As in the my last look at the Iwill KA266 and Abit KT7A, there is not a lot in it. Sure, when testing for performance, I can show that one board is faster than another. But it’s time for a reality check.
The EPoX 8K7A is the fastest motherboard of those tested. No doubt.
But it is a purely academic victory. You are unlikely to notice the difference in the real world. In business type applications it is almost meaningless which motherboard you choose. Want more performance? Buy a faster disk – you will notice it more. This is not to slight the AMD, VIA or EPoX engineers who brought you this fine piece of hardware. Nor is it a slight on the engineers from Iwill, Abit and Acer Labs inc. who helped bring you the KA266 and KT7A. The truth of the matter is that I can (and you can too) wring more performance out of so called “old-tech” by carefully choosing your parts, doing some research and being patient, than you can just by making a blind purchase based on some web review which says that product X is faster than product Y. But that doesn’t change the fact that the EPoX is technically the fastest. If you aren’t into tweaking, then the EPoX may have better default settings, so it will be the fastest, out of the box.
Instead, I suggest you purchase on features. Got two sticks of RAM already but thinking of adding more? Get a board with three or more RAM slots. Want a board with sound on board? Want DDR? get whichever is appropriate. By making a list of what you need or want, and seeing which boards meet your criteria, you can make an informed choice. After you have done this and if you still need to narrow your choices, then bring performance into the equation.
So do you have a bad case of motherboard envy? Just got to have the EPoX because its the fastest AMD 760 board? Well, if you have bought within the last year, you shouldn’t. If you are feeling the itch to upgrade your CAS 2 PC166 SDRAM system to the latest and greatest PC2400 DDR motherboard, go right ahead. It will help the economy, the memory and motherboard makers will thank you, and so will the vendor who sells you the kit. But (and I’m sorry to burst your bubble) don’t expect earth shattering performance gains. But this may have just been due to the applications used. Multimedia and other tests that may benefit from memory bandwidth weren’t tested. So if you use your PC for such work, you shouldn’t take this review as the definitive article. See, it does pay to know something of what was being measured in the reviews you read.
If the prospect of mucking around in your BIOS is a little daunting (and it should be), or you don’t want to risk your data, or you do need to upgrade, without a doubt the EPoX 8K7A is the pick of the bunch.
Want to learn about your BIOS?
Try these links:The now defunct Lostcircuits Bios Guide (http://www.lostcircuits.com/advice/bios2/1.shtml)
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