With the glut of i875P based motherboards on
the market right now, choosing the "right one" can be very difficult for
even the most seasoned consumer. The question always abounds; "should I buy a board based on my
current computing needs or should I try and get something that's a bit more
There is no easy answer to that question, but for those of you who have plenty of IDE devices already the Epox 4PCA3+ is one of the few
motherboards on the market with six IDE channels. Plus there are two
Serial ATA headers waiting in the background should you need them. I know if I
were to adopt any other i875P board out there, I'd have to buy at least one and
possibly two PCI IDE controllers!
Of course the 4PCA3+ is still relatively future friendly with its two Serial
ATA/Serial ATA RAID connectors and if you need to expand that should be very
easy with its five PCI slots. Rounding out the on board features are Gigabit LAN
(not CSA) and 5.1 audio. With a retail price of $245 CDN ($175 US) the Epox is priced around the middle of
the pack, not too expensive, but not 'value oriented' either.
Stock performance of the epox 4PCA3+ was very good; it outperformed both the AOpen AX4C Max
and MSI 875 Neo-FIS2R motherboards in almost all the benchmarks, sometimes by more than
5%! Unfortunately our overclocking adventures didn't go very well. The maximum FSB
we could run was 216 MHz FSB. For those of you with more powerful cooling
solutions, a 1.6V maximum CPU voltage may limit your overclocks as well.
In general the layout of the board was good but there were a few quirks that
we didn't like. The Northbridge is very close to the AGP slot, if you're using a
larger third party videocard cooler you may have to modify the heatsink to make
it fit properly.
If you're looking for a new P4 motherboard for
environments and require many IDE channels then the Epox
4PCA3+ is more than ideal.
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Here are a few other articles that you might enjoy
1. AOpen AX4C Max
i875P Motherboard Review