THE EPOX ENHANCED
IDE BUS-MASTER DRIVER
Last updated: 3/6/2001
|EpoX is no longer supplying the HighPoint IDE
driver with their motherboards. I no longer see the driver
in the Products section of HighPoint's web sight. I have stopped
using it. Larry
If you have an Epox motherboard such as Epox's Super7 superstars,
the EP-MVP3G-M, EP-51MVPE-M and EP-58MVPC-M, and
an UltraDMA hard disk drive, quick, hop over to Epox's
Web site and download their new, specially designed XStore Pro IDE driver
for Win 95/98 from HighPoint Technologies. Epox
claims hard disk performance will increase 10 to 50%.
Below, are some bench marks I ran on my shop machine.
Version of the XStore Pro IDE Driver.
Win 98: Stock
Microsoft Windows 98 VIA Driver
Bus Master (Ultra DMA) PCI IDE Driver v.2.1.26 downloaded from VIA's
Please note that the above bars start at zero... The results
are truly that impressive. What they don't entirely show is how remarkable
it is to start-up IE 4, Windows Explorer, Outlook 98, Excel, and Word as
fast as one can single-click the icons I have on my task-bar and see all
of the windows load almost instantaneously and one program not doggedly waiting
for the other to open. I can open and have all of these programs
running within 10 seconds! Also, my Internet browser, I.E. 4.01,
which dumps stuff to the hard disk as it downloads WEB pages, seems both
faster and "smoother." That is the result of bus-mastering
(Highpoint's WEB site states that the stock Win 98 IDE driver for the VIA
chipset isn't a bus-mastering driver--see FAQs on XSTORE--no longer available). The
CPU is not slowed down with the chore of routing all of the data from the
hard disk to memory. The data goes from the hard disk to memory through
the motherboard chipset, leaving the CPU free to process other data/start-up
other programs. Click here (no longer available) for diagrams from
I found comparable results with slower processors. I
also found that the differences between the drivers were not significant
with 32 MB of memory. Epox recommends 48 MB minimum memory (version
1.1 will handle computers less memory, but it isn't available for down-load
yet). I used 300 Mhz K6-2 and 64 MB of memory to obtain the above results.
The hard disk WinMarks between the EP-51MVPE-M (ATX) and EP-58MVPC-M (Baby
AT) boards were insignificant. The EP-51 scored a little higher on
the CPU WinMark owing to its 1 MB cache' versus the EP-58's 512K cache'. Finally,
I boosted the memory to 128 MB and discovered it actually slowed things down
a bit. More is not always better...
The next chart shows that, as far as hard
disk performance is concerned, my 300 Mhz K6-2 shop computer, with the combination
of a 6.4 GB, 9.5 ms Western Digital hard disk and the Epox driver, beats
a 400 Mhz Pentium II computer with a 11.9 GB, 9 ms Maxtor hard disk and the
stock Windows 98 driver for the Intel
82371AB/EB PCI Bus Master IDE Controller (BX440 chip-set). This
is somewhat an apples and oranges comparison, but the results are significant
enough to make the conclusion.
Ziff-Davis' WinBench® 98 Version 1.0
I have experienced some difficulties in the many times
I have installed the Epox IDE driver. Apparently, there is a intermittent
problem with the installation program or a problem with Windows 98 (I have
seen the same problem installing the stock Win 98 VIA BusMaster driver, though
less frequently). If you see a DOS window with error messages right
after rebooting from the Epox IDE driver setup or start seeing Windows errors
after what appears to be a normal installation, the solution is to run the
Epox setup again, select "deinstall" from the setup menu, reboot,
let Windows 98 reinstall the stock IDE drivers, and then reinstall the Epox
drivers again. Once installed correctly, the driver works fine.
Good work, Epox and Highpoint!
300 Mhz K6-2 Computer (shop computer):
AMD 300 Mhz K6-2 processor, Epox EP-58MVP3C-M motherboard, 512K cache',
64 MB PC100 memory, Western Digital AC36400, 6.4 GB, 9.5 ms, EIDE
UDMA hard disk, Windows 98 OEM with FAT32 file system (defragged), AOpen
CD-936E/AKU 36X CD-ROM, SB16 sound board, Aopen FM56-ITU FAX/MODEM, Kingston
KNE40BT network adapter, and Venus/Trident T975 AGP Adapter with 4 MB.
400 Mhz Pentium II Computer. 400
Mhz Pentium II processor, Abit BH6 motherboard with Intel® 440BX
chipset (82443BX and 82371EB), 128 MB PC100 memory, Maxtor DiamondMax 3400
(model 9119007) 11.9 GB, 9.0 ms, EIDE UDMA hard disk (defragged), Windows
98 OEM with FAT32 file system, Toshiba SD-M1102 IDE DVD drive, Aopen FM56-ITU
FAX/MODEM, Aopen FX-3D Plus sound board, Aopen ALN-320VX network adapter,
and ATI Rage AGP adapter with 8 MB.
WinBench is a registered trademark or trademark
and WinMark is a trademark of Ziff-Davis Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.