EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review :: Layout and Setup

12-19-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun

The layout of the board is typical of SLI motherboards in many ways. The CPU Socket is placed sideways compared to a normal 939 CPU. The memory is positioned next to the CPU Socket meaning that the video card does not block any memory slots when installed. However, a large CPU cooler like the ThermalRight XP-90 may force people to remove the CPU cooler before removing the memory.


EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review MOSFET

MOSFET

EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review EPoX logo

EPoX logo

EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review 4-pin power

4-pin power

EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review 20-pin power connector

20-pin power connector


The 4-pin power connector is below the CPU Socket on the board, not an optimal location as the power connector needs to route OVER the CPU cooler to fit on my test station. The 20-pin power connector is situated next to the 4-pin power connector, making for awkward positioning. The normal cooling heatsink for an Athlon 64 may have airflow issues with these power cables.


EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review LED

LED

EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review Power and Reset Switch

Power and Reset Switch


One thing I like about the board is the inclusion of a Power and Reset switch on the board. This makes for easy testing of the board outside the case before installation. Another positive of the board is the inclusion of a Status LED. If a problem occurs during first POST the LED will give you a message indicating where the likely problem is. A message of FF means boot is likely to occur without issue.


EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review Fan Header

Fan Header

EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review Chipset fan

Chipset fan

EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review Vitesse PHY

Vitesse PHY

EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review Fintek chip

Fintek chip


EPoX decided to include 3 headers for USB ports, bringing the maximum on the board to 10, the maximum supported by the nForce4 SLI chipset. Firewire support is not a option on the board. One thing I have to take ECS to task for is the placement of the floppy drive connector. On my system I had to route the cable around two 7800GTs meaning that I had to remove the floppy cable to install the video card. In any event, floppy drives aren't important except when installing SATA drives today.


EPoX 8NPA+ SLI Motherboard Review Battery

Battery


Installing the board was a bit of a tricky affair with SATA drives. One thing to keep in mind when using NVRAID is the boot ROM needs to be turned on. Otherwise, using two hard drives in RAID 0 will be problematic at best as the drives won't be recognized as bootable. Another thing about the board was the length of floppy cable to the controller meant that installing two cards in SLI meant the cabling was problematic.

Other than those minor quibbles, the board installed without a hitch both in single card and SLI mode. To test SLI I used two EVGA 7800GT CO cards. NVIDIA's Forceware 81.95 drivers were used, the most recent ones on NVIDIA's website that are WHQL. We only use WHQL drivers in our reviews. You can see a comparison with two 7800GTs with our Athlon 64 test platform in the performance section of the review. Note, everything is the same except the CPU, the motherboard chipset, and the memory being single channel.