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Last updated: 07/29/03

Other things that got my attention...

ltblball.gif (377 bytes)  Plenty of apparently high-quality 105C electrolytic capacitors and an ample number of bypass, etc. capacitors in the middle of the CPU socket.  A tantalum here and there... 

ltblball.gif (377 bytes)  Connectors for both Baby AT and ATX power supplies.

ltblball.gif (377 bytes)  The board has Winbond W83781D hardware monitoring chip and temperature sensors for both the CPU and the system.   You can see these temperatures changing in the CMOS setup.  There are connectors for a CPU fan (3-pin) and a second case fan on the motherboard.  You can see real-time RPM values for these fans in the CMOS setup.  The user can set  a temperature ceiling in CMOS which will cause an alarm.  If the CPU fan quits, causing a hot CPU, you will hear a siren-like warning.
Epox has recently released a beta version of their Unified System Diagnostic Manager (USDMTM) for the W83781D which allows you see these parameters and set alarm thresholds from Windows 95/98.  Click here for details..

ltblball.gif (377 bytes)  The motherboard manual is simple, short, well organized, and easy to read.  A very good diagram of the motherboard is immediately followed by a single page showing the CPU multiplier, bus clock, core voltage settings in clear and understandable terms.  The next page shows all of the front panel connectors.   There is no hunting back and forth through the book between the motherboard diagram and the jumper settings, etc.

ltblball.gif (377 bytes)   One thing I dislike are short or missing I/O cables.  The printer and serial cables supplied with this board are fine at 10 inches.  The hard disk and floppy cables are pretty much "standard," but I would prefer a longer hard disk cable with a longer distance between the master and slave drive connectors (this a problem in most cable sets I've seen).   The literature for the motherboard states that the PS/2 mouse connector is optional; however, the motherboards I have received have it.  A real negative was the lack of a USB cable set.  My supplier didn't have one.  This is going to be a problem when USB becomes more common place, like soon.

Well, how does it run?   Installation was a snap with the first computer I built with this motherboard.  The only problem I had was faulty  PC100 memory (check Epox's WEB site for recommended memory).  It ran ok at 66 Mhz, but locked-up at 100 Mhz.  I replaced it and the board ran fine at 100 Mhz--rock solid.

It was unpleasant and quite time-consuming when I replaced my trusty Abit TX5 in my computer.  The motherboard and Windows 98 couldn't agree on what interrupt to assign my Kingston plug 'n play network board.  The result was a locked-up computer.  After trying everything without success, I took my hard disk back to bare metal--something I really didn't want to do.  But, this was the third motherboard I had installed with the current Win 98 installation and I thought I had mixed-up set of incorrect motherboard device drivers, etc. lingering in the system and causing the problem.  Alas, the fresh Win 98 install didn't remedy the problem.  The fix turned-out to be VIA's IRQ Routing Mini-port Driver which is available from Epox's WEB site.  When Installing Windows 98, I recommend that you omit/remove all expansion boards from the system except the monitor adapter, install 98, install the Mini-port driver, and then install any additional boards one-at-time.

New.  Epox recently released a Bus-Master UDMA hard disk driver for Windows 95/98 which significantly increases the performance of a computer built with this motherboard.  Click here for details.


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