Package and Contents
First off we look at the box itself. ASUS uses a black, red and white colour scheme for the Republic of Gamers boards, which is pretty much identically packed each time. The box front has only the board model number shown as well as the company logo and associating logos of the hardware support.
On the back of the box ASUS has a lot of marketing info along with a full spec list. The very same spec list is also on the ASUS website. Unfortunately there is no colour photo of the board itself here, though.
Software and documentation has always been something ASUS prides itself on. A single user manual is included in the box which is quite thick; it is extremely detailed on the setup of the hardware and software. The included DVD has drivers and software for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavours.
Continuing on, we have the cables that are included to get you up and running. Out of a total 10 SATA ports that the board is equipped with, you get six SATA data cables. There are no IDE cables with this board, the reason being that ASUS has not included an IDE port on the board; this one is all native.
ASUS gives you an eSATA/USB PCI cover bracket to give you an extra eSATA port and two USB ports. A SLI link cable is also included along with a USB TurboV connector cable.
Lastly on the accessories front is the audio. ASUS has decided to move audio off the rear I/O to give them more room for other ancillaries and puts the audio on a daughter board.
The SupremeFX X-Fi audio board might make you think you are actually getting a Creative X-Fi audio card, but don't hold your breath. The daughter board is just a HD 8 channel audio codec with support for Creative's 3D audio standard. In fact, MSI is still the only one supplying true Creative X-Fi audio PCIe cards. The SupremeFX X-Fi will not work in any other board apart from this ASUS board.