nForce2 pushed to the Max: NF7 rev 1.2 vs Epox 8r(g/d)a+

Motherboards/AMD S462 by richbastard @ 2003-03-14

Stock speeds are no option when you buy an Abit NF7-S rev 1.2 or Epox 8r(g/d)a+. Which one can obtain the highest FSB? How do they compare at extreme high speeds? Which one of these three do you have to buy to be king of the hill?

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Madshrimps (c)

The Asus A7n8x was one of the first nforce² boards that hit the shelves 4 months ago. Although it was hard to get it running at high FSB, it showed a lot of potential. It even challanged the bandwith of expensive RDRam setups.

Soon afterwards, epox released their nforce² board: the 8rda+. This proved to be a far more tweakable board than the asus, but an inadjustable chipset voltage limited most users to reach a FSB far beyond 200mhz. With some easy soldering, the chipset voltage could be raised from 1.55~1.6v to 1.8v or even higher, allowing many ppl to run it stable at 220~230mhz.

At the end of december, epox released a new version of the 8rda+: rev 1.1. However, most modifications where pure cosmetical. Epox users where still unable to change chipset voltage (vdd) without soldering, which is not a risk everyone is willing to take. The chipset voltage regulator & mosfet aren't built to handle +1.6vdd, and some boards died after doing the vdd mod.

Meanwhile, Abit realeased there nforce² solution: the NF7(-S) rev 1.0. The chipset voltage was adjustable in the bios up to 1.7v (Hooray!), but due to a lack of mounting holes and an adjustable vcore up to only 1.85v, it wasn't an interesting buy for overclockers.

Abit learned from there mistakes, and released a rev 1.1 board almost immediatly afterwards with mounting holes. Still, vcore was limited to 1.85v.

Now, almost 4 months after their initial release, abit and epox have come to a board that needs no soldering to keep the die-hard overclocker satisfied: the Abit NF7-S rev 1.2 (2.3vcore, 2.9vdimm, 1.7vdd) and the Epox 8rga+ (2.2vcore, 2.9vdimm, 2.0vdd).

Compared to the 8rda+, the 8rga+ has a renewed PCB desing (allowing to up vdd without modding) and integrated graphics. Eventually Epox should release a new revision of the 8rda+, equal to the 8rga+ but without graphics integrated.

Can you still keep them all apart?

Abit NF7 summary:

Abit NF7 rev 1.0Abit NF7 rev 1.1Abit NF7 rev 1.2
mounting holesnoyesyes
max vcore1.85v1.85v2.3v
max vdimm2.7v2.9v2.9v
max vdimm1.7v1.7v1.7v

Epox 8r(g/d)a+ summary:

Epox 8rda+ rev 1.0Epox 8rda+ rev 1.1Epox 8rga+ rev 0.6
integrated GFXnonoyes
max vdd1.6v1.6v2.0v
heatsink on SBnonoyes
12V connectornonoyes
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