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Epox 8NPA SLI Motherboard Review
Epox 8NPA SLI Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
The bevy of new Socket 754 motherboards being released will extend the investment you made in that processor all those months ago.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Epox Nov 09 2005   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Epox 8NPA SLI

Benchmarks: Doom 3 and Conclusions

Doom 3

Source: id Software

At its highest setting, Ultra quality, texture sizes pass the 500MB mark which means even tomorrow's videocards will have a hard time running everything. The frame rates in the game itself are locked at 60 fps so anything above that point is wasted. Each test is run three times with the third run being recorded.

LQ 640x480: FPS Ranking
Albatron K8X890 Pro II (K8T890 200/400) 125.7
MSI RS480M2-IL (RS480 200/400) 110.4
Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra (NF4 Ultra 200/400) 124.7
DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR (NF4 SLI 200/400 7800GTX Single) 126.9
DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR (NF4 SLI 200/400 7800GTX SLI) 127.5
Epox 9NPA+ SLI (NF4 SLI 200/400 7800GTX Single) 124.3
Epox 9NPA+ SLI (NF4 SLI 200/400 7800GTX SLI) 122.2
ECS KN1 Extreme SLI (NF4 SLI 200/400 GeForce 7800GTX Single) 124.4
ECS KN1 Extreme SLI (NF4 SLI 200/400 GeForce 7800GTX SLI) 121.2
Epox 8NPA SLI (NF4 SLI 200/400 7800GTX Single) 104.6
Epox 8NPA SLI (NF4 SLI 200/400 7800GTX SLI) 101.3

In our final benchmark Doom 3, the Epox motherboard puts up a good fight against the other systems and will not disappoint gamers.

nForce 4 SLI breathes new life into Socket 754

Originally, the nForce4 SLI chipset was supposed to support Socket 939 dual channel memory AMD processors only, however a couple of clever manufacturers have broadened its scope to include the Socket 754 AMD CPU as well. It makes sense since AMD's Sempron line gives budget consumers the option of buying into nVidia's SLI feature. Although... it does kind of seem strange that budget minded users would readily jump at the prospect of spending twice as much on videocards to take advantage of SLI.

The Epox 8NPA SLI motherboard is compatible with Socket 754 AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Sempron processor. Its two 184-pin DDR RAM slots can be installed with a maximum of 2GB of PC3200 memory. The motherboard comes with onboard Gigabit LAN, 5.1 channel audio, SATA, a Port 80 card and of course switchless SLI.

Epox is a veteran motherboard manufacturer and the layout of the 8NPA SLI is very good. From headers to the IDE/Serial ATA ports and even chipset location, almost everything is in its optimal place.

experts tip: understanding the port 80 card
the port 80 diagnostics tool is a tweaker friendly device worth getting to know. learning to read and understand the meaning behind its alphanumeric values is vital quickly problem solving finicky computer systems. here's a run down of the most common errors: 'C1' indicates that the memory is causing the system not to POST, 'C0' is an indication that the L2 cache on the processor is being pushed way too hard and will lead to a cheerful black screen of death. Code '26' can be read a couple of ways, either the processor is running too fast or the motherboard itself is. If 'FF' pops up then be prepared... because nothing is holding the system back from booting! The Port 80 values are standardized so they do not change between one manufacturers implementation on a motherboard to the next. Once you've memorized what these hex symbol stand for, you're set. There are quite a few Port 80 codes, so check the manual for ones not listed here.
Comments and Feedback? Suggest a Tweak.

Looking at the benchmarks I think its fair to say that performance of the Epox 8NPA SLI motherboard is quite good. It was the slowest motherboard of the reference group, but we must bare in mind that it was tested with a Socket 754 Athlon64 3200+ processor. Even so, the 8NPA SLI did not trail the other boards by drastic amounts. In 3DMark2001/3DMark05 the Epox 8NPA SLI only scored slightly lower than the Socket 939 competition (DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR, Epox 9NPA SLI), and in Doom 3 the difference was about 20 fps difference.

Epox and overclocking go together very well too. The 8NPA SLI achieved a top speed of 255 MHz; not the highest we have seen, but definitely respectable for a Socket 754 motherboard.

With a retail price of $123 CDN ($105 US), the Epox 8NPA SLI motherboard is a very affordable solution for current Socket 754 owners who want to experience PCI Express at its best. Not only does the board allow you to run the latest graphics cards, it also incorporates nVidia's SLI feature which is so far putting ATI's Crossfire to shame. If you need to buy a Socket 754 motherboard for whatever reason, the Epox 8NPA SLi is a worthwhile choice.

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Contents of Article: Epox 8NPA SLI
 Pg 1.  Epox 8NPA SLI Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Epox Overclocking Options
 Pg 3.  Inside the Epox 8NPA SLI BIOS
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: SYSMark2004
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, PCMark05
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, 3DMark05
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: UT2003, UT2004
 Pg 11.  — Benchmarks: Doom 3 and Conclusions

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