The Epox 9NPA+ motherboard has a surprising amount of tweakable settings in the BIOS, and should allow for some good overclocking based on our experiences with the nForce4 Ultra chipset.
This is where are the magic happens in the land of memory. One very good aspect that I like about this implementation is that the BIOS shows you what the auto setting is currently at. Where it says Row Refresh Cycle and the value is Auto/14 then you know the current setting of Auto, for this memory module is 14. This simple but worthwhile step in the BIOS design can save a lot of time in memory tweaking.
The health and status window of the BIOS is nothing spectacular, as this kind of monitoring is now becoming standard across most motherboards. A couple of temperatures, some fan speeds and the major voltages are all being monitored and you check on the quality of your PSU here.
This screen shows the frequency, voltage and ratio adjustments in the Epox BIOS. We’ll go through each of them below.
The HT bus and core frequency of the processor can be increased up to 400 MHz. While at first that may seem out landish, we are now seeing cases of 320+ MHz frequencies being hit by the extreme overclockers.
There is room to adjust the PCIe bus to up to 145 MHz here, though I don’t think the performance benefits are very striking yet.
You can see the memory to run at the full 200 MHz (DDR400) or pull it back if you want to try and increase the HT bus frequency higher without having to push the memory the same speed.
Epox has full support for multiplier ratios, though we are only seeing a 12x maximum here because the test processor was an Athlon 64, not an FX processor. (Note that FX processors are unlocked both down and up, while Athlon 64s are only unlocked going down in multiplier.)
The CPU voltage modification leaves a bit to be desired, as it only allows you to pump it up by 0.25v. That means if your CPU defaults at 1.5v (as most current Athlon 64s do) then you’ll only be able to reach a voltage of 1.75v for overclocking.
DIMM voltage support is pretty good though, able to push up the power to the memory to 3.1v.
Finally, if you think the chipset is holding back your overclocking attempts, then you can increase the voltage to it up to 1.8v.