The Board - Continued (Again)
Moving on to the peripheral portion of the board, we see that we have a lot of expansion room still. Though it is rare that we will need this many PCI slots anymore, it is still nice to know that you have room to grow if something new comes along that you just can't live without.
You'll have a full compliment of six PCI slots to work with along with an AGP port. Of special note regarding the AGP port is that it will not handle AGP 2x video boards. If you'll recall, these require a 3.3v power supply and this board is not designed to accommodate this. You will have to have a board that supports AGP 4x or 8x standards with a maximum voltage requirement of 1.5v.
Audio functions are handled by the VIA VT1616 chip pictured above in its native habitat. Though small in stature, it is AC'97 compliant and is capable of 6-channel sound. It can even make use of those 5.1 speakers you just happen to have sitting on your desk.
Quality wise, inbred (whoops, I meant onboard) audio has come a long way. While you will get better sound quality from your high-end audio boards, the output from this audio chipset was very capable of handling chores ranging from gaming to listening to your favorite collection of MP3s.
With all of the new features that are being built into motherboards of late, having custom backplates for the ports is becoming almost commonplace. Imagine my surprise when I looked and noted that the layout of the ports of this board are actually industry standard. I actually had to look around for the default plate that came with my case!
A quick note...if you'll take a look at the audio jacks toward the right, this isn't going to be your regular speaker/mic/line in routine. This is your support for those 5.1 speakers. The ports are actually left channel, right channel and sub.