BF6 Up Close
Compared to the BE6-II, the BF6 is identical in size and layout. The only major changes are the additional PCI slot and the absent Highpoint ATA-66 chip. When looking at both motherboards, you'll immediately notice the cutouts for both components.
Cutouts for IDE connectors 3 and 4.
On the BE6-II, these are the two ATA-66 connectors.
Since Abit used the same basic design for the BF6 and BE6-II, the IDE connectors are located above each other - directly above the floppy connector. By placing all three connectors above one another, users that fill all three DIMM sockets might find DIMM3 to be a tight fit when installing the IDE cable on the second IDE connector.
While we're griping about location of components, we're also a little unhappy with the location of the DIP switches. By placing them at the top of the motherboard (right next to the bundle of IDE cables) some users may have problems reaching them inside their case. Thankfully, most everyone will use the SoftMenu III settings in the BIOS when overclocking. Abit included the DIP switches as an option for system integrators, who usually don't want their customers touching CPU settings.
The DIP switches are placed in a position
that's difficult to reach inside a case.
We were happy to see the 6 PCI slots the BF6 features. Other notable features include three fan headers, two nestled next to the DIMM sockets and a third located on the bottom of the motherboard between the battery and PN1 and PN2 headers.
To cut costs, the BF6 lacks the Highpoint ATA-66 controller chip. While we're a little disappointed with this omission, we understand Abit's decision not to include ATA-66 support. Typically, ATA-66 hard drives offer a 20% performance improvement over standard ATA-33 drives and as newer models are released with additional features this performance gap will continue to increase.
Since many potential BF6 customers are already content with the performance their ATA-33 drives offer this may not be a glaring disadvantage for Abit. After all, if you're interested in purchasing a motherboard with ATA-66 support, Abit offers the more expensive BE6-II motherboard.