It is no doubt that SLI is the gamers choice for ultra fast gaming with the ability to run AA and AF and still keep the frame rate above the jitter level that we are so used to on single graphics cards.
SLI though has meant that in the past you would be paying through the nose for it, but not any longer. We looked at a Socket 939 based Albatron motherboard that offered SLI for Athlon 64 on a reasonable budget, and today EPoX has gone that one step further and put SLI within reach of users of the Sempron based CPU's. It will be a great basis for a cheap platform which offers a pretty reasonable gaming system.
Sempron using the K8 architecture shows AMD has moved its budget line on to an architecture that doesn't penalise a CPU for having half the cache - sure you aren't going to get the same speed as a similarly clock CPU with more cache, but unlike the Intel offerings, you aren't likely to suffer as much of a performance hit. And now with SLI available for this CPU, it shows what can be done with some thought and ingenuity.
Overall the EPoX 8NPA SLI is lacking features like additional RAID controllers, twin Gigabit LAN and Firewire, but in all honesty, if you want all this and can afford it, a 3000+ AMD Athlon 64 processor based on the 939 package is more in your field of view but for budget SLI with the cheaper Sempron, you cannot go past the EPoX 8NPA SLI motherboard.
Only SLI Socket 754 motherboard available
Supports all SLI based nVidia graphics cards
nVidia Gigabit LAN used unlike many other motherboards
SATA and PATA RAID bridging
Placement of power connectors could have been done with more thought
FDD connector in a bad spot
SLI uses two x8 slots rather than two x16, but we can live with that
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Rating - 8.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Value Award
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications]
- Page 3 [Package and Contents]
- Page 4 [The Motherboard]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Overclocking]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Sandra]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - PCMark]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - 3DMark Series]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - Doom 3]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.]
- Page 11 [Final Thoughts]
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