Package and Contents
Into the extras we delve first. ASUS has gone with a totally different board to its other boards it ships on the market. Its style is like an army camouflage theme. On the front there is little info but the back gives a full feature list of what the board supports. You can open the front flap to get a view of the board itself, that's when you know just what you are getting.
In terms of software and documentation, ASUS provides a good bundle, enough to get you started and beyond. First is the user manual. This baby has quite a lot of info on the board, features and setup procedures; ASUS always provides a good manual. Software side of things there is a single driver CD with all the drivers for Windows XP and XP64. There is an Intervideo bundle that ASUS is packaging with all its top of the line boards which comes with WinDVD and WinPVR. If that wasn't enough, you also get a copy of 3DMark06 Advanced Edition along with some anti-virus software.
The cables that are provided in the first bundle are a single IDE cable and a single FDD cable, 1 Firewire port and 2 USB ports. There are also 3 thermal probes provided so you can monitor certain other areas of the system like the VGA, HDD and chipset. A flexible SLI bridge connector is provided for use with SLI graphics cards.
There are 6 SATA cables provided for the onboard SATA controller, 3 SATA power adapters with 2 SATA drivers per adapter (total of 6 SATA power) and lastly is the I/O shield for the rear of the case, since ASUS uses different port configurations on each of their boards.
Lastly we come to the audio extra. ASUS ran out of room on the board to add the audio ports. To this end, a special daughter board is used with the HD Audio codec onboard with 6 Stereo audio ports, the front audio connector header and the analogue CD-IN port. This plugs into a PCI Express x1 like port above the first PCI Express x16 port on the board. A SoundMAX Microphone system is provided as an additional extra for your system.