EPoX began operations in 1995 with the goal of offering performance oriented motherboards at a value price point. EPoX has a long history of providing a wide range of motherboards based upon core logic chipsets from varying manufacturers. EPoX has prided them selves on their research and development capability, and the have generally succeeded in offering high quality products at very competitive prices. More information about the entire line of EPoX products can be found here.


While the 945P has been around for over a year the performance and compatibility of the chipset is still very good and provides a solid platform for those interested in full featured boards that are usually priced in the $65 ~ $95 range. The 945P will eventually be replaced by the recently released P965 chipset which is turning out to be an excellent chipset for the performance oriented crowd. We have to be honest and state that from an enthusiast viewpoint the 945P chipset is not that exciting, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Here we have a chipset that was a solid follow up to the Intel 915, still offers some of the latest technology, provides very good performance for the dollar, and is available in a myriad of configurations. The most important aspect of the Intel 945P is that is simply works without issue. Our article today is a review of how well the EPoX EP-5P945 PRO performs against other budget Core 2 motherboards that we have recently reviewed.


The EPoX EP-5P945 PRO motherboard uses the Intel 945P chipset paired with the Intel ICH7. Our first impression of the motherboard is that it has a very good layout and contains excellent components for the price. The chart above lists the standard feature set available when utilizing the Intel 945P (82945P) and ICH7R (82801GR) chipsets.

However, the EPoX board uses the ICH7 which drops RAID support. The 945P/ICH7 combination enables full support for a single X16 PCI-E graphics slot, up to six X1 PCI-E devices, 4GB memory addressability, and native DDR-2 533/667MHz memory support. This combination also enables support for eight USB 2.0 ports, HD Audio, Gigabit Ethernet support, six PCI slots, four SATA 3.0Gb/s ports, and two IDE devices. The 945P chipset does not support the Pentium EE or XE series of processors.

One of the main design features EPoX engineered into their board is an additional physical PCI Express X16 slot that runs in PCI Express X4 mode. This enables Intel's Graphic Link Interface (GLI) which allows two PCI Express video cards to be installed allowing quad display capability. This additional PCI Express X4 slot runs off the 82081GB (ICH7) chipset so the primary graphics slot still operates at full X16 capability. If the user chooses X4 mode for the secondary graphics slot then the two single PCI Express X1 slots must be disabled via jumpers.

Let's see what this board is capable of and if the 945P is still worth considering.

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  • Zoomer - Monday, September 18, 2006 - link

    While anandtech regularly bashes ATi/nVidia for paper launches, wouldn't this be a paper launch too? I can't find it for sale on the egg nor any other site. Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - link

    quote:

    While anandtech regularly bashes ATi/nVidia for paper launches, wouldn't this be a paper launch too? I can't find it for sale on the egg nor any other site.


    I have contacted EPOX about supply, we purchased a retail board from NewEgg for comparison but according to our sources they do not have a firm delivery date so the board was pulled until an ETA is available.
    Reply
  • Stele - Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - link

    By the way, another noteworthy point of this review is the superb photography used. The level of detail and focus are excellent, and furthermore there is sufficient, white ambient lighting used so that the board isn't covered in off-colour shadows as if it were photographed under a sofa in the evening or something....

    While some people would dismiss the quality of motherboard photography as a non-issue, for some of us it's important to be able to see up close and gauge at least the layout of various components, connectors etc (better still if we could even see the details of certain components, as was very much the case in this review) without having to actually find a real sample of the board.
    Reply
  • Stele - Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - link

    Good review, as can be expected from Anandtech :)

    However, I would just like to point out a little misnomer that's becoming distressingly popular on the web... those little bare-metal capacitors are not called "solid state capacitors". They are, in fact, just aluminium electrolytic capacitors. The difference is that generally, the electrolyte used is of a solid type, rather than the liquid electrolyte the 'traditional' aluminium electrolytic capacitors contain.

    Hence, if you want to differentiate them from the 'traditional' electrolytic capacitors, you could perhaps call them 'solid electrolytic capacitors' but certainly not 'solid state'... that is an old term used to describe circuits that do not use vacuum tubes, during the advent of transistors.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - link

    Suface mount, according to an EE buddy of mine. Reply
  • Stele - Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Suface mount, according to an EE buddy of mine.

    I agree with him perfectly. As much as he's right if he were to call the components in question 'capacitors'. :)

    Surface mount just means it's soldered onto the surface of the motherboard's PCB rather than using the traditional thin 'legs' that poke through holes in the PCB (such a component and mounting technology are called 'through-hole'). As such, while surface mount is an accurate description of the capacitors, it describes another aspect of the components in question altogether :)

    However, because it is an accurate description nevertheless, calling these capacitors 'surface mount' is therefore actually more accurate than calling them 'solid state' ;) Yet the point reviewers are trying to make is not so much that the capacitors are surface-mount, but that they are not the traditional liquid electrolytic type that are more prone to leakage and failure under prolonged exposure to harsh operating evironments (thermally and electrically). Hence, the focus is more on the electrolyte type - solid vs. liquid - rather than surface-mount vs. through-hole.
    Reply
  • blckgrffn - Monday, September 11, 2006 - link

    I appreciate this timely review. I was trying to decide whether the GF was a getting a x2 or a Core Duo, and this board is going to solve my dillema.

    If only they had stuck the ICH7R or even just a 2 or 4 port SATA raid controller on there, as the lack of raid is really bogus now. A lot of my customers/friends want RAID1 for redundancy. I know this can be done in software, but hardware raid is much more transparent.

    This board would be a no brainer if it included RAID.

    Thanks again,
    Nat
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, September 11, 2006 - link

    Well, of course I cannot speak for you, or anyone else, but in my opinion, RAID 1 is a bad idea for anyone who is likely to muck up a system. I find that non RAID (possibly USB drive backups, or whatever else you preffer), are often better, and have greater flexability. Another thing to note, is that if Windows isnt nessisary, Linux / BSD RAID 0,RAID 1 is nearly, if not just as fast as Hardware RAID. Also, incremental ghosting of a system drive is another option which is much more flexable.

    Basicly, the only real reason for RAID 1, is in the event of hardware failure, and if you purchase with this in mind, there is no reason why a HDD cant live for 5-8 years easily.
    Reply
  • blckgrffn - Monday, September 11, 2006 - link

    Try telling users with 100's of gigs of photos or videos that there HD should have lasted 5 years, not 5 months. I have already been there and it isn't comfortable. There is a reason dell is offering RAID 1 on nearly every desktop model they have. It's the easiest, most transparent way to send your MTBF into the stratosphere.

    Second, my $80 EVGA SLI mobo has all those features, as do many AMD catered motherboards. In the past, Intel boards have also come down to reasonable levels.

    I stoutly refuse to spend more on a mobo than a processor, sorry. And I am not paying $150 for a board that has been gutted of features expected of a high to medium end motherboard.

    Nat
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, September 11, 2006 - link

    And yes, we run a PC buisness here also, and have yet to see a HDD reguardless of how bad off, that we couldnt pull the data off. Most of the time, you just put the drive in another machine, pull the data off, and thats that. Once in a blue moon you have to send the drive off to have a company equiped with the hardware to get at the data, but that is extremely rare. RAID 1 wont work for an accidental deletion, and the like, thats where its the buisness owners responcability to educate average PC users for each situation, and not just try to make a quick 10%-15%(on a HDD) by selling another drive. Reply

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