As always, the most important part is the motherboard itself; after all, that's what you're shelling out your cash for. abit has done a fine job on the I-N73H; its layout is extremely tidy for a small board. The 24-pin power connector, IDE and FDD connectors all get placed behind the two DDR2 memory slots the board has on the right hand edge. Yes, the board is limited to 2GB of memory, but 2GB is pretty much the limit you will want for this setup as you're not going to be running SLI graphics and high-end gaming on this board. The 4/8-pin combo power port gets placed behind the PS/2 ports on the left top edge of the board, just above the heatsink that keeps the Mosfets cool.
The four SATA ports driven the by the onboard GeForce chipset get placed on the bottom right edge of the board, well away from any of the slots or connectors which make it very easy to install this board into even the most cramped Micro ATX cases out there. And believe me, there are quite a few suffering space constraints.
abit has decided to use a 4-phase voltage regulation system to supply the CPU a stable voltage. While three phases on a board of this design would have been enough to power most of the Core 2 range of CPUs (45nm require less voltage and are now quite dominant in the market), it is good to see some extra power added to the board. The components are not based around solid state; they use older capacitor technology. While cheaper, they do run hotter. The Mosfets are kept cool by a dedicated heatsink.
Moving down to the rear I/O ports, we see pretty much a standard layout affair. While they are not in the same position as other boards, there is nothing new here. The board has for its video output a CRT port and a HDMI port for the onboard graphics. If you need to run a DVI-D port, you can get a HDMI to DVI converter, but it is not supplied.
Now we come down to the final section on the board and that is the expansion slots you get for add-on components. First off, the PCI Express side of things. We have an orange coloured slot that can accommodate a graphics card or any other PCI Express based add-on with up to 16 lanes in support. A single PCI Express x1 slot located above the graphics card makes up the PCI Express expansion components. Lastly, two PCI legacy slots are included for older TV tuners and sound cards; however with PCI Express now incorporating these devices, we hope to see the end of PCI by 2009. In the way of add-on controllers there is a single Texas Instruments PCI based FireWire controller chip.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications]
- Page 3 [The Box and What's Inside]
- Page 4 [The Motherboard]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Overclocking]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup and Memory Performance]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - PCMark05]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - HDD Performance]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks - 3DMark06]
- Page 11 [Benchmarks - Prey]
- Page 12 [Benchmarks - Battlefield 2142]
- Page 13 [Benchmarks - Far Cry]
- Page 14 [Power Consumption Tests]
- Page 15 [Final Thoughts]