The GA-8S655TX Ultra motherboard is typical
by Gigabyte standards in both appearance and board-level layout. Commonly accessed areas of the board
are positioned well, so for example getting to the IDE/floppy drive connectors and main ATX power
connector is a snap without bumping into any peripheral cards in most cases.
all the header ports along the edge of the motherboard, use a colour coordinated
socket scheme, and actually label front I/O header port with positive values - makes getting those
front case LEDs to light up a snap on the first try.
For anyone with a GeforceFX with a two-bracket cooling
system, I'm sure you'll appreciate the amount of space surrounding the 8X AGP
socket and Northbridge... thought I was going to say you wouldn't
that first PCI slot didn't you? Well, sorry there, but at least sufficient space is available between the active
northbridge cooler and AGP socket so that back-of-card cooling solutions will fit.
One thing I always like to see are Northbridge coolers mounted by holes in the PCB
instead of those weak metal-wire cliping points on many other Pentium4 motherboards.
With holes through the PCB, the
option to use larger heatsinks, or after market 'performace coolers' is an easier transition. Because
the SiS964 Southbridge gets toasty (45 degrees Celsius according to an
Omega OS643E-LS Infrared Thermometer), Gigabyte use an actively cooled northbridge heatsink that
spins just fast enough to do the job without creating audible noise problems.