Epox 9NDA3+: A New Socket 939by Wesley Fink on October 25, 2004 12:01 AM EST
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Epox has had some legendary AMD designs. Their 8RDA family for the Socket A nForce2 has always contained leading-edge designs famous for their performance and overclocking capabilities. The Epox 8KDA3+ was our Gold Editors Choice in Socket 754 Roundup: Comparing Generation 2. In the 939 arena, however, Epox has been strangely absent in the months since Socket 939 was introduced on June 1. Epox has said that there was a 939 board coming, but it has taken a very long time for the 9NDA3+ to make it to market. The natural question is whether the new Epox 939 was worth the wait.
The 9NDA3+ comes in a premium package. It is difficult to see in the image, but the box is a white iridescent weave background that shimmers in the light. The board that we are reviewing is the top-of-the-line 9NDA3+, but Epox normally introduces lower-priced, lower-featured versions in the same family. Even though it is the top Epox 939 board, the 9NDA3+ is still a good value in 939. A check at several on-line vendors showed a current price of around $130, which is competitive with other top 939 boards that represent good value. There are less full-featured 939 boards now selling in the $105 to $110 on-line price range, and the value edition of the 9NDA3+ should fall in that range or even lower.
Many will want to know if nVidia implemented the full nForce3-250 family chipset features on the 9NDA3+, and the answer is "yes". You will find the on-chip Gigabit LAN supported by a PHY LAN chip, the on-chip nVidia firewall, and the nVidia "any-drive" RAID. It is good to see a manufacturer supporting the full nVidia feature set instead of opting for cheaper non-integrated solutions.