- Package and Contents
EPoX is one of the quieter overclockers on the market. Our first motherboard from EPoX is the 5EGA+ motherboard. EPoX packs a modest package. Inside the box you get your user manual, instruction manual for the power pack, 8 mosfet heatsinks, Rounded IDE and FDD cables, I/O shield and Serial ATA data and power cables.
Inside the power pack you get your 8 mosfet heatsinks that can be placed on the voltage regulators. Along with is a double ended screwdriver included to help you install your motherboard in your case - a nice touch.
- The Motherboard
EPoX lays its motherboard out with a few gripes. First off the location of both the 24 pin and 4 pin power connectors are between the I/O ports and the Northbridge heatsink, this creates the worst amount of clutter around the CPU heatsink and fan which makes it the worst motherboard in our roundup for the placement of power connectors. EPoX has however placed the IDE and FDD connector at the middle left corner, which will keep the cables reasonably out of the way. EPoX uses a 4 phase voltage regulation system to provide stable voltage for Prescott class processors.
Expansion slots are one PCI Express x16 slot, two PCI Express x1 slots and four PCI legacy slots. On the memory side, EPoX uses three DDR SDRAM DIMM slots; this motherboard doesn't support any DDR-2 modules at all. EPoX colour codes the DDR slots to identify Channel A and B (Black for A, Purple for B).
Like Albatron's motherboard, EPoX uses the I915G GMCH. Supporting the Dual Channel DDR memory controller that EPoX uses as well as the GMA900 PCI Express x16 built in DX9 graphics controller, while it can't compete with dedicated graphics cards it does give base line graphics which is more than adequate for workstation graphics. The ICH6R is used to give all the additional features that Intel has now made standard. The GMCH and ICH6R are both passively cooled, reducing the amount of noise generated.
The 5EGA+ adds the ITE IT8212F two channel IDE RAID controller chip that is connected to the PCI bus. This gives you the ability to add four additional IDE Hard Disk Drives to your system, as the ICH6 series only supports one IDE channel.
Gigabit Ethernet is added to the 5EGA+ with the Marvell 88E8001 PCI Gigabit Ethernet controller. This is connected to the PCI bus, so if you use both the IDE RAID controller and the Ethernet at 1000mbps, you will bottle up your PCI bus without much effort at all.
EPoX has been one for pushing overclocking on 90% of their new motherboards, and this one is no different. Under the Power BIOS Features menu, EPoX places its overclocking settings. Here you can adjust the FSB, voltages and ratios.
EPoX doesn't supply any PCI-E or PCI ratio locks, as they can't be locked at this stage on this motherboard. You can however adjust your FSB from 200MHz up to 350MHz in 1MHz increments. In out tests we managed 221MHz which was due to a lack of any Northbridge voltage adjustment options.
DDR memory voltage can be set up to a maximum of +0.7v from standard, this means you can push you DDR memory up to a maximum of 3.2v equal to that of the ABIT AG8 which is very good.
CPU voltage can be adjusted up to a maximum of +0.2875V from standard. This gives a total of 1.675v on the Prescott and 1.8375v on the Northwood cores.
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