As noted back when we removed the board from the box, this baby is PURPLE. Not just a little, but akin to your favorite grape soda. With a little imagination and some interior lighting, there are some serious possibilities for this board with regards to pure aesthetics. But looks aren't everything, so lets buckle down and get into the intimate workings of this colorful board.
Beginning with the area of the Socket, we see that there isn't too much clutter around it. This is certainly helpful in terms of installation since it will make things much easier to install. And while there are a few capacitors and such in the vicinity of the socket, there should be no problem with using your favorite heatsink.
That is unless you happen to have something along the lines of an Alpha or Swiftech cooler. If you'll notice the PCB area around the socket itself, you'll notice the lack of the four mounting holes that are necessary to use either of these cooler types. So be warned that if your heatsink requires you to make use of the four holes around the processor socket, they are not available on this board.
Since we're in the neighborhood, we'll stop by and visit the Northbridge next. With a tall passive cooling solution installed, you won't have to worry about any extra noise from a chipset cooler. Running both default and overclocked speeds during testing, I never had any issues that could be attributed to the Northbridge overheating, so you shouldn't have any concerns about this.
EEK! It's naked! ...Sorry, couldn't resist.
Sitting under that high-rise passive cooler is the latest in AMD supporting chipsets, the VIA KT600. We've been hearing good and bad recently about this new breed, so we wanted to see firsthand how was truth and what was myth. But I don't want to spoil the fun yet, so we'll look at that later on.
Moving from the north to the south finds us in front of the VIA VT8237 Southbridge. While the model name might make you think that it isn't much improved from the older Southbridge sets that were on the KT333 boards, nothing could be further from the truth. The Southbridge will handle the chores of your optical and hard drives, audio output, PCI devices, mouse and keyboard functions, all your USB devices and even SATA RAID tasks. That's right, there is no need for a separate RAID controller onboard since this will be handled by the VT8237 Southbridge. Looks like this little chip is going be busy!