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i875P Roundup - EPoX 4PCA3+: BIOS and Overclocking

Time has come to take a look at the third Phoenix AwardBIOS today.

Like always we start with the most interesting section, one that EPoX has given the name PowerBIOS.

Power BIOS?

The FSB is adjustable in the range 100-355MHz and that is good enough for even the more extreme user. When it comes to memoryratio we find the same setting as those of the other candidates we've looked at this far, i.e 1:1/5:4/3:2. The AGP is adjustable in the range 50-80MHz and you can also fixate it. This far things seem to be exactly the way we want the to be. Voltage is generously provided and we can pump out a maximum of 3.2V through our expensive brandname-sticks. The AGP-voltage is adjustable up too 2.2V. In both cases this is done in 1MHz intervals. And now for the big disappointment, CPU-voltage. The maximum value is 1.6V and we can adjust this setting in 0.0125V intervals. I think this restrictive setting makes the BIOS of this board less attractive. This setting is a bit strange given EPoX's reputation and the other generous voltage-intervals. Anyway, lets move on from this anxiety-ridden topic for a while.

The fastest memorytimings is once again 2-5-2-2 while the slowest are so slow that no one ever will use them. The remainder of this BIOS complies with the standard-setup and contains a PC-Health section, one for the integrated functions and so on.

FSB frequency:
100-355MHz (1MHz intervals)
AGP frequency:
Lockable and definable between 50-80MHz
CPU voltage:
max 1.850v, 0.0125v intervals
DIMM voltage:
max 3.2v, 0.1v intervals
AGP voltage:
max 2.2v, 0.1v intervals

Exactly what EPoX was thinking of when they decided to use 1.6V max voltage on the CPU is beyond me. This leaves very little room for overclocking and I dont understand how this setting can originate from the same place as the otherwise generous voltage settings. Hopefully this blunder will be adjusted in a comming BIOS but for now the only avaliable BIOS is the one shipped with the board. Before this issue is resolved I can't bring myself to give a real topscore and that's to bad because the rest of this BIOS is really great.

EDIT: Just a few hours after this review was finished we found out that EPoX had released a new BIOS-version for 4PCA3+ where the CPU-Voltage was upped to a maximum of 1.85V. This fact puts the BIOS in a totally different light and the final score is upped a bit due to this. Unfortunalety we didn't have the possibility to redo the overclocking-tests once more with the new BIOS - this means that the overclocking section remain unchanged even though the new BIOS should improve the results considerably.

We look at the layout of the BIOS and the settings at hand, both for ordinary use and overclocking.



Even the EPoX board clocked real well. 275Mhz was the best result and the soul reson we didn't get any higher was that the CPU-voltage was way to low. As in the other tests memoryratio was set to 5:4 and the timing was set to 2.5-3-6-3 where applicable.

The EPoX-board gives the apperance of being a real bigwig when it comes to overclocking but they have dug their own grave by limiting the vcore voltage to a maximum of 1.6V. With higher vcore voltage I'm sure this board would clock at least as high as ABITs IC7/IC7-G but what good does that do without proof? We have to hope that this problem is fixed in a future version of the BIOS because otherwise this is a very nice board.

Here we evaluate the mainboards theoretic overclocking potential by the means of practical tests.

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