abit BG7E - Page 5

..:: Layout: Southbridge & Memory Areas ::..

The bottom right hand corner of the BE7-RAID is one of the more cluttered areas of the motherboard, although it is still rather organized in layout. Along the bottom edge of the board we come across the front panel header, the infrared device connector, and the system battery. These headers are nicely located along the bottom edge of the board, out of the way of anything that could cause one of the cables to disconnect. Above these headers, we come across my one main gripe about the BG7E design, the floppy connector. I’d rather see this connector located farther up the board as if you have a larger case, a positioning like this may not allow for connection without a longer floppy cable.

Located just above the floppy connector, we come across the system buzzer, along with the yellow clear CMOS jumper and another three-pin power connector. The jumper and power connector are easily accessible, although if you’re going to be using a floppy drive, the cable could tend to get in the way of things if you needed to get hold of either of these items on the fly. You’d more than likely be forced to remove the floppy cable to get to them, although it’s not like that requires any significant amount of effort.

To the left of the floppy connector, we come across the Winbond W83627HF-AW system monitoring chip. This is the chip that is responsible for keeping track of all the important system voltages, fan readings, and temperatures to make sure they fall within the allotted range for safe operation. Above the floppy connector we come across the two, green IDE connectors. Once again I’d much prefer to see these located farther up the board rather than being so low. Those with smaller cases will be fine, and even some larger cases will work with no real problems, though those with the excessively sized cases might need to make sure their cables will reach.

The area around the ICH4 Southbridge is quite clean. As we are used to with Intel motherboards, the Southbridge is located rather high on the right side of the board compared to what we would see with an AMD based motherboard. To the left of the Southbridge, we can see two sets of headers. These headers are for any additional USB ports you may wish to add to your system. Lastly, below the Southbridge there is one more header. This header is for infrared devices that you may want to use with your system.

The DIMM’s are located high enough on the board so that they will not interfere with the AGP slot or even come close to it. Unlike what we saw with the BE7-RAID design, the three DIMM’s do have a slight gap in-between each other for breathing room. This is more important for those using larger heat spreaders on their RAM. This gap will help keep any unnecessary pressure off of the RAM when mounted in the DIMM slots. The last main item is the 12V ATX power connector. Once again, Abit has heard our cries and placed the 12V ATX power connector in, what I believe to be, the most favorable position.

Overall the design of the BG7E is rather nicely done with the exception of one or two issues, those being the location of the floppy connector / IDE connectors and the location of the four-pin power connector. Other than these issues, the board is designed very neatly and is quite clean for its smaller dimensions. I’m elated about the positioning of the 12V ATX power connector just as I was with the BE7-RAID. We have seen it located near this area before, although it was farther down the board which could still potentially disrupt airflow, however with the positioning of the connector on the BG7E, this shouldn’t happen. Enough with the BG7E’s layout, let’s get on to the BIOS.