Epox 5LWA+ i925XE Motherboard

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When Intel released the i925XE chipset, it took their existing line of top-tier motherboards to the next level, by providing additional support for CPUs running on a 1066MHz bus.  The current list of CPUs that run at this speed is, however, quite short. Combine this fact with the imminent release of Intel's dual-core processors and the 955/945 boards that will support them, and the lifespan of the 925XE seems to be waning.  This is the way it has always been; by the time many items hit the retail market there's already newer stuff waiting to replace them. 

The "here and now" is what concerns us most.  The hardware available today is what we can actually hold and test.  These are also the pieces of hardware that everyday users will be using the build their current rigs.  So, what we've got for you, our faithful readers and prospective builders, is a review on one of the latest releases from Epox.  The Epox 5LWA+, on the surface, appears to be a fully featured i925XE motherboard, that comes as one part of their elemental series (in this case, the 5LWA+ stands in for fire).  It's got all of the performance options, including some bells and whistles, that will definitely get it a second look for current or potential Prescott owners. We've got a rundown of the specifications of the 5LWA+ below, which you will find to be quite complete.

        
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Specifications of the Epox 5LWA+
Nothing lacking here...















Chipset
·
_Intel 925XE + ICH6R

CPU Socket
· Supports Intel Pentium 4 series processors up to 4 GHz in LGA775 socket

· Supports Intel Celeron D series processors up to 3.2 GHz in LGA775 socket
·_533/800/1066 front-side bus

Memory
·
_Four 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM DIMM slots
·
_Supports single-or-double sided, non-ECC, 1.8v DDR2 400/533 DIMMs
·_Can support up to 4GB system memory

Audio
·
_Selectable 2, 6, or 8 channel audio from onboard ALC880 CODEC
·
_Supports CD-In, S/PDIF-in and out
·
_Optical and Coaxial S/PDIF out available on rear panel
·_Supports jack detection for fool-proof audio device installation

LAN
·
_2x Gigabit Ethernet from onboard Marvell 88E8053 PCI-e controller

Storage
·
_One IDE interface (up to 2 IDE devices) with UDMA-33, ATA66/100 support
·_4x SATA ports with RAID (0,1) support from ICH6R















Expansion Slots
·
_3x PCI slots (PCI v2.3 compliant)
·_2x PCI-Express (x1) slots
·_1x PCI-Express (x16) slot

Universal Serial Bus
·
_8x USB connectors with USB2.0 from embedded controller (4 ports on rear panel)

FireWire
·
_2x 1394 ports from onboard VIA VT6307 1394a controller

Rear-panel I/O
·
_Onboard Winbond W83627THF9(E) LPC bus I/O Controller
·_PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse sockets
·
_4x USB 2.0 ports
·
_2x Gigabit LAN (RJ-45)
·
_8 channel audio out
·
_SPDIF I/O ports
·
_Coaxial Audio port
·
_Serial port
·
_Parallel Port

BIOS
·
_4Mb Flash EEPROM with Award Plug&Play BIOS
·_Supports ACPI S3 (Suspend to RAM)
·_Supports EZ-Boot for fast bootable device selection
·_Supports Magic Health for system hardware status report
·_PowerBIOS contains excellent overclocking features

Dimensions (L x W x H, mm)
·
_305 x 245 x 40






The Bundle:

Epox has included a set of cables, manuals, and other material that suits the 5LWA+ to a 'T'
.  Each little baggie contained various data and power cables for connecting IDE, SATA, and/or floppy drives, depending on the needs of the builder.  Adding support to the back I/O ports, we also found we could install an additional 2 USB 2.0 and 2 Firewire ports as well as a throwback serial/game port bracket.  We've also got the all-important I/O shield and a SP-ATA conversion kit which allows IDE devices to be added on a SATA channel.  All in all, a solid mix of components.

Mixed in with the lot of cables was a vinyl package labeled, "Power Pack".  This add-in contained a well-written User's manual, a sales sheet of Epox's latest products, and a driver/utility CD.  The standard lot of chipset, audio, and LAN drivers can be installed from this disc, although it often helps to check for updates soon after the system is running as these CDs often have older versions of the software.  Norton Internet Security 2004, MAGIC Flash, MAGIC Screen and a few other utilities are also included on the CD to customize, update, and protect your PC.  Final additions to the Power Pack were a thermal-probe, a handy little screw-driver kit, as well as mini-heatsinks that Epox recommends be placed on the MOSFETS on the board.  Ideally, we would have preferred it if Epox has placed these themselves and at least used a complementary color.  The heatsinks we received were blue, while the rest of the board's motif (remember fire?) revolves around black and red.

 

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