continues to please us with its layout. The CPU is located at the top of the board
(as it should be) but there are now some nice bonuses on the board. If it isn't
already obvious this board is nearly 2" wider than most ATX boards.
FIC wisely located the memory more in-board of the edge to accomodate hands reaching
inside a case to make memory changes. Also, a nice bonus is the addition of a
third memory slot which is one more than we had on the AD11.
on the picture to the right to see the full size picture. What isn't immediately
obvious is that the CPU socket has been rotated 90 degrees from the earlier design.
Why? Perhaps there were several other users who had a hard time disconnecting
the CPU heatsink at the top when it was so close to the case power supply just
like I did. Just below the CPU socket we find the chipset which is cooled by a
heatsink. If you look to the left of this chipset heatsink you will find two fan
headers. Dual fan heatsink fans will like that they are together and relatively
close to the CPU socket. One possible flaw
with this board's layout is that the ATX power connector is located about 4"
below the top edge of the board. Full-tower ATX systems may need a new power supply
with a longer ATX connector. Had the ATX power connecter been located closer to
the top edge of the board I think this board would be a better fit in a large
case such as my Addtronics full tower.
large improvement over the AD11 is the movement of the IDE connectors higher on
the right edge of the board. Again, when in a full size ATX case it can get very
tight with those IDE cables if they have to travel another 4 inches south. The
second pair of IDE connectors are located at the bottom right corner of the picture.
In my case I didn't have any problems with the IDE ribbon cable length for these
lower connectors as I have more bays lower in the case specifically for harddrives.
Included with this board
are 1 floppy ribbon cable, 2 ATA-100 ribbon cables (two of them!) and one 40 pin
IDE ribbon cable for your optical drives. Also in the box is one extra cable for
two more USB ports. Many manufacturers have those capabilities in their boards
but so far not enough are supplying the requisite cable. In the box is a failrly
thick manual, the driver CD, and a second CD which has Norton Antivirus, Norton
Personal Firewall, and Norton Ghost.