Abit Fatality AN9 32X nForce 590 SLI Motherboard

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Board Layout (Continued)

 

The nForce 590 SLI chipset allows for 48 lanes of PCI Express connectivity, which allows Abit to use dual full-speed PCI Express x16 slots on this motherboard. These allow you to run two PCIe x16 graphics cards at once, obviously the primary reason being for SLI connectivity purposes. If SLI isn't your thing, you could also take advantage of the dual PCIe x16 ports for an additional graphics card for multi-monitor reasons, or you could throw in a PCI Express RAID card if need be. The slots are spaced far enough away to allow for one slot of "airflow" between the two PCI Express slots, which is important if you're running two hot-running graphics cards. Abit also includes a fan with a special bracket with the motherboard to provide additional airflow to this area of the board when running SLI graphics cards. The board is also equipped with two PCI Express x1 ports and a single 32-bit PCI slot. 

Dual PCI Express x16 slots

6 x Serial ATA-II/300 RAID ports

Following the trend of removal of legacy ports, the motherboard only has one IDE port, supporting up two IDE devices. The board supports six Serial ATA-II/300 ports through the nForce 590 Southbridge, capable of supporting RAID levels 0, 1, 0+1, and 5 modes. The ports are positioned in such a way that cable installation/removable is still capable even with two graphics cards installed in the system. The board also has a floppy port, although it's strangely placed near the bottom of the motherboard. Abit bundles rounded IDE and floppy cables in the motherboard's retail box, along with six standard Serial ATA cables. 

Audiomax card outputs

PCIe and AC'97 connectors

You may be curious about the one slot at the bottom of the motherboard. It looks like a PCI Express x1 slot, but it's placed incorrectly on the motherboard, which makes it impossible to install a PCIe card into it (the connector is also reversed from a standard PCIe x1 connector). This is in fact for Abit's "Audiomax" audio riser card. Instead of putting audio logic on the motherboard itself, Abit moved the CODEC and outputs to a dedicated riser card which uses this reverse PCIe x1 slot connector. The 'Audiomax" system uses a Realtek ALC882 High Definition Audio CODEC and has analog output ports for 8-channel analog audio, in addition to an optical S/PDIF 7.1 digital audio output port. The card also has front audio pins for connecting to your case's front panel ports. Moving the ports to a dedicated card is supposed to remove interference and allow for cleaner sound. It also frees up space on the motherboard's I/O panel, which are occupied by Abit's OTES cooling fans. 

Dual exhaust airflow fans

The I/O panel is remarkably sparse considering the amount of onboard components on the motherboard. Besides the dual cooling fans, the board has two PS/2 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and dual Gigabit Ethernet ports. The GigE ports are connected to Marvell PCI Express x1 controller chips onboard, and can be linked together with Nvidia's new Dual-Net technology. Using Nvidia's software utilities, you can also enable FirstPacket, which allows for packet prioritization, should you feel the need to do such a thing. The board is also bundled with a USB 2.0 / Firewire card, which allows for two more USB 2.0 ports and two Firewire 400 ports (one 6-pin, one 4-pin Mini) to be utilized. This leaves two free USB 2.0 headers on the motherboard, which can be used to connect to your bezel's front USB ports.


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