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The Epox 8K9A9I motherboard based on the KT400A chipset is a basic motherboard without all the bells and whistles that can cause motherboard prices to be sky high. You’ll first notice that the CPU socket is rather crowded and doesn’t have the four mounting holes that are slowly becoming a thing of the past on Socket A motherboards. Also, the CPU socket is set perpendicular to the motherboard itself, making it necessary to remove all of the system memory before you can install or remove the heatsink off of the processor.
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The north bridge is covered by a small heatsink secured by wire. Upon removing the heatsink I found the ugly pink “thermal tape” underneath instead of some decent thermal compound. The DIMMs are high enough up to be installed and removed without coming in contact with the AGP card which is better than many of the other KT400A motherboard we looked at.
The FSB of the Epox is somewhat controlled by jumpers: settings for 100/133/166 MHz FSB must be set before the Bios option can work correctly. The IDE slots on the Epox 8K9A9I are also high up on the motherboard, about even with the DIMM slots in order to be able to make the Epox motherboard as small as possible. The slot configuration has a standard AGP slot with retention clip and five PCI slots.
Epox has become famous for the diagnostic LED that they started the trend on several years ago. It can be used to diagnose problems with the motherboard’s ability to POST and display video the first time.
Also, there are places on the PCB for putting a Serial ATA chipset as well as two SATA channels, though the model we were sent didn’t include them. There are four USB connectors on the motherboard as well as a 10/100 network interface. A Realtek 6-channel audio setup is here as well.
The Epox 8K9A9I is a low cost motherboard, and the included extras included only a back panel and a single IDE and floppy cable. If you get the upgraded versions of the Epox motherboards, you can expect much more inside the box.
The bios of the Epox motherboard has a lot of settings that would make overclockers and tweakers happy. You can edit the processor multiplier up to 23x, the frequency up to 225 MHz and DDR speeds of 266/333/400 MHz. For voltages, the CPU can be set as high as 2.0v and the DIMMs can be pushed as far as +0.7v higher than normal. There are also lots of memory timings settings (see photo below).