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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 disrupt
airflow and make the system more thermally challenging.
The board's layout is fairly orderly.
The main ATX power connector is located on the right side of the board
above five SATA ports and a single IDE connector at right angle
to the PCB. A molex connector is located at the very bottom of the board
under the PCI slot to give the onboard audio an independent supply of
The northbridge cooler is good sized and short enough to avoid
problems for third party CPU coolers. The southbridge heatsink, as typical
on Asus boards, is diminutive. Asus has also covered it with a decorative
plate depicting an equalizer graph making it more difficult to dissipate
heat. The voltage regulators to the left of the CPU socket are bare.
The back panel is stocked with everything one would expect to see on a
HTPC-oriented board including HDMI, S/PDIF, and the aforementioned gold-plated
RCA audio ports. There is also a sticker urging us to connect the included
remote receiver to one of two specified USB ports.
The board with an Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 heatsink installed.
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