Across the top of the board are three overvoltage setting switches and the 8-pin power connector. The three overvoltage switches grant access to higher voltages for the CPU, Integrated Memory Controller (IMC) and the system memory. Stock voltages for the three are: .85v to 1.7v, up to 1.7v and up to 2.0v for the CPU, IMC, and RAM. With overvoltage enabled, you can achieve 1.25v to 2.1v, up to 1.9v and up to 2.6v for the same components.
The area around the CPU socket is pretty clear and will allow you to mount most any heatsink or water block without clearance issues.
The VRMs (voltage regulation modules) are covered by two large passive heatsinks. VRM chips regulate how much power the CPU and other components receive from the system's power supply. ASUS uses a 16+3 phase VRM design that allocates 16 phases for the vCore and 3 phases for the memory controller inside the CPU. ASUS says this provides greater power efficiency, reduces heat on power components and extends the overall life of the motherboard.
Furthermore, ASUS includes T.Probe, a hardware IC that detects and balances the power phase loads based on temperatures in real-time. We will have a look at this in a bit when we get to the included software.
There are four DDR3 DIMM slots on the board in a dual channel configuration. The two light blue slots are the primary slots and will likely be used most often with traditional dual channel memory kits.
The memory slots use ASUS' Q-DIMM technology on the lower latch. This system makes installing and removing memory much easier, especially with a large video card in place, as you only need to use the top latches to secure the memory.
The rear panel I/O connector is feature-filled as well. From left to right: PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, clear CMOS switch, two USB 3.0 ports, coaxial S/PDIF out port, optical S/PDIF out port, LAN port 2, two USB 2.0 ports, two additional USB 2.0 ports, FireWire port, eSATA port, LAN port 1, two more USB 2.0 ports and audio I/O ports.
The back of the board is mostly black with solder points sticking through. There are two blue aluminum heatsinks / backplates that hold down the VRM heatsinks as well as the CPU latch mechanism backplate.
Let's move ahead and install some hardware.