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8-Way nVidia nForce 2 Motherboard Roundup

By: Cameron Johnson | NVIDIA Chipset in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 3, 2003 4:00 am

Features of the EPoX 8RDA+


Board and Layout



EPoX 8RDA+ is one of the most basic of nForce2 motherboards available but by far (as you will soon see) a great contender for your money. Like the Chaintech 7NJS, the EPoX 8RDA+ measures 305 x 230mm and is designed similar to the reference nForce2 board with just a few exceptions.


Slot wise, due to the lack of onboard peripherals, the EPoX 8RGA+ comes with an AGP slot that supports both 4x and 8x standards, six PCI slots are included onboard to accommodate RAID controller cards (since there are none onboard), sound cards and various other devices you want to connect to the PCI bus that the motherboard does not cater for.


Placement of the power connectors on the 8RDA+ could have, like the Chaintech 7NJS, been thought up a little better. The 20pin ATX connector is placed between the north bridge heatsink and the I/O back panel, making the CPU socket cluttered when the ATX power cord is plugged in.


Chipset Usage



The 8RDA+ uses the nForce2 SPP north bridge and the MCP-T south bridge. This allows for Dual Channel DDR-400, AGP 8x, Dolby Digital AC-3 sound, twin Ethernet controllers and Firewire. All but the twin LAN controllers are used on this board.


Firewire and Networking



While trying to keep the board as cheap as possible, the 8RDA+ has added the ability for Firewire onboard; after all it costs all of $5 to add the PHY chip. The Realtek RTL8801 PHY controller is added to the board which adds support for two Firewire ports.


While supporting two Ethernet controllers on the MCP-T, only the nVidia 10/100 Ethernet controller is used. This allows for connections to a LAN or broadband equipment.


Overclocking - Exceptional Class


While being lean on features, overclocking options are the best available on any nForce2 motherboard we have tested. Under the Frequency / Voltage control menu you will find access to all of the overclocking options.


CPU voltage can be adjusted from 1.3v up to 2.1v in 0.025v increments. This is by far the largest Vcore adjustment we have seen on any AMD board without modifications. While 1.9v is as high as you would want to go, 2.1v on water cooling or vapour is a great improvement and option for the extremists. DRAM voltage is also in great abundance, you can adjust the DRAM voltage from 2.8v up to 3.2v in 0.1v increments. AGP voltage can be adjusted on this board from 1.5v up to 1.9v in 0.1v increments. By far this is the most voltage tweaking we have ever seen, period.


FSB adjustments on the 8RDA+ are also as flexible as the voltage adjustments. You can adjust the FSB frequency from 100MHz up to 280MHz in 1MHz increments. AGP and PCI dividers can be changed to locked standard frequencies in order to keep the AGP and PCI buses within specifications.


Brilliance is the only word that comes to mind as far as overclocking support goes.


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