Those familiar with ABIT technologies will notice the inclusion of Q-OTES on the board. Migrated from Abit's GeForce 3-era graphics cooling, the system uses heat-pipe technology to conduct heat away from the northbridge to where the back I/O panel would be, so the air blown out from the heatsink is pushed through the copper fins and out of the case.
It works remarkably effectively despite the length of the heat-pipe; however because of the size of the copper fins you do sacrifice the legacy parallel and serial ports and the audio has been moved to a daughter card. If you’re watercooling the CPU, or your CPU heatsink is designed so that it doesn’t push air out the back of your case you could find a problem with it overheating.
The southbridge is also passively cooled by a novel “ABIT” branded heatsink, while the power regulation components around the CPU are also heat sinked to maximise performance and overclocking, and increase component life.
The black coloured PCB is set against some colourful components like the red SATA ports and alternating green and orange DDR2 sockets, with each colour representing a channel for a pair of DIMMs. The blue USB pins are differentiated against the Firewire pins so you shouldn’t get confused if you’re not one to refer to the manual, and the front panel pins are colour co-ordinated and clearly marked.
Component placement is generally very good, mostly around the edges of the board and not getting the way of the CPU area - but the two Silicon Image SATA2 ports are frustratingly placed between PCI-Express x1 and PCI ports right in the middle.
ABIT include no less than 8 sets of fan pins; one 4 pin for the CPU and seven 3 pins! We’d recommend using a 24-pin power supply and mid to low wattage fans if you were going to use them all so as not to overload the board.