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EPoX 9NDA3+ Socket 939 (nForce3 Ultra) Motherboard Review

By: Mike Wright | NVIDIA Chipset in Motherboards | Posted: Feb 3, 2005 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: EPoX

In The Box



I can still remember when I bought my very first motherboard several years ago. It came in a pretty standard retail box with a few nondescript markings on it and that was about it. Inside the box you had the board, a very small manual, a floppy disk with your drivers and if you were really lucky, some IDE ribbon cables.


It doesn't take more than a second to realize that things have changed a great deal since those humble beginnings. Back in those days your only buyers of this type of component was a system builder. In today's market you have a much broader customer base so companies had to start making their product look better than the other guys. As always, this does nothing more than benefit the end-user.


We'll get to the motherboard in a few moments, but in the meantime let's take a little closer look at what we get when we crack the seal of the pretty iridescent packaging, shall we?



Cables, cables and more cables. For those who recall my recent foray into the realm of MSI and ABIT boards, you'll certainly recall that there was a slight problem with the quantity of cables supplied with the retail box. EPoX seems to have seen the light, however, and gives you just about everything you'll need to get underway in the realm of maximum storage. You get a pair of rounded IDE cables, a pair of SATA cables, a single floppy cable and a couple of power converters for use with the SATA drives. The only complaint I can even think of here is that the board supports a total of four SATA drives, but this is a small matter since many drives come with cabling included if you buy them retail.



For those who need every connection filled, EPoX hears your pleas. These add-on panels fit into a vacant PCI slot on the back of your enclosure and give you added functionality for your system. One panel includes two USB 2.0 ports, another has two IEEE1394 Firewire ports and the last one has a serial and joystick port for those who still utilize this method of gaming. All in all a very complete set of additional support that used to be a separate purchase.



The Power Pack is something that EPoX is adding to their performance motherboards of late. While it has a promising name, let's see what is hiding in that plastic resealable bag.



Some of the expected stuff is found here but a few added things too.


The expected items include the manual, a quick setup guide, the driver disk and the manufacturer metal tag that can be added to a standard enclosure. But a couple of extra goodies include some RAM sinks and a handy screwdriver tool.



The RAM sinks are small and have a self adhesive tape on the bottom side. While they were included so you can help dissipate heat from the onboard MOSFETS, they are small enough to use almost anywhere.



The screwdriver tool is a nice addition since it is made of a decent quality steel for a change. I've had several similar type tools in the past but they last all of about a minute when you actually try to use it. This one works well and offers two different sized cross tip blades as well as two different sized flat tip blades. It has a pocket tab but is a bit larger than I'd really want to carry around like that. It will easily fit into a tool kit, though.


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