Just like the Albatron motherboard, the package and the box here is not too exciting. While the package of the motherboard won't bother some people, others do prefer to get all those little extras that we see from companies like DFI and Chaintech.
The reduced package helps keeps cost down and if you have just forked out a fortune for your new Athlon 64 processor, you might be able to save a few dollars by buying one of the cheaper motherboards that simply bring you the latest chipset for Athlon 64 computing.
- Motherboard and Layout
When looking at the 8HDA3 motherboard you notice the trademark green PCB that EPoX have been using for quite some time. Having a look at the motherboard the first thing you might notice is that the motherboard only comes with two DIMM slots. You may also notice that the Northbridge is in quite a different position then you are used to and comes only with passive cooling, like the Albatron motherboard.
The motherboard uses a 5 PCI / 1 AGP layout which is not bad and while it contains one less PCI slot than the Albatron motherboard, EPoX have chosen to move their first PCI slot away from the AGP slot. If you have a video card that normally hangs over the first PCI slot (like nVidia's GeForce FX 5900 or 5950), you don't have to worry about losing it with this design.
Towards the bottom right we have the Parallel ATA ports as well as the Serial ATA ports hidden away. Just between these you find the EPoX debugging utility which displays a number which corresponds to an error which is listed in the manual. This has been used by EPoX for quite a while now and is an excellent feature that really expands upon the normal error beeps.
- IO Ports
The 8HDA3 comes with everything you need including 4 X USB 2.0 ports and onboard networking. The motherboard also comes with the usual PS2 and COM ports, as you would expect. There isn't much extra when it comes to the I/O ports and while this doesn't make it feature packed it does come with what you need.
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