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Board layout
Without extras like Firewire and a secondary RAID chip, the KV8 Pro's layout is relatively sparse. Check it out:

The board is dressed in an orangey-red hue that has quickly become an Abit trademark. A couple of blue accents complement the KV8 Pro's aesthetic, but unless you've got a case window, the board's color scheme shouldn't matter.

What will matter, however, is the location of the KV8 Pro's power connectors. Bad placement can create all sorts of cable clutter within a system while good locations can make it much easier to keep things neat and tidy. The KV8 Pro's power locations are somewhere between the two; its four-pin power connector is close to the top of the board and far enough away from the CPU socket to make cable routing easy, but the primary power connector is a little too far from the top edge of the board for my liking.

Abit keeps the area around the KV8 Pro's CPU socket nice and open, leaving loads of room for larger and more exotic heat sinks. The board also ships with a standard Athlon 64 heat sink retention bracket.

In addition to a wide open socket area, there's also plenty of clearance around the KV8 Pro's AGP slot. Memory modules can easily be removed when an AGP card is installed, a capability that is surprisingly rare these days. Unfortunately, having a longer AGP card installed can make getting at the KV8 Pro's CMOS reset jumper a bit of a pain, especially if you have stubby fingers.

If the KV8 Pro has a glaring shortcoming, it's the fact that there are only two DIMM slots. The board supports up to 2GB of DDR400 memory, but you'll need to buy pricey 1GB DIMMs to hit that maximum. Fortunately, the 754-pin Athlon 64's single-channel memory controller doesn't need a pair of matched DIMMs for optimal performance.

Moving to storage, Abit neatly arranges the board's IDE and Serial ATA ports at the bottom of the KV8 Pro. The IDE ports are cocked at 90 degrees along the edge of the board, which makes it a little easier to cleanly route IDE ribbons and rounded cables.

Finally, we have the KV8 Pro's port cluster, which comes loaded with a standard array of PS2, serial and parallel, Ethernet, and USB ports. The cluster also contains an impressive assortment of audio ports, including analog jacks for front, rear, and center output channels, and line and mic input channels. Abit even serves up a couple of S/PDIF ports for digital audio input and output.

Although you can't get at them from the port cluster, the KV8 Pro actually supports an extra four USB ports via a pair of on-board expansion headers. Unfortunately, Abit doesn't ship the KV8 Pro with any hardware to take advantage of these connectors.