The Next 'BX': 13 Motherboards For Pentium 4 With Intel's 845 Chipset and Socket mPGA478

Epox EP-4B2A

Board Revision: 1.2

BIOS Version: B06 (November 6, 2001)

Epox sent in their 4B2A, a full-sized ATX motherboard with Socket mPGA478. We received this motherboard with an early BIOS dated August, which operated the Front Side Bus at 101 MHz instead of 100.0 MHz. The latest version runs with 100.49 MHz now, which results in a CPU clock speed of 2009.7 MHz. Generally, we prefer not to have companies reach higher benchmark results through higher clock speeds. Please consider this when studying the benchmark results.

The latest BIOS version includes a special option for the memory timing set-up. Usually, you can either set all memory parameters manually or have this done by the BIOS, by reading data of the SPD. Here, the CAS Latency is to be set independently (2, 3 or AUTO). This is particularly important if you have CL2 SDRAM, but don't know any of the other parameters.

In PnP/PCI Configurations, you can freely assign interrupts to all important devices, such as the AGP slot, the AC97 module and all six PCI slots. In particular, the specific assignment to the AGP has not been possible, so far. Though this should not be too important, you could still run into resource conflicts when using many add-on cards.

Besides that, this motherboard comes with lots of interesting options for overclockers: manual multiplier selection; FSB selection between 90 and 200 MHz in 1 MHz increments. Different from other BIOSes, you will also see the resulting CPU and SDRAM clock, which is very useful in helping to avoid overclocking mistakes by crazy settings. You can equate the memory clock with the FSB speed or run it at 4/3 of it - also important if you'd like to increase the FSB speed considerably.

A look at the motherboard reveals nothing exciting: six PCI slots; one CNR; the AGP 4x; three DIMM sockets; UltraATA/100 controller; a total of three fan headers; and AC97 sound system.