Physical ExaminationThe EPoX EP-5NVA+ SLI is a well designed board with some differences from the AMD nForce 4 SLI motherboards we see often here on PC Perspective.
Examining the the socket area, you can see that it is clutter-free with low-profile capacitors that won’t obstruct a heatsink and lots of clearance around the socket. The power connectors are just below the socket which may be an awkward location for some of you and may get in the way of ideal airflow or tubing routing.
When installing the Zalman CNPS 7700-Cu, the solder points behind the socket portruded so far from the board that it prevented the back plate from sitting flush with the board. You will either have to carefully file down or cut these points so that your mounting mechanism will clear.
Just above the socket are two fan headers for the power supply and the CPU cooler. The motherboard supports PWM fans which allows for much finer fan speed adjustment through the software and BIOS.
The solder points on the back of the board
interfere with the heatsink bracket.
Like many nForce 4 Intel motherboards, there is a very large cooler on the C19 north bridge. The C19 gets extremely hot so the massive heatsink EPoX placed on the motherboard isn’t just for looks. The fan orientation is not ideal since it will take the hot air from your CPU and blow it over your north bridge. But looking at the way the cooler has been designed, it is possible to rotate the cooler so it blows from front to back for better flow.
The fins of the Zalman rubbed up against the fan of the north bridge cooler when installed. However, this problem could be avoided if you rotate the C19 cooler or mount the fan on the opposite side of the heatsink.
The heatsink on the C19 north bridge prevents the Zalman CNPS-7700Cu
from being mounted.
There are two PCI-Express 16x and two 1x slots, one of which is sandwiched between the two bigger slots making the 1x slot difficult to use if two x16 cards are installed. There are two legacy PCI slots for any other add-on cards you may buy like sound cards. As you can see by the photos, the 5NVA+ SLI uses the SLI paddle board to switch around SLI modes.
By moving the C19 fan, larger heatsinks can be easily installed.
Most of the pin headers are located on the bottom-front edge of the board. There are three USB headers for an additional 6 USB ports, two Firewire, Floppy, and four SATA-II coonnections. The front panel pins are color coded for easy installation.
Some of the nice features of the EP-5NVA+ SLI board design are the built-on power and reset switches, the diagnostic LED, and the support for a temperature probe.
There is a smaller heatsink on the MCP04 Southbridge (pictured above with the orange heatsink) which controls your drives (RAID, SATA, PATA), networking, and connected peripherals.