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

LAYOUT.  The layout of the EP-MVP3C is similar to the 58.  There are six mounting holes and oversized  donuts surrounding each one of them.  One doesn't have to worry about the head of the screw, fastening the motherboard to the case, overlapping a trace on the motherboard and capacitively grounding them.  There are two additional holes without donuts at the front corners for plastic standoffs.

The CPU is located left of center at the front of the board where it won't be a problem with drive bays in most computer cases and where properly tired cables will not fall into the CPU fan.  The CPU fan clips are not crowded with capacitors.

CPU core voltage is set with a DIP switch instead of jumpers and the switch has been moved to the left-front of the board.  CPU clock and multiplier jumpers have been moved from the front of the board to the front of the right side, exactly where they will be obscured by the drive bay in many cases. 

The front panel connectors are in a fairly good position:  front and left of center like the 58.  And something I really like: a turbo LED which actually keeps the LED lit.  Even though the turbo function is long gone, it is nice to have the LED lit so users won't think there is something wrong with the computer.

The motherboard has sockets for AT and ATX power supplies located along the right side to the rear of the board.

The drive and I/O cables connect at the rear of the board in the vicinity of the keyboard jack.  When installed, the drive and power cables obscure access to the system memory, which is located parallel to and along the right side of the board.  All of these cables can be difficult to install with the AGP video board in place and are very difficult to get at in some computer cases, such as the popular Enlight 6680, where the hard disk hangs below the power supply and over the motherboard.  But, I do not mean to over emphasize the negatives here.  Many Baby AT motherboards have a similar or worse layout; the layout is mainly a result of the constraints caused by the Baby AT form factor; and, overall, the EP-MVP3C layout is about as good as it gets.

SLOTS.  With the further decline of the ISA bus EpoX has seen fit to reduce the number of ISA expansion board slots from three in the 58 to two on this board, giving a 1/4/2 AGP/PCI/ISA layout and a more spacious motherboard, which is the same size as the 58.  I would have preferred retention of the third ISA slot for upgrading older computers with more than two ISA boards.  I really don't think the 1/4/2 configuration, as compared to the popular 1/5/2 configuration, is such big deal when comparing motherboards, however.  Show me a computer with five PCI cards and USB enabled and I'll show you a computer that is probably locking-up with IRQ conflicts.

SILK SCREENING.  Silk screening on the EP-MVP3C is nothing short of excellent.  Everything from the jumpers to I/O connectors are clearly labeled.   If  you loose the motherboard book you can still set-up the jumpers.  All of the setting are printed on the motherboard.

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