This motherboard has eight USB 2.0 ports (four soldered on the motherboard and four available through I/O brackets – this motherboard comes with only one I/O bracket featuring two USB ports) and two FireWire ports controlled by VIA VT6308 chip (one soldered on the motherboard and another available through an I/O bracket that doesn’t come with the motherboard).
On the rear panel (Figure 3) you can find the Gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire port, analog audio inputs/outputs, coaxial SPDIF output, parallel port, PS/2 mouse and PS/2 keyboard connectors. The serial ports are missing here but one serial port is available through the use of an I/O bracket, which doesn’t come with the motherboard.
As you can see in Figure 3, this motherboard has only three jacks for the analog audio connection, which is a problem, because if you want to use a set of analog 5.1 speakers together with a mike you will need to manually remove and install plugs on the rear of your computer, as the mic in and center/subwoofer functions share the same jack. Also because of this you can’t use 7.1 analog speakers with this motherboard, even though it uses a 8-channel codec.
ASUS is using a new connector called Q-Connector to make the installation of the wires coming from the case frontal panel easier. You connect the wires to this Q-Connector and then install the connector to the motherboard header. What we liked about this feature is that it speeds up the assembling process, as you can position this connector near your eyes, not needing to position your eyes near the motherboard (usually bending the whole body) to read what is written.
Even though this motherboard uses a few solid aluminum capacitors, they are not used on the motherboard voltage regulator. The other electrolytic capacitors used on this motherboard are conventional ones, manufactured by Rubycon (Japanese), Chemi-Con (Japanese) and Toshin Kogyo (TK, which is a Japanese company using rebranded Taiwanese capacitors, from OST).
In Figure 5, you can see all accessories that come with this motherboard.
This motherboard comes with two CDs, containing its drivers and utilities plus some additional software like Norton Internet Security.