Sapphire did a fine job with a luxurious packing style that leaves consumers feeling satisfied. For those who like to lay out their hardware boxes for display, the Sapphire PC-I7RD400’s packaging is bound snatch the limelight from your collection of other hardware boxes.
We went on to take the box apart to gain access to the elusive turquoise PCB showing through the box “window”.
Don’t you find her pretty?
In the pack you will also find the User’s Manual and a driver CD. You get a “Powered By Sapphire” sticker to add to your PC for that extra “cool” factor too!
Of course, Sapphire inculded the basic necessities.
A serial port bracket and a 2 X IEEE1394 bracket offers extra connectivity. There is also the connector backplate that fits into your ATX case.
Part of the package: A ATA33 ribbon cable, and a ATA133 ribbon cable alongside a SATA cable.
There is support for up to PC3200 memory in Dual Channel. Those with old school low latency DDR RAMs can employ them on this motherboard. We will see in the benchmarks later whether using DDR memory really puts the PC-I7RD400 at a disadvantage over i945 and i975 based motherboards running DDR2.
Assessing the connectivity options was a simple matter. Sapphire included the basic necessities, with some niceties like Firewire IEEE1394. Luckily, they did not choke up the PC-I7RD400 with devices and soaking up extra PCI/PCIe buss.
The blocked up VGA connector seems to be hinting that a XPRESS200 Intel motherboard with Integrated Graphics uses the same PCB.
Expansion options are relatively good. The number of PCI slots for example, surpass that of many other motherboards today.
Fill them up with a top notch M-Audio, a PPU add-on, and a HDTV tuner. Enough slots for you to get almost every PCI device you need into your PC!.
You can throw in a couple of Matrox Dual DVI PCIe X1 graphics accelerators or maybe a RAID card. Just make sure your PCIe X16 graphics accelerator doesn’t block the slots with 2 slot cooling!
The main course: you get to run 2 ATi graphics accelerators in Crossfire mode!
You are supposed to fit this piece of PCB into the second PCIe X16 slot if not running two graphic accelerators, so the first slot gets full X16 bandwidth.
The up-to-date 24 pin ATX power connector.
They kept the old school floppy drive connector!
You get a pair of IDE channels here. Not too bad.
4 SATA ports for the general user. SATA2 would have been great.