Articles: Mainboards

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PCB Design and Functionality

Times when we would be puzzled by the mainboard layout at first glance are long gone. Now almost all mainboards are designed following similar rules and implementing optimal well-known layout options. Even though some products still have their own unique peculiarities.

In case of Biostar TP67XE mainboard, the peculiarity would be the presence of two ATX12V processor power connectors. They are identical and should be used together when you overclock your processor. The components of the ten-phase processor voltage regulator circuitry are covered with heatsinks. The number of active phases in the processor voltage regulator should change dynamically depending on the CPU load. A row of LEDs should indicate the current number of active phases in the circuitry.

The mainboard supports Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFire graphics configurations. It is equipped with a POST-code indicator, Power On and Reset buttons. The chipset supports two SATA 6 Gbps ports (white connectors) and four SATA 3 Gbps ports, but we only have three of those available to us, because the fourth one is transformed into an eSATA on the mainboard back panel.

The complete list of ports and connectors on the mainboard back panel looks as follows:

  • PS/2 keyboard connector;
  • Optical and coaxial S/PDIF and six analogue audio jacks provided by eight-channel Realtek ALC892 codec;
  • Eight USB ports, including two USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors) implemented via NEC D720200F1 controller; six more USBs are available as three onboard pin-connectors;
  • IEEE1394 (FireWire) port implemented via VIA VT6315N controller, the second port is available as an onboard pin-connector;
  • eSATA 3 Gbps port;
  • Local network port (network adapter is built on Gigabit Realtek RTL8111E controller).

The table below sums up all the technical specifications of our Biostar TP67XE mainboard:

The components layout offers a slightly different look at the mainboard:

Overall, we have not found any serious issues with the board when we studied its exterior features and design. The board fully complies with all contemporary requirements, has all necessary interfaces present including USB 3.0, IEEE1394 (FireWire) and even retained a COM-port onboard. However, they could have made more fan connectors, since three is not enough for a T-series mainboard for overclocking fans.

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