Constantly we tell companies, now with your backing
, not to use green PCBs because it simply doesn't look
as good as a black, red or blue.
Green simply looks too old school, and while that is usually cool and retro, it hasn't quite reached that stage for component hardware just yet. Green is no doubt cheaper and faster to produce, simply because the SMT machines can "see" it far easier than any other colour yet, as gamers and enthusiasts that care about what we purchase, we want to feel special no matter how big a wedge we hand over.
The old school styling continues with black and white memory, PCI/PCI-Express slots, SATA, IDE and ATX and 8-pin ports. There's very little colour differentiation across the board, and in all honesty, it looks really very bland.
A six phase power regulation system is employed - this is pretty standard these days - and like many others, it uses no digital system or special Ferrite cored components. Having said that, it still has low profile solid state capacitors around the CPU area for better power delivery. The rest of the board mostly uses a mixture of high quality Japanese (black) Rubycon, (green) Sanyo and (brown) KMQ capacitors.
PCI-Express and PCI
A single PCI-Express x16 slot is mirrored either side by two PCI-Express x1 slots, and below these are three PCI slots. This still allows you to use a single PCI-Express x1 slot if you use a dual slot graphics card, but arguably more importantly, the three PCI slots remain available.
Someone who's investing in an budget board won't have the cash to throw at new peripherals and extras, so porting old PCI cards to your new build is essential, especially considering this board is light on extra features. The PCI-Express x16 slot is far lower than the memory and yet higher than the SATA ports, although if you use a really long card it'll cross over the IDE port at the edge of the board.
Only four SATA ports are provided which isn't a great deal, although for a cheap gaming rig you'd not expect a huge amount of hard drives erupting from it. The nForce 430 MCP southbridge still gives you RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and 5 with Nvidia's MediaShield, so the possibility of using it as a cheap server (now or later in its life) might require additional ports. But then again, a massive 500GB hard drive can be hard for the same price as the board, so maybe you don't need a huge number of ports after all.
The SATA ports are placed close to the edge of the board, although they aren't at 90 degrees to minimise cable mess nothing should overshoot them and get in their way.
The memory slots are alternately coloured white and black according to memory channel, with dual channel operation being enabled if two DIMMs are placed in the same coloured slots. Up to a massive 8GB of DDR2 is supported, so it's certainly Vista (x64) ready, although you'll not find the high performance memory support you would on an nForce 680i (LT) SLI variant board.
As stated the memory slots are high enough from the PCI-Express x16 slot to be able to get the DIMMs out with ease, and they're also really very far from both the northbridge and CPU socket to allow more than enough space to get your fingers in. EPP support has been negated, unfortunately, but this doesn't stop you inputting the performance timings yourself in the BIOS should you know what you're doing.