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PC Buyers Guide - July 2002 - Motherboards

With so many items for sale in the markets, it can sometimes be difficult to decide what's hot and what's not. Come join Nick Swan as he brings us another installment of the TweakTown Buyer's Guide. There are some new toys out there, but we'll try to see which ones deserve a place within our own special systems. Come check it out!

| Guides | Posted: Jul 3, 2002 4:00 am

Motherboards

 

- EPoX 4G4A+

 

Times on List: New

 

EPoX website for this product

 

 

This motherboard is the latest product on Tweaktown to score a perfect 10 and is certainly a worthy addition to this guide. Visit here for the full review of the board.

 

Seeing as there is a new 9 page review of the motherboard, I will outline some of the more important features and if you're still interested, you can look for yourself. The board is based on the i845G chipset, which is fairly new and supports both the 100/133 (400/533)MHz FSB's, which gives it support for the new 133MHz FSB P4's. The board also comes with 6 PCI slots, a 1.5v AGP 4x slot, 1 CNR slot, 2 PS2 ports, 6 USB ports (USB 2.0 - 4 are rear accesible, and 2 need the expansion bracket), the usual serial and parallel ports, a Highpoint ATA-133 RAID controller, 3 DIMM slots (DDR RAM), Realtek Ethernet Controller and AC'97 sound. The overclocking potential of the board is also excellent. It has FSB adjustments of 1MHz from 100-255MHz (somehow I dont think you will be getting 255MHz FSB - Thats a handy 1.020GHz FSB!). The board also has VCore adjustments from 1.1v - 1.85v in 0.025v increments, AGP Voltage adjustmens from 1.5v - 1.9v in 0.1v increments and DRAM Voltage adjustments from 2.5v - 3.2v in 0.1v increments.

 

Obviously for this board to score 10, it would need to have excellent performance, so there is no need to talk about it here. Overall, this board is feature packed, overclocks well, has excellent performance and supports the new 133MHz FSB P4's. What more could you want?

 

- Find the best price on EPoX motherboards!

 

- Asus P4T-533

 

Times on list: New

 

Asus' website for this product

 

 

I won't say much about this board considering that I dont really recommend it; but I suppose I need to add it because it offers the best out of the box performance for the new 133MHz FSB P4's. Feature-wise, the board has 2 RIMM slots for up to 2GB of PC800/PC1066 RDRAM (remeber you need to install RDRAM in pairs!), 6 PCI Slots, ATA-133 and ATA-133 RAID support, 6 channel audio, USB 2.0 support, intergrated NIC and a few other not so important things. BIOS wise, the board supports VCore changes up to 1.85v, but unfortunately no AGP or memory voltage options. There is also very limited memory tweaking options, and the FSB can only be set to a max. of 150MHz.

 

Seeing as I have said I don't really recommend it, the reason it's on here is because with the very elusive PC1066 RDRAM, it offers by far the best out of the box speed. However, real (ie not overclocked PC800) PC1066 RDRAM defines elusive and the performance of the i850E isn't really worth the extra cost over the i845E/G with DDR RAM if you only use PC800 RDRAM.

 

If you're looking to do any overclocking or tweaking, I would recommend an i845E board like the Abit BD7 II or an i845G board like the EPoX 4G4A+ (above), as the features for overclocking and tweaking are very thin on this board. That said, if you're not a tweaker and want the best performance, this is for you..

 

- Find the best price on ASUS P4T 533-C motherboards!

 

- EPoX 8KA3/8KA3+

 

Times on List: 3

 

EPoX' website for this product

 

 

This board is based on the relatively new KT333 chipset from VIA. The KT333 chipset is an evolution of the KT266A chipset and it adds DDR 333 memory support. The market isn't as flooded as the KT266A market, but there are still quite a few boards to chose from.

 

The EPoX 8KA3/+ (+ signifies RAID) was chosen because of its reasonable amount of features, strong performance and good overclocking ability. The board contains 3 DIMM Sockets that support DDR 333 RAM (PC2700), an AGP 4x slot, 6 PCI slots, 2 USB ports (2 more optional), support for up to 4 IDE devices including ATA-133, an ATA-133 RAID controller supporting RAID 0,1,0+1, and the usual Serial and PS/2 ports.The performance of the board is very similar to the other KT333 boards, usually not varying by more than a few frames. Nevertheless, the KT333 boards are the fastest Socket A boards on the planet at the moment, so you can't go wrong with it or any of the other KT333 boards.

 

The overclocking potential of this board is the selling point. There are options to move the FSB in 1MHz increments up to 200MHz, the important PCI/AGP dividers, the usual RAM tweaks and the usual Voltage changes, and the board is very stable when overclocked. The 8KA3's performance and overclocking ability lead to it be chosen here, but if you are after USB 2.0, the MSI KT3U will suffice. And if you want something different without legacy ports, go for the Abit AT7.

 

- Find the best price on EPoX motherboards!

 

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