abit Fatal1ty F-I90HD Motherboard
A Closer look: abit F-I90HD
abit Fatal1ty F-I90HD - close up
Lets start off by taking a look at the boards layout overall.
The board is very small when you are used to dealing with full size ATX boards, but everything is there that you need, all packed in neatly. As you can see there's only one PCI-e x16 slot and one PCI slot but the motherboard makes up for this with a couple of PCI-e x1 slots. Looking at the layout in general there's nothing that immediately strikes as being very bad layout wise.
Perhaps one of the SATA ports will be blocked off if you include a large GPU, although that defeats the object of the board in my opinion.
The NorthBridge sink looks quite large, so we will have to see how obstructive it is when fitting the cooler.
abit have chosen to go with mixed solid state and normal capacitors on the board. This isn't too much of a surprise as the board is not a top-end overclockers board. Having said that the caps are still high-quality Japanese capacitors, so you are not losing out much.
Surprisingly enough for such a small board there's quite a gap between the CPU area and the memory slots. That makes it ideal to fit a fairly big cooler on the board with the potential for passive cooling - excellent if this is going under your TV as an HTPC. Also notice the main ATX power plug right on the edge of the board, good work.
The caps and power phases seem quite close to the socket, but after installing a rather large cooler it seems that abit have put half-height caps which don't interfere with installation at all. This is a very good use of space . As said before the only concern with really big coolers is that the NorthBridge looks a little close to the socket.
Here we can see the two PCI-e x1 slots along with the full x16 slot and the PCI slot too. It's all squeezed on pretty well for such a small board and with more and more PCI-e x1 cards coming out there's lots of potential for expandibility. Also in the shot is the FDD connector along with the HD Audio chip. The audio is HDMI/HDCP compatible and hard-wired into the board so no DRM worries here at all.
Quite a clean and tidy area with the IDE connector sideways mounted as is the fashion now. The SATA area is slightly close to the PCI-e x16 slots as has been said but this shouldn't be too much of an issue. abit have included a nice easy CMOS reset jumper that is longer to allow you to reach it easier - a nice touch.
Notice that the ATX 12v1 power connector is a 4 prong connector rather than 8. This is good news for those of us with a slightly older PSU. You can see 5 of the 6 power phases on the board which should help keeping a steady flow of voltage to all the important components.
Finally the HDMI connector sitting at the back of the motherboard. This will be good news indeed for those wanting their digital TV hooked up and running.
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