Intel P965, 946GZ, and ATI RC410 boards

Epox has been on a roll at Computex 2006 with new board unveilings left and right. This time Epox has six new Conroe compatible motherboards—the EP-5P965 GLI, EP-5P965+ GLI, EP-5GZ946-M, EP-5GZ946-MJ, EP-5RC410-MJ3, and EP-5RC410-M3. All three boards will support Intel Conroe processors, though the EP-5P965 GLI/EP-5P965+ GLI are the only ones that support 1066 MHz processors. The EP-5P965 GLI and EP-5P965+ GLI are based on the Intel Broadwater P965 MCH coupled to the ICH8/R.

Features are pretty standard with four DDR2 DIMM slots with support for DDR2-400/533/667/800 in dual channel. A maximum of 4GB of memory is supported which is quite disappointing as socket AM2 processors are promising up to 16GB of system memory. As far as expansion slots go the EP-5P965/+ GLI supports two PCI Express x16, one PCI Express x1, and three PCI slots. One of the PCI Express x16 slots only has four lanes routed to it however. ATI has denied any plans to support CrossFire on the Intel 96x family so CrossFire users will have to look elsewhere.

Differences between the EP-5P965 GLI and EP-5P965+ GLI are quite substantial. The EP-5P965+ GLI have six SATA II ports with support for RAID 0 and 1 via the ICH8R while the EP-5P965 GLI only has four SATA II ports with no RAID. EP-5P965+ GLI boards also have an additional PATA connector via an ITE8211 controller. There are also differences in onboard audio too. The higher-end EP-5P965+ GLI features the Realtek ALC883 while the EP-5P965 GLI uses the Realtek ALC660. Both boards have high definition audio and support eight channels of audio though. Ethernet is provided by a Realtek RTL8111B controller which both variants have.

Next up are the value oriented EP-5GZ946-M and EP-5GZ946-MJ. Both boards share the same Intel 946GZ and ICH7 core logic and have very little differences. Memory support is limited to two 240-pin DIMM slots with a max of 2GB of memory. There is support for DDR2-400/533/667 MHz in dual channel modes though.

The boards are mATX and only have one PCI Express x16 and three PCI slots. No PCI Express x1 slots are available which may disappoint some people but PCI Express x1 peripherals have been lacking. Four SATA II ports are available from the ICH7 south bridge with no RAID capabilities. Audio is provided by a value oriented Realtek ALC861 high definition audio codec with support for six channels of audio. Differences between the EP-5GZ945-M and EP-5GZ946-MJ lay within the Ethernet controllers. The EP-5GZ946-MJ has Gigabit Ethernet provided by a Realtek RTL8110-SC while the EP-5GZ945-M only has 10/100 Ethernet from a Realtek RTL8100. Both integrated Ethernet controllers are PCI-based which may not offer performance up to par as a Marvell PCI Express based controller.

Last on the list of new Conroe supporting boards are the EP-5RC410-MJ3 and EP-5RC410-M3. These boards do not use Intel chipsets but instead use the very value oriented ATI Xpress 200 for Intel processors. There are two variants of the ATI Xpress 200 for Intel—single and dual channel memory variants. The two Epox boards use the single channel RC410 variant instead of the RS400 which supports dual channel. Nonetheless there are two 240-pin DIMM slots with support for DDR2-400/533 up to 2GB.

Both boards are equipped with the ATI SB600 and have very little differences between the two. Like other SB600 equipped boards the EP-5RC410-MJ3 and EP-5RC410-M3 support four SATA II ports with RAID 0, 1, one PATA, and high definition audio. Audio is provided by a Realtek ALC860 or ALC660 with six channels of audio. Differences between the 5P-5RC410-MJ3 and EP-5RC410-M3 lays within the Ethernet controllers, much like the EP-5GZ946 boards. Gigabit Ethernet is available on the 5P-5RC410-MJ3 while the 5P-RC410-M3 only has 10/100 Ethernet. The same PCI-based Realtek RTL8110SC and RTL8100C are used. Lastly the 5P-5RC410-MJ3 has component video output for connecting to HDTV displays.

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