Physical Features and Layout
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.The Epox 8K7A motherboard layout is fairly good. First, the 462-pin socket for the processor has a considerable amount of room surrounding it. I use the TaiSol Copper Bottom HSF for my testing and even though the heatsink on this model is large, it fit snuggly. The components behind the ZIF socket were far enough to not interfere with installation and the CPU fan connector is very close to the socket, so the occasional need for an extender does not arise.
One thing to note is that unlike the Gigabyte 7DXR, the ATX power connector is to the RIGHT of the CPU socket, so depending on the layout of your case, you may not be forced to overlap the power cable and heatsink fan. Not a major problem, but it further prevents the accidental stopping of your fan from interference.
One drawback the Epox 8K7A motherboard has when faced against the 7DXR is that Epox only included 2 DDR SDRAM slots. Oddly, the solder points for the third DDR slot are on the motherboard and it seems that the removal of the third slot was a last minute decision and scrapped. Those who are building a new system or upgrading from PC133 systems, shouldn’t have too much to worry about, however, as you can purchase your DDR memory accordingly.
The chipset fan that Epox used was the exact fan that was included on the 7DXR motherboard, which has so far been very quiet and not a nuisance. As always, the inclusion of a fan instead of just a heatsink, will help overclockers push their system bus.
Using a decent expansion layout of 6/0/1/0 (PCI/ISA/AGP/AMR) the 8K7A offers a lot for system expansion, as long as your system doesn’t include any ISA components! 🙂 This is another area where Epox has a slight edge of Gigabyte on the AMD 760 front: one additional PCI slot.
The dipswitches and settings are well placed on the PCB for ease of changing them. The multiplier setting is near the bottom of the motherboard so you can change it after installation fairly easy. The voltage jumper is oddly placed above the AGP port, but I think once you find out how it works you will forgive the engineers for their placement!