EPoX 8K7A+ Evaluation

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Features

All boards are ATX form factor. The Epox and Iwill are slightly deeper than the Abit, though none are what you would call “huge”. The FIC SD-11 was huge, so these three don’t rate :)

FeatureEPoX 8K7A+Iwill KA266Abit KT7A
PCI slots656
ISA slots001
USB2(4) – extra 2 are optional4(6) – extra 2 are optional4
IDE channels2 (ATA-100),

2 (RAID)

2 (ATA-100)2 (ATA-100)
Floppy111
Legacy Ports2 com/1 lpt/2 PS/2 (keyboard, mouse), 1 game2 com/1 lpt/2 PS/2 (keyboard, mouse), 1 game2 com/1 lpt/2 PS/2 (keyboard, mouse)
Memory2

184 pin DIMM slots. 2 GB DDR max.

3

184 pin DIMM slots. 3 GB DDR max.

3

168 pin DIMM slots. 1.5 GB SDRAM max.

Variable Multiplier SupportJumper, BIOSJumper, BIOSBIOS
Variable core voltageJumper, BIOSBIOSBIOS
Variable I/O voltageNONOBIOS
Variable FSB supportJumper, BIOSJumper, BIOSBIOS
FSB increment in 1MHz stepsYesNoYes
Onboard videoNoNoNo
Onboard soundYes AC’97 + Hardware SoundBlaster Pro (for DOS legacy)Yes C-Media CMI-87383D 4.1 surround soundNo
Onboard LANNoNoNo
Onboard modemNoNoNo
Web site8K7A+KA266KT7A

Brief comments

The manual that ships with the KT7A is significantly better and easier to follow than either of the other two.

The Iwill on board sound is of better quality (to my ears) than the AC’97 sound on the EPoX. This is just a subjective evaluation. For what it’s worth, I was a DJ for many years before entering IT. Neither sound will beat a good quality sound card, but they are essentially free.

The Iwill and the Abit both support three DIMM slots. The EPoX only supports two. While this may or may not be an issue, at today’s crazy memory prices adding more memory isn’t going to hurt the hip pocket too much. Whether you might be impacted by being limited to “only” 512MB (512MB DIMM’s are still considerably more expensive than 2 x 256MB DIMM’s) is a moot point. A case in point. Say you have 2 x 128 MB or 2 x 64MB sticks, and wanted to add more memory. It is possible and easy to add a 256MB stick with the Iwill or Abit, but with the EPoX you would have to lose one of your existing sticks. Then again, with the current memory prices, that’s not really so bad.


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