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Epox MVP3C2 Super7 Motherboard Review
Last updated: 5/31/2000

QUALITY.  I counted 27 (versus 30 on the C and 33 on G2 boards)  105C 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 first rate.

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 it.

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 the settings.

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 (CPU/PCI Mhz)

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