ASUS M3N-HT 780a SLi Reviewajmatson - May 6, 2008
One thing about the ASUS M3N-HT is that it is chock full of accessories to get you up and running with your new board without having to buy anything else. When I opened the box, the accessories were falling all over the place since there were so many. Included with the M3N-HT are six SATA cables, one two-port SATA power adapter, one floppy cable, one IDE cable, a two-port USB/one-port Firewire expansion bracket, an HDMI to DVI connector, the ASUS Q Connection system for easy front panel header connecting, a heatsink fan module, one Dual SLi bridge, one Tri SLi bridge, a backplate, the manual, the driver/software CD, the Mempipe heatpipe, and an ASUS case badge.
The Mempipe is a copper heatpipe that extends from the Northbridge to the memory modules to add another layer of passive cooling to the memory. ASUS claims a 10C drop in temperature for the memory with the Mempipe installed. The Mempipe is only designed to cool two memory sticks in Bank 1 and 2, so if you have more than two sticks, the other two will not be able to take advantage of this coolng setup. There is thermal tape on the inside of the cooler to help with the transfer of heat from the memory modules to the heatpipe. The final shot shows how the Mempipe sits on the memory modules and then screws into the Northbridge heatsink to create one big cooling heatpipe.
To aid in the cooling of the massive heatpipe setup, ASUS has included a small fan that attaches to the fins over the voltage regulators, actively cooling them and keeping the temperatures down. The unit is a blower type fan which pulls air from the case's natural cooling and pushes it over the fins, keeping them cooler when being used for overclocking or when a water cooling setup is on the CPU and there is no airflow from the lack of the CPU fan.
If you are an avid system builder like myself, who changes components constantly, then you will love two unique features that ASUS has included on the M3N-HT. The first one is the Q Connector. The Q Connectors take the front panel connections from the case, like the ones for the power headers, USB headers, etc. and gives you a bridge to connect them to with easy to read specifications. This alows you to quickly and correctly place the wires on the right headers. The second is the way the backplate is designed. I have cut my fingers a countless number of times installing it and then to look on the back and barely read what they say. The backplate included with the M3N-HT has easy to read labeling and a padded, heat reflective buffer to keep from damaging the components and help protect them and you.
The last of the goodies with the ASUS M3H-NT are the SLi bridges. There are two SLi bridges included, one for a dual card setup and one for the new triple card setup. The only downfall is that Tri-SLi is limited to only certain high end cards.
Now let's move on and take a look at the motherboard itself.