The board is styled in a typical ASUS manner - the PCB is black, and there is a combination of black, white and blue connectors on the board. The underside of the board is blue and features ASUS' Stack Cool 2 technology. This is basically where ASUS has designed the PCB to distribute the heat of certain components across the motherboard in order to keep the PC stable under stress. ASUS has done this to help avoid local hotspots and maximise motherboard stability.
The northbridge and southbridge, as well as the voltage regulators for the CPU are cooled by an inventive passive system of copper heatpipes. This not only keeps the board silent, it moves the heat towards the CPU fan to push air over instead of relying on tiny fans with poor air flow to cool the chipsets. The dual heatpipe system is a prominent part of the motherboard and it looks great as it snakes across the board.
ASUS include an optional fan to clip onto the fins should the end user employ a cooling solution that has no airflow; like watercooling or phase-change. Some airflow is needed to dissipate the heat generated by all those components and a temperature gradient is needed at one end to draw the heat up the heatpipes.
Working around from the left edge, there are four vertically aligned DDR2 memory slots denoting module installation by colour: two modules should either be installed in the yellow or black slots to enable dual channel mode. To the left is the AM2 socket which is generally kept clear, however it is close the large copper fins and northbridge block of the heatpipe cooler which covers the 8 phase power regulation to provide silky smooth electrical currents for your CPU.
Below the memory slots and CPU socket, there is a single IDE port, along with a floppy port and the 24-pin ATX power connector all in close proximity of one and other. Above the memory slots, there is a single Silicon Image controller (SI3132CND) with a single internal SATA connector and an eSATA connector on the back I/O panel.
Moving down the bottom edge, the BIOS battery is located next to the northbridge portion of the impressive heatpipe array. Below the southbridge there are six red SATA2 ports controlled by the nForce 590 SLI disk controller. Unfortunately the bottom two are unusable if you install a pair of high end video cards for some SLI action - this is a bit of an oversight in our opinion, almost as if ASUS hasn’t taken this usage model into account.