Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum Reviewtacohunter52 - October 13, 2011
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A first glimpse of the Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum shows us that there is a lot going on in the expansion port area, however, we'll move on to that a little bit later. Other than that the board looks almost empty, but not in a bad way. There are only two heatsinks, one for the chipset, and one for the power phase. The board looks very spacious, and the layout looks to be very good as well. As far as a color scheme goes, the board is almost completely black. Flipping the board over reveals some more black PCB as well as that the power phase heat sink is held together by screws as apposed to pushpins.
Next up let's take a look at the board's rear panel ports. Sapphire has given a pretty decent amount of options, especially when it comes to the integrated display. For instance, you'll be able to use a Display Port, a DVI-I, and an HDMI port. As for other connections you'll have four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a Bluetooth® 2.1 + EDR by Atheros AR3011 connector, an e-SATA port, a PS/2 port, and your standard audio connectors. The Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum gets a little more interesting when we look at the expansion ports. Here you'll have a PCIe X 16 2.0 slot, two PCIe X1 slots, a PCIe X4 slot, and two 32bit PCI slots. You'll notice that there is one more PCI slot located in the back. This is commonly seen in laptops and is known as a MINI PCI-E x1 slots. This is the first time that I've personally seen this on a full size ATX motherboard, so I thought it was pretty cool!
Moving on to the bottom of the board we can see that it is slightly emptier than other boards. Oddly enough, the first thing that I noticed was the inclusion of an onboard speaker. Now days this isn't really an important feature, but in my opinion it makes debugging easier, and I'm always glad to see them on motherboards. To the right of the onboard speaker is a clear CMOS button, a power switch, a reset switch, and a BIOS switch. To the right of that we have the connector for the front panel USB box, the USB headers are located right next to this as well. To the right of the USB headers you'll notice a debug LED. This debug LED also doubles as a real time temperature monitor for the CPU. This is something we've seen on a few Sapphire boards, and it's a pretty cool feature!
Moving on to the Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum's right side we see five SATA ports. Each of these five ports are SATA III 6Gb/s, which is pretty cool considering we've been seeing boards use only a few SATA III ports and primarily SATA II ports. To the right of the SATA ports is the Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum's main 24Pin power connector. For auxiliary power the Pure Platinum uses an 8Pin power connector. Located to the left of the auxiliary power connector, and right behind the DIMM slots, are some voltage read points. This is something I usually like to see on motherboards, but I can't see it being an important feature for an A75 board.
We've looked at almost everything on the Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum, but there are still a few things left. So let's move on to the boards DIMM slots. The four DIMM slots are located right behind the 24Pin power connector, and it is recommended that the two blue slots be occupied first. The slots are pretty far away from the CPU socket which will allow for a larger cooler to be used without interference from the memory modules. Next up we've got the FM1 socket. The area around the socket is fairly empty, and the board uses the familiar AM2/AM2+/AM3 cooling bracket. We can also see the board's 8 Power Phase located underneath a large blue HSF. Last but not least is the board's chipset which is also located beneath a finned blue heat spreader.
Now that we've had a detailed look at the motherboard, let's take a look at the BIOS!