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Epox 8K3A+ (KT333-CE) Motherboard
Author : Wayne Date : 10th April 2002
...Product Epox 8K3A+
...Manufacturer Epox
...Supplier Epox-UK
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Introduction :

I don't know about you but I was never especially good at maths back in my school days. Numbers just didn't hold the same charm for me that they did for some people and I found my attentions chanelled more into the sciences. Little did I know that so much of today's computer hardware scene would be driven by numbers, numbers that express power and numbers that are nothing more than marketing fodder. Numbers that are genuinely useful and numbers designed to confuse. The truth is if you want to make informed buying decisions in today's confusing market you need to be prepared to learn a little about which numbers matter and which don't, no easy task even for those of us who try to make it our business to know.

Today I want to look at the Epox 8K3A+ (revision 1.1), a motherboard that not only replaces the much applauded 8KHA+ but which also intruduces us to yet more numbers, the main ones being ATA-133 and KT333.

KT333 is of course the name given To VIA's latest chipset and its main advantage over the popular KT266A chipset is the ability to allow you to run your system memory at 166MHz (333MHz DDR) asynchronously, that is without having to overclock your system bus to achieve it. In the past, if you wanted to run your memory at 166MHz it involved running your FSB at 166MHz too but now you can pump up the memory bus to 166MHz while leaving the system bus at 133MHz.

Popping off the board's heat sink confirmed that the North Bridge is indeed the "CE" revision of the KT333 which is superior to earlier revisions and is rumored to be the chip that was intended to be released as the KT333A, this though was before VIA decided to scrap the "A" suffix. According to industry insiders the P4X266A was the last "A" suffix chipset we'll see released by VIA so those of you holding on to your cash waiting for KT333A may be disappointed.

Still in place is VIA's impressive V-LINK technology which provides a dedicated 266MB/sec bus between North and South bridges and the North Bridge complies with VIA's V-MAP (VIA Modular Architecture Platform) which simply means that it is pin compatible with past, current and future products.

One chip that does come with the "A" suffix is the South bridge. The VT8233A now adds support for ATA-133 hard drives and improved audio. Just how much an ATA-133 hard drive will improve performance is something I'll be looking at later in the review.

Let's take a quick tour of the specs :


YES Supports Socket A Processors.
AMD Athlon & Duron.
YES VIA Apollo KT333 AGPset.
YES I/O Controller.
1 Floppy drive controller,
1 Parallel port (EPP, ECP),
2 Serial ports.
2x USB 1.1 connectors (2 more as option).
YES Award PnP BIOS. Flash upgradeable.
120MB ATAPI floppy drive and ZIP support!
YES Standard ATX form factor.
305mm x 245mm ATX.
YES UltraDMA-133 EIDE Controllers. (Up to 4 IDE devices).
Backwards compatible with PIO mode 3/4 & UltraDMA-33/66/100.
YES 3x DDR-SDRAM Slots for PC1600, PC2100 & PC2700.
3GB max. supported.
YES PS/2 connectors.
1 PS/2 mouse, 1 PS/2 keyboard.
YES 6 (32-bit) PCI, 1 AGP.
AGP supports 1x, 2x (3.3v) and 4x (1.5v) modes
YES Built-in AC97 Digital Audio (by VT8233A/8235) :
Dual full-duplex Direct Sound channels
FM synthesis for legacy compatibility
Supports game and MIDI port



Extended Functions for Greater Value!

Model 8K3A+ has HPT372 RAID Controller offering RAID 0+1 ATA133 RAID

Model 8K3A+ has P80P debug panel to diagnose system fault or failure
Supports Hardware Monitoring Function by W83697HF
Supports exclusive KBPO (Keyboard Power On)

Supports EPoX well known easy normal-turbo memory settings in BIOS
Supports CPU Vcore setting via BIOS to 2.2v
Supports Memory Voltage setting via BIOS to 3.2v
Supports CPU Clock setting via BIOS up to 200MHz
Supports STR (Suspend To RAM) power saving Function with S1 and S3 functionality
Supports CPU Multiplier setting via BIOS (where processors permit)
Supports Wake-On-LAN Function


CPU AMD Athlon (Socket A)
AMD Duron
AMD Athlon (Socket A)
AMD Duron
AMD Athlon (Socket A)
AMD Duron
AMD Athlon (Socket A)
AMD Duron
ISA/PCI 1/6 + 1 AGP 1/6 + 1 AGP 1/6 + 1 AGP 0/6 + 1 AGP
SIMM/DIMM 0/3 0/3 0/4 0/3 DDR
BIOS Award/Flash EPROM Award/Flash EPROM Award/Flash EPROM Award/Flash EPROM
Switching Regulator Yes Yes Yes Yes
Others UltraDMA-66/ACPI**
2S/1P/USB, IDE/FDD ports, AC97 sound, Vcore, Vio, Multiplier.
2S/1P/USB, IDE/FDD ports, AC97 sound, Vcore, Vio, Multiplier.
2S/1P/USB, IDE/FDD ports, AC97 sound, Vcore, Vio, Multiplier.
2S/1P/USB, IDE/FDD ports, AC97


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