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The layout
The GA-K8VT890-9 comes in a familiar shade of turquoise, complete with multi-colored ports and slots.

In general, the layout is good. However, the board's power plug placement is less than ideal. 24-pin and ATX 12V connectors are both several inches from the (right in the picture) edge of the board, creating the potential for unnecessary cable clutter around the DIMM slots and CPU socket. Cable clutter isn't just a problem for neat freaks; it can also impede air flow through a system.

Apart from the potential for cable clutter, the GA-K8VT890-9 socket area is free of obstructions. The board uses a passive north bridge cooler whose low-profile design shouldn't interfere with even the largest of CPU coolers. Gargantuan coolers may have clearance problems with taller memory modules, though. This is common with most Athlon 64 boards, whose DIMM slots are quite close to the CPU socket.

Fortunately, the GA-K8VT890-9 has plenty of clearance between the DIMM slot retention tabs and PCI Express x16 slot. Memory modules can easily be removed with a graphics card installed, and there's loads of room for longer graphics cards.

Gigabyte also does a great job with the GA-K8VT890-9's slot arrangement, offering plenty of PCI and PCI Express connectivity. Double-wide graphics cards will obscure one of the board's PCI-E x1 slots, but given the scarcity of PCI Express peripherals, that's hardly a major problem.

On a high-end board, we might like to see one of the PCI slots exchanged for a PCI Express x1 for future compatibility. However, given the GA-K8VT890-9's budget focus, having more standard PCI slots compatible with existing peripherals makes more sense.

The GA-K8VT890-9's storage ports are clustered mid-way down the other side of the board. Even the floppy port gets in on the action, although it seems unlikely that many will use it.

Gigabyte goes old school with the GA-K8VT890-9's port cluster, offering both serial and parallel ports in addition to a standard array of PS/2, Ethernet, USB, and analog audio jacks. The lack of digital audio ports is a little disappointing, but given the budget price, it's understandable.