Foxconn 975X7AB-8EKRS2H - Page 5

..:: 975X7AB-8EKRS2 Layout: Southbridge & DIMM ::..

The Southbridge portion of the 975X7AB-8EKRS2H houses a wealth of ports, headers, connectors, as well as chips and electrical components. Foxconn has done an excellent job in keeping this portion of the board clean, and has been able to provide the end user with an organized layout allowing easy access to all of the core components. To start things off, we have the Texas Instruments IEEE1394 controller, as well as the bright yellow header for the included expansion bracket.

Along the right hand edge of the board, we find all of the main jumpers of importance, as well as the front panel header for connection of your various LEDs and switches. If youíre familiar with the previous version of this board youíll notice that the TPM header has been removed on the 975X7AB-8EKRS2H, as the space is now put to use for the four Serial ATA data cable connectors.

The ICH7-R Southbridge chip is passively cooled by another black aluminum heatsink, emblazon with the Foxconn namesake across the center. The area to the left of the ICH7-R houses a series of electrical components, as well as the system CMOS battery. The two bright green USB 2.0 headers for use with the expansion bracket have been moved to a position below the ICH7-R, near the secondary IDE connector. The FOX ONE control chip has been placed above the ICH7-R, right beneath the set of DIMMs.

Around these DIMMs, we see that Foxconn has opted to go with different colors for the two DDR-II channels, blue and yellow. The 24-pin ATX power connector is in an excellent location, right next to the floppy connector powered by the ICH7-R Southbridge. Below these two items, we find the primary IDE connector, as well as a wealth of larger electrical components like capacitors and an inductor. There is also an additional three-pin fan header in the upper right portion of the board for the power supply fan, and an IR header for and IR devices you may wish to sue with the 975X7AB-8EKRS2H.

Taking into account the number of headers, connectors, and chips that had to be thrown onto this standard ATX sized motherboard, it certainly qualifies as an excellent layout. Much praise has to come for the move to a digital core voltage control unit, freeing up tremendous amounts of space around the processor socket. Whether or not this causes any problems in terms of stability, etc. will be determined shortly. My main gripe with this board is similar to others from Foxconn, I thought it was missing was an additional fan power connector for a rear exhaust fan. And letís face it, that really isnít much of a gripe at all.