Epox 4PDA2+ v2.0

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Epox 4PDA2+ v2.0 - Page 5

Epox 4PDA2+ V2 Motherboard Review
One Step Closer to Near-Perfection

"Burned" in by Robert Maloney
September 3, 2003

Overclocking the Epox 4PDA2+ V2
Like taking candy from a baby

WCPUID at Stock Speed and Overclocked

Overclocking the Epox 4PDA2+ V2 was as pleasurable an experience as we can recall.  True, after spending much time tinkering around with the last batch of Springdale boards, we had immediate expectations about where we wanted to go and how to get there.  Luckily for us, Epox must have had the same expectations because they have provided the necessary means to do so.  As we covered earlier, the voltage choices for the CPU and DRAM are extensive, allowing us to stabilize the system when raising the front side bus.  As we raised the FSB, we had to change the memory divider in order to keep the RAM happy, but noticed after a few failed attempts that the DRAM speed reported during the POST operations did not correctly reflect the divider we had chosen.  For example, at a FSB of 235MHz and using the memory ratio of 5:4, we expected the DRAM speed to clock in at 376MHz (235/5=47*4=188*2=376), but the actual speed was reported as 470MHz, which meant that a 1:1 ratio was still being applied.  In the BIOS, we "relaxed" the AMM setting from "Max" to "Turbo", after which we were able to get the correct DRAM speeds.  Other than this one hiccup, it was smooth sailing up into the 280's for the FSB, with the CPU voltage requiring 1.75V to get the system testable.  We reached the wall at 281MHz as highest obtainable speed  (3.372GHz on our P4C 2.4 GHz CPU), any higher and Windows would not complete loading. 

Since Comanche 4 scales so well with CPU and Memory differences, we thought we would at least provide one quick check of the performance gained by overclocking the system.  At a stock speed of 201.44MHz for the FSB, we had attained 52.84 fps, but after overclocking to 281MHz FSB  (3372MHz CPU speed), we jumped up to 69.85 fps, a jump of 17 frames.  That's a performance boost of 32% over stock speeds.  The Epox 4PDA2+ V2 is a powerful board at stock speed, yet still shows it has more horsepower under the hood.

At the conclusion of the Springdale Showdown review, we were confident in our choice of the Asus P4P800 Deluxe as the top board, awarding it the coveted Editor's Choice, but Epox has definitely raised our eyebrows with the second version of the 4PDA2+.  First, care has been taken to produce a board that's very pleasing to the eye, with a good layout of the components.  The set of features onboard included everything that one could hope for with IDE RAID, SATA RAID, FireWire, and even a helpful Diagnostic LED.  Complementing the color scheme of the board is a bundle with matching rounded IDE cables, extra brackets with FireWire and even external SATA ports, and some of the most comprehensive user's manuals that we have ever read.

Aside from these, mostly aesthetic attributes, came the performance and stability that only a top-notch board can provide.  Throughout the course of testing, we did not encounter any issues with the running on any benchmarks even while overclocking the system.  Epox's engineers have done a wonderful job with their implementation of a memory enhancement called "Accelerated Memory Mode".  The memory benchmarks in both Sandra and PCMark 2002 showed that the Epox AMM was almost on par with the well known Game Accelerator Technology from Abit as well as Asus' Hyper Path.  Overclocking the system was also a breeze, and the 281MHz FSB was one of the highest stable overclock speeds we have obtained with the i865PE (second to the Asus P4P800's 285MHz.)  We will stop short of declaring a new champion in the Springdale realm, but offer that the Epox 4PDA2+ V2 motherboard should share the "throne" with the Asus P4P800 Deluxe, awarding it a 9.5 on the HotHardware Heat Meter, as well as an Editor's Choice Award!


Overclocking Results and the Final Rating

Tags:  PDA, 4P

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