MetkuMods

Epox 8HDA3+

Author: Antti Valkeinen
Published: 09.05.2004
Manufacturer: Epox
Product group: Motherboads


Epox 8HDA3+ packet

On our third Athlon 64 motherboard article here in Metkumods we are about to look Epox 8HDA3+ motherboard. Epox 8HDA3+ has lot's of features even for demanding user. Let's look how it performs against other Athlon 64 motherboard that we have tested so far.

Chipset

Epox 8HDA3+ uses the same chipset as Albatron K8X800 Pro II, which we reviewed here some time ago. So there is no need to tell same story again with different words. Next part is quoted straight from our Albatron K8X800 Pro II review.

Albatron K8X800 Pro II uses VIAs K8T800 chipset that provides nice support and performance for current Athlon 64 processors. K8T800 does need separate south bridge as we are used to see, although with Athlon 64's integrated memory controlled it is possible to shrink north bridge & south bridge combination to one chips as we have seen in the case of nForce3-chipset.

Main job for north bridge on Athlon 64 systems is to provide fast and reliable data bus from processor to AGP and PCI buses and to other peripherals. This bus between north bridge and processor is called HyperTransport bus and it is 16-bit wide in both ways and works at the clock speed of 800 MHz. That is considerably faster than on nForce3 chipset, which has HyperTransport working at the speed of 600 MHz and uplink narrowed to 8-bit.

Because K8T800 needs also south bridge there is naturally bus between them which is called 8X V-link and provides 533 MB/s data bus between the chips. On this case south bridge is VIA VT8237, which was introduced on last July and supports for example two SATA-ports.

After writing that NVIDIA has launched it's nForce 250 chipset which is better than the previous version. Epox has also announced it's two motherboard models using nForce 3 250 chipsets

Specifications

CPU:AMD Athlon™ 64 Processor
Socket 754
Chipset: VIA K8T800
VIA VT8237
Front Side Bus:800 MHz
Memory:2 DDR200/266/333/400 Memory Sockets
Expansion Slots:1 x AGP8X (1,5 V only)
6 x PCI
Storage:2 x UltraDMA 133/100/66
6 x Serial ATA150
Audio: Realtek ALC655
LAN: 3Com 3C940 ja VIA VT6103
USB 2.0:4 onboard, 4 optional
Special Features: Onboard P80P diagnostics LED
Overclock Features: - Adjustable CPU frequency by 1 MHz increment, Adjustable Vcore, VAGP, VMemory for overclocking
- Adjustable FSB/DDR ratio


I/O Connections

Epox has taken brave leap forward and offers altogether six SATA ports in this particular motherboard model. There are also two network-controllers present, which are manufactured by 3Com and VIA. 3Com controller offers gigabit connection speed whereas VIA is only 10/100. Integrated audio features are carried out with VT8237 southbridges integrated AC97 audio controller and Realtek ALC655 audio codec. This combo provides lots of features and connectors but audio quality is probably not as good as it could be.

Overclockers are also happy with extensive overclocking features and excellent P80P diagnostic LED. But perhaps most interesting single feature of Epox 8HDA3+ is that it only provides two memory slots. However most of us never use more than one or two memory modules on single motherboard anyway.

Bundle


Bundle

  • 2 Ultra ATA IDE cables
  • 2 Serial ATA cables
  • 2 Serial ATA power cables
  • Combined game port and external SATA port bracket
  • Floppy drive flat cable
  • I/O shield
  • Manuals and driver CDs and floppies

Epox offers mainly most needed cables and manuals with 8HDA3+, exception to that makes one external SATA port, which is nowadays quite rare feature. In addition to one external SATA port 8HDA3+ comes only with two SATA data and power cables. So it seems that althought motherboard provides six SATA ports, even Epox doesn’t think that many users will use them right away and it’s probably true. Epox also makes exception to common trend and offers software bundle that actually is useful. Backup program Norton Ghost and anti virus program Trendmicros PC Cillin are always welcome.



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