Articles: Mainboards

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PCB Design and Functionality

Despite small size DFI LanParty JR X58-T3H6 doesn’t look anything like a useless toy. It is a fully-fledged highly functional solution with an excellent set of features. Moreover, despite the obvious shortage of free space on the mainboard PCB, the developers managed to do a good job arranging all components and connectors where they are supposed to be and are convenient to use and thus avoid the temptation to put them just anywhere. The only sacrifice they had to make was the absence of many additional controllers, which is in fact more of an advantage than a drawback.

When we look at the upper part of DFI LanParty JR X58-T3H6 mainboard PCB, we almost forget about the microATX form-factor: it looks exactly like any other fully-functional Full ATX mainboard. The CPU uses a six-phase voltage regulator; two separate phases power the integrated part of the North Bridge with the memory controller, and two more phases – the memory modules. Six DDR3 DIMM slots can accommodate up to 24GB of RAM – the maximum memory capacity supported by Intel X58 Express chipset. 24-pin and 8-pin power connectors are placed in their common and very convenient spots, just like the PATA connector implemented via JMicron JMB368 controller. The chipset North Bridge is topped with a pretty large aluminum heatsink that is connected to the heatsink over the processor voltage regulator transistors via a heatpipe.

Intel ICH10R South Bridge provides support for six SATA ports that allow building RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1 or RAID 5 arrays of hard disk drives. It is cooled with a traditionally low aluminum heatsink.

By the way, only the South Bridge heatsink is fastened with plastic push-in clips. All other heatsinks use reliable screw-on retention.

Only relatively few expansion card slots on the lower part of the DFI LanParty JR X58-T3H6 mainboard PCB remind us of its compact form-factor. But can we really think it is not enough to have two fully-functional PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots supporting Nvidia SLI and ATI CrossFireX, one PCI Express x4 and one PCI slot? Far not every full-sized mainboard has Power On and Reset buttons, a POST indicator, a set of jumpers for setting startup base frequency and voltage for the part of North Bridge integrated into the CPU. And DFI LanParty JR X58-T3H6 has all of the above.

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