Now it's to the motherboard. ASUS's ROG series and most of its other high-end boards come on the black/dark brown PCB.
Layout plays a big part on a high-end board, if you're going to fork out some heavy dollars you want to hope the company has done a really good job here.
The Blitz Formula is extremely neat and tidy. The 24-pin power connector along with the FDD port are located directly behind the DDR2 memory slots on the right hand side of the board. The IDE port and the six SATA ports are also located on the right hand edge of the board and are all rotated 90 degrees to keep the cable clutter to a minimum.
Being a high-end board, ASUS has gone overboard on the power regulation system and thrown a full 8 phase regulation system that runs on full solid state capacitors. The heatpipe that runs along the voltage system also cools the northbridge, southbridge and Crosslinx chip.
ASUS's rear I/O ports keep changing from board to board, and that's always a good thing, more change means more ports usually. There is only a single PS/2 port for a keyboard, the mouse one has completely disappeared. In its place are two extra USB ports. An RCA and Toslink SPDIF port make their appearance for digital audio output. One of the more note worthy features is a CMOS reset button on the back allowing you to reset the CMOS without having to take the cover off.
Now we come down to the last part on the board, the expansion slots and where ASUS has its ace up its sleeve. While the Blitz Formula has two PCI Express x16 slots for Crossfire support, its not the traditional 16/4 split but rather 8/8. How is this possible? The extra chip from IDT under the Crosslinx heatpipe cover takes over the reigns. The IDT or Crosslinx chip as ASUS calls it, is nothing but a PCI Express bridge allowing the chip to split the 16 lanes from the northbridge into two separate 8 lanes, giving it the same Crossfire setup as the 975X chipset.
To add to this, there are two PCI Express x1 slots coloured white and two PCI slots. The black PCI Express x1 slot is actually the module slot for the sound daughter board.
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