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SLI for the Masses - EPoX 8NPA SLI Arrives!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Epox
Tagged:

Introduction and Specs

When NVIDIA released their nForce 4 SLI chipset a year ago, questions were raised whether or not it was ever going to get adopted by the mainstream. At the time it seemed like a stretch to convince someone who doesn't know USB from Firewire that they should buy two video cards for better game performance. But what a difference a year makes!



Socket 754 + SLI = Cheap Gaming Nirvana?


Today the nForce 4 SLI has penetrated the market so deeply that EPoX has released the first true mainstream SLI motherboard - the EP-8NPA SLI. It's a true nForce 4 SLI product and sports the cheaper Socket 754 instead of Socket 939. This brings with it some interesting issues like trading features for price, as well as possible performance compromises with CPU speed and dual-channel memory.


There's no denying that by saving money on a cheaper CPU has a lot of benefits, espeically if all you're after is game performance. This could truly be the best cheap gaming motherboard available on the market, so let's find out if it's true!


Specs (Copied from EPoX website)














   
 

CPU Socket:
Support Socket-754 based AMD Athlon-64/Sempron up to 3700+ with 1.6GTs HyperTransport processor


System Memory:
Two 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM sockets
Support single-sided or double-sided 2.5v DDR-333/400 DIMMs architecture in 128/256/512Mb technologies
Support Asynchronous clocking mode between FSB and DIMM
Support up to 2GB system memory


Chipset¡G
nVidia nForce4 SLI chipset


Expansion Slots:
Two PCI connectors compliant with PCI v2.2
Two PCI Express (x1) connectors compliant with PCI Express 1.0a
Two PCI Express (x16) connectors compliant with PCI Express 1.0a to support SLi technology
(Without SLI MXM connector)


USB:
Ten USB connectors compliant with USB2.0 from embedded USB controller (4 connectors at rear panel).


P-ATA IDE:
Two IDE ports (up to 4 IDE devices) with UDMA-33, ATA-66/100/133 support from embedded IDE controller.


S-ATA II RAID:
Four S-ATA II ports from nForce4 SLi with nV RAID and up to 3Gbps bandwidth , nV Disk Alert


LAN:
1Gb Ethernet from onboard VITESS VSC8201RX Gigabit Ethernet PHY.
Support nV Firewall 2.0 , Active Armor


Audio:
Selectable 2 or 6-CH audio from onboard RealTek ALC65X AC¡¦97 v2.3 compliant CODEC.
Support Aux-In, CD-In, S/PDIF-in and S/PDIF-out
Rear panel audio jacks configuration;
For 2-channel mode; stereo Line-out (green), stereo Line-In (blue) and Mic-In (pink)
For 6-channel mode; Front stereo-out(green), Rear stereo-out (blue), Center and Sub-woofer (pink)
Support Front panel audio for Mic-In and stereo Line-out only. (Front panel Line-out electrically shared with rear panel Line-out)
Support Auto Jack Sensing for fool-proof audio device installation
Support SPDIF Coaxial output.


I/O:
Onboard Fintek F71872F  LPC I/O controller
Legacy peripheral interface for PS/2 keyboard & mouse, FDD, COM, IrDA (v1.0 compliant), ¡K
Support Hardware Monitoring function such as fan speed monitoring and CPU temperature sensing.

BIOS:

4Mb Flash EEPROM with Award Plug & Play BIOS
Support EZ Boot for fast bootable device selection
Support Magic Health for system hardware status report during system boot-up


Special Features:
Support KBPO (Keyboard Power ON) function
Support Wake-On-LAN by PME
Onboard Post-Port LED display , EZ-Button
Support CPU Over Heat protect
Support CPU, Chassis and Power FAN speed control.
PowerBIOS for excellent over clocking features:
Support Asynchronous FSB/DIMM timing mode
Support BIOS adjustable CPU clock and voltage, DIMM frequency and voltage settings.


Powerful utilities for Windows:
EPTP (EPoX Thunder Probe) for system hardware monitoring
Magic Flash for BIOS update without requiring DOS flash utility and bootable diskette
Magic Screen for personal bootup screen design


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