Basic Features: Epox 9NDA3+

 Epox 9NDA3+ Motherboard Specifications
CPU Interface Socket 939 Athlon 64
Chipset nVidia nForce3 Ultra
Bus Speeds 200MHz to 400MHz (in 1MHz increments)
PCI/AGP Speeds 66MHz to 100MHz (in 1MHz increments)
Core Voltage +.05V, +.10V, +.15V, +.20V
DRAM Voltage 2.5V to 2.8V in 0.1V increments
AGP Voltage 1.5V-1.8V in 0.1V increments
Chipset Voltage 1.6V-1.75V in 0.05V increments
Hyper Transport Ratios 1X to 5X in 1X increments
CPU Ratios Auto, 8X to 25X in 1X increments
DRAM Speeds Auto, 100, 133, 166, 200
Memory Slots Four 184-pin DDR Dual-Channel Slots
Unbuffered Non-ECC Memory to 4GB Total
Expansion Slots 1 AGP 8X Slot
5 PCI Slots
Onboard SATA 4-Drive SATA by nF3-250Gb
Onboard IDE Two Standard nVidia ATA133/100/66
(4 drives)
SATA/IDE RAID 4-Drive SATA Plus 4-Drive IDE can be combined in nVidia RAID 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394 8 USB 2.0 ports supported by nF3-250Gb
2 1394A FireWire ports by VIA VT6307
Onboard LAN 1 Gigabit Ethernet on-chip
by nF3-250GB and Vitesse VSA8201 PHY
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC850 8-Channel with UAJ
SPDIF coaxial in and out
BIOS Award 10/07/2004

The single chip nVidia nForce3 Ultra is used for the 9NDA3+. For more information on this chipset, you can refer to our launch articles for the chipset:

nForce3-250 - Part 1: Taking Athlon 64 to the Next Level
nForce3-250 - Part 2: Taking Athlon 64 to the Next Level

The nF3 Ultra is targeted at Socket 939, with the nF3-250Gb and basic nF3-250 aimed more at Socket 754. This distinction will likely blur due to the recent introduction of the nForce4 chipset, but there is no real performance difference in the nF3-250 and nF4 chipset families. The major difference is that nForce3-250 chipsets are for AGP video and nForce4 is for PCI Express video.

The current Epox catalog shows the 9NDA3+ that we are testing, and an upcoming 9NPA+ that is based on the nForce 4 chipset.

Our 9NDA3+ test board was a full retail package and included:
  • A "Power Pack" that includes a user's manual, quick installation guide, installation screwdriver, 8 mini heatsinks for Mosfets and VGA DIMMs, Epox logo badge, and a driver CD
  • Two round red IDE cables
  • One flat floppy cable
  • Two Serial ATA data cables
  • Two Serial ATA power cable
  • One USB bracket with 2 ports
  • One Firewire bracket with 2 standard ports
  • One Accessory Bracket with Serial Port 2 and a Game port
  • One "nVRAID Driver" diskette
  • One I/O shield

Epox uses a large heatsink on the single chip nF3 Ultra with active fan cooling. The active cooling solution did a decent job of keeping the nF3 Ultra chip cool during both normal operation and overclocking.

Many of the manufacturers of nF3-250 family chipsets have chosen the Realtek ALC850 7.1 audio chip. The ALC850 is also the choice of Epox, which includes both Optical and Coaxial SPDIF connectors on the rear IO panel. This 8-channel audio codec is fully AC '97 2.3 compliant and features 16-bit 8-channel audio and auto-jack sensing with support for a full range of analog and digital IO. A wide range of sound standards are supported including:
  • EAXTM 1.0 & 2.0 compatible
  • Direct Sound 3DTM compatible
  • A3DTM compatible
  • I3DL2 compatible
  • HRTF 3D positional audio
  • SensauraTM 3D Enhancement
The ALC850 Codec provides four pairs of stereo outputs, with 5-Bit volume controls and multiple stereo and mono inputs, along with flexible mixing, and gain and mute functions. Two 50mW/20ohm headset audio amplifiers are integrated at Front-Out and Surround-Out, and both amplifiers are selectable for Front-Out, Line-In and Mic-In as a Universal Audio Jack.

You can find more information on the recently released ALC850 at Realtek.

Epox provides a full selection of rear I/O ports. These include 6 audio mini jacks plus both coaxial and optical SPDIF out connectors to support the Realtek ALC850 on the back IO panel. IO also includes PS2 mouse and keyboard, parallel, 1 serial, 1 standard Firewire (IEEE1394), 4 USB, and a Gigabit Ethernet.

nVidia "Any Drive" RAID is supported on the 9NDA3+. Any of the standard 4 IDE drives or an additional 4 SATA drives can be combined in a Raid 0 (striping), Raid 1 (Mirroring), or Raid 0+1 array.

On-chip Gigabit LAN is built-in with the nForce3 Ultra and runs completely independent of the PCI bus. Epox uses the Vitesse PHY (Physical Layer) chip to provide the interface for direct communication of the LAN to the chipset.

Four DIMM slots support up to 4GB of up to DDR400 memory in a Dual-Channel memory configuration. It is worth mentioning that Dual-Channel 1 is DIMMs 1 and 2, and Dual-Channel 2 is DIMMs 3 and 4.

Index Board Layout: Epox 9NDA3+


View All Comments

  • ksherman - Monday, October 25, 2004 - link

    I think you should change the title a little bit... kinda misleading to say "Epox 9NDA3+: New Choice for Socket 939" You should write Epox 9NDA3+: A New Choice for Socket 939. I find it to be a little misleading... just my input!

  • Gnoad - Monday, October 25, 2004 - link

    Tell me about it. I really don't want an MSI board but its basically the only option right now. DFI and Abit need to get their arse in gear quick. Mmmm, socket 939 LanParty board.....that would be my future board right there. Reply
  • Zebo - Monday, October 25, 2004 - link

    #2, AGP

    Many people sunk $400-$600 in new AGP cards and want to use them. Many cards arnt PCIe. Basically NF4 probably won't support the graphics standard 98% of people have.

    Wes, Where are the real enthusiast boards? Ya know ASUS/ABIT/DFI :( Hard to believe MSI has the best NF3 board still.
  • Beenthere - Monday, October 25, 2004 - link

    nF4 is PCIe only not AGP. nF3 and nF4 are virtually identical other than AGP vs. PCIe. Reply
  • FearoftheNight - Monday, October 25, 2004 - link

    Why not straight to nf4????? Reply
  • Budman - Monday, October 25, 2004 - link

    page 3 ... this a DFI or Epox board??

    The basic layout of the DFI is generally excellent, with some standout elements and a few glaring layout faults.

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