Test Setup

Standard Test Bed
Performance Test Configuration
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
(2.4GHz, 4MB Unified Cache)
RAM: OCZ Flex XLC (2x1GB), 2.30V
(Micron Memory Chips)
Hard Drive: Western Digital 150GB 10,000RPM SATA 16MB Buffer
Seagate 750GB 7200.10 7200RPM SATA2 16MB Buffer
System Platform Drivers: Intel - 8.1.1.1010
NVIDIA - 9.35
ATI - 6.10
Video Cards: 1 x MSI X1950XTX , 1 x ASUS X1950CF for CrossFire testing
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst 6.11
CPU Cooling: Scythe Infinity
Power Supply: OCZ GameXstream 700W
Optical Drive: Sony 18X AW-Q170A-B2, Plextor PX-B900A
Case: Cooler Master CM Stacker 830
Motherboards: ASUS Striker Extreme (NVIDIA 680i) - BIOS 0505
DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200-T2R/G (AMD RD600) - BIOS 12/01
Intel D975XBX2 (Intel 975X) - BIOS 2333
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2
.

A 2GB memory configuration is now standard in the AT test bed as most enthusiasts are currently purchasing this amount of memory. Our choice of DDR2-800 memory from OCZ offered a very wide range of memory settings during our stock and overclocked test runs. Our memory timings are set based upon determining the best memory bandwidth via MemTest 86 and test application results for each board.

We are utilizing the MSI X1950XTX video card to ensure our 1280x1024 resolutions are not completely GPU bound for our motherboard test results. We did find in testing that applying a 4xAA/8xAF setting in most of today's latest games created a situation where the performance of the system starts becoming GPU limited. Our video tests are run at 1280x1024 resolution for this article at High Quality settings without antialiasing; we test at 1600x1200 4xAA/8xAF for our ATI CrossFire results.

All of our tests are run in an enclosed case with a dual optical/hard drive setup to reflect a moderately loaded system platform. Windows XP SP2 is fully updated and we load a clean drive image for each system to ensure driver conflicts are kept to a minimum.

Overclocking

DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200-T2R/G
Overclocking Testbed
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
Dual Core, 2.4GHz, 4MB Unified Cache
1066FSB, 7x Multiplier
CPU Voltage: 1.5375V (default 1.3250V)
Cooling: Scythe Infinity Air Cooling
Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream 700W
Memory: OCZ Flex XLC (2x1GB) (Micron Memory Chips)
Video Cards: 1 x MSI X1950XTX
Hard Drive: Western Digital 150GB 10,000RPM SATA 16MB Buffer
Case: Cooler Master CM Stacker 830
Maximum CPU OC: 432x9 (3-4-3-9 1T, 866MHz, 2.44V), CPU 1.5375V
3893MHz (+62%)
Maximum FSB OC: 511x7 (4-4-4-12 2T, 1068MHz, 2.41V), CPU 1.4875V
3575MHz (+92% FSB)
.

Click to enlarge

We were easily able to reach a final benchmark stable setting of 9x432 FSB resulting in a clock speed of 3893MHz. The board was actually capable of running at 9x451 FSB but would consistently fail our dual Prime95 test along with a few game benchmarks. We attributed this stability issue to the lack of proper cooling for our CPU and Northbridge at the voltages we were running. Vdroop was excellent on this board during overclocking with an average drop of .002~.003V during load testing. We operated our memory at 3-4-3-9 1T with all sub-timings optimized at a final speed of 866MHz. We are currently running our memory up to DDR2-1010 at 5-5-4-15 1T with the new 12/07 BIOS. However, we have found this chipset prefers high memory speeds (1100+) at fairly aggressive latency timings around 4-4-4-15 2T to 1T operation at memory speeds in the 800~900 range unlike the 680i that seems to thrive on 1T operation in this same range. Our initial tests indicate that 4-5-4-12 2T with tight sub-timings at DDR2-1123 performs about two percent better in applications than our 5-5-4-15 1T settings at DDR2-1010. We will have additional benchmarks results in our next article.

Click to enlarge

We dropped the multiplier on our E6600 to 7 and were able to reach the maximum BIOS allowable FSB of 511 without an issue. Due to the clockgen controller utilized the current BIOS is limited to 511 although the included AMD System Manager allows you to soft overclock the FSB within windows. However, we were never able to go above 518FSB without encountering lockups or system shutdowns. Still, we were extremely impressed with the stability of this board at the maximum FSB level. The system did not behave any differently whether it was at 511 or 266 which is a testament to the engineering effort put forth by DFI into this board. However, to reach these settings we had to run several of the Northbridge voltages near their maximum that resulted in additional air cooling being required for the heatsink along with Northbridge temperatures increasing from 30C to 58C during testing. We will use an alternative Northbridge cooling unit in our follow-up overclocking tests.

We will provide our BIOS settings in the next article but for now this board makes for an excellent overclocking platform due to its stability and flexibility. Achieving high overclocks with stability took some time and effort when dialing in the proper memory and voltage settings. Once that was accomplished the results were certainly impressive, so for users that have the inclination to invest time tweaking their systems for maximum performance, the DFI ICFX3200-T2R won't disappoint.

Basic Features General Performance
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42 Comments

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  • SilthDraeth - Sunday, December 17, 2006 - link

    I had USB Keyboard problems on DFI ATI motherboard for A64. It seems it is a semi common problem on DFI Boards, or maybe it is just unique to my board and this new one. Reply
  • JKing76 - Sunday, December 17, 2006 - link

    On power draw alone this chipset wins with me. And the serious undervolting potential. Reply
  • phusg - Monday, December 18, 2006 - link

    Definitely! Although not a popular topic. The VCore is seriously undervoltable (to 0.44V), but what about the other settings? I still holding on to Athlon XPs at the moment so I'm that familiar with the rest. DDR2 is already 1.5V at stock isn't it? Reply
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, December 16, 2006 - link

    Would have been nice to have seen ALL of the capabilities of this board/chipsets, instead of something that plays out more like a TV commercial.

    To be honest, I have no desire buy any of DFI's products, I'm more interested in this so called "NIC Teaming" implementation on the RD600 chipset. Yeah, anyhow, guess I'll have to look elsewhere for my information . .right ?
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Sunday, December 17, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Would have been nice to have seen ALL of the capabilities of this board/chipsets, instead of something that plays out more like a TV commercial.


    I did not think TV commercials discussed product issues? ;-> We are sorry you feel this way but the article was a performance preview. We will expand the coverage on the follow-up as stated one too many times in the article. :)
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, December 17, 2006 - link

    Just label me cranky, Ill get over it, would still like to know about the actual teaming support :( Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, December 18, 2006 - link

    I am still working on the Teaming capability. I was provided with a new utility from Marvell that allowed a seamless setup. Hopefully, I can get the standard test run tonight on it. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - link

    Oh, and if what I've read comes into fruition, PCI-E 2.0 PCI-E to PCI-E communications is still 3 quaters off, then YEEEHAAAW, 5Gbit/s, asynchronous multi-link connections ! Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - link

    Sweet, don't suppose we could get a sneak preview here of the results ? ;)

    My motivation concerning this is simple: I've been doing a lot of experimentation with iSCSI, and for people like me, who can not afford FC networking, or 10GbE, it would be really awesome for "us" to have some form of TCP/IP implemented networking that allowed for greater than 128MB/s. I already have serious plans for iSCSI, and having a technology like this, that actually worked in its favor would be a very good thing (the only thing for that matter).
    Reply
  • Griswold - Sunday, December 17, 2006 - link

    Read the full article from start to end before jumping to conclusions. Reply

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