Epox MVP3C2 Super7 Motherboard Review
Last updated: 5/31/2000
QUALITY. I counted 27 (versus
30 on the C and 33 on G2 boards) 105°C electrolytic capacitors and
saw no tear-drop tantalums (the C board has three) on the board. There
are many more bypass, etc. capacitors all over the board and a good measure
of them in the middle of the CPU socket.
Wave soldering on the back of the board looks
Trace and ground plane layout is very professional--a
thing of beauty to me.
Like previous Epox boards I have reviewed,
masking and silk-screening on this board is superb--excellent! Everything
from the jumpers to I/O connectors is clearly labeled. If you
loose the motherboard book you can still set-up the jumpers and the core
voltage dip switch. All of the setting are printed on the motherboard.
Little things standout like the oversized
doughnuts surrounding each of the seven mounting holes. One doesn't
have to worry about the head of the screw, used to fasten the motherboard
to the case, overlapping a trace on the motherboard and capacitively grounding
The DIMM sockets are hefty with gold-plated
contacts and thick eject levers.
LAYOUT. 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. 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, 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 C2 layout is about as
good as it gets.
CPU SUPPORT. According to Epox,
the MVP3C2 will support Intel Pentium P55C/AMD K6-2 and 3/Cyrix M II at 133-550MHz. They
also say, 'due to the possibility of processor (CPU) design changes beyond
their control, "Frequency support" is not a strict guarantee of
future processor support.' I have tested the C2 with a 500 Mhz K6-2. AMD has
not tested the C2 yet, but they have tested the C (v. .1) board with 500
Mhz K6-2 and 450 Mhz K6-3 processors.
A DIP switch in front of the CPU socket is
used to set the CPU core voltage. The most common core voltages are
set by turning one of the five switches on and the rest off. These
values are labeled on the motherboard next to their respective switches. The
remaining voltages are selected with a combination of switches and a matrix
printed on the motherboard between the cache' chips clearly shows all of
A header along the left, front uses two
jumpers which respectively set the bus clock speed and the multiplier. Only
CPU Plug 'n Play could make configuring the motherboard for a CPU simpler,
and not by much.
Specific DIP switch and jumper settings are:
Core Voltage: 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4,
2.8, 2.9, 3.2, 3.3, and 3.5V
FSB: 66, 75, 83, 95,100, 112 Mhz
Multiplier: 2X, 2.5X, 3X, 3.5X,
4X, 4.5X, 5X, and 5.5X
The chipset is spec'd at a 100 MHz for the
front side bus (FSB) and 33 Mhz for the PCI bus. Additional CPU and
PCI speeds can be selected in the CMOS setup as follows:
133/44, 124/41, 112/37, 100/33, & 95/32
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