ASUS has used the same colour scheme that the rest of the ROG boards used - the black/brown colour PCB with blue and white slots. Layout wise, we have a hard time to pick at anything here. The 24-pin power connector along with the FDD port is placed behind the four DDR-2 memory slots at the right hand side of the board. The DDR-2 memory slots are coloured with 2 blue and 2 white to identify channels A and B for proper dual channel implementation. The 4/8 pin combo CPU power plug gets plated at the top left of the board behind the PS/2 port towers, away from the CPU area, allowing for a good air flow profile on the board.
The IDE port and 6 Serial ATA ports are located below the 24-pin power plug on the right hand side of the board. This is also a very acceptable place for them. The SATA ports are stacked with 3 rows of 2 ports on a 90 degree angle to the board, allowing you to keep all the cables in one area and out of the way of large graphics cards such as nVidia's GeForce 8800GTX. Without doubt a very clean and efficient layout!
To one of the most important parts of the board we go to now, that being the CPU area. If you can't install a good sized heatsink to handle the heat of overclocking, it's not worth buying. ASUS knows this and has done a very good job of keeping as much of the towering components clear of the socket area as possible.
The CPU gets its power from an 8 phase voltage system that is cooled by a large (and very silent) heat pipe assembly that also cools the North and Southbridge chips. If you use water cooling or some type of passive cooling, the provided blower fan attaches to the top of the Mosfet block to dissipate the heat that is generated from the voltage regulators as well as the North and Southbridge chips. If you use conventional air cooling, you don't need to install this as the air from regular and reference type Socket 775 CPU heatsinks exhaust is used to cool the surrounding components.
The rear I/O ports are cut done some what compared to the other ROG boards. There are no e.SATA ports or any LED power switch to turn on the D.I.Y LEDs on the board. While the features here are somewhat short, it's clear ASUS has designed this motherboard for gamers and there is enough there for such a person. The rest (optical output, digital coaxial output, dual gigabit LAN and so) however remains the same with the LCD post panel which automatically errors and posts physical system errors on the LCD during POST. As far as extra features go to make your life that little bit easier, ASUS include an onboard power switch which allows you to switch the system on and off without shorting jumpers and that's extremely handy during overclocking. And again we see the inclusion of the ASUS Q-Connector which makes it much easier to hook up the front panel cables to the motherboard.
ASUS has done a rather interesting job on the expansion slots on the board. For PCI Express expansion, there are only a couple of PCI Express x16 slots, one at the top of the board and one further down. The top slot runs at full speed x16 all the time and the second slot runs at x4 speeds, which is limited by the Intel P965 chipset. There are no PCI Express x1 slots for further expansion as these have been routed to the second PCI Express x16 slot. This allows it to continue operating at x4 and not see any bandwidth reduction, as you would, if you installed any devices in the PCI-E slots like on other motherboards.
You have four PCI conventional slots that make up the final expansion layout with a single audio slot at the top of the expansion slots. This slot looks like a PCI Express x1 slot however it is routed to the ICH8's sound bus for the audio daughter board. This expansion configuration is interesting considering the lack of extra PCI-E slots but we're guessing ASUS figure this board is just for gamers and you'll either use onboard audio (which supports 24bit/192kHz full sampling and DTS - by no means poor) or a PCI sound card and have no need for things like extra PCI-E RAID cards.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications]
- Page 3 [Package]
- Page 4 [Motherboard]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Overclocking]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Everest]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - PCMark]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - WorldBench]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - Adobe Premiere Elements]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks - 3DMark06]
- Page 11 [Benchmarks - PREY]
- Page 12 [Benchmarks - Far Cry]
- Page 13 [Final Thoughts ]
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