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EPoX 9NPA+ Ultra (nForce 4 Ultra AMD) Motherboard Review - The Motherboard - Overclocking

EPoX sent us one of their newest motherboards recently, the 9NPA+ Ultra, which is based on nVidia's new nForce 4 Ultra chipset for the AMD Athlon Socket 939 processor platform. We've compared the motherboard against the nForce 4 SLI chipset to find out if there are any differences in performance in a non-SLI system setup. If you're on the market for a new PCI-Express Socket 939 motherboard with some decent overclocking support, you might be interested in the EPoX 9NPA+ Ultra.

| NVIDIA Chipset in Motherboards | Posted: May 15, 2005 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 8.5%      Manufacturer: EPoX

Overclocking

 

EPoX over the last year and a half have made some serious changes to its image. Once only thought of as the simplistic motherboard manufacturer, they have put a lot of R&D into the overclocking and tweaking side of things. What we have seen is a gradual increase in quality and quantity of overclocking features in their boards.

 

The 9NPA+ Ultra features all of the latest refinements to give it the overall overclocker's motherboard feeling. The BIOS used is the Award Phoenix 6 modular BIOS which is ever popular amongst the overclocker's community simply due to its ease of use. All the overclocking features are located under the "Power BIOS Features" menu. From here you can adjust the FSB and PCI-E clocks. While there is no PCI lock, this is synchronised with the PCI-E lock, so locking the PCI-E at 100MHz gives a 33MHz PCI bus anyway.

 

You can also enable Cool "n" Quiet. When enabled, Windows can control the CPU multipliers and voltages through the power management console to reduce speed and power when the CPU is idle, one of the best features the K8 has ever had. If you disable it, Windows will have no control over the CPU. This is important when overclocking to disable this feature, as the voltages and multipliers will remain stable.

 

You can go from a default voltage on the CPU up to +0.35v above standard. DIMM voltage goes from 2.5v up to a maximum of 3.1v, which is pretty well the limit you would want to go with most memory although OCZ is the only real exception to this rule. Chipset voltage raises the voltage supplied to the I/O of the nForce 4 chipset where you can go from 1.5v default voltage up to 1.8v.

 

Overall we lowered our 3000+ Winchester to a multiplier of 5x, reduced the HT link speed to 3x and raised the FSB as far as we could possibly go. When this was done we managed to reach a FSB of 276MHz with DRAM 1:1 using OCZ Gold Gamer DDR. We used a 1.6v CPU voltage and 3v DDR to reach this far with Chipset at the full 1.8v.

 

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