One of the first things we noticed was the eight SAS 6Gb/s ports, which is a big plus for storage uses.
The GA-7PESH3 has remote management built into the motherboard, which allows use in a server role as well as a workstation.
This board also has a full load out of PCIe slots, which enable the use of four video cards.
Overall layout of the GA-7PESH3 is typical for boards of this type. We see the same issue of RAM slot locations that we see in other boards. The orientation of the RAM slots can block airflow, and depending on the heat sinks used, it can block the use of tall memory sticks.
Even with the large Noctua heat sinks we used, we did not have a RAM cooling problem, but we used an open-air bench setup. Keep this in mind when deciding on a case to use for this motherboard.
The general layout of the board is very clean, and when installed into a case, case fan locations should blow across the motherboard.
One other issue we had with the board was the location of the power connectors and the heat sinks next to them. The left hand 8-pin connector and the main 24-pin connector are very close to heat sinks. Plugging in the power connectors was no problem, but taking them out was another story. We could not get our fingers in between the connector and the heat sink and had to use a screwdriver to push in the release tab.
This is the left side of the motherboard. Here we can see the headers used on this motherboard.
At the very top of the motherboard is the audio header. On the left side, we see two fan (white) headers. Next is the front panel header. Below that is an HDD back plane header. Next is a header for USB 2.0 There are additional jumpers between the PCIe slots. PCIe slot #1 is on the far left.
Between PCIe #1 & PCIe #2:
PCIE_SW1 shares bandwidth switch
1-2 Close: PCIE SLOT1 X16, PCIE SLOT2 X0
2-3 Close: PCIE SLOT1 X8, PCIE SLOT2 X8
Between PCIe #2 & PCIe #3:
The top white connector is IPMB1 IPMB connector
Then below the white connector is:
JP_PLD_DB Power Debug mode
JTAG1 CPLD Debug mode
Between PCIe #4 & PCIe #5:
PMBUS_SEL PMBus Power Select jumper
1-2 Close: PMBus connects to PCH.
2-3 Close: PMBus connects to BMC. (Default setting)
PCIE_SW2 shares bandwidth switch
1-2 Close: PCIE SLOT3 X16, PCIE SLOT4 X0
2-3 Close: PCIE SLOT3 X8, PCIE SLOT4 X8
Starting from where we left off, the next two connectors are two Type A USB 2.0 connectors. Below the USB connectors are two SATA (black) 3Gb/s connectors. Next, we see two SATA (red) 6Gb/s connectors. To the left side of those, we have two SATA (black) 3Gb/s connectors.
Next, we see at the bottom left of the board eight white SAS 6Gb/s connectors. The two black headers just to the right of the SAS connectors are the SAS SGPIO headers #1 and #2. And just below those are two white fan headers.
Seven PCIe slots are on the board, which break down like this.
PCIe slot #1 starts of the left.
PCIe slot 1 (x16 slot/Running at x8; shared bandwidth with PCI-E slot 2)
PCIe slot 2 (x16 slot/Default running at x16; running x8 when PCI-E slot 1 is populated)
PCIe slot 3 (x16 slot/Running at x8; shared bandwidth with PCI-E slot 4)
PCIe slot 4 (x16 slot/Default running at x16; running x8 when PCI-E slot 3 is populated)
PCIe slot 5 (x16 slot/Running at x8; shared bandwidth with PCI-E slot 6)
PCIe slot 6 (x16 slot/Default running at x16; running x8 when PCI-E slot 5 is populated)
PCIe slot 7 (x16 slot/Running at x16)
Here we can see the backside I/O. On the left, we have two USB 2.0 ports with a PS/2 port just below. Next is a COM port with the video port below. The next two stacks have an RJ45 LAN Port with two USB 3.0 ports below. Next is the KVM Server Management 10/100 LAN Port with two USB 2.0 ports below. The last stack contains the audio outputs.
At the front of the motherboard, we see the eight white SAS 6Gb/s connectors.