iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






EPoX 4PEA+ i845PE Based Mainboard

The board is not top in the EPoX's line on the i845PE chipset and it looks average in comparison with its competitors; it possesses just one distinguishing component, which is a cooler shining with semitransparent plastic and blue LEDs. We are testing a preproduction sample. 


  • Package of the standard design with a handle; 
  • Documentation: user manual in English; 
  • Cables: FDD, 1 SATA, 1 ATA66/100/133, 1 ATA33; 
  • Bracket with 2 USB ports; 
  • Bracket for the rear computer panel; 
  • CD containing: 
    • drivers; 
    • several system monitoring utilities; 
    • DirectX 7.0a; 
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader; 
    • Boostek; 
    • Norton Ghost 7.0; 
    • PC-cillin 2002. 

The layout has typical drawbacks: IDE RAID and FDD connectors are behind and audio-ins are in front of the PCI, the cables going to the power supply connector pass over the CPU cooler, and when a video card is installed it's difficult to handle the memory modules. It's not difficult to reach the only jumper when the board is already installed. Its functions are shown on the textolite. 

The 4-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 Avance Logic ALC650 AC'97 codec supporting 5.1 audio systems and having connectors for front audio outputs and for SPDIF; 
  • network controller based on the Realtek RTL8100B chip supporting 10BaseT/100BaseTX; 
  • IDE RAID controller based on the HighPoint HPT372 chip supporting RAID 0, 1 and 0+1 on the ATA133 protocol; 
  • SATA RAID controller based on the Silicon Image Sil3112ACT144 chip supporting RAID 0 and 1 on the SATA150 protocol. 

The POST procedure is monitored with two 7-segment LEDs. 

Non-unsoldered connectors: FireWire controllers with connectors and an interface controller and connectors for SD and MS card readers. 

The system monitoring is supported by the Winbond W83627HF-AW chip. What is controlled: 

  • processor voltage, memory, AGP bus, +-5 and +-12 V, VBAT and +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 and 1 for unadjustable connection of fans (it's connected to a fan on the MCH's heatsink). 

Brief characteristics of the board: memory slots - 3 DDR SDRAM; expansion slots - AGP/ 5 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 switches Jumper to clear up the CMOS  
BIOS based on the AwardBIOS 6.00PG from Phoenix Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, Active to Precharge, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Precharge
Setup of memory frequency + Auto, DDR266, DDR333
Setup of AGP bus -  
Setup of PCI bus -  
Changeable scaler of AGP and PCI buses + AGP(PCIx2) = Auto, 2/3 FSB, 50-80 MHz in 1MHz steps
Manual assignment of interrupts +  
Changeable FSB frequency + 90-200 MHz in 1, 2, 3 and 5 MHz steps
Changeable CPU multiplier + x8-x50
Changeable core voltage + from -0.1 to+0.35 V in 0.025 V steps
Changeable memory voltage + up to +0.7 V in 0.1V steps
Changeable chipset voltage -  
Changeable AGP bus voltage + up to +0.7 V in 0.1V steps

We used the BIOS of 04.12.2002 as the latest available version. 

The abundant features and some unique qualities together with a considerable overclocking potential and a low price will definitely attract many users; others can lay their eyes on one of other models of the wide EPOX line. 

Test results: 


Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com

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