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EPoX 4G4A+ i845G Motherboard Review - Features

It's not very often that TweakTown hands out a perfect 10 rating to a product, but the EPoX 4G4A Motherboard has managed to do just that. Come join Cameron "Sov" Johnson as he tells you just why it was so impressive. Considering the new i845G chipset with Pentium4/DDR support, it manages to sweep the benchmarks. Come see for yourself!

| Socket LGA 775 in Motherboards | Posted: May 24, 2002 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 10.%      Manufacturer: EPoX

Layout

 

 

EPoX has laid this board out for the true enthusiast. Equipped with a 1/6/1 (AGP/PCI/Riser) layout, this board has all the expansion capabilities you are going to need. Like on many Intel based boards, the CNR slot shows up. This slot is hardly appropriate for a hardcore motherboard, but since the slot is shared rather than dedicated, you get the full expansion range. Another interesting note is the PCB. EPoX are more known for sticking with the traditional green PCB but this has changed with the 4G4A. A dark brown PCB is used and makes the board look much "smarter" in my opinion.

 

i845G Chipset, Power and Price all are excellent

 

 

 

 

Powering the show is Intel's latest addition to the Pentium 4 support pool, the i845G. Intel's latest baby adds 533FSB support as well as an integrated graphics controller, much like the old i815E chipsets. An AGP port is available for using external video (much more recommended than onboard video). The chip only supports 4-bank memory, giving you a maximum of two fully functional DIMM slots. While the 4G4A has three DIMM slots, you need to have special care in your DIMM assignments. DIMM slot one takes up banks 0 and 1. DIMM 2 and DIMM 3 both share banks 2 and 3. If you put a Double sided DIMM into DIMM 2, DIMM 3 is unusable.. DIMM 1 is of no consequence, you can use any type (Single sided or double sided). In all, a maximum of 2GB DDR SDRAM is supported.

 

EPoX has added the ICH4 controller chip to the works. This new chip takes over where the ICH2 left off. Adding the same ATA IDE controller as the ICH2 you will ge no added ATA-133 support. Intel has stated they are not going with ATA-133, but moving towards Serial ATA. ICH4 includes three USB 2.0 controllers with 2 ports per controller (6 total), This makes the ICH4 a super chip, no more need for off board USB 2.0 as its now native. AC'97 Audio standards have been improved to rev 2.2 which allows for 6ch audio.

 

Highpoint RAID

 

 

Of course, it wouldn't be an EPoX board without RAID. EPoX has been adding RAID controllers to their boards for quite some time now, and the 4G4A+ gets the benefit from Highpoint's HPT372 ATA-133 RAID controller. This chip allows RAID and ATA functions, so you have RAID controller and ATA-133 IDE, so ATA-133 HDD's don't go to waste on this board.

 

Realtek Networking

 

 

Yet another addition to this board is the Realtek RTL8100B Fast Ethernet controller. This chip has been placed onboard instead of Intel's Pro-100VE chip, which lags a bit behind the Realtek chip. Nice to see EPoX adding better components.

 

Overclocking

 

The EPoX 4G4A+ is a powerhouse when it comes to overclocking. Basically, every setting under the sun for overclockers is available and allows good to fantastic range settings. Using the Award 6.00PG BIOS, you will find the overclocking options under the "Frequency/Voltage Control" Menu. From here you have all your options.

 

First off is the FSB/CPU setting. You get to see your FSB speed and CPU speed at that FSB before any changes are affected, very good to check if you are going that little bit too high. Your FSB settings can be set from 100MHz up to 255MHz in 1MHz increments. A must have.

 

Next you get your DRAM Frequency. Here I found some amazing settings, you can set your DRAM speed to 200MHz, 266MHz and 333MHz. That's right this board has DDR-333 support. Looking through my documents from Intel on the i845G, there is no mention of DDR-333 support. This is a nice hidden surprise.

 

After the main settings for your system, we get into voltages. First off is the Vcore. You can set the Vcore from 1.1v up to 1.85v in 0.025v increments. Northwood CPU's will go to full 1.85v without any problems on this board. The next voltage is the AGP Voltage. You can set your AGP voltage from 1.5v to 1.9v in 0.1v increments. DRAM voltage is the last on the list. You can set the voltage of the DDR-SDRAM from 2.5v up to 3.2v in 0.1v increments. This will give you super speeds from the memory and allow better overclocking of your DDR SDRAM.

 

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