Motherboard: Epox 8K3A+ Review :: The Board

09-17-2002 · Category: Motherboards

By Doc Overclock

Epox 8K3A+
Board Revision1.4
BIOS Version2619 6/19/2002
Default Clock Speed (MHz)1674
North BridgeVIA VT8367
South BridgeVIA VT8233A
Number of PCI slots6
Memory typeDDR200/266/333
Number of memory slots3
Maximum Memory (GB)3
Universal AGP support *Yes
AGP Pro SupportN/A
Number of Physical USB 1.1 ports **4
Number of Physical USB 2.0 ports **0
Active Cooling on ChipsetN/A
Adjustable AGP VoltageN/A
Adjustable Memory voltageYes
Southbridge UDMA 133 SupportYes
IDE or RAID Controller other than SouthbridgeHighpoint HPT372 UDMA 133 RAID
Auto speed-down/shutdown on fan failureN/A
Auto speed-down/shutdown on heat alarmYes
On-board SoundAC97 Avance Logic ALC650 6 Channels
On-board LANN/A
* Voltage and Physical support for previous generation of AGP
** Not just pin headers onboard

The EPOX 8K3A+ is an AMD platform motherboard built on a standard PCB in your basic green variety color that has become rather passť for most high-end desktop solution boards. Based around the VIA NB KT333 and SB VT8233A chipsets and supporting the entire Socket A Athlon/Duron CPU line, the 8K3A+ offers a wide range of CPU options allowing for almost any flexible budget.

Featuring six PCI slots and one 4X universal AGP port. The universal AGP slot allows users to use their older 3.3 voltage VGA cards as well as the newer 1.5V solutions in the same slot. The quickest way to spot this is the 1.5V only or pro solutions slots have separators that do not allow installation of the 3.3V cards. Having six PCI slots makes for plenty of expansion room for your inline peripheral cards such as modems, net cards and high-end sound cards.

Most of the KT333 boards to come into the lab only support a maximum of 2GB memory but the 8K3A+ supports up to 3GB of PC2100/2400/2700 DDR SDRAM. This can come in handy if you plan on doing projects on your system that require large amounts of memory crunching such as video editing and rendering large 3D files.

For your IDE devices the 8K3A+ has both dual ATA133 controllers and an ATA133 RAID controller for connecting up to eight IDE devices simultaneously. The RAID controller comes courtesy of the Highpoint HPT372 chip that is integrated into the board and can come in handy being able to function in a number of different arrays supporting up to four identical hard drives.

The Highpoint HPT372 offers RAID 0, RAID 1 RAID 0+1 and JBOD disc spanning arrays for maximum flexibility. Using the HPT372 in a 0+1 RAID configuration offers the best performance and data safety while the JBOD offers no performance gain or protection but allows full disc usage of identical hard drives. ATA133 RAID has speed transfer rates almost comparable to that of the Ultra160 SCSI controllers and additionally has almost as many RAID options as the SCSI controller, only at a fraction of the cost.

Sound is included as an on-board option and features six-channel audio provided by the Realtek ALC650 chipset that features decent if rather less than brilliant sound and in Windows has its own EQ and control panel for custom tuning your sound environment. Most hardcore enthusiasts will want to get a better solution such as an Audigy by Creative or other PCI solution that has a more robust driver and software package as well as utilizing less CPU power than an integrated device uses.

The rear I/O configuration is the one most commonly used on most cases and should allow the board to fit in any standard or larger size ATX enclosure sizing in at 305mm X 245mm. For enhanced system features the board has the options of WOL (Wake On LAN), KBPO (Keyboard Power On) and STR (Suspend to RAM) along with other performance features I will talk more about in the setup section of this review. Well that about wraps up what this board is made of folks, next stop setup and then it is onward to the testing range. Read on and see what 8K3A+ has to offer setup and performance wise.