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Socket 478 interface, DIMM sockets
The lower half of the P4S8X
The P4S8X uses a very similar layout to its predecessor (the P4S533), which was based on the SiS 645DX chipset. This results in a very unique board design which is unlike anything we have seen in the past. For instance, the orientation of the CPU socket relative to the chipset’s North Bridge is perpendicular. ASUS used a unique chipset to processor orientation for its 850 series of motherboards as well, so it’s not surprising to see that carry over to its SiS 648 product. Typically such moves are made to reduce trace lengths.
Overall the board itself is rather small, especially when you consider how many features it is packed with. To conserve space ASUS placed the IDE connector for the Promise controller parallel to the right edge of the motherboard, while the floppy connector is located on the very bottom of the motherboard below the sixth PCI slot. We like the unique placement of the Promise IDE connector, as it conserves space on the motherboard without getting in the way of any important components, but the location of the floppy connector is a little inconvenient.
USB & Firewire on the back, but no S/PDIF
Another shot of the upper portion of the P4S8X
We’re also not big fans of the locations of the power connectors. The 20-pin ATX connector is located a little to close to the CPU socket for our comfort. We would have liked to have seen it a little closer to the right edge of the motherboard. In addition, the EZ Plug connector and ATX12V connector are located below the CPU interface and are also a little snug in relation to the 478-pin CPU socket. Airflow could definitely pose a problem in cramped cases.
Those are our only real gripes with the design of the motherboard, and if you have a roomy case they shouldn’t pose a problem. For connecting your P4S8X to external devices, the motherboard provides six USB 2.0 ports (four on the motherboard, two external) and two Firewire ports (one internal, one external).
ASUS continues to provide its power LED, which can be great for diagnosing problems with your motherboard, in addition to its newer Post Reporter. The Post Reporter provides voice warnings through a speaker on the P4S8X (or an external speaker) that explains what went wrong during POST. End users can even modify the voice warnings to their own voice via the bundled voice editing software.
You can see the Serial ATA ports near the Promise controller, as well as its IDE connector