When it comes to Athlon-64 computing, you have two basic choices. You can either go with a Socket 754 system or a Socket 939 variety. Yes, I realize there is also a Socket 940 version out there but since it is created as a server solution it doesn't really play a role when talking about enthusiast rigs. So with two choices you need to consider your options.
To break this choice down into its simplest form, Socket 754 gives you a decent budget system while Socket 939 gives you better overall performance and the best vision for future upgradability. So now that we want to go the way of Socket 939 we need to determine what suits our needs.
For those like myself who have a very good AGP video board, a motherboard requiring PCI-E doesn't make a lot of sense. This is where motherboards like the EPoX 9NDA3+ come into play. With a good layout and excellent performance numbers, it is easy to recommend this board for your own budding power system. It comes with so many features that you can have an excellent PC without having to add a single PCI peripheral. If you want to add these, though, you're still set with ample room for growth.
While not a perfect specimen, it has little to complain about. Having only two SATA cables when it supports four devices is a small concern (very small), and still falling just a bit behind in gaming scores is another. Of course, with the end result coming in so close to the VIA based board tested against, EPoX has done a fine job of tackling the slight shortcomings of this chipset design and making a very competitive product.
Pricing is very competitive and was available for US$126 online during the time of writing. This falls toward the lower end of Socket 939 boards currently available that use the AGP graphics.
Bottom line... If you've been looking at the Socket 939 platform for your next big upgrade and still have a workable AGP based video board, the EPoX 9NDA3+ is a motherboard that deserves a very close look. With gaming scores that are nearly on par with the VIA chipset boards available and features that leave others in the dust, it has something for everybody and performs admirably as well.
Very good overall performance
Huge feature set
Priced at the lower end of the Socket 939 spectrum
"Power Pack" is a nice addition
Lacking two SATA cables
Still falls just a bit behind VIA chipset based boards
Rating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Features Award!
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- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 1 [Introduction]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 2 [Specifications]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 3 [In The Box]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 4 [The Motherboard]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 5 [The Motherboard Continued]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 6 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup & SiSoft Sandra]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 7 [Benchmarks - 3DMark2001 SE]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 8 [Benchmarks - 3DMark03]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 9 [Benchmarks - PCMark 04]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 10 [Benchmarks - HD Performance]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 11 [Benchmarks - CINEBENCH 2003]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 12 [Benchmarks - AquaMark 3]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 13 [Benchmarks - Quake III]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 14 [Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 2004]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 15 [Benchmarks - Doom 3]
- EPoX 9NDA3+ - Page 16 [Conclusion]
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