Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 nForce 570 SLI Motherboard Review
Layout and Features
As most system builders have learned through experience, board component layout can be very key to producing a clean system build. One connector out of place can create a mini wire routing puzzle game. Let's take a look at the GA-M57SLI-S4 layout.
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Layout of the board's power connectors is very optimal. The 24-pin ATX connector is located on the edge of the board, next to the IDE connection. The 4-pin power connection is on the top of the board. These placements allow the builder to route the cord directly from the PSU to the board, and thus cause minimal airflow reduction.
The CPU is pretty clean and free of obstacles that would hinder large CPU cooler installation. The only thing of note here is the very close placement of the first ram slot to the CPU bracket. This could potentially make ram removal difficult with a large heatsink in place.
Four DIMM slots means the M57SLI-S4 board can support up to 8GB of unbuffered DDR2 memory. The ATX power connector and single IDE channel are seen here as well.
There are two PCI Express x16 slots on the board. NVIDIA outfitted the 570 SLI chip with 28 PCI Express lanes. This forces the board to operate in SLI at x8 mode. Also present on the board are two PCI slots and three PCI Express x1 slots. The only layout gripe I have is the placement of the floppy drive connector on the clear far bottom side of the board. This makes for a long stretch and difficult routing of the floppy cable.
GIGABYTE decided to include 6 SATA ports. This allows the user to combine 6 drives into one with RAID 0 or two redundant RAID 5 arrays. RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 1.5 are supported. If you look closely you'll also see three headers for additional USB 2.0 ports.
The back panel of the board includes a RJ45 jack for the LAN, 4 USB 2.0 ports, 6 audio jacks for the onboard sound, S/PDIF In and Out ports, a COM port, a PS/2 Mouse port, a PS/2 Keyboard port and a Parallel port.
The extras that come with the GA-M57SLI-S4 motherboard are pretty sparse and include the necessary IDE and floppy cable, SLI bridge, manual, driver cd and four SATA cables.