Abit AN78GS ReviewThe Smith -
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The first thing that caught my attention was the Abit Silent Otes heatsink. The biggest part covers the voltage regulators and the smallest part allows the cooling of the GeForce 8200 integrated graphics processor. The heatpipe helps by transferring heat from the coolest to the hottest part. However, I'm a bit disappointed by its quality. It's not even made of copper, like most of the heatpipes. At the back, there is the usual AM2+ heatsink retention system backplate.
Here are the back I/O panel connectors. The three different graphics connectors are great, which are the analog VGA, the digital DVI, and finally an HDMI connector! It makes the AN78GS a great board for HTPCs, since you can easily plug in your HDTV. However, the downside is the fact that there are only four rear USB ports. This is partially countered by the four front panel USB connectors, as we will see later, but you need a case suitable to use them. So if you're like me, using a USB mouse, USB keyboard, an XBox wired controller, and another XBox Guitar Hero controller, all these ports are filled very quickly. And what about the printer and the memory card reader? Well, there is no more room. Furthermore, Abit has removed one of the PS/2 ports, a decision which I am not particularly against, but either a USB keyboard or mouse is a must. Finally, there are six audio plugs for up to a 7.1 surround sound system, and the Ethernet connector.
Here are the AM2+ socket and the DDR2 memory slots. The ones in dual-channel are the ones beside each other. This could be seen as an advantage and as a disadvantage at the same time. First, if only two sticks are used, they will likely be hotter because air can't circulate between them. However, it allows the sticks to be farther from the socket, which helps if a large heatsink is used. I cannot mount my Xigmatek HDT-S1283 with the RAM sticks in the blue slots, so it would be even worse with a Thermalright Ultra-120. I measured that the first two blue slots would be completely obstructed, compared to my Xigmatek which only prevents the first one to be used.
Here are all the different headers on the motherboard. The motherboard has a 24-pin ATX power connector. On the left is the IDE connector for people still working with older technology. A bit higher are the six SATA connectors, and in between, the 3-pin system fan header. The next picture shows the Floppy disk drive connector, as well as the front panel connectors. These are the usual power switch, reset switch, speaker, power LED, hard drive LED, and sleep LED. Higher up are the four front USB connectors and the battery. Also, at the right of the floppy disk drive connector is the CMOS jumper. It's long enough for it to be pulled off and inserted by hand, so it becomes very easy to reset the CMOS after a failed overclock. The third picture shows the second 3-pin auxiliary fan connector, the front panel audio and the internal audio connector, which should be connected to the audio output of the CD-ROM drive. Then, there is the 4-pin CPU fan connector, the 3-pin first auxiliary fan, and the 2x4 processor power connector, all shown in the last picture.
Finally, here are the expansion slots. The Abit AN78GS features three legacy PCI slots, as well as two PCI-E x1 and one PCI-E x16 2.0 slot.