Starting from the top, you find the ZIF socket to place in your 754 pin Athlon 64 processor. Kudo's to AMD for this socket design one more time. There is no longer any worry about there being sufficient space around the socket for various coolers. Any aftermarket waterblock or heatsink meant for this socket will fit on fine (which couldn't always be said for socket A). The VRM has flashy looking silver capacitors, rated at xxxx milliFarads. This 3 phase solution should have no problems supplying any current 130nm Hammer with juice, as they aren't terribly demanding unlike the comparable P4 "Prescott" cores. Also in this general area is the ATX 12V connector.
The 3 DIMM slots are not in my preferred position. Normally, I'd rather see them shuffled over to the extreme right hand side of the board, but at least they are at the top of the PCB. In their current position, the bottom tabs will interfere with a longer video card such as any of the high end FX or 9xxx cards from nVidia and ATI respectively. Instead, Soyo preferred to make cabling a little cleaner, by putting the PATA, SATA, and ATX power connector along the board edge.
However, those with tall cases who still use floppy drives won't appreciate the placement of that connector. It's right at the bottom of the board, and using a standard length cable could make things interesting to say the least. Soyo did do a very nice job with the case connections as well. They are all in two parallel lines, at the bottom right of the board. Again, this makes for a clean looking installation.
To sum up, it's a pretty clean layout. While certainly aided by the single chip of the nVidia nForce3, Soyo did have a fairly obvious plan to make board installation a good looking affair, and I'd say they were successful. The trade-off of the DIMM placement is pretty minor, unless you have a long card and also change your memory often.
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