Due to the presence of a pair of Marvell 88SE9172 controller chips, there are additional four SATA 6Gbps connectors, with support for RAID 0 and 1. The board's Intel Z77 chipset provides the usual pair of SATA 6Gbps and four SATA 3Gbps connectors, with support for RAID modes of 0, 1, 5 and 10.
To the right of the white SATA connectors, there is a gray SATA power connector that provides auxiliary power to the onboard PEG slots. According to the manual, when two or more graphics cards are installed, it is recommended to use this extra power connection to ensure system stability.
Located behind the SATA connectors, there is an onboard mSATA slot for mSATA SSDs. With an installed mSATA SSD, users can take advantage of SSD-based technologies like Intel Smart Response and Intel Rapid Start. For an idea of the performance levels of such an SSD, you can check out our review on the Plextor M5M mSATA SSD.
At this edge of the board where the headers are located, we see the switches for controlling the Dual BIOS technology on the board. These switches are located right next to the front panel header. The M/B switch toggles between the main and the backup BIOS options; while the SB switch allows you to enable or disable the Dual BIOS function.
Next, we focused our attention on the rear I/O connectors. We felt that a clear CMOS button should be located here as its present location will pose a challenge to system tweakers who need to reset the board's BIOS when it has been mounted in a chassis with an optical drive blocking the button's accessibility.
There is a GC-WB300D PCIe x1 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth expansion card and two accompanying antennae bundled with the board. Its installation is straightforward and prior to its operation, note that we also had to install its Windows drivers.