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  • Skoad - Friday, October 21, 2005 - link

    Board just came in stock at newegg for $209+5 shipping.

    Also what psu was used in this test. I read somewhere that the board needs an 8pin connection from the psu and that very few psu's have this right now.

    I can't seem to find where I read this at atm.
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, October 21, 2005 - link

    We use the OCZ 520W as a standard bench PSU. It has both 4 and 8-pin 12V connectors. 8-pin slots will also work with 4-pin 12V plugs. Reply
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    Will there be a value ATi board?

    I don't forsee myself getting a xfire solution, ever.
  • smaky - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    Guess who is getting one this week? hiihihihiihih x850? Reply
  • danidentity - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    You make no comment on the stability of this board, how is it? Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    Sorry, but I can't help but ask why the gaming performance graphs were not all done on the same graphics card. Initially I thought WOW THIS NEW ATI CHIPSET IS MAD FAST but then I see it was using the 7800 gtx while all the other boards got 6800 ultras... WTF?
    What the heck is going on? Was the scientific method forgotten or something? This is a let down.
  • rjm55 - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    I'm always amazed in reading AT Comments that those who complain loudest are the ones who don't even bother to READ the review. I may not always agree with Wesley's approach on a review, but I know his results are always documented clearly in the review, logical, and repeatable. In fact he is the reviewer at AT who is most careful to always document the components he tested with and the setups. Derek and Anand often leave you guessing how they tested and you have to ask to figure it out.

    If you had bothered to read the test setup you would have seen that the red bars are tests with the 6800 Ultra - the same used in every other compared board. The 7800GTX and Crossfire were BONUS results - for those who would be screaming "Why have you tested with the obsolete 6800 Ultra instead of the 7800GTX".

    Please READ before you scream so your rants aren't a total waste of time.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    Sorry to have to point this out, but assembling and testing a motherboard can take several days. The 7800GTX scores were there for reference, but 6800 Ultra was used as well (the red bar) to make scores comparable. It's not practical to go back and retest seven (or more) motherboards every time a new article needs to be published. If we don't include something like the 7800GTX, people wonder how that affects performance. Just look at the red bars for motherboard comparisons and the gold bar to see what a $500 (instead of $350) GPU will do. :) Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    nevermind, wesley made no error, just me :D the board using the 6800u in red is the direct comparison (which it said in the article, albeit not on the gaming performance page). must have been too late at night or i was just too dumb to see it! excellent article as always. Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    hats off to DFI, this board is wicked fast. i am curious though as to how it will sell given the high price. Reply
  • nsk - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Having 8 SATA ports is very useful. kudos to DFI for putting that extra SiI chip. Reply
  • Diasper - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    What's good about this board IMO is the Azalia Audio and CPU utilisation - *very* impressive for on-board audio. Performance and options are of course very good as well although nothing worth paying significantly more for.

    However, just to point out one additional benefit of the board that you guys might not have realised yet is that it could very much make a quiet computer guy very happy as the active chipset cooler can very easily be replaced with a passive heatsink eg Zalman one. Trying that with many NF4 is impossible unless resorting to modding - with some coming up with some quite radical solutions. After all there's no point buying a nice and expensive case like the Antec P180 and then a quiet PSU ontop only to have a screaming NB fan in your NF4 - unless resorting to modding.

    However, as others have mentioned deal-breakers include poor USB performance and no SATA 2 and possibly cost althought we'll have to wait on that one.
  • Azkarr - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Well, it's on newegg now. $239? I think thats just about $50 too much for not having SATA II. Plus, none of the Crossfire cards except the XL are out, so I don't think there's a point to buying this board.">Newegg
  • Slaimus - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Which sound driver was used to get such a low CPU usage score? Realtek or ATI? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    We used the Realtek sound driver on the DFI CD with the board for testing. We did use the current 5.10 Catalyst drivers, however, instead of the Crossfire 5.8 drivers on the CD. Reply
  • nourdmrolNMT1 - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link">

    WTF is up with the one SATA connector? sata7 specifically it looks completely off.
  • emilyek - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    A clawhammer for overclocking?


    A real test of the 1T/2T stuff would be gaming benchmarks for 2 x 1G @ 1T and 4 x 512 @ 2T. That's the test I want to see.
  • ozzimark - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    this stands out at me.">

    that data is... somewhat useless for the top 5-9 boards, as it's obviously a cpu limitation. try oc'ing the htt/fsb with the fx-57 and watch the board break 400mhz
  • Pete84 - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Horrible!! The only things going for this board is that I. It has Crossfire and II. It has some nice memory capabilities and III. It has Azaliz.
    Pathetic USB performance, no SATA II!!! When even budget minded boards have SATA II and this one does not, now that is a serious lapse. Having a seperate raid controller with some SATA II ports would help this, especially so if it was on the PCI-E bus, but wow . . . and price at $230!!!
  • haelduksf - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    I don't understand why SATA-II is such a big deal to so many people. NCQ has a negligable impact unless you're running a server (on a XFire motherboard...), and the 300MB/s transfer speed has no effect at any time with currently available harddrives. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    SATA2 actually only increases the bandwidth from 1.5Gbps to 3.0Gbps. Since sustained transfer rates are still maxing out at around 100MBps (0.8Gbps), and that's only with RAID-0 and two drives... well, SATA2 isn't a huge deal. I don't recall seeing whether the ATI chipset supports NCQ, which is of course in a similar boat.

    USB2.0 performance is only really important if you use an external HDD. Most flash cards and other USB2.0 devices don't come anywhere near 60MBps, as Anand's USB Flash Drive article showed. USB2.0 video devices might also have trouble, though - not sure what the throughput on those is. 150Mbps should be enough, really. Isn't 1080i only a 20Mbps stream? (Or is it 20MBps?)
  • haelduksf - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    Err...that's what I meant, 3 Gbps, not 300Mbps. in either case, it's quite useless, and will be for the forseeable future. Reply
  • erinlegault - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    I would have been nice if DFI would have used the ULI southbridge. Maybe DFI will include the ULI M1575 for the DFI LANParty UT RDX200 Expert motherboard (that's if they do the same as they've done with the NF4 board). Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Anyone else think this board is a bit lacking feature wise for the $230 asking price? If you REALLY want Crossfire, then you'll need this board. Otherwise, the Nforce4 seems to be the better choice. I just can't believe that DFI is asking so much $$$ for this! Reply
  • mongoosesRawesome - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    price will likely come down pretty quickly. remember how much the nforce 4 sli boards were when they came out?

    I've also heard rumors that DFI is going to release a new board with an updated southbridge in a few weeks.
  • bob661 - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link


    price will likely come down pretty quickly.
    Only if people buy these things otherwise there would be no reason to lower prices.
  • coomar - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    226-2-2-2-7-2T is going to be faster than 206-2-2-2-7-1T

    vdimm and vcore voltage choices were very impressive

    how good is azalia compared to good soundcards/ decoders?
  • muffin - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    DFI was not the first! EQS have had a board on sale at for a couple of weeks now. Its the same as the (as yet unreleased) Sapphire board, made by the same people.


    Its been on sale for a while guys, pay attention. Theres an Inquirer story about it too :/
  • erinlegault - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    There is data for x850XT missing in the Half-Life 2, Wolfenstein, Aquamark and UT2004 Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Due to time constraints we did not run a full set of Crossfire benchmarks. We were mainly trying to confirm Crossfire worked as it should on the DFI. We therefore ran those benches where more powerful video makes a difference and left out those where the video power makes little difference. You can find a full suite of Crossfire, 7800GTX, and other graphics benchches in our Crossfire Graphics launch reviews under the Video tab at the top of the page.

    We did intend to run Half Life 2 but our benchmarks no longer work with the new build Steam forces on you. We are in the process of updating the HL2 benchmark unless some of you tech wizards know of an HL2 benchmark that will definitely work with the new HL2 version.
  • bigtoe36 - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    having tested the RDX200 at the same time as Wesley I am able to confirm that i was able to run cas1.5. Now on the NF4 LP boards oskar enabled what seemed to be cas1.5, infact this option gave no performance increase over the cas2 option. On RDX200 he has though found a significant speed increase by using the 1.5 option.

    Running OCZ PC4800Plat's with drive srength at 9 and 1.5-2-2-5 timings a 100MB/s increase in available memory bandwidth was seen over setting 2-2-2-5. I was however forced to use 3.1Vdimm to achieve this at 200fsb 1:1. Another point is that BH5 and VX (UTT CH5) would not do cas1.5, it seems to be a samsung TCCX tweak only.

  • mongoosesRawesome - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    thanks for the info Reply
  • Leper Messiah - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Used to be buy an nVidia mobo and an ATi graphics card. Funny how things have changed...but 4DS at 1T is awesome if you aren't OCing your RAM, but 250-2-2-2-7 2T is going to be faster than 203 2-2-2-7-1T. Reply
  • Madellga - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the good review Wesley. One thing I always missed on your reviews was what kind of BIOS settings you used.

    It took me a long time to get my DFI-NF4 up and running. You know better than anybody that tweaking is time consuming - specially with so many settings on the BIOS.

    Make this an habit and keep posting the BIOS settings used on the reviews.
  • mongoosesRawesome - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link


    A good example of this is the options available for memory speeds at stock speeds. Not only can you choose 200, 266, 333 and 400, but you can choose and fine tune with in-between speeds like 240, 280, and 300. Beyond the standard 400, you can choose 433, 466, and 500. This allows those who would never think of overclocking their CPU the ability to run their memory at DDR500 for example. For those who do overclock, this increases the ability to fine-tune the CPU and memory for the absolute best performance.

    Isn't that integrated into the A64 memory controller and don't the Nforce 4 DFI boards support those DDR speeds?
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    The additional ratios are available in the AMD Athlon64 Rev. E Memory Cntroller and can be implemented on any Socket 939 motherboard. However, the BIOS writer has to implement these choices. AMD made them a part of their Reference Board and they will likely find their way to many retail boards. DFI implemented them on the RDX200, but you rarely if ever see these finer ratios actually implemented on nForce4 boards. Reply
  • jr9k - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link


    The surprise, however, is the new DFI option of 4DS DIMMs at 1T. Not only is there no performance loss – the scores are 2,000 points higher than 4DSx2T. (...)

    2000 points.
    until you do some math. 4 dimms at 1T are 2.3% faster than 4 dimms at 2T.

    Don't get me wrong, the achievement of running four dimms at 1T is impressive, but the results are not (as we already knew). It's the way of showing things.

    Anyway, it is good to see some competition from ATI.

    Nice review and nice board
  • mongoosesRawesome - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Yea, I agree. A lot of times a big deal is made over only a few percentage points. I would have rather seen FPS in some games. I truly doubt we'd even see 2% in some cases. Reply
  • Spacecomber - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    I had the same sort of reaction to the signifigance of the 1T vs 2T scores. I translated the Aquamark score back into FPS got this.

    2 DIMM 1T 91fps
    4 DIMM 2T 90fps
    4 DIMM 1T 92fps

    While this capability certainly says good things about DFI's engineering team, I'm not sure that I'd spend a $100 premium on a motherboard just to get this feature.

    Overall, this is a board with very good potential, but I wouldn't want to rush out and buy this first release. It sounds like the revision with a different south bridge will be worth waiting for. Hopefully, the price will be mroe in line with the comparable nforce4 boards by then, too.
  • ksherman - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    I am particularly impressed with the ability to use 4DS DIMMs @ 1T. That is a really nice little feature! Too bad you have to stay near stock speeds... is it possible to do some overclocking, but use divides to keep the memory at 406? or is overclocking the memory the better thing to improve system performance? Reply
  • ozzimark - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    it's very very very dependant on the cpu. notice that they used the FX-57 for those tests, which is a cpu that typically has some of the best memory controllers around.
    Wesley, how do 4xDS sticks perform with the 4000+?
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    THe 4DSx1T worked fine on the 4000+. The key to this feature is the DRAM Drive Strength option in the BIOS. With older A64 drive strength needs to be set at 14 to 15. You can get things to work with a bit less DRAM Drive Strength with the newer controllers like those on the FX57.

    We mainly used the FX57 in the iT tests becuase it's fast, and the high stock test numbers made it easier to see the impact of the iT Command Rate on the various memory configurations.
  • ozzimark - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    awesome, thanks Wesley. that's definitly a good thing to know Reply
  • mongoosesRawesome - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    depends on how high your memory will clock, and at what timings. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link


    Unless you have a 20” or larger LCD, or mainly play a title where the 7800GTX performs well at 1280x1024, the 7800GTX may be a wasted expense that will bring you little additional performance for what the 7800GTX costs.

    I'm trying to make sure I understand this quote, the end, were you trying to say that you get little additional performance with the 7800GTX when compared to the 7800GT?
  • dornick - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    He means you're wasting your money to buy a 7800gtx and play games at those settings when there are plenty of cheaper cards out there that do the job just as well. Reply
  • j@cko - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    can i use nVidia SLI on ATi mobo? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - link

    Not yet. I have seen nVidia SLI running on the ATI Crossfire board but it required hacked video drivers. You will not see this option, or the reverse, until nVidia and ATI sanction this in their drivers. Reply

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