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A board's layout is important as the positioning of components can dictate
compatibility with other products like third party heatsinks and also disrupt
airflow, making a system more thermally challenging. On a mini-ITX board it's
really not that important as just getting everything on to such a small PCB
is a task in itself.
The layout is almost completely upside-down compared to most microATX/ATX
boards. The chipset heatsink and SATA ports are at the top edge next to
the PS/2 port on the back panel while the CPU socket and power connectors
are on the bottom half of the board. The capacitors are all solid-state,
but there are only 12 of them, an usually low number.
Due to the location of the CPU socket, one of our favorite coolers for
mini-ITX motherboards, the Scythe Big Shuriken, can't be installed without
blocking the PCI Express slot. Smaller coolers like the regular Shuriken
and asymmetrical heatsinks like the Prolimatech Samuel 17 do fit.
The VRM area is covered by a small heatsink with holes cut out to make
way for three capacitors.
The back panel features a handy CMOS reset button, a pair of USB 3.0 ports
(blue), HDMI, DVI, eSATA, and S/PDIF connectors.
The board has a mini PCI Express slot populated by an 802.11n adapter.
The antenna assembly isn't attached out of the box so the leads to the
WiFi card have to connected by the end-user.
The antenna bracket is screwed onto the back panel from the trace side
of the board.
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