DFI has been a player in the motherboard market for a long time; they have made boards since 1981. According to their web page, they manufacture 200,000 motherboards each month. The newest DFI board to reach us here at AnandTech is the PW65-E -- one of five i810E boards that DFI manufactures. Although past DFI motherboards have not been particularly impressive, read on to see how the PW65-E competes in the saturated i810E market.


 

Motherboard Specifications

CPU Interface
Slot-1
Chipset
Intel 810E
On-Board Video
82810E GMCH
I/O Controller
82801 ICH
L2 Cache
N/A (on-chip)
Form Factor
ATX
Bus Speeds

66 / 66.8 / 72 / 75 / 83.3 / 89.1
100 / 100.2 / 100.9 / 105 / 107 / 110
114 / 117 / 119 / 121 / 124 / 127 / 130

133 / 133.6 / 135 / 137 / 140
145 / 150 / 153 / 157 / 159 / 162

Clock Multipliers
3.0x - 8.0x
Voltages Supported
Auto Detect
Memory Slots
2 168pin DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots
1 AMR Slots
0 AGP Slot
5 PCI Slots (5 full length)
0 ISA Slots
AC'97
AD1881
BIOS
Award 6.00 PG

The Good


Click to enlarge

The PW65-E's layout is not incredibly striking except for the shortened depth; barely longer than an ISA slot at 6.69". DFI included a 5/0/0/1 (PCI/ISA/AGP/AMR) slot configuration. Thanks to the modified front panel connectors, all of the PCI slots can support full length cards. Following the trend of cost-cutting for the i810E chipset, DFI provided the maximum allowed of 2 DIMM slots, limiting the RAM to 512MB, which should be plenty for most users. DFI did a fine job of being conscientious to the plights of a motherboard installer. The ATX spec is followed closely and almost every cable is placed in order to minimize clutter. The floppy drive and the HDD connectors are located where they should be, right at the front of the board. The power connector is placed to the right of the memory and chip, another step towards creating a well built system.

There are twelve 1000uF capacitors located immediately around the CPU slot and multiple other capacitors scattered about the board. There is no heatsink upon the i810E GMCH, an exclusion opted for by many i810E manufacturers. The CPU retention mechanism was preinstalled on the board and will accept any slot-1 Celeron, Pentium II, or Pentium III CPU.

DFI's i810E includes the standard Intel 82801E GMCH as well as the 82801 ICH. The i810E chipset mimics the older i810 chipset sincethe 82801 ICH allows full Ultra DMA/66 support. However, the 82810E GMCH provides an added advantage over i810 boards by running the display cache at 133MHz instead of 100MHz. The DFI has two 2MB EtronTech SDRAM chips that are rated at 7ns, or 143MHz. This is plenty for the 133MHz i810E and gives the user a little flexibility when overclocking. The advantage of the i810E is the on-board video and sound. However, this can be a double edged sword -- the chipset is not ideal for any user that desires peak graphical performance or maximum CPU power. The included Audio Devices 1881 AC97 CODEC is sufficient for basic audio but it utilizes the CPU for processing power. As mentioned before, the AC97 CODEC is far from ideal for any audiophile. If higher quality sound is needed, the CODEC can be disabled by jumper 7, allowing the addition of a PCI soundcard and preserving CPU power. A PCI video card can be substituted for the integrated video as well.

More Good
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