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
POST A COMMENT

42 Comments

View All Comments

  • RichUK - Monday, December 18, 2006 - link

    You seem to have missed the focus point of my initial comment. I didn’t insist DFI implement an active cooling solution, rather a more adequate solution.

    Atleast you somewhat agree with my original immediate argument:

    quote:

    However DFI could still have used a more standard and easily replaced retention mechanism. Of course there's always still thermal tape, epoxy or zip ties.


    I never wanted an active cooling solution, never. However, I had hoped DFI would implement a solution that would exceed the requirements for cooling this chipset. Hopefully this point will be moot when I receive my board, and when I receive my board I won’t have to do any sort of cooling modding.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Saturday, December 16, 2006 - link

    Actually most folks will be extremely pleased to see DFI finally move away from the godawful mobo chipset mini-fans. Those dinky fans are noisy and generally die very young . They cause more trouble than they're worth (hence why you see the vast majority of motherboards today have moved to passive cooling / heatpipe setups). Not only is a heatpipe setup quieter, it's also much lower maintenance. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now