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Epox MVP3G2 Super7 Motherboard Review
Last updated: 5/31/2000

SLOTS.  As I said in my review of the G board, when comparing it to its predecessor, the EP-51MVPE-M, the price you pay for a smaller board and a better layout  is the loss of an ISA slot and the two 72-pin memory slots.  There are still a lot of people who would rather not buy a new PCI board or replace their memory when upgrading to an ATX motherboard and case; I see it frequently.  One of the three ISA slots has been replaced with a fifth PCI slot to produce the "popular" 1/5/2 (AGP/PCI/ISA) combination.  I still don't know why this combination is so popular.  Show me a computer with five PCI cards and USB enabled and I'll show you a computer that is probably locking-up with IRQ conflicts.  Things haven't changed much except the price of 168-pin memory has gone through the roof during the last few weeks (9/27/99).

I/O. There are PS/2 keyboard, PS/2 mouse, 1 printer, two serial, and two USB ports along the back of the motherboard (the configuration matches all of the Aopen ATX cases I have reviewed).   They are color-coded to conform to the PC99 Design Guide.  The motherboard also has a built-in SB-LINK header for Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE64D or compatible cards, a Wake on Lan (WOL) connector, and an IR connector.

IN THE BOX.  The G2 comes packaged in an attractive retail box.  This box is good for shipping just the motherboard, but it is not adequate if you add a CPU and CPU fan.  Double box it if you include those items.   In addition to a User Manual for the MVP3G, MVP3G2, and MVP3G5 motherboards and cable set which includes an ATA/66 hard disk cable (80 conductors versus 40),  Epox has added value to the G2 by including  the following goodies on a CD:

  • A CD with Symantic's Norton Anti-virus and Norton Ghost software.  Ghost is a utility program which you can use to copy images of whole hard disks or indivual partitions.  It can copy and resize Windows 95/98 FAT32 partitions.  Just the ticket for moving everything from you old hard disk to you new computer.

Furthermore, the CD contains Via's 4-in-1 Driver installation program which makes setting-up this board for the various versions of Windows much easier.  Unfortunately, EpoX has stopped including HighPoint's IDE driver and it is not longer available as download from their Web site.

USER MANUAL.  The original G board User Manual has been rewritten to include the G2 and G5 motherboards under one cover.  The paper is a little cheaper, but the diagrams have been improved and include a system diagram which is essentially the VIA chipset block diagram.  Overall the manual is to my liking.  It is short, well organized, and easy to read.  A very good diagram (even better than the one in the original G2 manual) of the motherboard is immediately followed by two pages showing the jumper settings.  CPU multiplier, bus clock, core voltage settings in clear and understandable terms.  The front panel connectors are shown on the motherboard diagram and with larger print a few pages later.  There is no hunting back and forth through the book between the motherboard diagram and the jumper settings, etc.  A more verbose manual might be more appropriate for novices; however, I'm not novice and do not wish to rummage through a lengthy manual.  A page on DIMM installation has been added for novices.  It should have included anti-static precautions for emphasis where they need to be emphasized, but these are presented at the front of the manual with all of the other mumble jumble one sees and ignores at the front of manuals. BIOS beep codes should have been included; especially those codes for memory and display adapter problems.

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