GripeLine by ED

Haz's Holiday Hardware

That's right, it's part 3 of Haz's Holiday Hardware! Christmas Day may be gone, but there's still New Year, and lots of holiday to come! You've got a new case, maybe a new processor and cooler, what's missing? You want a new motherboard to fuse the whole kaboodle together, which is where I come in! I'm taking a look at the new Epox board, the 8KHA+. This baby sports the new KT266A chipset for some funky DDR luvvin'.

Out on the web, there are tons and tons of motherboard reviews. Benchmarks, Webmarks, 3Dmarks, Sysmarks, you name it, it's tested. But dammit Jim, I'm a modder, not a hardware guru! Talk to me about hypertransport protocols or bandwidth limitations or whatnot, I'll likely go and grab me dremel or fire up Fifa2k2. Don't get me wrong, I like hardware, and I certainly like performance hardware, but I just don't have the time to study it to that detail, as much as I would like to. So what I'm going to do here is simple - I'm going to take a good system, and show you how upgrading to DDR generally, and the Epox board in particular, will affect it. That way, you can assess for yourselves the pros and cons of a DDR upgrade. Kappisch?

Here's an overview of the board. You can clearly see the CPU socket, RAM slots, Northbridge, IDE and port connectors. I've hightlighted - 1, the Audio connectors for the onboard audio, 2, the southbridge, 3, the BIOS, 4, the Diagnostic LEDs, 5, the case connectors and 6, the ATX power connector. Component placement is pretty good - The ATX socket is positioned perhaps a little oddly, but actually works quite well where it is. There are some large capacitors around the socket, but these don't inhibit the mounting of a large heatsink. The RAM sockets are quite close fo the processor, which can make mounting a heatsink a bit of a pain, and the 1st DIMM socket clip can be inhibited by AGP cards, but those are my only niggles with the board layout. Having the LED Diagnostic at where it is is handy, because it's viewable through most case windows!

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