abit BG7E - Page 4

..:: Layout: Northbridge Area ::..

The Intel 82845GE Northbridge is covered by a rather sizeable silver heatsink equipped with no form of active cooling as we saw with the BE7-RAID. Some might look down on this as there is no active cooling, although with the size of the heatsink you need not worry about any real heat dissipation problems even when utilizing the onboard graphics. The heatsink is held down in a rather interesting way, by two small hooks unlike what we have usually seen with the spring-loaded pin way of mounting. The way that the BG7E uses allows for a very tight connection between the core and heatsink, which should allow for optimal heat transfer. It is also equipped with the usual thermal pad to further aid in the heat transfer. If you ever wanted to remove the heatsink, all you’d need to do is push down on the black tab and un-hook the heatsink.

Off to the left of the i82845GE Northbridge we come across the Realtek clock generator. As I mentioned in the BE7-RAID review, in the past some have chosen to actually mount a heatsink on the clock generator in hopes of helping their overclocking. In this area, we also come across the Realtek RTL8100B LAN Controller which is located below the grouping of the three-pin power connector, four-pin ATX connector, and the other various electrical items. If you’re interested for some reason, there are also two clock crystals, one for 14.318MHz and the other for 25.000MHz. Other than these smaller items, the area around the Northbridge is once again very clean and free of any larger capacitors or other items as it should be.

..:: Layout: Expansion Slot Area ::..

The next stop on our trip around the BG7E is of course, the expansion slot area. The expansion slot setup will do a relatively good job of pleasing enthusiasts and OEM’s with one AGP 4x slot, five PCI slots, and no CNR slot. We’ll start off towards the top with the AGP slot and work our way down to the bottom of the board. If you take a look below the rear I/O ports, you’ll notice a fair sized header equipped with two yellow jumpers. This is the header for front panel audio. As I noted with the BE7-RAID, I’d prefer to see this connector located more towards the right hand side of the board, or bottom for that matter. The AGP slot comes with the typical locking mechanism, mount your AGP graphics card, and lock it in place with the clipping mechanism.

Located immediately below the front panel audio header, and in-between the AGP slot and PCI slot #1, is the Realtek ALC650 audio chip. We have experienced some serious onboard audio quality from the Realtek chip and Abit has not let us down. We experienced high quality onboard audio with the BE7-RAID and once again we have it with the BG7E. This chip supports the 6-channel audio, along with S/PDIF in and out support for the digital connector in the rear I/O panel. Just below the ALC650 audio chip, we can see the two black CD Audio and AUX Audio connectors.

The last two main items we come across in the area of the expansion slots are the system BIOS, and the COM2 header. With the exception of these two items, the remainder of this area is very clean and clear of anything. We can see that the BG7E uses a Phoenix BIOS D686 BIOS if we take a closer look at the labeling sticker. The COM2 header is more than likely for those who need the serial port that has been taken away to allow for the VGA connection on the rear I/O panel. This would be more of interest for system integrators I would think. Most users won’t have a problem with only using one serial port though as I myself haven’t used one in…well I forget when I last used one it’s been so long!