Click here for a 3000x2500 high-res shot of the board (3 MB download), the backside is here.
The first you will notice when you hold this board in you hands, is that it is a good deal smaller than most other ATX motherboards.
Even though the board is small there is still plenty of space around the CPU socket area. To check if big coolers fit, we used the Thermaltake Golden Orb II, which is one of the biggest coolers, there were no space issues at all.
PS/2 Keyboard, PS/2 Mouse, LPT, SPDIF Out, one COM port, Audio, Gigabit Ethernet, four USB Ports. On the backside panel the most important connectors are included. The layout matches the ATX standard, except that the SPDIF Out is located where a second serial port would would be. This is perfectly fine, most users will prefer it that way.
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.
While the 24-pin ATX power connector is very conveniently placed, the ATX12V connector could be placed in a better location.
You will find two parallel ATA ports on this motherboard, for a total of four IDE devices. Both ports are provided by the nForce4 chipset and are specced to run at up to 133 MB/s.
While SATA-II is not much of a performance improvement, having four 300 MB/s capable ports is definitely a nice thing. The red ports are SATA1 and SATA3. No idea why they are a different color.
The color scheme of the Reset/Power/LED connectors helps finding the right pins when installing the board the first time.
What's missing here? Yup. The SLI switch.
Albatron has engineered a clever solution which automatically detects, if two SLI cards are installed in the PCI-E slots, and switches the PCI-E bus to the 8x/8x configuration required for SLI.
The placement of the PCI-E x1 slots is very convenient, it allows use of one slot, even when the system is running with two SLI cards.
In order to be able to run two NVIDIA cards in SLI mode you will have to link them together by using the included SLI bridge.
It has to be noted that this boards can not be used together with the Radeon X300, neither in dual-card configuration or with one card. Who uses these cards anyways?