"Excellent, feature packed mainboard"4.5 starson by robb.layton
Pros: Built in cooling, amazing sound, true x16 SLI
Cons: Compatability with CPU cooling,
Summary: This mainboard beat out several others when I decided to build a new system to support all the current games and trends in personal computing. I believe I chose correctly.
First off, I've been a loyal Asus devotee for quite a while. Every mainboard I've purchased for a custom system has been an Asus, and for good reason. They are, without a doubt, the leading mainboard provider for many OEMs, and this confidence has thusly spread to consumers of bare parts to build their own PCs.
The packaging and included parts impressed me. Asus obviously went to alot of trouble to get every part in the package needed, and the box itself is an attractive design. The black mainboard is a sight to see with it's heatpipe built on-board, quite a show stopper for those of you looking for instant head turning ability. The heatpipe is fully functional, and performs very well in it's job of keeping the chipset cool.
When I installed the mainboard, I did run into one problem. It's more of an annoyance, but it should be noted this is the reason I didn't give this board a perfect 10 and opted to give it a 9 instead. On the under side of the CPU, there is a metal plate attached to the mainboard. It's not screwed or clipped. It's glued. This proved to be a little troublesome because I decided to install a Zalman 7700Cu heatsink on this board. To install this cooler, it comes with a plastic plate that helps support it's massive weight, and this plate is supposed to be installed on the under side of the CPU. Well, unfortunately I couldn't do this because the Asus metal plate was glue in the way, and to get it off would be to risk the mainboard's integrity and perhaps damage it beyond possible repair, even for those with steady hands and the courage to repaint traces. I had to get a little creative, and I ended up using the factory screws for the AMD 939 and a few washers, and it worked out quite well. In fact, once I got past the squeamish part of tightening down the heatsink, I determined the Asus metal plate is probably better than the plastic Zalman plate for holding nearly 2lbs of copper.
Anyway, after it was all installed, the software side went flawlessly. I have no complaints about the board other than the problematic heatsink install, and I'm very happy with the purchase. It's turned out to be a great mainboard, and with the features it offers, it will remain a deciding force in my gaming habits for several years to come.... in this world of day-to-day technology advances, I believe that's the best compliment anyone can give.