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 8KHA has a very similar layout compared to its cousin, the 8K7A. Only a few minor differences separate them, one of which is the ATX power connector placement. Instead of placing it between the CPU and memory ports, Epox has moved below the CPU socket near the northbridge. While there weren’t any real problems with the ATX placement on the 8K7A, there is really no improvement here. There are still cases where you may be forced to have the power cord overlap or rub up against the heatsink or fan, but a grill cover will prevent any mishaps from occurring.
Something that Epox didn’t address as I’d hoped they would is the placement of the CPU socket and surrounding components. I didn’t come across any real problems while placing the TaiSol Copper Bottom HSFs on the 8KHA, some of the not-so-well designed attachment clips on the HSFs may be hindered by the capacitor placement. All the heatsinks I had in the lab, including the TaiSol, Foxconn, Thermalright and Silver Mountain fit perfectly well on the motherboard but there are surely others out there that I am unaware of that may run into problems.
The 8KHA does have the advantage of having an extra DIMM slot. Three are included on this motherboard while the 8K7A only had two. Those of you with an extra stock of PC2100 memory will appreciate the extra memory slot as will anyone who needs more DDR SDRAM. Since DDR SRAM is currently only available in sizes up to 512 MB, having only 2 memory slots could be a bigger problem than you might expect; especially if you are running a workstation or video editing.
The northbridge of the KT266 chipset is covered with a fairly standard heatsink/fan combo to help keep it cool for the FSB overclockers out there. And trust me, this board has all the options for that, which we will cover later. The on-board audio is fairly generic AC’97 compatible sound. While it is nothing special, its more than adequate for simple audio use. Gamers and music enthusiasts will probably upgrade to a Creative card of some kind.
There are two ATA100 IDE ports included on the 8KHA. As of this writing, Epox told me that they didn’t have any plans to offer an 8KHA+ motherboard, like they have with most other lines of motherboards. The ‘+’ usually signified the addition of the two additional IDE channels with support for IDE RAID. They didn’t really have a reasoning behind their decision besides that they were satisfied with their IDE RAID offering in the 8K7A.
The expansion configuration is set in a 6/0/1/0 setting (PCI/ISA/AGP/AMR). Epox has been consistently sticking with this configuration option, and I for one, couldn’t be more happy. The lack of an ISA slot may turn a few users off, but most PC enthusiasts have either moved on out of the ISA generation or are prepared to on their next upgrade. The addition of the PCI slot instead of an AMR slots is also very good for the end-user, as very few people (in fact, I’ve never met one!) use AMR components at all.
For you overclockers again, notice that there NO jumpers or dipswitches anywhere on the motherboard that are used for overclocking. I am sure you will all be glad to see what the Bios holds for you…