From a performance
enthusiast's stand point, the Epox 8RGA+ is
possibly the best overclocking nForce2
SPP/IGP based motherboard we have tested thus far. The board is just
so overclocker friendly; with
CPU voltages up to 2.2V and VDD voltages up to 2V it is no wonder
overclockers always look forward to Epox mobo's.
As a consumer I have been very satisfied with the Epox motherboards I have
purchased in the last year (seven of them!) and not one has let me down yet. Even my
old 8KHA+ from Oct 2001 is still alive and kicking!
EP-8RGA+ is not exactly the most luxurious nForce2 motherboard on the market, but it
still has a few goodies like IEEE 1394, USB2.0, 10/100 LAN and 5.1 audio. We would have
liked to see both Serial ATA and IDE RAID onboard as well,
but I guess you can't win them all.
With its dual analog
connectors round back this is the only nForce2-IGP motherboard that offers users
dual monitor capabilities with its integrated GeForce4 MX video. I have to
admit it is kind of eerie being able to set up a computer for dual displays without ever having to install a
videocard.... or for that matter much else besides memory and
a processor. Onboard features are a really cost effective way to save money if you are
setting up lots of computers for business too.
With a board such as this, or just about any other
nForce2-based solution for that matter, there really isn't much else
required other than the motherboard. With a retail price of $210 CDN ($135
US), that makes the Epox EP-8RGA+ a pretty good bargain. It is one
of the more expensive nForce2 solutions out there, but as the
benchmarks illustrate, performance and features such as those here are sure
is worth the extra money!
My only gripe surrounds the passive north bridge heatsink -
considering all that the IGP is able to do, an active heatsink really seems like the better
choice. With the stock cooler we hit a maximum of 200 MHz FSB. When
it was replaced with an active heatsink we really unlocked the overclocking potential
of the motherboard hit 229 MHz FSB! H'mm, I think this board just earned itself the right to
became the new PCstats.com AMD AthlonXP test bed.
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