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The layout
Soltek drapes the SL-K890PRO-939 in an almost Lakeresque color scheme that actually doesn't look too bad. The purple and yellow slots give the board a unique look that will endure even if Kobe can't carry the team past the first round.


Although its look is a little different, the SL-K890PRO-939's layout is pretty standard fare. Soltek does a nice job of moving the board's power plugs close to the top (right in the picture) edge of the board, which should keep cable clutter around the CPU socket to a minimum.

Interestingly, the SL-K890PRO-939 is the first PCI Express motherboard I've tested that doesn't have a 24-pin power connector. The board uses 20-pin primary and four-pin auxiliary power plugs, and somewhat surprisingly, lacks additional power connectors.


The area around the SL-K890PRO-939's CPU socket is a little tight, but there's plenty of room for standard Athlon 64 heat sinks. Massive coolers like Zalman's CNPS7700 can create clearance problems with taller DIMMs, though. Fortunately, the board's short north bridge cooler stays out of the way. The passive cooler is also dead silent, which is always appreciated.


Unlike most nForce4 boards, whose chipset coolers are right in line with the PCI Express x16 graphics slot, the SL-K890PRO-939 has plenty of room for longer graphics cards. The board also has enough clearance between its PCI-E x16 and DIMM slots to allow memory modules to easily be swapped without removing the graphics card.


The SL-K890PRO-939's expansion slot layout is smart, but a little short on standard PCI. Double-wide graphics card coolers will only cost users an x1 slot, which considering the dearth of PCI Express peripherals, isn't much of a loss. The fact that the board only has two standard PCI slots may turn off some users, though. Personally, I prefer forward-looking boards with more PCI Express, but until more x1 devices become available, PCI slots will be missed.


Soltek populates the bottom corner of the SL-K890PRO-939 with an array of color-coded storage ports. ATA/133 and Serial ATA ports are colored based on which storage controller they're connected to, which is a helpful touch.


Soltek also sneaks a POST code display onto the bottom of the board. Reading the two-digit display is a much easier way to troubleshoot POST problems than deciphering piercing beep codes, so the SL-K890PRO-939 picks up a couple of bonus points here.


The SL-K890PRO-939's port cluster is loaded with a little bit of everything, including digital S/PDIF input and output ports, and plenty of analog audio, USB, Firewire, and Ethernet. There's enough room for a parallel port, but Soltek doesn't include one. I can't say I blame them, either.