Making our way down the board we find the CMOS battery on the right and a front audio connector on the left. Expansion slots consist of the following, from top to bottom: PCIe x1, PCIe x16, PCIe x1, standard PCI, PCIe x16, standard PCI and another x16 slot. Note that the x16 slot speeds change if you add multiple video cards.
Across the bottom of the board are the following connections, from left to right: 1394 FireWire, a 3-pin system fan, a 4-pin system fan, two internal USB 3.0 headers, another 3-pin fan, two internal USB 2.0 headers and front panel I/O headers. I really like the fact that Gigabyte not only color-codes their front panel headers but also labels them instead of including proprietary adapters that could easily become lost or misplaced.
Moving up the right side of the board we find six SATA connectors. The four black connectors are SATA 3Gb/s while the two white connectors are 6Gb/s ports. All ports are controlled by the Intel Z68 chipset and support RAID 0,1,5 and 10 configurations.
The rear I/O connections from left to right are: two USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 keyboard / mouse combo port, optical S/PDIF out, coaxial S/PDIF out, FireWire port, USB 2.0 port, eSATa / USB combo port, mini FireWire port, USB 2.0 port, eSATA / USB combo port, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN port, two more USB 3.0 ports and six audio connectors (center / subwoofer, rear, side, line in, line out, mic in).
On the back of the board you can see the screws that are holding the heatsinks in place rather than push-pins. Hopefully none of the screws interfere with the CPU cooler backplate like we have experienced with a couple other Intel boards.
Hardware installation is just ahead.