The Motherboard Continued
Moving north on the board, we get up to the four RAM slots which support up to 32GB of DDR3 at speeds ranging from 1066MHz DDR to 2133MHz DDR. Apart from the RAM slots, the only other real stand out around here is of course that 24-Pin ATX power connector that sits just below.
Moving around to the CPU area, you can see our 8-Pin CPU connector which sits just between a couple of 4-Pin fan headers.
The CPU area itself is really clean and you can see the beefy heatsink setup that's present on the board. The heatsink looks and feels great and the far left one has got some green LEDs in it that light up when the board is up and running. It adds a nice bit of contrast to the board on a whole and looks great.
The I/O side of things is where the board gets really interesting. We've got normal things like a combo PS/2 port, seven USB 2.0 ports and a combo eSATA / USB port. Being a Z68 based board, like most companies we've got some form of video output and in this case it's HDMI. We've also got two USB 3.0 ports shown in blue which run off the Etron EJ168 controller.
The three stand outs here, though, are the Gigabit networking port that runs off the Bigfoot Killer E2100 chip. We've seen a lot of graphs showing how much better a Killer based NIC is verse your typical onboard NIC. I'm not 100% sure how this actually affects you in game, but now that we're seeing it embedded in boards it's a really nice addition. What I don't doubt is that it's better than your typical onboard Realtek NIC.
The next stand out feature is on the audio side of things. While five auxiliary ports and an optical one aren't too surprising, the fact that the controller behind these ports is the Creative CA20K2 chip means that the onboard X-Fi and EAX Advanced HD 5.0 make it one of the best on board audio options available.
Finally, the last stand out is that OC button which simply automatically overclocks your CPU. I'm not sure what it pushes your CPU to, but we'll find out what it takes our i7 2600k to when we get up and running.
Page 3 of 13
Further Reading: Read and find more Motherboards content at our Motherboards reviews, guides and articles index page.
Do you get our RSS feed? Get It!