Installation of the EP-9U1697 GLI is very straight-forward without any major difficulties. As with our review of the Gigabyte GA-G1975X, we installed the following into an Antec SX840 full-sized ATX case: 
  • All bundled expansion brackets and accessories
  • Two PCI-Express video cards
  • One PCI audio card
  • Two SATA HDDs
  • One PATA DVD-RW drive
  • Front panel I/O
  • 2 case fans and 1 video fan
  • 1 CPU waterblock
The board went in easily as expected, the next challenge would be to install all the cables to the board and see what can go wrong.

EPoX EP-9U1697 GLI Motherboard Review - SLI Killer? - Motherboards 66

After installing all the components, the case wasn’t too crowded or cluttered. My only gripes would be the difficulty of switching the PCI-E X16/X8 jumpers after the board is installed, and the small video card retention clips which are only accessible from one side.

EPoX EP-9U1697 GLI Motherboard Review - SLI Killer? - Motherboards 67

As you can see from the above image, the socket area remains clear after installing all the cables. The only issue may be the ATX power cables which you may have to bend or route over your CPU in order to attach it to the board.

EPoX EP-9U1697 GLI Motherboard Review - SLI Killer? - Motherboards 68
Since the EP-9U1697 GLI doesn’t come with an SLI bridge, we
used one that came with an ECS motherboard.

With two video cards installed for (unofficial) SLI, you can see that there is plenty of room between the cards for a double-slot heatsink like the Zalman VF700-Cu. If you look toward the bottom of the case, you will see he yellow USB headers; these headers are hard to access once a PCI card is installed.

Overall, a nice simple design that didn’t cause any issues during our installation.

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