Other then the unusual 3D performance we were very happy with the Epox
8K3A+, it is indeed an
extremely quick board with lots of options and worth your hard earned dollars. We had
zero stability issues with the board, even at a 180 MHz FSB or
with all three DIMM slots occupied with double sided 256MB modules.
With a price tag
of $195 CDN it's one of the better value KT333CE
based motherboards; with onboard 5.1 audio, Ultra/133 IDE RAID, six PCI slots and three DIMM slots this
board has almost everything you need.
Epox's extremely powerful BIOS almost rivals the boards hardware
specifications with CPU voltage tweaks up to 2.2V and DRAM up to 3.2V. The 8K3A+
is probably one of the best motherboards for tweakers to work with.
As for overclocking, we hit
a top speed, er... FSB of 180 MHz and we're 100% positive that we were
limited by our KingMAX DDR333 memory. Many other web sites, as well as users, have claimed
200 MHz FSB easy with good RAM! Still, things aren't all rosy, the KT333CE
issues in the overclocked environment contribute to lower than KT266A performance at higher bus speeds.
At 180 MHz FSB
for instance we found that the 8K3A+ could barely beat Epox's own 8KHA+ at 175
MHz FSB. This is not a fault of the motherboard, rather it is tied in with the dividers
in the KT333CE chipset. With the 2/5 AGP divider kicking in at 166 MHz
the AGP is no longer getting as much bandwidth as before plain and simple.
Putting those chipset related issues aside the Epox 8K3A+
is a great board and one we can easily recommend to everyone, even if
you don't plan on overclocking it.
At stock speeds it is extremely fast and overclocking just brings
more "goodness" out of the package. The only thing we can suggest to
Epox is to add adjustable AGP/PCI dividers in the BIOS rather then letting them
kick in by themselves. Unfortunately that is the only way to fully unleash
the potential of the 8K3A+.
Here are a few other articles that you might enjoy as well...
1. Shuttle AK35GTR Ver 2.2 KT333CE Motherboard Review