Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review :: The Board

01-20-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
Epox EP-9NDA3+ Spec Sheet
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Part NumberEP-9NDA3+
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ChipsetNvidia nForce3 Ultra
North BridgeNvidia nForce3 Ultra MCP
SocketSocket 939
Processor TypesAthlon 64, Athlon 64 FX
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus800MHz HyperTransport Bus Link
Memory TypeDDR
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory4GB
External GraphicsAGP8X
IGP None
South BridgeNvidia nForce3 Ultra MCP
SATA1.5 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1
Expansion Slots
  • 1 x AGP
  • 5 x PCI
Form FactorATX

The 9NDA3+ supports all current AMD Athlon 64 and FX CPUs that use the Socket 939 interface. This includes the recently released 4000+ and FX-55 CPUs. I tested a 4000+ on the board without issue as it was correctly identified and clocked by the board. The memory controller on the Athlon 64 CPUs is on the CPU itself, so NVIDIA's chipsets don't require a North Bridge. Memory support on the 9NDA3+ is provided by 4 184-pin DIMM slots (Dual In-line Memory Modules). This provides support for up to 4 GB of unbuffered non-ECC DDR memory. The 9NDA3+ color codes the memory to show which slots memory should be inserted into to provide dual channel mode.

Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review Memory slots

Memory slots

Expansion options on the 9NDA3+ are typical for an nForce3 Ultra board. One AGP slot and 5 PCI slots are provided. This is sufficient for most every user today. One nice touch is the separation between the AGP slot and the first PCI slot. For those that use a GEFORCE 6800 Ultra or similar 2-slot AGP card, there is no overlap of the first slot. One thing I wish EPoX would have done with this board was set the memory slots a little lower on the board. Installing a 9800XT into the AGP slot blocked 2 of the memory slots, making insertion and removal of memory impossible without removing the graphics card first. Insertion of a 6800 or longer AGP card might block 3 or even all 4 of the memory slots.

Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review Expansion Slots

Expansion Slots

Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review AGP Slot

AGP Slot

Layout of the board is for the most part, excellent. I found the positioning of the 20-pin ATX connector to be a little distressing however. The power cable to this connector crossed over the CPU which makes airflow a bit tight. In this instance, a better position would be the lower right hand corner of the board. There is a lot of room around the CPU socket, allowing for easy installation of after-market cooling solutions on this board. One nice touch is the inclusion of a Heatsink fan over the nForce3 Ultra chip.

Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review 20 pin ATX connector

20 pin ATX connector

Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review Chipset fan

Chipset fan

Drive connector placement are another pet peeve of mine. The floppy drive connector is in a precarious position on the bottom right part of the board. With this positioning, a full tower case might make use of the floppy drive problematic. As it was I had to procure a longer floppy cable to install it in my test system. The position of the 2 IDE connectors was a little lower on the board than I'm used to, but not dangerously so. EPoX includes 2 SATA connectors located in between the AGP slot and the first PCI slot controlled by the nForce3 Ultra MCP chip.

Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review Floppy drive connector

Floppy drive connector

Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review PATA connectors

PATA connectors

Input Output block on the 9NDA3+ is fully featured. Present are PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse connectors, 4 USB 2.0 ports, S/PDIF-out Coaxial Jack, COM1 port, Line-In, Line-Out, Mic-In, Side stereo-out, Rear stereo-out, Center & Subwoofer jacks for the 7.1 audio found on the board and a RJ45 jack for the Gigabit Ethernet found on the board. The PHY is provided by a Vitesse chip.

EPoX includes a LED that indicates if there's a problem at boot. A signal of FF indicates a successful POST and the system should boot. If you get a 75 signal, that means the video is the likely cause of the problem. Other numbers mean different things. Fortunately I had no issues with my 9NDA3+ board. But it's nice for manufacturers to include a LED.

Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review LED


Audio is provided by a Realtek ALC650 CODEC. This provides support for up to 7.1 (8 speaker) Surround sound. The Realtek Sound Manager has a connection sensing application that can tell what type of speaker is attached to what jack. This is useful for those that have trouble connecting speakers or headphones. A S/PDIF support is provided by a CoAxial jack. Support is also found on this for EAX 1.0, 2.0 and various other sound APIs that are on the market. It's sufficient for almost every discerning audiophile.

Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review
Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review
Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review
Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review
Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review
Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Review