The Epox 8K7A+ is
equipped with a very complete Award v6.00PG BIOS.
There are many tweaking options available and control
for all of the on-board accessories. CPU
multiplier and Voltages are adjusted via DIP switches
and jumpers, but the FSB can be altered from within
the BIOS, all the way up to 250MHz in 1MHz increments.
We used the 1711 BIOS release on our 8K7A+. Many
users claim this BIOS release incorporates 1/5 and 1/6
PCI dividers, which should allow for very high FSB
overclocking, but we were unable to verify this.
(Sandra reports a 1/4 PCI divider) We asked Epox
whether or not these other dividers are available but
have not received an answer yet. We'll let you
know as soon as we find out.
Layout and Quality
visitors to H.H. know we like to give each piece of
hardware that enters our lab a thorough physical
We found many
things we liked when examining the 8K7A+. There is
ample space around the CPU socket to allow the use of an
oversized cooler. We had room to spare with our
GlobalWin WBK38 installed. Flanking the socket is an
array of large capacitors that filter the electrical
current being supplied to the CPU. A clean, constant supply of power to the CPU is necessary
for reliable, stable operation. The Epox 8K7A+ also
incorporates a 3-Phase power array with another welcome
addition, heatsinks to cool four of the M.O.S.F.E.T.s
(Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor).
Taking a look at the underside of the board we found four
more transistors. The location of these transistors
may not allow the 8K7A+ to be mounted in some cases, but
we did not have a problem with our InWin Q500.
The AMD 761
Northbridge had an AAVID heatsink / fan combo mounted to
it with two spring clips. We removed the cooler to
see what type of thermal interface material was used and
were pleased to find an adequate layer of thermal paste!
Kudos for Epox for taking the extra step to insure proper
cooling of the Northbridge.
The 8K7A+ also
has an excellent slot configuration, 1 AGP slot and 6 PCI
slots. We feel this is the best slot configuration
as it allows for the widest array of expansion
possibilities. If you take a close look at the AGP
slot, you'll notice a retention clip. Once a video
card is inserted into the slot, it cannot be removed
without disengaging this clip. Anyone who transports
their computer will not have to worry about their video
card unseating during transit. Something we're sure
many LAN Partiers will like to hear.
All of the
internal connectors are well placed around the edges of
the board. The front panel header, DIP switches and
jumper settings are clearly silk screened on the board, so
even if you misplace the users manual, installation of the
8K7A+ should be a snap. Looking at the external
connectors (and the specs on page one), you'll see
this board is equipped with on-board AC'97 compliant
sound. The on-board sound is functional, and adequate for
non-gamers, but most of you will want to upgrade to a good
The IDE and
Floppy connectors are also well placed, mounted parallel
to the edge of the board. There are two DIMM slots
available, allowing for a maximum of 1GB of RAM. The
ATX power connector is located between the CPU socket and
Time For Some Numbers...