EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review :: Layout and Bundle

09-16-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun

The 20-pin power connector is next to the only PCI Express slot. I'm not too enamored of the ATX power connector in this position, as the power cable needs to be routed over the CPU cooling fan. One good positioning is the memory slots. The DIMM slots are totally free of the video card slot, allowing for easy removal and insertion of memory without removing the video card first The first thing I have to take EPoX to task over on the layout of the 9NPA+ SLI board is the positioning of the 4-pin power connector on the board. The 12V is situated directly above the CPU making air flow an issue with the board.


EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review 20-pin Power

20-pin Power

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review 4-pin Power

4-pin Power

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review NB Heatsink/Fan

NB Heatsink/Fan

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review HSF Side

HSF Side

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review VIA Chip

VIA Chip


EPoX provides a heatsink/fan assembly to cool the nForce MCP South Bridge. The chipset fan is situated below the PCI Express x16 graphics slots, but I was able to install a 7800GTX and a 6800GT without the graphics card touching the chipset fan. Another nice touch is the inclusion of a LED to show potential problem areas on boot. A signal of FF means all is well and the system will likely boot up. There is a VIA KT6037 networking PHY on the board next to the battery. This connection and the NVIDIA built-in LAN make up the two LAN controllers available on the board.


EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review Fan Headers

Fan Headers

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review Power/Reset

Power/Reset

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review Thermistor

Thermistor


The CPU fan header is above the CPU cooler along with a header for a Power fan. The location of these connectors is excellent. One thing EPoX has done with their 9NPA+ SLI board is include a power on and a reset button on the board. This serves two purposes, allowing easy use of the motherboard outside a case, and a backup in case the front panel header is out of reach when the computer case door is off.

Bundle

  • EPoX 9NPA+ SLI motherboard
  • 2 Rounded IDE cables
  • 1 Floppy Drive cable
  • 4 SATA cables
  • 4 SATA Power cable
  • 2-port USB 2.0 bracket
  • 2-port Firewire bracket
  • Manual
  • Driver CD
  • SLI Bracket
  • 8 MOSFET heatsinks
  • Screwdriver
  • Backplate
  • ImageIt
  • Norton's Internet Security 2004
  • Pro Magic Plus

The hardware bundle of the EPoX is excellent. EPoX includes 4 SATA cables with 4 power connectors with the board. I prefer motherboard manufacturers to include the same number of SATA cables as the ports, but 4 are good enough for most users. The SATA cables have caps for when they aren't plugged in. Two Rounded IDE cables allow for efficient cable management inside a case. The floppy drive cable is not rounded, unfortunately.


EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review SATA and IDE

SATA and IDE

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review USB and Firewire

USB and Firewire

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review Power Pack

Power Pack

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review SLI Bridge

SLI Bridge

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review Back Plate

Back Plate

EPoX 9NPA + SLI Motherboard Review Fan

Fan


USB port support on the board is brought up to 6 by the inclusion of a 2-port USB 2.0 bracket. EPoX also includes a 2-port IEEE-1394 bracket, for Firewire device support. Recently, EPoX includes a “Power Pack” accessories packet with their motherboards. This packet contains 8 MOSFET heat sinks to cool the MOSFETs, a screwdriver, the manual, a thermistor to measure the CPU temperature, and a Quick Installation Guide to get you started.