Above, you can see a snapshot of the AS45GTR. The first thing that caught my eye was the BLUE PCB with the matching DIMM slots. This would definitely look good in a windowed case with a blue cathode. The board is of normal ATX size.
Above you can see a snapshot of the CPU socket. Around it you have your normal socket adapter for the retail HSF as well as other models. You can see that this socket adapter has screws rather then those push pins to hold it down. The screws are much better and easier to remove and they don't require you to take out your motherboard like other motherboard solutions. At the top of the socket you have quite a few resistors. Below and on both sides of the socket you have very few. Near the bottom of the picture you can see the Northbridge. Unfortunately, it only has an aluminum heatsink to keep it cool with no active fan cooling. We would really like to see motherboard manufacturers using fan cooling every time since the Northbridge tends to hold overclockers back sometimes when they are not properly cooled.
The Shuttle AS45GTR comes equipped with three DIMM slots supporting up to DDR3200 officially. They are painted blue, which is a nice compliment to the blue color of the mainboard's PCB. In the top right of this snapshot you can see the power connectors for this motherboard. You have the normal ATX connector and the P4 12v connector. Shuttle has also included a third connector (AUX) that you can hook up to add more stability. We are seeing more and more of these third connectors to improve stability. We saw an extra 4-pin connector on the P4S8X which claimed to add more stability.
In the bottom right you have your normal IDE connectors which support ATA 33/66/100/133. You can hook up two devices to each channel.
Above you can see the Southbridge of the chipset, the SiS 931. Normally, the Southbridge never has any sort of cooling on top of it. Shuttle has opted to include a heatsink on top of the Southbridge to add more stability and to keep the Southbridge running cool.
The Shuttle AS45GTR uses a Phoenix based BIOS chip. Unfortunately, not too many companies like Shuttle have decided to incorporate a feature similar to Gigabyte's Dual BIOS feature. It is a great feature because if one of your BIOS chips dies due to a faulty Flash, you still have a backup. Perhaps they will be included in future motherboards from Shuttle?
The Shuttle AS45GTR does, in fact, include two RAID IDE ports. You can choose to disable RAID and use these ports as regular UDMA IDE ports or create an array with your hard drives. (RAID 0, RAID 0+1 etc.) The RAID on the AS45GTR is powered by the very popular Highpoint chip. This board uses the HPT372 model. The setup of RAID on this board is extremely easy thanks to the programmers over at Highpoint.
One of the big features of the AS45GTR that sticks out to everyone and anyone is the fact that it supports the new technology of Serial ATA. Above you can see a picture of the two Serial ATA ports stuck right beside your RAID ports. Note the size difference and how far technology has come between the two different ports. Not only should Serial ATA/RAID be faster then your conventional IDE/RAID setup, it also takes a lot less space and cables won't clutter your airflow.
The AS45GTR has the conventional 5 PCI slot/1 AGP slot setup. The 5 PCI slots support PCI 32-bit devices. The AGP slot has support for 4x and 8x AGP cards. Above the AGP slot there is an extra fan header for your future AGP cooling needs. This is a nice feature that not a lot of boards include.
The rear panel of this motherboard is quite basic. It has your normal pair of PS2 ports, two USB ports supporting up to USB 2.0, printer port, game port, sound ports etc. The onboard sound on this motherboard supports up to 6.1 channel sound. One feature that this board does lack is onboard LAN. It would have been nice if Shuttle would have included it on the AS45GTR.