Physical Features

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The 8KTA3 motherboard is based on the new VIA KT133A chipset. The main offering of this new stepping of the VIA chipset to support the new 133/266 MHz DDR bus Athlon processors. While many KT133 motherboards (and even a few KX133) labeled their motherboards with the option of choosing a 133 MHz FSB, the chipset itself could never and was never meant to handle that speed of system bus. This newly redesigned chip however, can go far beyond that, with the right processor.

Epox 8KTA3 KT133A Motherboard Review - Motherboards 22
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Physically speaking, the designers of the 8KTA3 motherboard did their homework and applied it this motherboard well. A good first note is the area around the CPU Socket, and that it supports the larger heatsink/fan combinations, even the Thermaltake Super Orb. It was tighter fit than you will be forced to use on other HSFs, but none the less it can be seated and without hitting any of the nearby components. The Epox engineers also placed a HSF on the KT133A northbridge chipset as well, which has started to become a norm in the AMD platform. This little fan no doubt deserves some of the credit for the successful overclocking on this motherboard, which will be discussed later. Moving on down, you’ll notice the AGP port, which supports 4x cards, has a retention clip that prevents video cards from coming lose unless you want them to. While this may not seem particularly useful, there have been a couple cases that with the way the add on card retention screw are placed, can sometimes make an AGP card “pop out.” Talk about embarrassing! 🙂 The slot configuration on the 8KTA3 motherboard is a decent one: 6/1/0/1 (PCI/ISA/AMR/AGP). This is the optimal configuration in my opinion for motherboards. Six PCI slots allows power users to get the most of their system, while the single ISA slot allows those users still in past (yes, that means you) to still bring along their modem/sound card for one last upgrade. Get rid of that damn ISA card!

Epox 8KTA3 KT133A Motherboard Review - Motherboards 23
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Provided by the 686B chipset, there are two IDE ports that support ATA100 hard drives and speed. You’ll also notice by a quick glance (and our up close picture) that directly above the IDE ports are the places for two more IDE ports. After talking with my Epox rep, he told me that the EP-8KTA3+ will support 4 IDE ports, two of which are to be IDE RAID from the now popular HPT 370 controller chip. This should bring Epox up to the level of Abit as far as features go on their KT7A and KT7A-RAID motherboards. The Northbridge of KT133A chipset allows for the 4 SDRAM slots that you see on the motherboard. This is one of the first AMD motherboards to have the extra DIMM slot on it that has been supported by the chipset for a while now.

Epox 8KTA3 KT133A Motherboard Review - Motherboards 24
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Finally, the odd looking LED thing, is the P80P Debug (POST) card. Basically, instead of the beeps that you are used to hearing to alert you to a post problem, you will get a 2-digit LED code that you then reference in the manual to find out what the motherboard is reporting is wrong. There is also the standard on-board sound (AC’97) as well as USB, Serial and Parallel.

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