As with almost all boards out today (with a few minor exceptions) the ASRock 880G Extreme3 is built around the ATX layout. Interestingly enough, although most of the ASRock boards we have played with have had gold highlights, this one looks very familiar. It has a very distinctive blue and white design.
The upper half of the 880G Extreme3 looks like most other AMD motherboards. You still have the big plastic collar for the CPU heatsink. The RAM slots are not staggered like they are on other boards, so to have dual channel you will fill ether the blue or the white slots (or of course, all four). There are a nice amount of fan headers here, with two close to the CPU socket and one next to the RAM slots.
In the image below you will see one of our favorite pet peeves about the modern ATX board, the 8-pin Aux power socket. I know the reasons for it and I understand why it is here, but it makes me wonder if the need for this is not an indication that we have outgrown the ATX layout?
The lower half of the board has our three PCIe x16 mechanical slots. Of course, all are not capable of x16 electrical performance. The two blue slots are each capable of x16 when used singly. When used together they are capable of x8 each while the white slots are only x4. Looking at the second blue slot, there is an interesting hold-down mechanism for your GPU. It slides back and forth to lock the card into place or release it.
Opposite the peripheral slots are the six SATA 3.0 ports. We also find the handy board mounted power and reset button along with a pair of diagnostic LEDs.
The I/O ports are what we have come to expect from a motherboard with an IGP. The addition of USB 3.0 and a back mounted Clear CMOS button are even becoming common.
Wrapping up our walk around the 880G Extreme3, is pretty standard fare as far as layout goes. It does have support for three-way Crossfire, but as the third slot is only going to be x4 it is something of a waste for enthusiasts.
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