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USB 2.0 support is implemented in the chipset of Leadtek K8N Pro. So, the mainboard supports up to 6 USB 2.0 ports. Four of them are laid out on the mainboard rear panel while another two are implemented via the PCB connectors. By the way, Leadtek doesn’t supply any rear panel brackets with the USB 2.0 ports with the mainboard. They probably imply that most contemporary PC cases already have a pair of USB 2.0 ports on the case front panel. Moreover, Leadtek K8N Pro also features three IEEE1394 ports. They are implemented via the Agere FW323 controller. The package includes a bracket for the case rear panel with two IEEE1394 ports on it. The third port should probably be connected to the PC case, if this is possible.

The mainboard also boasts very smart networking capabilities. Leadtek K8N Pro is positioned as a solution for High-End systems that is why it features two LAN ports. The first one provides up to 10/100Mbit/s bandwidth and is implemented via the network controller embedded into the chipset. The second port with 10/100/1000Mbit/s bandwidth is implemented via the popular Realtek RTL8110S controller.

Leadtek K8N Pro also features an onboard Realtek AC’97 ALC658 codec responsible for the sound implementation. This is one of the most advanced solutions today, I should say. It meets the AC97 2.3 specification and supports Jack Sensing and Universal Audio Jack technologies (read our Contemporary Integrated Sound Solutions. Part II for more details). Note that Leadtek paid a lot of attention to the sound quality provided by its product. The mainboard’s rear panel is equipped with five jacks and a coaxial SPDIF Out. Although the manufacturer has to sacrifice the second COM-port to make sure that all those jacks fit on the mainboard rear panel.

Leadtek K8N Pro is equipped with an AGP 8x slot, 5 PCI slots and 3 DIMM slots. The PCB design, however, doesn’t strike as very successful. First of all, the PCI slots have been moved away from the AGP slot. This is quite a logical solution taking into account that most contemporary graphics cards boast pretty large cooling systems, so that you are anyway unable to use the nearest PCI slot. However, as a result of this design trick the graphics card installed into the AGP slot of Leadtek K8N Pro will always lock the DIMM slots clips. And this is only the beginning, actually. It looks as if the only connectors located in a more or less convenient way are the ATI power supply connectors and the second ATA/133 port. The first and third ATA/133 connectors are located in front of the PCI slot at a maximum distance from where the HDDs usually are. The FDD connector has been moved behind the last PCI slot, so that not every FDD cable will be long enough to reach there. The fifth and sixth USB 2.0 connectors have been laid out in the center of the PCB, for some reason.

Thank god that the FireWire connectors and SerialATA ports have been moved to the very left edge of the PCB, where they are very unlikely to be in the way. Besides, I would also like to mention that Leadtek K8N Pro is equipped with only two free fan connectors, which is definitely too few for today’s needs. All in all, when you will assemble a system with this mainboard, you will inevitably get a bad cabling mess inside the case, which will do no good for the air circulation, of course.

 
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