Abit IP35 Dark Raider Socket 775 Motherboardccokeman -
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Here we are finally able to view the subject of this review. The color of the board reminds me of the ocean when I visited Hawaii many moons ago. It's a different shade of blue, which is very appealing. A little something for those who love to show off their hardware with a case window. The motherboard features a set of cooling strips underneath the main power circuits by the CPU socket. Something I first saw on the company's AW9D-Max 975 chipset board. As a step up the IP35 ladder, this board has a few features that the IP35-E lacks. The view of the I/O panel hints at one of these items. For rear panel connectivity, you still have the option of the PS/2 ports for both a keyboard and mouse, digital audio out, 4 USB ports, Gigabit LAN and Firewire capability.
This board features one 16x PCI-E slot, two 1x PCI-E slots and 3 PCI slots for your expansion needs. Speaking of expansion, there are headers on the bottom of the board for an additional 8 USB ports that you can either connect to your case headers or to the included expansion slot bracket. This bracket also allows the connection of the Firewire header. Hidden behind the front panel audio header is the connection for the HDMI sound.
Each of the heat generating areas of the board are passively cooled by heatsinks. The sinks appear copper in color, but only the sink over the PWM area looks the part. Abit uses a heatpipe style cooling assembly between the nortbridge and PWM sinks to help with heat removal.
This board supports up to 8 GB of system memory by populating all four DIMM slots. The area around the heatsink looks a bit crowded on one side, with a bank of capacitors. I was concerned my heatsink might have clearance issues, but it turned out that those issues were not going to be of any concern. The only place clearance was even close was between the heatsink fan and northbridge heatsink.