Chaintech A865PE - Page 5

..:: A865PE Layout: Southbridge & Memory Area ::..

The area around the Southbridge is also very clean, and features an excellent design and layout overall. In the bottom right hand corner of the PCB, we find several item of importance. First off, we find a third three-pin power fan connection. This fan header is intended to be used with a front intake fan. The location of the connector is excellent as even those fans equipped with shorter electrical leads should be able to reach with no problems. The remaining items all deal with the BIOS. The BIOS chip, system battery, system buzzer, and clear CMOS jumper are all lined up here. The bottom header block is for your front panel LED, and switch connections.

The last set of the components are arranged neatly around the ICH5-R Southbridge. To the left of the ICH5R, we find a series of two headers. Each of these headers is intended to provide for further support of up to four additional USB 2.0 capable ports. These headers are located a little high on the PCB in our opinion, but suffice to say, it will still work with little cable routing issues. This area also houses on of the ICS clock generation chips, as well as the jumper block for controlling the host frequency, a point we mentioned earlier.

To the right of the ICH5-R, we find both of the SATA connectors, along with both IDE connectors. The IDE connectors are oriented vertically, and are lower on the motherboard than we are used to seeing. I would prefer to see these connectors located further up the PCB, but with a little cable routing skill, this location will work fine and wont impede the air intake. The last item of note here is the fourth, and final three-pin power fan header. This could be used for an additional intake fan, or perhaps a third-party GPU cooling unit.

Finally, we shall end our trip around the A865PEs PCB by taking a look at the DIMM slot layout. Along the far left edge of the PCB, we see that Chaintech has located the floppy connector in an easily accessible place. This is far better than what we have been seeing with the trend of placing this connector along the bottom of the PCB. We also see that Chaintech has chosen to opt with what we feel to be the best location for the 12V ATX power connection. This location allows for easy connection from the PSU, and also makes sure that the thick power cable does not need to be wound around within the chassis. Along the top edge of the DIMM slots, we find additional components for creation of some more voltages, likely for the DDR SDRAM.

Overall, I cant say enough about the A865PE. Given that this is our first experience working with a motherboard from Chaintech, I am quite impressed. Not only has Chaintech managed to push a well designed product onto the market, but they have done it with some serious styling. Weve seen motherboards with color that look like paint was splattered all over, but the A865PE breaks this trend and features a gorgeous gold, black, and blue theme. I have no real qualms about the layout of the A865PE. Chaintech has included three separate three-pin power connections for fans, both front and rear and the main 12V ATX power connection is located in the optimal position. The only dislike I have about the design is the low height of the IDE connections. Otherwise, this is one of the best designs to enter our hands over the past few months.