iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






EPoX 4BEAR (i845E) Mainboard 

The characteristic 7-segment LEDs of a POST controller, as well as the IDE RAID on the HighPoint's chip give away the authorship. 


  • Package of a new design; 
  • Documentation: user manual in English; 
  • Cables: 1 ATA66/100/133 and FDD; 
  • Bracket with a Game port; 
  • Bracket for the rear computer panel; 
  • Diskette with drivers for the IDE RAID; 
  • 2 CDs containing: 
    • drivers; 
    • system monitoring programs; 
    • DirectX 7.0a; 
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader; 
    • Boostek; 
    • Norton Ghost 7.0; 
    • PC-Cillin 2000; 
    • Power Quest Drive Image 4.0; 
    • Power Quest Partition Magic SE 6.0. 

The layout is not very good: the IDE RAID connectors are behind the PCI slots while the audio-ins are in front of them. The FDD connector located on the left edge will hinder cooling of the computer, and an inserted video card creates difficulties in handling memory modules. It's not difficult to reach the jumpers when the board is already installed. Their functions are shown on the textolite.

The 3-channel switching voltage regulator incorporates 8 capacitors of 3300 uF and 3 of 2200 uF. 

The following controllers are integrated: 

  • audio controller based on the chipset's capabilities and ALC650 AC'97 codec supporting 5.1 audio systems and with an SPDIF connector; 
  • IDE RAID controller on the HighPoint HPT372 chip supporting RAID 0, 1 and 0+1 on the ATA133 protocol. 
There are two 7-segment LEDs for the POST controller. 

Non-unsoldered connectors: none. 

The system monitoring is supported by the Winbond WT83627HF-AW chip. What is controlled:

  • processor voltage, +3.3, +-5 and +-12 V, VBAT, +5 V Standby; 
  • speed of 3 fans; 
  • temperatures of the processor (a built-in sensor), and the board (a built-in sensor).
There are 3 connectors for adjustable connection of fans.

Brief characteristics of the board: memory slots - 3 DDR SDRAM; expansion slots - AGP/ 6 PCI; I/O ports - 2 COM/ LPT/ 2 PS/2/ 6 USB 2.0; dimensions - 305x245 mm. 

Adjustment can be carried out with: 

jumpers and switchesJumper to clear up the CMOS 
Jumpers for changing Vmem2.5, 2.6 (Default), 2.7, 2.8 and 2.9 V
BIOS based on 6.00PG from Phoenix-AwardSetup of memory timings+CAS Latency, Active to Precharge Delay, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Precharge
Setup of memory frequency+Auto, CPU:DRAM=1:1, 3:4
Setup of AGP bus- 
Setup of PCI bus- 
Changeable scaler of AGP and PCI buses+Auto, AGP (PCIx2) = 66 MHz, 2/3 FSB
Manual assignment of interrupts+ 
Changeable FSB frequency+90 - 200 MHz in 1MHz steps
Changeable CPU multiplier+x8 - x50
Changeable core voltage+from -0.1 to +0.35 V in 0.025V steps
Changeable memory voltage- 
Changeable chipset voltage- 
Changeable AGP bus voltage+from +0.1 to +0.4 V in 0.1V steps

We used the latest available version of the BIOS of 22/07/2002. 

It's not an ordinary board, but at the same time, it is typical of the company: a good set of functions and a wealth of rich settings. 

Test results: 

Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com

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