06
Nov
15

Motherboard: EPoX EP-MVP4A

Just when you thought I had run out of Socket 7 boards here’s another one! Today’s mother board was made by the Taiwanese company EPoX who made value boards that were targeted towards the over-clocker and enthusiast market. Here’s an overview of the board.

EP-MVP4A

This board was made mid 1999, late in the life of the socket 7 standard. It would have probably carried an AMD, Cyrix or IBM chip, as Intel had already moved onto the Slot 1 standard at this time. Lets take a quick look at what features make this board different to the other socket 7 boards I’ve looked at so far.

Thermistor

Thermistor

One of the most obvious things is seen in the middle of the CPU socket. It’s a thermistor for measuring the CPU temperature. CPUs of the time didn’t have this feature built-in, so without this sensor an over-clocker would have to guess how hot their machine was running by touch or other means. This also proved useful for technicians to help determine if there was something wrong with the setup or thermal compound on the CPU. Unfortunately these sensors weren’t really all that accurate, but they were better than nothing.

Chassis Fan

Chassis Fan

Next I noticed that this board has connectors for a chassis fan. Of course these extra fans had been around for quite a while at this stage, and the connector for a year or so. This is a reflection of the significant increase in power consumption and heat generation in machines of the late 90’s. Although it wouldn’t get out of hand until much later (with P4 chips)

Jumpers

Jumpers

When you look at the configuration jumpers, you can tell it was designed with over-clockers in mind. Unlike other boards there is a simple and clear way to set the multiplier and bus speed. There is a single jumper which you use to select the speed option desired. Most other boards required you to decode a table and apply a number of jumpers correctly. Unfortunately this photo didn’t come out as clear as I would have liked.

VIA made the chipset for this board, they typically had fairly well performing chips, that had better, but not perfect software support. The south bridge chip has integrated sound and other basic peripherals, with a trident video chip integrated into the north bridge. On board video is connected internally via an AGP bus, but there is no standard AGP slot for an external card. This would have been limiting, as the PCI graphics cards that were still available would have been slower than the AGP counterparts.

From the perspective of a technician this board would have been quite easy to handle. The manual would have been unnecessary even the first time you set it up. The power connector is nice and close to a mounting hole, so you wouldn’t flex the board too much when connecting a stiff power connector.

For the end-user that really depends on what you wanted out of it. For most users it would have been as good as any other board, as long as the on-board graphics was good enough. the ease of CPU configuration would have suited over-clockers the most, but many of them would have preferred having an AGP slot in addition to the on-board graphics. Luckily PCI graphics cards were widely available at the time.

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2 Responses to “Motherboard: EPoX EP-MVP4A”


  1. November 7, 2015 at 6:45 am

    very similar to the EPOX EP-MVP3G2 motherboard I used to OC my k6-III+ to 560mhz. that board though I think must of been the step up from this one as it had a AGP slot. was a really nice board.

    • November 7, 2015 at 7:33 am

      I think this one is pretty nice too, my main complaint being the lack of AGP slot. EPoX seemed to make some very nice boards that were reliable. I didn’t even know they existed until I got into the computer service industry.


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