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The Layout

FIC 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.

Click 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.

One 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.


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