+++ The EPoX 9NPA+ Ultra Socket 939
PCIe board costs at present approx. 100 euro (03/2006)
and is appropriate thereby in the upper price segment of the Socket
939 PCIe Motherboards.
EPoX offers with the 9NPA+ Ultra a Socket 939 board with only one
PCIe 16x video card Slot.
Surely it's a legitimate question, whether it makes sense to acquire
a board with
one PCI express Slot in the SLI era (2 PCIe Slots).
But due to the standardized board sizes there's usually unfortunately
mostly the choice between
3 PCI Slots with 1x PCIe 16x Slot or 2 PCI Slots with 2x (SLI) PCIe
16x video card Slots.
Furthermore the SLI technology isn't interesting for all application
types and requires besides
somewhat higher motherboard initial costs.
On this nForce4 Ultra Motherboard the variant with 3 PCI Slots
and 1 PCIe Slot is used.
The nVidia nForce4 Ultra chipset manage the four S-ATA II RAID (0/1/0+1)
with up to 3 GB/s data-rate, 2 connectors for up to 4 UDMA 133 (P-ATA)
hard disks and
up to four DDR memory modules with Dual Channel support.
EPoX uses the 8-channel ALC 850 sound chip on this board, which
is able to give support for
up to 8 sound channels by 6x 3.5mm connectors.
And instead of the integrated 10/100 chipset NIC EPoX use the Vitesse
8201 LAN chip,
which provides up to 1 Gigabit network speed and is thus optimally
for a fast home network.
Here's a picture of another new EPoX characteristic. They offer
beside the 7-segment post code
display (to examine possible start up errors) newly 2 buttons for
Power and Reset:
The two buttons for power and reset are optimal for any work inside
the PC case,
since one doesn't have to attach any frontpanel cable to switch
on or reset the PC system.
After switching on the PC possible error diagnostics succeeds more
simply, because there're
3 additional blue LEDs attached which indicates the status of the
the status of the memory modules (LED2) and of the CPU (LED3).
The BIOS offers likewise dozens interesting options, e.g. gigantic
memory settings to adjust
the used memory modules optimally.
In addition, the adjustment of the Vcore (CPU voltage) is awesome
with the 9NPA+ Ultra,
because it's possible to increase the Vcore (as mentioned in the
Socket 939 Pinmod guide)
with additional +0.35 V to up to 1.90 Volt CPU voltage!
However, such a high Vcore is recommended surely only for extreme
requires a very good CPU cooling like e.g. water
cooling or compressor
And if a board offers so many overclocking features, of course
also overclocking may not be missed
in this motherboard test report.
BTW. the integrated monitoring of the boot process was checked several
times within the
test procedures and automatically starts an incorrect PC boot up
(e.g. to high overclocking),
by setting all frequencies and multiplier to default values.
So it's not necessary to set the Clear CMOS jumper when you've overclocked
The HT reference clock reach even without increasement of the chipset
up to awesome 320 MHz, whereby the active chipset cooling ensures
a good heat dissipation
of the nForce 4 ultra chipset.
Fortunately the chipset fan gets its power supply via an additional
2-Pin connector, so that
further all 3 fan connectors are still usable for other cooling
devices like case fans, etc.
Here's a picture of the relatively quiet, but effective active
Result: The EPoX 9NPA+ Ultra Socket 939 PCI express Motherboard
offers "only" one 16x PCIe
video card Slot, but three "1x PCIe" Slots, three PCI
card Slots, four dual Channel DIMM Slots,
four RAID 0/1/0+1 capable S-ATA II connectors, 8 channel sound chip,
1 Gigabit LAN with
integrated Firewall and an extensive software package.
All in all thus brilliant equipment justifies the price of the EPoX
And owing to the great overclocking features of this Socket 939
motherboard it's a pleasure
for overclocker to get very high OC results.
Special thanks to EPoX
for their support.