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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [05.14.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Manufactured by: Epox
Est. Street Price $116

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A little while back we reviewed another Nforce2 offering, specifically the SL-75FRN-L from Soltek.  The Soltek board if you recall performed quite favourably, while maintaining a nice low price point.  It did however have some layout issues as well as a notable lack of extras.  Today we will be looking at Epox's Nforce2 offering, the 8RDA+.

Once resigned to the ultra budget, low feature, low reliability bin, Epox has been making some giant strides as of late.  By including some high end features along with the overclocking goodies that we geeks enjoy, all at a resonable price. Epox has grown into a force to contended with on the high-end motherboard market.

The 8RDA+ has, in fact,  been hailed by many to be THE nForce2 board for overclocking enthusiast.  A little bit later in this review our resident "masta modda and overclocka" here at HCW, TheStapleGunKid, will help us push this board to its limits in order to see just how overclocker friendly it really is.  First off though lets muddle through the standard fare.

The Specs

Following is a list of the 8RDA+'s main features.  A full list can be found on Epox's website

CPU: Socket A AMD Duron/Athlon MP/Athlon XP
Chipset: NVIDIA SPP Chipset + Nvidia Nforce2 MCP-T
FSB: 100/133/166/200Mhz
Memory: 3 DDR SDRAM PC3200, 3GB Max
Onboard IDE: 2 x E/IDE Ultra DMA/133, 4 drives max
USB: 6 x USB 2.0 ports (4 onboard, 2 with included back-panel cable
Onboard Audio: Realtek ALC650 6 channel full duplex integrated sound
Onboard NIC: 10/100 RTL8139C
Onboard Firewire: 2 x IEEE 1394 ports via included back-panel cable
Expansion Slots: 1x AGP 8x/4x, 6 x 320bit PCI

First off, you should note that like the FRN-L, the 8RDA+ uses the Nforce2 SPP chipset, meaning that it does not include the integrated GF4MX video (darn ).

Also notice that I've included in the FSB specs a supported value of 200mhz.  According to Epox's website, this is an option only available on the just released 8RDA3+ board.  The board we are reviewing however is in fact an 8RDA+

How can this be, you ask?  Well the board in our possession is revision 1.1 of the PCB and was apparently one of the lucky few 8RDA+'s to have been blessed with the updated A1 Nforce2 SPP chipset revision "18D". 

This is the same revision being used on the new 8RDA3+ boards.

So what was the point of all that? Two things.  First, since we are using the same chipset revision as the newer 8RDA3+ board, we can expect our results to be at least relatively close to what you can expect from it.  Secondly, if you are faced with the choice of buying a later revision 8RDA+ or a newer and perhaps more expensive 8RDA3+, don't go with the newer board with the expectations that it will be any faster, only buy it if you need the added features, such as the extra LAN and SATA. 

But enough with the public service announcements.

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