Abit AN-M2HD mATX Motherboard
Here you can see an overview of the board. The first thing that strikes me is the 4 DIMM slots, with most mATX boards sporting only 2 to save space and money. Another feature that struck me about this board was that abit have bothered to add a heat sink to the pwm area. With a 3 phase design (seen below) I was left wondering if this was entirely necessary.
The back of the board is nothing out of the ordinary, bur abit have added a large backplate to the retention bracket for holding the HSF assembly on. I felt this was a nice touch as it'll minimise bending of the board.
The bottom right of the board shows off its 4 internal USB headers and 4 SATA ports. Whilst bottom centre there lies the front panel header and the clear CMOS jumper. Abit deserve a special mention for their fantastic jumper design here. While its by no means new, it can be an absolute life saver.
Moving to the left we come to the PCI slots. Abit have gone for a balanced mixture with these, readying the board for PCI-E cards while retaining the ability to use today's and older hardware via the PCI slots. Further left again we see the front panel audio and firewire headers.
Moving upwards we see the PWM heatsink. As I mentioned earlier, and I'm not sure if this is necessary, but I'm wondering if we'll find somthing else under there. Just above that the ATX 12v1 connector is placed exactly where it should be, at the very edge. Abit have gone for a 4 pin option here rather than an 8, and I'm guessing that this is due to the motherboard not being aimed at overclockers, and there was simply no need for it.
Across to the right we come to the CPU socket. The mounting system is slightly reminiscent of a socket 939.
Finally, top right we see the dimm slots, FDD and IDE connectors and the 24 pin ATX conector. The latter being nice and close to the edge of the board allowing cable tidying to be easier, and leading to a cleaner system. Which could be an important factor in a cramped media chassis.
Overall the board is layed out extremely well and there shouldn't be any conflicts when installing large heatsinks or dual slot graphics cards.
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