Articles: Mainboards

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PCB Design

You will hardly want to put an ASUS A8R-MVP into a system case with a side window. It doesn’t shine in the dark, lacks any pretty features and looks quite plain. Even the color of the textolite is traditional.

The PCB design is ordinary, too. Note only that the first graphical slot (painted blue) is placed closer to the left edge of the mainboard rather than to the CPU. The graphical slot near the CPU socket is secondary and is meant for a second graphics card only.

Most connectors for peripherals and additional ports are located in the left part of the PCB. They are shifted towards the front or left edge of the mainboard where possible. It is generally easy to assemble a system with an ASUS A8R-MVP, so we have no complaints here.

The MOSFETs in the three-channel CPU power circuit on the ASUS A8R-MVP are covered with an aluminum heatsink which is more of a decoration since the MOSFETs don’t heat up much at work. It’s good the manufacturer didn’t save on the components when making this mainboard. The CPU voltage regulator uses high-quality capacitors from Chemi-Con and ASUS uses them in its expensive mainboards, too.

The mainboard is powered up through a 24-pin connector located in front of the DIMM slots and a 4-pin connector near the CPU power circuit. There is also an additional Molex connector on board, marked as EZ-PLUG, near the second PCI Express x16 slot. ASUS’s engineers recommend using it if there are two graphics cards in your system or if your power supply has a 20-pin rather than a 24-pin ATX power connector.

The chipset’s North and South Bridges are cooled by passive aluminum heatsinks of a rather popular design. The mainboard thus carries no fans at all and may come in handy if you’re assembling a quiet computer.

The rear panel of the ASUS A8R-MVP follows the best traditions of last-century mainboards, even having one parallel and one serial port. Besides them, there are PS/2 ports for the mouse and keyboard, four USB 2.0 ports, one IEEE1394 port, a network RJ-45 port with two diagnostic LEDs, three audio jacks and a coaxial SPDIF audio output.

The enclosed brackets for the back panel of the system case will add two more USB 2.0 ports, an IEEE1394 port and a Game port to the back of your computer.

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