The feature set available on this motherboard is primarily targeted at
enthusiasts. While paying attention to the various needs of such users, this
motherboard has catered well to suit them all. While keeping essential features,
Sapphire has to do away with the extra features that are not needed for the hardcore overclocker. One glaring feature left out on this board
is the Serial and
While most of today’s peripherals come in USB2.0 or even Firewire, legacy ports
such as Serial and Parallel ports may still be useful for the users with older peripherals. There are also few
expansion slots on the board itself. While most PCI Express based boards come in configurations of 3 PCIe x1
and/or 3 PCI slots, this board comes with only 2 each of such slots. To the overclocking and hardcore gaming crowd, the only expansion card other than the
graphics card is probably a good sound card.
Since this board targets to the overclocking crowd, it has been littered with
small heatsinks that cool some of the hottest parts of the motherboard;
Northbridge, Southbridge as well as PWM area making up of MOSFETs and Voltage
Regulating Modules (VRMs). These heatsinks might prove very useful during overclocking
when components run a lot hotter than normal..
Let’s take a deeper insight into this PURE Innovation board:
This is how the board looks like from the top. With essential features that target enthusiasts, this board keeps its features
as bare as possible.
This is actually one of the first time we actually see a
pretty emblem being stamped on the back of the board. Catering for the acrylic
case modders, this large logo gives them a chance to show off their new
The ATi Radeon Xpress RX480 chipset on this motherboard
is cooled by this puny looking heatsink. Instead of being clipped on the
motherboard via 2 push pins, the heatsink for this board is actually secured onto
the core logic via epoxy bonding. Users who are thinking of removing this,
please do so cautiously. However, throughout our tests with this board, the
northbridge is just warm, not scotching hot.
The ATi IGP SB450 Southbridge is also epoxy bonded with a small
heatsink. This chip doesn’t run very hot even during intensive tests.
The onboard sound for this board is powered by Realtek’s
ALC880. This chipset allows High Defination Azalia Audio specifications. This
chip supports a 8 channel sound output. To be honest, such sound solutions
might not have a match with dedicated soundcards but is definitely acceptable
for an average user.
In order to compensate for the lack of such SATA2 300MB/s
configurations on the ATi SB450 Southbridge, Sapphire just had to add this
Silicon Image Sil3132 SATA controller that supports two more SATA ports onboard. However, a better
choice would still be
the use of ULi’s M1575 Southbridge, since it is compatible with the ATi
Northbridge and it provides SATA2 300MB/s support for all 4 SATA ports.