Articles: Mainboards

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PCB Design and Functionality

ASUS P5N-D mainboard makes a great first impression, we don’t see any design flaws:

First of all you notice a gigantic North Bridge heatsink in the very center of the PCB. However, since we have already discussed it in the previous chapter let’s move on to the top part of the PCB. The power connectors are in relatively acceptable spots. The quad-phase processor voltage regulator uses contemporary components and looks very decent. The only thing that puzzled us here was the four-pin ATX12V processor power supply connector instead of an 8-pin one.

As usual, there are more components on the lower part of the PCB, but they are also placed very nicely. ASUS P5N-D mainboard features two PCI Express x16 slots, a pair of PCI Express x1 slots and two PCI slots. Chipset South Bridge is topped with a small heatsink:

IDE connector is conveniently turned sideways. Four Serial ATA ports are placed along the same line as the PCI slots, so they will not be blocked even if there are two graphics cards installed in the system. There was enough room for an additional IEEE1394 controller – VIA VT6308P. There are front panel connectors, USB connectors, IEEE1394 and FDD connectors and audio along the lower edge of the PCB.

The mainboard back panel boasts a full set of connectors, which you do not see that often any more these days: PS/2 connectors for keyboard and mouse, coaxial and optical S/PDIF, COM and LPT, IEEE1394, RJ45, four USB ports and six audio jacks (Realtek ALC883):

In conclusion to our layout discussion I would like to repeat that ASUS P5N-D is designed very thoroughly and boasts a wide range of features.

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