Moving down the board we find two PCI-e x1 slots, two PCI-e x16 slots (the second is labeled as PCI-e x4) and three PCI slots. Across the bottom of the board are the following connections: COM, 4-pin fan header, two 1394 FireWire headers, four USB 2.0 and one USB 2.0 header for the On / Off charge function. There are front panel audio headers just above the top PCI-e x1 slot.
The SATA connectors (three 3Gb/s connectors and two 6Gb/s connectors) are located just under the chipset heatsink. I prefer SATA headers to be lined along the edge of the board for easier cable management when using multiple drives.
Just to the right of the SATA connectors is the front panel header bank. I like how Gigabyte has not only labeled the pins but also color-coded them. I prefer this rather than no labels at all or worse, including a proprietary pin adapter that could easily get lost.
There is an additional 3-pin fan header above the front panel headers, the CMOS battery is located just below the PCI-e x16 slot and the Clear CMOS jumper can be found just below the battery.
The rear I/O panel consists of the following connections, from left to right: two USB 2.0 ports, a keyboard / mouse PS/2 port, VGA connector, DVI connector, Optical S/PDIF out connector, HDMI port, DisplayPort port, two more USB 2.0 ports, a 1394 FireWire port, eSATA 3Gb/s port, Gigabit Ethernet jack, two USB 3.0 ports and six audio jacks (center / subwoofer speaker out, rear speaker out, side speaker out, line in, line out, mic in).
There are no obstructions on the back of the board that should prevent you from installing a large CPU backplate.
Let's move on and look at the hardware that we will be using with this board.