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One minor disappointment with this board is that while the PCB is indeed all black, the expansion ports and DIMM slots and SATA ports are not. The DIMM slot color differentiation is understandable as it denotes which slots form part of a memory channel. The Purple PCI Express slots also are not totally black. Like I said it is a minor point, but one I like to point out.
The upper right hand corner has the 8-pin power connector for the board. The CPU area is big enough to fit after-market heatsinks. A heatpipe connects the x58 chipset heatsink with the MOSFET heatsink. These heatsinks are tall and should provide plenty of cooling for these components. The CPU cooling area has plenty of clearance for a large cooler however.
Sapphire decided to color code the DIMM channels into three black and three blue DIMM slots. The board can take up to 24GB of DDR3 unbuffered non-ECC memory clocked at up to 1600MHz. To install memory in triple channel mode simply install it in one of the colors and you are set. To the right of the DIMM slots are voltage measure points that you can put a multimeter to read the voltages of various components.
The bottom of the board starts off with some capacitors then a 24-pin power connector. The next item on the board is the storage. Sapphire decided with this chipset to include an IDE connector which is a bit of a throwback but is useful for people that have DVD drives with that interface still. To the left of the IDE connector are six SATA ports. The two orange ports are of the SATA 6.0 Gb/s variety, allowing people to use these new drives to their fullest, while the four black ones are SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports.
The left side of the board starts off with the Front Panel I/O connections, followed by a 5th SATA port. The USB header is the next item on the board followed by a SysFan header and a BIOS Select switch. The next items are the Power and Reset buttons. The next button is a Reset CMOS button followed by a CHAFan header then the Diagnostic LED/ CPU Temperature reader. The top of the board is where the AAFP and CD-In headers are located.
Expansion on the board is probably the most interesting part of the board layout. The board has three PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots and an x4 slot. There is also a PCI slot. What’s interesting about the expansion options is the spacing. There is nothing in between the first two slots, giving plenty of space for a dual-slot video card. The lack of a PCI Express x1 slot is alleviated by the fact that you can install PCI Express x1, x4 or x8 devices in x16 slots. The space between the second and third slots is also sufficient for a dual-slot card. If you install a fourth card, the third and fourth AMD cards will have to be single slot.
Onboard audio is provided by a Realtek ALC892 CODEC that supports the HD Audio standard. The ALC892 is present on many boards on the market today and provides adequate audio. The rear I/O on the board consists of a PS/2 mouse/keyboard port, six USB 2.0 ports colored black, two USB 2.0 ports colored red, and two USB 3.0 ports colored purple. A Firewire port, an e-SATA port, the Gigabit LAN port, six jacks for the onboard audio, a S/PDIF Out Optical and Coaxial ports round out the I/O on the board.