EPoX have elected to go with a 1/6/1 (AGP/PCI/Riser) layout for their i845D flagship board. This layout has been very well accepted by OEM's and hardcore users. Having enough room to add a USB 2.0 card, PCI Network card, PCI Soundcard and a few others such and TV tuners and DVD Decoders, you will find it hard to overcrowd this board.
EPoX has also has gone one step further with this board and included a special packing bag with carry handle. While this serves no purpose to the overclocker, its a very attractive feature, walking home from the store or PC fair with this would be quite a treat.
Heart and Soul of the 4BDA2+ is Intel's first stab at the DDR market, the i845D Northbridge and the ICH2 Southbridge. While this is an aging Southbridge, it shows how Intel is designing its chipsets around being compatible with its future generations. The Hub technology was first designed in the i810 chipset and has spread since then. Using the same 266MB/s hub link to transfer data from the ICH to the MCH eliminates the bottleneck of the old PCI bus interconnection of the North and Southbridges. The main features of the i845D we have gone over before, but for all of our TweakTowners we'll just have to place them again. After all, I hate opening two reviews at once myself.
The i845D supports four banks of DDR for up to 2 DDR DIMM slots; maximum memory is 2GB of DDR-200 or DDR-266 memory. Like the i815 chipset, Intel has limited the amount of memory banks to allow only two double sided DDR DIMMs, but unlike i815, Intel has allowed for 512MB modules or 1GB modules to be installed giving you 2GB total. This is more than enough for even the hardest-core gamer out there. AGP 4x only AGP cards are supported on this board, and it has been keyed accordingly. The AGP slot is set to take only AGP 4x cards, so Voodoo 3, 4 and 5 users are out of luck as well as older TNT2 M64, TNT Vanta and TNT video cards; they are not supported on this board. While some SiS video cards are keyed for 1.5v operations (AGP4x), they do not support 1.5 volts and in turn have fried a number of i845 boards. EPoX has a resettable fuse that if the voltage is not correct, the AGP shuts down and you get a warning on the debug card.
EPoX are well known for their extra added bonuses, and on their flagship we have Highpoint's HPT372 ATA-133 RAID controller chip. This chip was the first ATA-133 RAID controller chip available to market. With it being built on the original Highpoint design, it's abilities and compatibilities are well known. Now it just adds ATA-133 support allowing for even faster RAID access.
EPoX Special P4 Heatsink Retention Mechanism
EPoX has elected to include a special heatsink retention mechanism. Rather than using plastic pins that push through the holes in the motherboard, this unit comes in two pieces. One is a metal alloy (with non-conductive properties) that is placed on the back of the motherboard, the other is the standard P4 478 clip for the heatsink we know. Rather than pins, you use screws to attach the assembly to the board allowing for heavier coolers to be used without straining any of the clips on the board.