Abstract: When it comes to enthusiasts, the Epox name is well known. In fact I know of many overclockers that wait to check out Epox's take on new chipsets before buying a new motherboard... |
Epox 8KDA3+ nForce3 250Gb Motherboard Review
When it comes to enthusiasts, the Epox name is well known. In
fact I know of many overclockers that wait to
check out Epox's take on new chipsets before buying a new motherboard... Now
that the nVidia
nForce3-250 chipset is upon us, I think we'll see a
few more enthusiasts jump on the Athlon64 bandwagon. After all, the biggest
obstacle from an enthusiasts perspective are the system peripherals that don't like to run out of sync. That can cause a
lot of the headaches.
AGP/PCI locks and with the ability to adjust clock multipliers, we should soon
see motherboard clock speeds well past the 300 MHz mark, assuming the
rest of the hardware can reach those heights of course.
socket 754, Athlon64-based Epox 8KDA3+ motherboard we'll be testing out on
the following pages has a couple of features geared towards enthusiasts, and
plenty of features for those of just looking for a solid
AMD Athlon64 mainboard. For starters, the Epox 8KDA3+ boasts onboard Serial ATA RAID,
Gigabit LAN (including hardware firewall), 7.1 channel audio, and of course the classic Epox Port
80 diagnostics card.
enthusiasts, Epox also
include in the package a set of eight small aluminum MOSFET sized heatsinks, they're not required
to be used with the motherboard but it's never a bad idea
to run things cooler. Since they come in a little bag, they can be attached
with the pre-applied frag tape to whatever you like. Epox also bundle in two very
nice purple rounded IDE cables which are soft and easily moldable. Curiously,
a rounded floppy drive cable was not included. Finally, the Epox 8KDA3+ includes
a small handy Slot/Phillips head screwdriver that is perfect for loosening case screws
in a pinch.
Users Manual, Quick Installation
Guide, Two Rounded IDE Cables, Floppy Cable, Two Serial ATA
Cables, Two Molex to Serial ATA Power Cables, MOSFET
Heatsinks, Epox Screwdriver, IO Backplate, USB Header,
GamePort/Serial Port Header, Driver CD
While pretty much
everyone else in the market is trying to entice consumers with colourful PCB's and flashy fans,
the Epox 8KDA3+ sticks with its customary colours. Makes you wonder just how many consumers
actually base their purchases on how a component looks?
layout of components on the EPox 8KDA3+ is generally is good; the main ATX power
connector and ATX12V line are left of the CPU socket which puts them close to
the MOSFETs, and out of the way too. Despite a lot of integrated peripherals,
the EPox 8KDA3+ still includes six PCI slots for your expansion needs which is
always a plus.
The rear IO has both an
optical and RCA SPDIF connector, four USB2.0 headers, and a multitude of
jack-sensing audio connectors for the 7.1 channel set up; Green jack (2 front
speakers), black jack (2 rear speakers), grey (2 side speakers) and orange
(centre & subwoofer speakers).
The lower right hand corner of the
8KDA3+ board is pretty busy with the IDE/Floppy drive connectors and
the Serial ATA ports from the Silicon Image controller. To simplify things for the
end user, the EPox 8KDA3+ uses one of those colour coordinated front panel
I/O header. If you have ever struggled to get your front panel power
LED plugged in the right way, you know how nice knowing the positive pins can
really be. :-)
I've noticed from testing several nForce3-250 powered motherboards, is that
at least two of the nVIDIA Serial ATA channels are always under the CPU socket, just between it and
the 8X AGP port. I hope that's not a trend that
the other manufacturers continue, as it is darn hard to reach these two ports, and
the SATA cables will undoubtedly interfere with 3rd party videocard coolers.