Although the Tyan Tomcat i7230 series may be based off the i7221, its physical layout is quite distinguishable between the two sets. Immediately in the upper right hand corner of the motherboard's green PCB is the Intel LGA-775 CPU socket. While most LGA-775 sockets are positioned parallel with the edge of the PCB, the i7230A has its CPU area positioned diagonally. Surrounding the CPU socket is a great deal of power circuitry along with the four standard mounting holes. Although there is a great deal of components surrounding the CPU area, everything is of low profile to prevent inhibiting some after-market heatsinks and waterblocks. Protecting the LGA-775 pins during shipping is a plastic Foxconn cover. To the upper left corner of the socket area is the 4-pin CPU fan header. Below the CPU socket area are two pairs of DDR2 ports (rated for DDR2-667/533MHz) that run parallel with the rear expansion slots. The Tyan i7230A motherboard supports dual channel memory and a maximum memory capacity of 8GB unbuffered ECC 240-pin DDR2 modules. Next to the system memory slots is additional circuitry as well as the 8-pin ATX power connector. Unlike some motherboards that make it optional for a four or eight pin +12V power connector, the S5160 requires an 8-pin supportive power supply.
The next area of interest with the tour of the i7230A S5160 motherboard is three additional 4-pin fan headers, which are positioned below the 8-pin power connector. In total, there are six system fan headers, all which offer a 4-pin PWM interface with three of them being saturated in this specific area. Nearing the bottom of the motherboard is a single IDE connector, FDD connector, four SATA 2.0 ports, and SMDC header. The SMDC header provides support with Tyan Server Management Daughter Cards. Other miscellaneous items in this area include an additional 4-pin system fan connector, front panel header, one USB 2.0 port, and USB 2.0 headers. Appending a traditional USB 2.0 port to the internal motherboard area is certainly appealing for devices that require a traditional USB port on the interior of the PC chassis, rather than needing to run the cable to the rear of the computer, or those like us running the system simply in an open-air environment. The key feature, however, is the ICH-7R Southbridge found in the lower portion of the motherboard. Among other things, the ICH-7R provides connectivity for eight USB 2.0 ports, four SATA 2.0 ports with RAID 0 and 1 support, and PCI Express x4 speeds for the secondary PCI Express x16 sized slot. No Southbridge heatsink is needed on the Tyan S5160 implementation. Next to the Intel Southbridge is the SMSC SCH5017 Super I/O controller and Phoenix BIOS chip.
Moving onto the expansion slots, there are two PCI Express x16 and 4 PCI slots. The primary PCI Express x16 slot is limited to PCI-E x8 transfer speeds (provided by the Northbridge) while the secondary slot is limited to x4 speeds (provided by the Southbridge). As previously mentioned, neither the motherboard nor the Chipset is presently certified for use with NVIDIA SLI or ATI CrossFire. Behind the first PCI slot is the CMOS battery while filling the area between the expansion slots and the rear of the PCB is a Broadcom BCM5721 Gigabit ethernet controller and XGI Z7 integrated video with 16MB of Hynix memory. The XGI Volari Z7 graphics processor is designed for servers and thin clients, while using an 180nm manufacturing process and a 166MHz core clock speed. Moving above the expansion, and memory, slots is the Intel Northbridge that happens to be the E7230 (Mukilteo). The E7230 is designed for use with Pentium 4/Pentium D processors and EM64T (Extended Memory 64 Technology) and a single PCI Express x8 interface. Covering the Northbridge is a passive heatsink composed of aluminum and is attached to the PCB via an eyehole latching design. Next to the Northbridge is the second Broadcom BCM5721 10/100/1000 ASIC. Above this general area is the final 4-pin fan header as well as additional power circuitry accompanied by the 24-pin motherboard connector, which is not backwards compatible with traditional 20-pin ATX power supplies.
At the rear of the motherboard is one serial port, one VGA port, four USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 ports (mouse and keyboard), and two RJ-45 10/100/1000 LAN ports. Although the motherboard may be rare with its hardware layout, when it comes to such things as the DDR2 memory location and slanted LGA-775 socket, the Tyan Tomcat i7230A S5160 is certainly well laid out for optimal usage and in our tests we had no problems with its layout nor had we experienced any CPU heatsink mounting issues. One of the positive notes with the motherboard is that the system fan headers are spread out around the motherboard, rather than being located in one central area, which we had ranted about with past Tyan motherboards.