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Review of the EpoX 8KHA+ DDR Athlon Motherboard
Last updated: 1/14/2002

PERFORMANCE.  The 8kha+ with Windows XP installed clocked an impressive Business Winstone 2001 of 50.4.  The Content Creation Winstone 2002 scored 27.7.  Winbench 99 benchmarks were also impressive.

Let's make an Apples and Oranges comparison with five simple Wintune 98 benchmarks.  This time such a comparison may actually be relevant to our times/economy and provide some insight into what the average prospective PC buyer/upgrader could expect from this AMD processor-based motherboard as compared to some that have appeared over the last couple of years.  These benchmarks provide a rough comparison of computer technology based on five AMD processors, four motherboard chipsets, the evolution and increasing amounts of memory from 64 MBytes of 100 MHz PC100 to 256 MBytes of PC2100 DDR memory, changes in hard disk drives, and the current migration of the average PC from Windows 9x to Windows XP.

Computer 1 2 3 4 5
Motherboard EpoX
MVP3G2
MSI
MS-6167
Abit
KT7-RAID
EpoX
8KHA+
EpoX
8KHA+
Chipset VIA MVP3 AMD 750 VIA KT133 VIA KT266A VIA KT266A
Processor 500 MHz
K6-2
Socket 7
650 MHz Athlon
(Classic)
Slot A
1.1 GHz
  Athlon
(Thunderbird)
Socket A
1.4 GHz
Athlon
(Palomino)
XP 1600+
1.4 GHz
Athlon
(Palomino)
XP 1600+
Memory 64 MBytes
PC100
128 MBytes
PC100
256 MBytes
PC133
256 MBytes
PC2100
256 MBytes
PC2100
Hard Disk WD64AA
6.4 GByte
5,400 RPM
ATA/66
WD273BA
27.3 GByte
7,200 RPM
ATA/66
WD300BB
30 GByte
7,200 RPM
ATA/66*
WD300BB
30 GByte
7,200 RPM
ATA/100
WD300BB
30 GByte
7,200 RPM
ATA/100
Operating System Win 98 Win 98 Win 98 Win 98 Win XP
CPU Integer MIPS 1072 1967 3341 4263 4290
CPU Floating Point MFLOPS 598 803 1369 1767 1784
Memory MB/s 724 1594 2868/2050* 2478 2509
Cached Disk MB/s 81 124 160 278 312
Uncached Disk MB/s 3.4 4.5 5.9 6.2 4.5

*The first number in the Abit KT7 memory read test is comparable to those that went before it.  The second number is comparable to the tests with DDR memory that followed it.

Benchmarks mean different things to different people depending on what they do with a computer, their experience, and how they interpret the numbers.  If you do a lot of number crunching and graphics for programming, engineering, science, etc. or are addicted to games, any reasonable increase of speed is probably significant.

One usually sees page after boring page of benchmarks in many motherboard reviews.  Often these benchmarks do not provide a clear picture of what one can actually expect.  Many of them are so focused on competing products that they do not compare motherboards and systems that are further separated in technology and time.  In many cases, the real differences in perceived performance, despite the benchmarks numbers, are actually so small that they are almost insignificant to most computer users.

The Wintune 98  benchmarks are a step in the right direction, but even these numbers do not completely depict what one will perceive as a noticeable speed difference while sitting in front of a computer with this motherboard as compared to competing products and others from generations past.  Perceived performance does not have a linear relationship to the results of benchmarks tests.  Benchmarks measure computers, not human beings.  If you are an average business/home computer user, you would probably not see any noticeable difference in speed between this motherboard and quality DDR motherboards using the most recent Athlon chipsets from competing manufacturers. The speed difference between computer #3 in the Wintune benchmarks and this one (#4) is not something I would call anywhere near overwhelming as may be suggested by the numbers.  On the other hand, if you have an aging computer with 500 MHz K-6 processor, 64 MBytes of memory, and a 5,400 RPM hard disk drive, or something like that (sell it now or forget selling it), or a computer like computer #2 to a lesser extent, a computer with this generation of motherboard, processor, memory, and hard disk drive will probably make you start seriously thinking that maybe it's finally time for a major upgrade or a new computer?  Let me say, that it would be wise to see a comparable computer for yourself and put your hands on it for awhile before reading too much into these numbers (and others) and deciding to do it.  Click here for benchmark details.

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