ECS A770M-A ReviewFormer staff writer -
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The upper most right side of the A770M-A houses the four DDR2 DIMM slots, and the 24-pin power supply connector. Next to the DIMM slots is the 940 Pin AM2+ socket that supports the new Phenom CPU, as well as Athlon FX, Athlon64, and Sempron processors. Located above the CPU socket is the 4-pin CPU fan header.
Below the CPU socket is where the AMD 770 Northbridge resides, also cooled by a passive aluminum heatsink. Rounding out the notable components is the 3-pin SYS fan header next to the northbridge.
I always like to get under the heatsinks to make sure that there is enough thermal interface material (TIM) applied to the chips to avoid future problems with any overheating of the chips. Especially since these are passive heatsinks, you want to make sure that there is good contact as there will be minimal airflow removing the heat generated. The heatsinks use plastic push clips that get compressed on the backside of the motherboard and pushed through to the front to release the heatsinks. Once removed, they reveal that the AMD 770 northbridge uses an adhesive TIM, and the AMD SB600 southbridge uses a more traditional TIM.
Once the TIM is wiped off, we can see the money shots of the chipsets. The new features in the AMD 770 Chipset are HyperTransport 3.0, which more than doubles the bandwidth to graphics as compared to HT1, PCI Express Gen 2.0 that doubles graphics bandwidth over earlier Gen 1.0, AMD OverDrive™ for Windows overclocking and AMD RAIDXpert™ for configuring RAID hard drives. Looking at the AMD SB500 Chipset, it brings up to ten USB 2.0 ports, high-definition audio and support for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray HD audio, and support for up to four SATA ports complying with SATA 2.0 specifications as well as RAID 0, 1, and 10. Fresh TIM is installed on the chips and the heatsinks remounted.
The accessories that come with the A770M-A are a bit sparse, but for the no-frills cost of the board, not much is expected. A SATA cable, 40-pin IDE cable and I/O plate make up the hardware. The owner's manual, quickstart guide and installation CD make up the software.