Abit AB9 P965 Conroe Motherboard
The Board - Layout and Comments
The Board - A Close-up
When you take your motherboard out of the box you're first impressions need to be good. Board layout is essential to any good motherboard. I am totally fussy when it comes to cable tidying and so for the connectors to be in the right place is essential.
I'm going to start with the colour. whilst not being the nicest: it is far better than brown or green seen on many other manufacturer's motherboards. The co-ordination on the board is pretty bad though, and does not blend into a theme. Having said this the connectors are clearly marked with their own colours and connecting the wrong thing will be hard to do.
Notice the CPU area is pretty free of obstruction and the "SilentOTES" NorthBridge and PWM cooling solution is pretty prominent. I installed a pretty monster air cooler on the board and had no clearance issues.
In this picture we see the awful location of the external 4 PIN molex connecter that Abit have put on the board to provide extra power to the PCI-E slots.
The SilentOTES heatpipe solution is actually very good. I would go as far to say that it is superior to Asus implementation. I never once saw it go over 48°C on the NorthBridge. Very impressive indeed. I will say that the fan on the heatsink is blowing over the PWM so this will get rid of the heat from the OTES solution too.
Moving on we see the 4-Pin power plug right over the other side of the board. This is a great position for the majority of cases as this should mean that you should not have a cable over the whole board.
While we're here we see the DDR2 slots along with the 24Pin power connecter. Good positioning of the power connecter and very easily read colouring. The DDR2 slots give a nice gap between the RAM when in dual channel mode, allowing good airflow for hotter DDR2.
The PCI-E and PCI slots and ummmm....the IDE connecter! The title of this picture is "IDE bad place" in my review file and for good reason! I know that P965 needs an external solution of IDE, but putting this IDE port here is like a total afterthought: and not a good one.
There are some spare SATA connectors right next to the IDE port, which would only lead to more wiring nightmares. With the market pretty much bereft of SATA Optical at this time, IDE is pretty much essential.
Last but not least the four main SATA ports for the board. We see that the plain AB9 is missing the two extra SATA ports that the Pro version would have. Still: 6 SATA ports should be enough to satisfy most of us.
Here also we see the μGuru™ chip and the LED error code module for the board. It would have been nice to see the inclusion of an onboard power and reset switch, always a good inclusion for overclockers running their PC out of the case.
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