Early this year, DFI took the world by storm with the introduction of their wildly popular nForce 4 boards, namely the Ultra-D, SLI-D and feature-laden SLI-DR. Since that time, these boards have proven to be exceptional enthusiast boards, providing myriads of overclocking options and adjustments with voltages for CPU, north bridge and in particular, the memory that allowed the end-user unlimited ability to overclock to their heart's desire. Gone were the days of voltage modifications and use of the programs, WPCredit and WPCrset, to take a board, CPU and memory to their limits. DFI, in one fell swoop, had brought overclocking to the masses, where once overclocking was for the knowledgeable few. Now, even the casual overclocker could overclock like an old pro.

DFI has updated this legendary overclocker's board with a large number of board revisions and component upgrades. DFI calls the result the LANParty UT SLI-DR Expert. We're here to find out if the upgrade is more than just words and clever marketing.

The most obvious change in the Expert was the new box graphics, which were introduced initially with the release of their ATI based RDX200 CF-DR motherboard. Of course, the nForce4 Expert is green and the ATI RDX200 is red. Packaging otherwise was familiar and much like other recent DFI boards.

Our evaluation of the Expert revision of the SLI-DR for this review will take a step away from the standard AnandTech review methodology and focus on the changes to the original SLI-DR, along with the new board's ability to overclock the CPU, HTT and memory. The original SLI-DR was reviewed as part of our " SLI Roundup" here in February and the complete suite of standard tests were run. The basic feature set has not changed on the Expert version of the board and all pertinent testing and results in regards to Audio, Ethernet performance, Disk Controller performance, Firewire and USB throughput remain valid for this revision and may be referred to if you want to know more about the performance of these features.

The idea with the introduction of this Expert revision is increased stability, overclockability and flexibility in working with different types of RAM modules, in particular Winbond BH-5/UTT and Samsung TCCD. That is what we will be testing.

DFI NF4 SLI-DR Expert: Feature Set
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  • Hardass1 - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    Another well done review Sir.

    Hardass.
    Reply
  • lopri - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    If you had to pick one, which one would you pick? A8N32-SLI or Expert? Please don't tell me "Both are good", "They're different animals" or anything in that sense. Most of us have to pick ONE and that exact question is what we want to know. I'd venture to say what matters are following two:

    1. Overclockability
    2. Stability

    Fetures, layouts, etc... yeah.. they are all good and nice, but what really matters are whether the overclock is stable. And that's what brought DFI here today. Could you comment on it? If you had a choice to pick JUST ONE, which one would you pick?

    Great review anyway. I'm actually happy that AT is becoming more enthusiast-friendly and looking forward to the next review. (Possibly Opteron Overclocking review?)

    Thanks.
    lop
    Reply
  • RSica - Sunday, November 27, 2005 - link

    Hi Lop:)

    I'll be honest in telling you I have not had my hands on the Asus board to know it's full overclocking abilities, so I really can't give you an opinion on which board to choose. Wesley could give you full insight on that one.

    I go way back in the overclocking business, having hooked up with my best buds OPPAINTER and DDTUNG back in the day. At that time we were modding and overclocking each generation of Abit AMD based boards starting with the KG7 and culminating with the NF7-S, which we were pre-production testing prior to it's retail release. I've also had a play with Epox, Gigabyte, and the famous Shuttle A64 board.When I recieved the original SLI-D back in January it was an overclockers dream come true.All the voltage and overclocking/memory options and it overclocked way easy compared to the norm.(Thank you Oskar Wu:))

    The Expert is more of the same but much better. I am a bit biased on a personal level about the board, and if you had just asked about it, I'd have given a thumbs up.

    Thanks for your comments !

    Randi


    Reply
  • Scrith - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    Does this use the same chipset as the A8N32-SLI? If not, why not, and where are the competitors for that board? Reply
  • Heckler 5th - Sunday, December 04, 2005 - link

    how come the box the reviewer received already has that "anandtech gold medal" sticker on there? hmmm, kinda fishy... LOL Reply
  • cbkia - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    Under the extreme oc page, the pic showing the HTT @ 400MHz and RAM @ 300MHZ 2.5-3-3-8 but the sisoft is only 6674 MB/s? 300MHz should be displaying something near 8GB/s Reply
  • RSica - Sunday, November 27, 2005 - link

    That would be true if not running at 2400Mhz.All HTT and Memory overclocking tests were done at a reduced multiplier. Each multiplier also has an effect on system bandwidth in the way the A64 responds to them.If I had chosen to run 7 and a total CPU Mhz of 2800, you would have most likely seen the 8000mb/s figure.

    In contrast, the stock 4000+ at 12x200Mhz with tight timings will average 5600-5700mb/s.
    Another consideration is that with the bios used which made it more ram overclocking friendly, that there was possibly a relaxation of some of the bios register settings, which can also reduce bandwidth a bit in the name of pushing the memory higher in Mhz.

    Thanks for your comments !

    Randi
    Reply
  • RobFDB - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    What i'm really interested in is if this board suffers from the same problem as my Ultra-D with PC4000 VX memory (the infamous cold boot issue)?

    I don't really want to pick this board up and have it suffer from the same problem. Not that i've tried my VX with the latest beta bios, but that's besides the point.
    Reply
  • RobFDB - Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - link

    Can anyone confirm or deny that the cold boot issue exists with this board? Reply
  • yacoub - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    If it had passive cooling like the A8N32-SLI I'd be more interested. Reply

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