ASUS A7V8X-X - Page 5

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

Moving up the motherboard, to the left of the AGP slot is where we find the Realtek 8201BL networking chip. This chip is capable of providing a 10/100 Mbps transfer rate on a network. Above the Realtek 8201BL chip are the audio input connectors for connecting cables from sound sources such as a CD-ROM, a TV tuner or an MPEG card.

Right above the AGP slot on the A7V8X-X motherboard lies the VIA KT400 Northbridge chip. The chip is passively cooled with a black colored aluminum heatsink and is mounted to the Northbridge with a plastic plug for each of the two motherboard holes that surrounds the KT400.

Removing the Northbridge heatsink was quite a chore. I could not remove the heatsink with my fingers alone. Instead I had to use a pair of pliers to squeeze the clips on each plug from the underside of the motherboard. Doing so resulted in a deformation of the clips on each plug. Even then I could not use my fingers to force the plugs through the holes, so I used the rubber coated handle of the pliers to push on each one separately. This is not very convenient if the user wishes to equip the Northbridge with a more elaborate cooling unit. After the heatsink was eventually off, I was pleased to see that Asus coated the KT400 Northbridge with some thermal grease to help aid in pulling heat away from the chip more effectively rather than using a thermal adhesive pad.

The A7V8X-X motherboard is equipped with a 2-phase power solution, specifically engineered by the folks at Asus. You may be thinking that this is an inadequate attempt to feed all of the power that the AthlonXP needs, but I found no stability issues at all when benchmarking. Asus has used their 2-phase power solution with a large number of their boards, and so far it has proven itself to be very successful.

Our last stop with the design of the A7V8X-X motherboard is the I/O back panel. These are the ports that you will use to connect your external devices to the rear of the computer. The panel consists of one PS/2 keyboard port, one PS/2 mouse port, one S/PDIF Out port to be used with the three audio ports, one parallel port, one serial port, one 10/100 ethernet port, and finally four USB 2.0 ports.