ASUS A7V8X-X - Page 3

..:: Asus A7V8X-X Layout ::..

The A7V8X-X is based on the industry standard ATX form factor. You will immediately notice that the PCB is the bland, yellowish-brown color that can be found on almost all of Asus' desktop oriented motherboards. Even though this particular motherboard is targeted at consumers with a low budget, I would really like to see Asus start to use some creativity with the color scheme on either the PCB itself or the various expansion slots. Doing so would enhance the appearance of the board a bit more and possibly entice the consumer to take a second look.

As you can see, the socket is placed in an east to west direction and has a sizable area to work with when installing a large heatsink. Asus places a clear strip of plastic under each side of the socket heatsink clips to protect the PCB surface and traces if the screwdriver happens to slip, or the heatsink scrapes the surface during installation. An over-volt jumper is located to the east side of the socket near the top edge of the motherboard, while the cpu fan header is located to the west side of the socket at the top edge of the motherboard as well.

There is one area of concern with the socket area that must be addressed, however. If we zoom in to the top left edge of the processor socket near one of the heatsink mounting holes, you will notice that there is a small capacitor that sits almost right beside the hole. Although this capacitor is small enough in height so that it does not exceed the height of an installed AMD processor, this capacitor could pose potential problems for users that wish to use water blocks or exotic heatsinks which are required to be mounted to the motherboard itself using these holes.

To the right of the processor socket are the three memory banks that house the DDR modules. To the right of the memory banks are some capacitors, small random chips, two IDE connectors, one floppy connector, and the main ATX power supply connector. The extra 12V ATX connector is not present on the A7V8X-X, so users should not have to worry about purchasing a new PSU as long as their old PSU has enough wattage to feed power to all of their chosen components in the system. In my opinion, the location of these connectors are in an ideal position and out of the way, allowing improved air circulation inside the case when the required cables are attached.

However, no matter how many times hardware review websites stress to motherboard manufacturers concerning problematic areas with their designs, an installed video card in the AGP slot will repeatedly interfere with installing extra memory in the memory banks if the banks are placed too close to the AGP slot. This happens more than reviewers would like to admit, and unfortunately, this problem is also present on the A7V8X-X. This design makes it very difficult to perform a memory upgrade, which should be the easiest type of upgrade for any computer system. Instead, the user has to uninstall the video card, install the memory module, and then reinstall the video card. In addition, the memory banks on the A7V8X-X are located close to the processor socket towards the center of the motherboard which can easily block all three banks.