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Epox 4B2A i845 P4 Motherboard

Epox 4B2A i845 P4 Motherboard - PCSTATS
Abstract: Sometimes you have to wonder if the amount of effort that goes into the packaging of a motherboard is indicative of the level of engineering vested in it.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Epox Nov 02 2001   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Epox 4B2A

4B2A Motherboard Features

SDRAM Memory

The EP-4B2A can support up to three PC133 SDRAM modules of 1.0GB in size.

Heatsink Mounts

With the introduction of the newer socket 478 Pentium 4 architecture, motherboard manufacturers had to yet again redesign their layouts to support large heatsinks. The socket 423 and socket 478 architectures are not compatible by nature, but different heatsink manufacturers may offer dual purpose heatsinks. In any case, the small socket 478 is really too tiny to attach anything to, so a standoff is mounted to the PCB which the heatsink attaches directly to.

The proximity of capacitors to the processor has always been a bit of a double edged sword. The closer the capacitors are, the more interference is filtered out. The problem with this from a cooling perspective is that, closely placed capacitors can interfere with airflow around the processor, potentially leading to higher running temps. While the situation is much more controlled than on AMD boards where some heatsinks won't even fit on the board, draping power cables and capacitors can still muck up ideal air flow patterns.

The processor socket is closely surrounded by tall capacitors on one side, potentially causing air flow issues. The 12V ATX and 5V/3V ATX power connectors are located centrally on the board and don't really get in the way.

Fan Headers

There are a total of three fan headers on the 4B2A. One is taken up by the processor heatsink, while the other two remain free for use with system fans, or graphics card cooling. Two fan headers are positioned near to the processor socket itself, and the third lies on the lower end of the board.

Sometimes these important little fan connectors can get stuck in the most awkward of places, but this wasn't the case with the Epox mainboard. All of the fan headers are easily reachable and the need for super small fingers or tweezers in not necessary whatsoever.

i845 Heatsink

Thermally, the i845 chipset is only cooled by a lowly green BGA cooler, and one with no thermal compound either. We weren't impressed by this 'solution' very much needless to say. Personally, I would remove this cooler and at least put down a coating of some good quality silicon thermal compound. The green BGA cooler is attached directly to the PCB by means of small plastic pegs, so it can be removed - just be careful not to chip the small i845 core while doing so.

The i845 chipset heatsink is simply a larger version of the generic green passive heatsinks we all know and hate. Epox use no thermal interface materials, but just stick the thing on top of the silicon core.

The 4B2A ships with an external USB bracket that brings the total number of USB ports to four. A cable runs from the USB bracket and attaches to the lower-end of the motherboard.

The AGP 2.0 interface uses a nice little retention clip to lock the (1X, 2X, 4X) 1.5V AGP card solidly in place. To remove the card from the slot, simply press down on the little white lever and the rear part of the card will pop out. Of course if the card doesn't have the little PCB hook cut into it this won't really matter much.

Other features which round out the 4B2A include wake on LAN, CNR, wake on ring, remote power on/off, power saving suspend, suspend to RAM, hardware monitoring, and CD/AUD/Modem-In audio connectors.

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Contents of Article: Epox 4B2A
 Pg 1.  Epox 4B2A i845 P4 Motherboard
 Pg 2.  — 4B2A Motherboard Features
 Pg 3.  The BIOS Features
 Pg 4.  Test system specs and benchmarks
 Pg 5.  Conclusions

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