The EPoX 4T2A3, like the 4T2A uses a 1/5/1 (AGP/PCI/Riser) layout setup. Supporting 5 independent PCI Busmaster slots, only 1 PCI slot has to share any IRQ's with other devices; PCI 5 has to co-exist with the Onboard PCI sound card. That is, if you are using the onboard sound. With it disabled and an external PCI card in slot 5, every devices has its own little corner of the board. Equipped with Intel's CNR slot, you can add any Riser modem, Audio, HomePNA or Network card available on the market. We tested quite a few of them, and none of them had any compatibility problems. While we have been a big critic of the riser slots in the past, lately with the release of super CPU's and less bandwidth hungry peripherals for the risers, the software driven devices are becoming an O.K. feature to have. While the FPS hungry overclockers will not use this slot, it's good for OEMs.
IDE and FDD connectors are well place up near the top of the board, good for if you have an ATX full tower with cables in very short order. Power connectors are somewhat in the way of the CPU socket, and yes you do need a ATX 2.03 power supply unit for this board. EPoX has expressed that they are looking into aux-less board in the future, but we will have to wait and see.
As we stated in our introduction, the 4T2A3 is powered by the Intel i850 AGPset. Pictured above is the Northbridge with its rather large passive cooling fan, ICH2 chipset and a bare look at the i850 Northbridge. Resembling the old Pentium III Katmai core, the i850 is the first OLGA chipset ever made. It seems that Intel is making their new chipsets look like their older products. After all, doesn't the i845 remind you of a P3 Coppermine??
AGP 4x ONLY
Another setback of the i850 is the support for 1.5v only AGP cards. This means pretty much anyone with a Voodoo 3, 4 and even some Voodoo 5 cards are ruled out, and some of the older TNT2 M64 and TNT2 Vanta users are gone. While Intel does state that the i850 supports AGP 2x, you won't find many (if any) AGP 2x video cards that use the 1.5v signal. This means more money to spend on a new video card if you want to use an i850 board.
One of the very nice features that EPoX has done for the users is to integrate the C-Media CMI 8738 6 channel Audio processor. This audio chip does an excellent job for a budget 6 channel Audio processor. ASUS and some other companies have also introduced this chipset onto their motherboard rather than use the AC'97 Audio. Well done EPoX.
When we hear EPoX now, we thing overclocking; and the 4T2A3 is no exception. This board caters to both the OEM and the hardcore users. For the OEM, FSB settings can be set by dipswitches and locked to prevent users from overclocking the FSB. For the Hardcore, in the BIOS you can change the CPU Multiplier (provided your CPU is unlocked) from 8x up to 23x, Vcore can be adjusted from 1.1v up to 1.85v in 0.025v increments, FSB is changable from 100Mhz up to 200Mhz in 1Mhz increments, Vrimm can be changed from 2.5v up to 2.9v in 0.1v increments, and the latest feature, Vagp can be changed from 1.5v to 1.9v in 0.1v increments. Now that's a lineup!
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