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PHYSICAL DETAILS & LAYOUT
A board's layout is important in several regards. The positioning of components
can dictate compatibility with other products (third party heatsinks mainly)
and also ease of installation. Poorly placed power connectors can also airflow
and make the system more thermally challenging.
Bird's eye view.
At first glance, the layout is eeriely similar to the MA78GM-S2H.
From connector placement to heatsink construction, the boards appear identical
with only one exception the new board has only two memory slots. As 2GB
DIMMs are now widely available, this shouldn't be a concern unless you plan
on using more than 4GB of RAM. The lack of memory slots is really the only clue
that this is a budget motherboard Gigabyte has provided 4 USB expansion
headers and 6 SATA ports, unheard of in the $60 price range. The layout is good,
with all connectors on the edges and there are two fan headers, both of the
4-pin, PWM variety.
Viewed from the side.
The chipset heatsinks are well designed with many thin fins, though the one
sitting atop the northbridge is much shorter than normal this is necessary
due to its close proximity to the PCI-E 1x expansion slot. To cut costs, only
the capacitors that handle CPU power regulation are of the solid-state variety.
Back panel connectors.
The back panel isn't loaded with outputs, but it does offer enough to satisfy
most users. Both VGA and DVI outputs are provided as well as a coaxial S/PDIF
port. No HDMI unfortunately as it is a low-cost solution. The PS/2 mouse port
has been done away with, so be sure to have a USB mouse handy.
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