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EPOX EP-MVP3C MOTHERBOARD REVIEW
Last updated: 07/29/03

CPU SUPPORT.  According to EpoX, EP-MVP3 should support AMD K6-2/3 and Cyrix M2 Socket 7 CPUs operating at 166-550 MHz as well as Intel Pentium and Pentium MMX CPUs .

MEMORY.  There are three, top-quality, 168-pin DIMM sockets with gold contacts.  The memory is coupled to the CPU by the Northbridge with one  512K, 5 ns high performance Winbond W25P243F-4A 64X64 SRAM cache' chip.  The three memory slots can accommodate up to 384 Mbytes of PC-100 or 66 Mhz memory; but,  the 512K of cache' with 8 tag bits will only cache' 128 MBytes of it.  128 Mbytes is, therefore, the practical memory  limit. The only other drawback is there are no 72-pin memory slots.  This limits the use of the EP-MVP3C as a replacement board in the repair of computers with damaged motherboards and existing 72-pin SIMMs, and one reason I don't use it for all such jobs that come into my shop.

JUMPERS AND SWITCHES.  As previously mentioned, a DIP switch at the left-front of the board sets the CPU core voltage.  The most common settings are labeled by the switch and only require turning one of the five switches on.  The rest of the settings are clearly labeled on the board to the left of the North Bridge and require a combination of switch settings.  CPU clock and multiplier settings are accomplished with two jumpers, one jumper for each setting, on a header on the right side of the board.  

Specific Settings are:

  • CPU Core Voltages: 1.8, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.8, 2.9, 3.2

  • Multiplier: 2 to 5.5X in .5X increments

  • FSB: 66, 83, 95, 100, 112 Mhz

Additionally, and to the possible delight of overclockers, in the CMOS SETUP, CHIPSET FEATURES SETUP, the following "CPU host clock (CPU/PCI)" setting are available:

  • Default (use jumper settings)

  • 95/32   (CPU/PCI Bus Mhz)

  • 124/41

  • 133/44

The board has only three more jumpers.  The first one sets the SDRAM at 66 Mhz (which is also the AGP frequency) or the CPU Bus Clock.  If you have a 400 Mhz K6-2 and PC100 memory, simply set this jumper for CPU Bus Clock and the CPU bus frequency for 100 Mhz (and the multiplier would, of course, be set at 4X).

The second jumper works only if you are using an ATX power supply and motherboard power on/off connector which can be connected to a momentary switch on the front panel of the computer case.  The computer can be turned on or off using the momentary switch.  If the jumper (JP4) is enabled, the system can also be turned-on by pressing one or two keyboard keys (depending on the keyboard) for two seconds.  So, with an ATX power supply you turn off the  system power by shutting-down Windows 95/98 and you can turn it back on with the keyboard.  (The momentary on/off switch must be held four seconds or more--usually more--to manually turn off the computer.  You can change this to instant-off in the CMOS Setup.)

Finally, there is new jumper to discharge the CMOS.  This is something I thought should have been on Epox's earlier boards.  I like to discharge the CMOS memory after flashing the BIOS to be sure all remnants of the old BIOS are removed form the CMOS.  Without this jumper, one has to remove the battery.

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