Click here for a 3000x2500 high-res shot of the board (3 MB download), the backside is here.
The CPU socket area isn't offering that much space. Especially the area near the IO shield with all the capacitors is a bit crowded. However, even big CPU coolers fit fine, the chipset cooler is not very high, so it will not become a problem with huge heatsinks.
The IO backpanel is pretty much standard. From left to right you have PS/2 Keyboard, PS/2 Mouse, Parallel Port, one Serial port, four USB Ports, Ethernet and six audio connectors.
The motherboard's memory slots have been color coded for easy dual-channel configuration. To run your memory in dual-channel mode you have to put the modules into slots of the same color. I find the placement a bit uncommon, usually it is, that you have one empty slot between the modules when you run dual-channel, which helps the memory temperature a little bit.
ASRock uses a 20-pin ATX power connector on this board, pretty uncommon, now that most new motherboards use 24-pins. During testing there were no power issues, so this is fine. What I find more disturbing is the placement of the connectors. Most users prefer to have their power connectors closer to the PSU, which would mean that the power connector should be where the memory sockets are.
Two black SATA ports are handled by the ULi chipset and another red one, which is SATA-II capable, has been added by the use of an additional controller chip.
As you would expect from an upgrader's board there are two ATA-133 connectors.
Other motherboard manufacturers color-code the Power/Reset/LED headers, here they are all black but they follow the standard layout and the manual has the info too.
The first yellow slot will be used when you install a CPU Upgrade Card which will be available from ASRock once AMD releases Socket M2. This will not be until Cebit 2006. A great feature to save money during upgrades.
Below that is the white PCI-Express x16 connector. Then you have a PCI-E x1 slot. The next port is the AGP 8x slot. Below the AGP port are three PCI slots.
ASRock has given good thought to their slot placement. You can run two video cards with dual-slot cooling solutions and will still be able to use PCI cards.
These four jumper blocks will be used in conjunction with the CPU Card. If you have the card installed, you have to move all jumpers to the other location so that the signals will be routed to the CPU Card instead of the CPU Socket on the motherboard.