Epox 4PCA3+ i875P Motherboard Review
news came down the wire that the Epox 4PCA3+ i875P motherboard was on the
testing block I have to admit I was a little excited. You see, Epox are one of
the few manufacturers that can make my [techie] pulse rise. This isn't because
of any grand marketing schemes, promotions, or bundles of software and USB
break-out boxes in the box. Nope, this impression is one which has been built
over many months, and over experiences with many different motherboards from
Epox. And if the past is any indication of what to expect in the future, then
the 4PCA3+ has a lot to live up to. For not only are Epox motherboards typically
fast, they are also typically very good overclockers; and as you may have
realized, I'm all for hitting
the high numbers!
Now, onto more tangible points
that you can actually take away and use as a guide in your path to choosing
the right i875P motherboard. For starters, in the last several months I've noticed a
broad trend cropping up in the motherboard industry. IDE headers are
disappearing and being replaced by multitudes of Serial ATA headers. Typically
they SATA component consists of just two headers, but now more often than not we
find four SATA headers and just two 'legacy' IDE.
I understand the future is in Serial ATA but I still have quite a
few large capacity IDE drives that are far from being tossed out with yesterdays BX chipset. It's easy to see why a quiet grin
swept across my face the second I saw not four, but six IDE headers on
this motherboard. With the right sized hard drives one could make very nice use
of the on board High Point HPT374 controller indeed.
features listed under the large Epox 4PCA3+ moniker on the box include Serial
ATA/Serial ATA RAID, 5.1 audio and Gigabit Ethernet (not CSA though). If you feel
the need to expand, the five PCI slots and purple 8x AGP port are
Like all other i875P Canterwood based motherboards, the
Epox 4PCA3+ also supports 533/800 MHz based Northwood Pentium 4 processors and can
support a maximum of 4GB of PC2700/3200 DDR RAM (ECC included).
Ships with the following:
- 2x Rounded IDE Cables
- 2x Serial ATA Cables
- FDD Cable
- 2x Serial ATA Power
- Driver CD
- Serial ATA Driver Disk
- IDE RAID Driver Disk
- I/O Back Plate
- Users Manual
- RAID Manual
built the 4PCA3+ large, and for a good reason. Conforming to normal ATX standards, the width of
the board jumps out to 24.5cm and as you can see the PCB
is pretty "busy".
the main ATX power and primary IDE connectors are located in a good spot to the
right of the DIMM slots.
While I'm not a fan of placing IDE channels on the
lower half of the motherboard, at least Epox places them low enough so they will
not interfere with longer videocards.
The famous Port 80 diagnostics card shows its face
once more, and what a relief it is that Epox have not succumb to
the temptation of removing this invaluable tool to save a few dollars.
The Port 80 Card has sertainly saved me
a lot of troubleshooting time and I really would like to see it make the
standard equipment list from more manufacturers.
These days if a motherboard
doesn't have a Port 80 I tend to not want to use it.... I guess I'm just spoiled.