Page 2: The Board
To be fair we don't expect the world when it comes to mATX boards. They have less room to pack a bunch of goodies but we still expect a reasonable amount of internal I/O headers to allow for expansion to the front panel or other external ports. This is actually one area that the G45T-M2 lacks, at least in terms of what's fast becoming a legacy connection. We know that PATA (IDE) drives are old school, but ECS chose to ditch PATA altogether, so you better come prepared with SATA-based opticals. On that front, ECS provides a pleasing number of SATA connections (6), and chose to add a floppy port too.
The story is much the same when it comes to USB ports. ECS had plenty of room to toss on four extra USB headers, for up to 8 more USB ports. But they simply failed by not including a single IEEE1394 Firewire header. For a board that comes with no onboard eSATA or Firewire ports, this was disappointing.
On the G45T-M2, ECS included 2 standard PCI slots along with two PCI-e slots (16x and 1x). The battery and Clear CMOS jumper are in a tight position. In fact, being so close to the graphics expansion slot will often make both unaccessible due to most GPU heatsinks being right in that area. This is less of an issue on mATX motherboards that aren't likely to draw a big overclocking crowd, but we'd still like to see it more conveniently placed. One nice addition to help this board secure next generation status is the inclusion of the Gen. 2 PCI-e graphics slot.
For having a fairly average backside, the board does display a little bling in the form of a DVI port. This allows for a DX10 HD experience without having to dish out the dough for a new DX10 video card. ECS includes a DVI-to-HDMI adapter so you don't have to go searching for one yourself. One thing to note is that this DVI port won't support your standard DVI-to-VGA adapter. It simply wont fit. The port is missing four pinholes that are used on most video cards that allow the signal to be sent out in analog. The analog signal is obviously still available via the standard VGA port, just not through the DVI port. One thing they do with this digital DVI port is include the a transfer of digital sound via the HDMI adapter. You rarely get that from 3rd party video cards (although it's becoming more common).
Also, we find the six audio jacks supported by the Realtek ALC888 8-channel HD onboard audio. As we like to see with many m-ATX boards it also includes an Ethernet port. The Realtek 8111C Giga LAN should more than suffice for your high speed internet and networks. Rounding out the rear ports are four 2.0 USB ports and two PS/2 ports for those still sporting non-USB keyboards and mice. That's right, they left out the PATA drive header, but still included the previous generation PS/2 ports.