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Epox EP-8K3A+ KT333CE Motherboard Review
Epox EP-8K3A+ KT333CE Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: When Epox announced the release of the KT333-based 8K3A+ many wondered if they would be able to reproduce the successes they had enjoyed in the past.
 82% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Epox May 31 2002   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Epox EP-8K3A+

Room for improvement?

I've never been as picky about mainboards as when IDE connectors are placed in spots where cables may have to drape around precious videocards. For some reason this really irks me and in the case of the Epox 8K3A+ the placement of the IDE RAID ports on the motherboard interfere with the use of full length PCI cards in PCI slots 2-4. Even longer PCI cards such as the Sound Blaster Audigy would have problems fitting in the last two PCI's on the bottom of the motherboard.

The ATX power connector is in a 'poor' location since the power cable is in a position to drape over the CPU fan disturbing air flow if the system is put together sloppily. However, we also know that the board was designed this way to ensure the cleanest electricity gets to the power plant on the motherboard.

USB 2.0 is gaining quite abit of momentum and it is surprising that the 8K3A+ doesn't include that in its package since many of its competitors have USB 2.0 as standard equipment. Also we were told by Epox that the passive northbridge heatsink is only on the test/beta samples of the motherboard, however that doesn't seem to be the case always.

We have another 8K3A+ in our labs that we purchased and it came with the passive grey heatsink on its northbridge as well. This had seemed to inhibit our overclocking attempts and replacing the northbridge heatsink with an active cooler helped alleviate this problem. On a side note I found it quite amusing that our retail 8K3A+ was PCB revision 1.0 and the test sample revision 1.2... h'mm I wonder what changes Epox made to the layout?

A little on RAID...

IDE RAID 0 is not really considered a true RAID since there isn't any data redundancy. RAID 0 takes two drives of the same size/configuration and stripes them, meaning it makes one big drive out of two equal ones. This improves performance by cutting hard drive latency in half. Since the data is divided equally and written on two hard drives it also increases the data bandwidth by two. The reason it's not considered true RAID is because if one drive fails, all data is lost.

IDE RAID 1 on the other hand mirrors two drives of the same size, so in theory if one drive fails, the other will take over as the primary hard drive and the system can continue to operate normally. This is what is supposed to happen with a SCSI hard drive setup and it actually works pretty well there.

The IDE subsystem doesn't allow hard drives to be disconnected while the computer is still powered up and in use like SCSI can unless you have a special HDD tray. Generally, when one IDE drive fails the system usually locks up anyway. The data is safe since it's mirrored on the other drive which is the real benefit.

With IDE RAID 0+1, you need four hard drives of the same configuration/size. What RAID 0+1 does is stripes two sets of two hard drives, one set for a RAID 0 configuration and the other for RAID 1. What this does is offer the best of both worlds, the high performance of RAID 0, with 100% data redundancy of RAID 1. Hence the name RAID 0+1. The only downside would be the need for four identical hard drives.

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Contents of Article: Epox EP-8K3A+
 Pg 1.  Epox EP-8K3A+ KT333CE Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Looking at the Epox 8k3A+
 Pg 3.  — Room for improvement?
 Pg 4.  Around the Socket: Heatsink Clearances
 Pg 5.  Overclocking & Benchmarks
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2001
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Winbench 99
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: Sisoft Sandra 2002
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: PCMark 2002, 3DMark 2001SE
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: QIII Arena
 Pg 11.  8K3A+ Conclusions

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