 16/4 configuration. There are two PCIe x16 slots on the board, green and orange. The green one is connected to the AMD 770 Northbridge and has a constant 16 lanes running to it, whilst the orange slot is a x4 electrically connected slot to 4 of the 6 lanes the SB710 supports. This gives the board Crossfire support, but lacks the full speed that even an 8/8 setup would give. There is a single PCIe x1 slot above the upper x16 slot for PCIe connectivity and three PCI legacy slots for additional connectivity.
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