2. Board Layout
- Fist Look
As this is a server board, one's expectations are going to be a little different from those for a desktop board. The main keywords that come to mind are "system stability" and "reliability". This should translate, in terms of manufacturing, into the use of better components, since systems based on these kind of boards will usually operate 24/7.
The first thing you might notice about the SV-1A, is the abundance of heatsinks. For those who like numbers, there are five heatsinks covering all the major chips on the board, not including the one that will be used on the CPU itself. This helps the proper conduction of heat away from critical system components, ensuring both increased stability and lesser chances of malfunctions due to overheating.
- CPU Socket
The SV-1A does not come pre installed with the plastic base around the CPU socket for the heatsink and fan assembly. Instead, the plastic base needs to be installed by the user along with the CPU. The process is quite straightforward though, and requires a screwdriver to fasten two screws on the board.
- Memory Banks
The memory module slots are color coded in pairs. One blue and one purple pair to highlight the mainboard's Dual Channel memory support and to aid in the correct installation so as to achieve proper dual channel configuration. So, by placing two identical memory modules into either both blue or both purple slots, we can achieve a dual channel configuration. The board as depicted through the specs, can accommodate up to 8GB of RAM.
As you can see from the picture above, the memory module slots are very tightly spaced, and this could pose a problem with airflow when all slots are filled. This is not an issue that can be easily solved by placing an extra fan.
- Back Panel
The rear panel input / output provides the following connections:
From left to right and top to bottom:
- the mouse and keyboard PS/2 connectors
- One RS-232 9-pin COM port
- One VGA D-Sub connector for the onboard ATI RAGE XL graphics processor
- 2 USB 2.0 ports
- Two RJ-45 jacks for the dual gigabit ethernet network adapter
There is also one extra header on the board that when connected with the appropriate bracket can supply two more USB connections. Also there are headers for an extra COM port and an extra parallel port. Also on the board, you will find connections to leds that indicate network activity from any one of the NICs and the SATA discs. Also you will find on the board 6 connections for cooling fans!!
Below you can see the hard drive connectors. 2 IDE channel and 6 SATA connectors makes it possible to connect of up to 10 devices, four IDE, and 6 Serial ATA.
Out of the 6 SATA connectors, 4 (optionally 8) are provided by a Marvell 88SX-6041 chip that supports the SATA2 standard (3 Gb/s transfer rate), twice as much as the standard SATA. The other two, are provided by the VIA-8237 chipset and support the SATA standard. RAID 0,1,0+1 configurations are supported.
- ATX PSU connector
As you can see, the board uses a 20-pin ATX connector.
- Expansion Slots
The SV-1A features 1 PCI expansion slot, and 3 PCI-X expansion slots.
- Sensor chip
This is the chip that is responsible for monitoring different aspects of the system's health, such as voltages, fan speeds etc. As we will see on subsequent pages, the amount of information offered is quite impressive.
- BIOS chip
- Onboard graphics processor
The SV-1A features an onboard graphics processor, based on the ATI RAGE XL chip. The total video RAM is 8 MB, which might seem little compared to the 128MB and even 256MB of current video cards. For a server board though, where high performance in 3D graphics is not required, this amount of video RAM will not pose a problem.