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Epox MVP3G-M Super7 Motherboard Review
Last updated: 07/29/03

CHIPSET.  The MVP3G uses the VIA Apollo MVP3 chipset.  It consists of two chips:  the VT82C598 System Controller, or "North Bridge" in super7 lingo, and VT82C596 Mobile PCI Integrated Peripheral Controller, or "South Bridge".   The VT82C598 is located just below the system memory sockets and the VT82C596 is under the PCI expansion bus sockets.  Both chips are very complex and do many things; but, (very) simply put, the North Bridge controls the system, is the CPU to PCI bus bridge, and interfaces the CPU to the system memory, cache', and AGP graphics.  The South Bridge hangs off the PCI bus, controls the UDMA hard disk drives and Plug 'n Play, provides a bridge to the ISA bus, interfaces the CMOS BIOS, and takes care of the I/O functions such as the USB and keyboard interfaces.

This variation of the chipset differs from the MVP3 chipsets in the other Epox Super7 motherboards I have reviewed, the 58MVP3C and 51MVP3E.  They used the VT82C586 South Bridge.  The VT82C596 used by this board has additional features for power management and power plane control.  The implementation can be seen in the layout of the board.  A power plane conveys and shields a particular voltage throughout the motherboard within its four layers.  Although, I have not been able to obtain more technical information from Epox (apparently, they do not want to give away design secrets), inspection of the board shows that Epox has dispersed the voltage switching and regulating circuitry over the board.  Some of it is near the CPU and more is near the South Bridge.  This should reduce the heat in the vicinity of the CPU, shorten critical traces, and add to the reliability of the board.

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