4 - Photo's
SATA 3 Gb/second ports nicely colored on orange located close to the ICH9R Southbridge chip which manages them. A total of six SATA ports are to be found here. The three orange colored connectors at the bottom-left are USB header. ECS fails to deliver USB extenders for it.
We spot two PCI Express gen 2.0 x16 slots on the board which will provide a little extra value if you plan to go Crossfire in the future. Furthermore two PCI Express x1 slots (the small yellow ones) and two PCI 2.2 slots (black). The yellow connector to the right is actually your IDE (PATA) connector. A very unusual place to find it there. But since drive cages typically are placed low in the PC chassis, not a bad spot either cable management wise.
Now I want to show you the beautiful cooper cooling design. Though working pretty okay, it has a major flaw. This cooler is proclaimed to be a heat-pipe based cooler. As you can see the heatpipe travels through three heatsinks allowing heat transfer to the path is lesser resistance (thus where it is cooler). Now let's zoom in a little:
Look closely below the heatpipe and notice it is actually fastened into the copper blocks with some sort of composite glue.
A complete fail in my eyes as that glue can not and will not transfer enough heat. So while the heatpipe looks nice it serves absolve no function whatsoever. During my tests I confirmed this with the most simple method I could think of. I put my finger on the copper pipe and felt the temperature. And indeed, while the heatsinks get pretty warm .. the heatpipe itself actually remained below body-temperature, there is no heat transference there.
Now please understand that the cooling as implemented is sufficient, really. But come on .. don't insert a heatpipe in there if you don't plan to use it. That or just put an actual real heatpipe based solution on there.