VIA KT333 in the test: EPoX 8K3A + against MSI KT3 Ultra ARU
- 1 Introduction
- Addendum: Elitegroup K7S6A
- Are you spoiled for choice?
- 2 EPoX 8K3A +
- 3 MSI KT3 Ultra ARU
- 4 Test system
- 7 Conclusion VIA KT333
- Rating EPoX 8K3A +
- Rating MSI KT3 Ultra (ARU)
EPoX 8K3A +
The 8K3A + should certainly not have an easy time of it, as it is the indirect successor to one of the most popular KT266A boards, the 8KHA +. We'll clarify a little later whether the board can overshadow its predecessor in terms of speed. First, a look at the equipment and features.
Scope of delivery & documentation
In the past, it didn't need many words to describe the scope of delivery of an EPoX board. The box still does not surprise with extravagant extras, but the complete basic equipment is available.
- ATA33 ('+' - Version)
- Floppy cable
- USB cover
- Manual (English), user book (multilingual), Raid manual (English)
- CD(Driver, pc-cillin 2000, Norton Ghost 7)
The documentation also makes a good impression. The manual, written in English, includes all relevant information about the board, including the INT table (information about IRQ sharing). A multilingual booklet also deals with topics such as connections and RAM configuration/jumper assignment. The Highpoint Controller manual is only available in English, but should provide reasonable support for the installation.
At first glance, the dark green 8K3A + looks very tidy. However, with this EPoX board, too, attention must be paid to the massive row of capacitors within reach of the CPU socket. Square coolers shouldn't have any problems. Circular specimens that have gone out of fashion should not fit on the board without contact in an emergency. To our delight, EPoX ultimately opted for a passive heat sink on the Northbridge, even though the models presented at CeBIT 2002 were still actively cooled. The troubled PC user in particular should be spared a few dB.
Almost alone in the hallway, EPoX continues to offer next to the AGP slot as many as six PCI slots. The CNR slot, which is only used in exceptional cases in the home, is omitted in this case. It certainly takes a lot of time to sensibly share six PCI cards. At least there is a chance. For this reason, however, the layout has a negative side effect. If the AGP slot is equipped with a relatively long graphics card, it blocks all three 'RAM slot ticks', as one is used to with current P4 boards. A memory expansion is only possible with the use of force or after removing the graphics card.
Our test copy was also equipped with a Raid 0-1 controller from Highpoint. If the old nomenclature was abandoned in the 8KHA (+) product series, the subtle plus in the name now again clarifies the existence of a raid controller. The connections are clearly marked and not to be confused.
In the end, we were impressed by a few little things. On the one hand, there would be the P80P Debug Card known from earlier versions, which makes it much easier to identify errors during the boot process than conventional peep codes. Secondly, EPoX has succeeded in finally opening the connection strips for power switches, PC speakers, etc. in an absolutely understandable wayto mount the board. The clear labeling should make it practically unnecessary to reach for the manual. The board was in revision 1.2, which was supplemented by a 6-channel sound chip from C-Media compared to version 1.1 and thus ensures a decent on-board sound.
Many readers will surely still remember the gigantic scope of the 8KHA + bios and the 8K3A + seems to be in its predecessor in this point Not wanting to be inferior to anything, even setting new standards. The storage voltage may not be increased by a maximum of 0.3V, as usual, but by a whole 0.7V. Provided that the installed RAM can withstand these tortures without complaint, the best timing should be possible even at high clock rates. With a maximum adjustable 2.2V, the VCore is also clearly above the 1.85V prescribed by AMD. EPoX recently used such radical setting options in the 8K7A (AMD760). So it seems almost taken for granted that the scroll bar of the selectable FSB clocks only comes to a stop at 255Mhz. The menu for memory optimization also goes hand in hand with the possibilities of CPU malfunction on the 8K3A +. Every conceivable parameter can be freely chosen according to your own judgment. Overall, the bios of the 8K3A + should appeal to the overclocker again.
A look at the FSB shows that EPoX works with fair means. 133.64 with 0.2% or 3MHz are above the optimum (1466Mhz) and are still in the tolerant range and do not suggest that the processor clock was intentionally manipulated. The benchmark results should not be permanently falsified by this.
On the next page: MSI KT3 Ultra ARU