Heir To The BX: 18 Pentium III Motherboards Using The 815 Chipset

Epox EP-3S1A

Board Revision: 1.0
BIOS Version: July 12, 2000

The Epox motherboard also comes with an Analog Devices codec, enabling AC97 sound features. Also available is a version with a PCI sound chip. Both versions will include three input connectors (CD, modem, aux) in order to attach multimedia hardware; only the PCI sound version has a digital SPDIF connector as well. Other hardware features are three DIMM sockets for up to 512 MB SDRAM, five PCI, AMR and UltraATA/66 controller. Generally, the board is very well designed and all connectors are clearly labeled.

Epox is a supporter of soft setup, thus the processor setup is done in the BIOS. Here you can chose FSB speeds up to 150 MHz and raise the CPU core voltage by 0.05, 0.1 or 0.15 Volt. The BIOS gives you the option to disable on-board components. It was quite surprising that Windows 2000 would not boot as long as the USB controller is disabled in the BIOS. The OS crashed at the moment you have to enter username and password. After fixing this problem by enabling the USB controller, the board still crashed frequently. It took some time to find out that it was the Crucial memory, since I've never experienced problems with this DIMM before. Of course I went ahead and tried the other DIMMs as well. The SDRAM from PQI and Viking also crashed, but a good piece earlier. With the PQI memory, the BIOS stopped with "memory test fail" which is an error message I haven't seen for years. Using the Viking memory had the system crashed during memory test as well. Mushkin's PC150 HSDRAM also did not work, which is not abnormal within the test bed.

After getting the system running stable, everything worked to my perfect satisfaction. Epox's manual holds extensive information about the motherboard setup, BIOS, software setup and even some pages about Norton Ghost, which is included for free.