DFI is not exactly a brand name that you will instantly recognize, and this is a problem for DFI. As one of the largest board makers, most still do not recognize the DFI name. That is probably because DFI caters to the OEM market, which means they make boards for other companies. Recently, DFI has made the marketing decision to pursue the 'Enthusiast' market under their own brand name, most likely to add credibility – and sales – to their entire Motherboard line. The top-end of this effort is called the LanParty series, and DFI has poured everything into these packages that a gaming enthusiast might desire.

AnandTech’s Evan Lieb looked at the new Intel version of LanParty in his review of the DFI PRO875. In his review, Evan concluded, “In the end we can say that we were more than surprised to see DFI introduce such an incredibly good motherboard, even despite our fairly good experiences with their past motherboards. We would recommend the DFI PRO875 to any user looking for a feature-filled and highly overclockable motherboard at a competitive price point.” In my own testing of the 875PRO, the outstanding overclocking performance Evan found was confirmed. The only “Achilles heel” for the DFI Canterwood board: the limited vDIMM settings to 2.7v, which is a very low range compared to other motherboards aimed at the Enthusiast market. DFI has listened to this complaint and now tells us that an updated version of the DFI 875PRO LanParty with an expanded vDIMM range will be available in the near future.

The first Athlon LanParty from DFI was based on the KT400A chipset. While this is a very competent board, the enthusiast market has changed rapidly. VIA replaced the KT400A with a new KT600 chipset to support the 200FSB of the new Barton 3200+, and nVidia launched their update to the nForce2 chipset, which they call nForce2 Ultra 400. The nVidia nForce2 chipset has also been embraced by the Athlon enthusiast market, so DFI saw the introduction of the updated Ultra 400 version of the nForce2 chipset as an ideal time to bring a new LanParty to market.

With such outstanding performance of the early LanParty boards, we were hopeful that DFI would give us another great motherboard in the NFII LanParty. Yet, we were skeptical that they could deliver a top-notch nForce2 motherboard the first time out. Did DFI produce a NFII Ultra worthy of the new LanParty label?

DFI NFII Ultra: Basic Features
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  • Anonymous User - Sunday, August 10, 2003 - link

    why is everyone going nuts over this,this is a
    Nforce2 ultra400 chipset so its new the asus a7n8x deluxe its a Nforce2 chipset so its old why compare an old MB with a old chipset with the new chipset,i own both boards and the DFI its 12% faster than asus and its the best
    overcloking board for the athlon that i have used.
    OH and xtras lots of Xtras for the price, with this board i was able to clock my 2500+ to 2466 MHZ no problem with the asus and same proc i only reach that # and it would not boot at all
    and if U where wondering i got version 2.0 of the asus. peace
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, August 5, 2003 - link

    #34, did you read the review or any of the comments from the editors? You'd have to be stupid to think that DFI's nForce2 Ultra 400 motherboard would show anything different from the many nForce2 and KT600 motherboards AT has reviewed here. Look at any of the past few motherboard reviews and you'll clearly see nForce2 is faster than KT600, and that all nForce2 boards are no faster than each other, varying in performance by no more than 1%.

    Jeez, why should AT even bother posting reviews for such clueless readers with an ignorant attitude.
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, August 3, 2003 - link

    It does not matter how new he is to Anandtech, there must be an editor responsible enough to make the call as to whether or not this review was worth putting up. In my opinion, I see little or no value to this review because there is no comparison worth mentioning. Come on! A Ti4600 on 3 motherboards but the review board has a 9800!

    When I finally got the the benchamrks and realized what was being done, I was through taking this article seriously. What is to be gained by reading this? You must compare it to a comparable system with the same components.

    What gives with the two different hard drives listed in the setup? Was the DFI using the faster drive while the others used the slower setup?
  • Cashmoney995 - Sunday, August 3, 2003 - link

    Its free, and Anand would never accept any type of bribe from the companies. Its not the easiest thing running a FREE to view website, and doing a multitude of benchmarks on THEIR free time. Just chill a bit guys, we dont want to become completely cynical. AT says the DFI mobo is the best deal out there, and I think im gonna pick one up. I bought a Chaintech and have had horrible experiance with the drivers especially for audio, it comes out all scratchy and the provided driver doesnt even work! Even worse is the horrible chaintech website which does shit for letting u contact support.
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, August 2, 2003 - link

    Posting an email i sent here but didn't get any response to regarding this article:

    "Please correct me if I am wrong but from what I understand Soundstorm is a
    certification given to a motherboard that guarantees it meets certain
    specification set by Nvidia/Dolby guys. I also understand that it's a money
    issue a lot of manufacturer don't pay to be certified, the sound might be as
    good but it's not Soundstorm. So in the article when you say:

    "On boards using the MCP-T Southbridge, sound is provided by the excellent
    nVidia SoundStorm digital audio controllers built into the MCP-T. The
    manufacturer provides a compliant audio codec for the front-end that
    interfaces to Sound Storm. DFI uses the excellent cMedia codec • the same
    codec used on all three LanParty boards."

    It's for me very confusing, and I believe mislead potential buyer,
    especially that I remember earlier Nvidia clarifying this issue and stating
    that at the time Abit was the only certified motherboard
    http://www.nvidia.com/object/motherboards.html. It also doesn't seem to
    make sense to say that SoundStorm is built into the MCP-T since it is a
    certification process that applies to the entire motherboard once complete
    not only to a chipset. Same logic says that anything interfaces with
    SoundStorm seems also flawed. As a buyer for me it's the same thing when I
    go to the movies and specifically go to the THX certified screens only, I
    mean I pay the same price so why not have a peace of mind that sound quality
    has been inspected and certified by a team of expert. Personnally I don't
    care about sound in motherboard but I would think if someone did the same
    logic would apply and they might rather go with Abit, or other SoundStorm
    certified motherboard, for peace of mind. That's just my understanding and
  • Anonymous User - Friday, August 1, 2003 - link

    why didn't you just go back and rebench the gigabyte board with the 9800? that would make a lot more sense and certainly would have been what AT did back in the day...
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, August 1, 2003 - link

    Regarding the post about the 32MB Aperture Size:

    The Aperture Size makes very little difference in the performance of the ATI 9700/9800 series video cards because of the way the architecture handles textures. For the sake of consistency we have used 128MB Aperture Size and will use it with the 9800PRO in the future.

    However, these are game benchmarks run with the ATI 9800 PRO at the same settings - except 32mb and 128mb apertures - with UT2003 and GunMetal 2 DX9:

    UT2003 1024x768
    Flyby 32MB Aperture 217.08, 128Mb 217.36
    Botmatch 32Mb Aperture 81.16, 128Mb 81.28

    Gun Metal 2, Benchmark 2 DX9, 1280x768
    32Mb Aperture 31.47, 128Mb 31.47

    As you can see, the real difference between 32Mb and 128Mb Aperture is negligible in these game benchmarks on the 9800 PRO.
  • Anonymous User - Friday, August 1, 2003 - link

    I'm sure thats what most of us wanted to see. I don't even know if you can use ANY data from a past benchmark and compare it accurately with a new test. Unless you are sure NOTHING has cnaged with the test setup (no driver or windows updates, no programs installed or removed) even just surfing the web with the "test" pc for a couple weeks might skew the results.

    Fresh OS install > Test > Swap parts
    Fresh OS install > Test > Repeat

  • Wesley Fink - Friday, August 1, 2003 - link

    Review conclusions were NOT based on comparisons made with different video cards. I HAVE compared the Gigabyte and DFI nForce2 Ultra 400 boards - both with a 9800 PRO 128Mb card. But my Gigabyte review is posted on a website I used to write for, www.bleedinedge.com, and can not be fairly quoted here since Evan Lieb reviewed the Gigabyte board here at Anandtech. I would never draw conclusions based on differences in benchmarks run with cards performing as differently as the Ti4600 and 9800 PRO.

    We have moved to the 9800 PRO as our new standard for reviews, and there is never a good time to make such a switch. I considered not even posting earlier benchmarks run with the Ti4600, but there are benchmarks - Media Encoding being one - that are not affected by the video card. I also thought the benchmarks, clearly identified as different video cards, would also help our readers see the changes our new video standard would make in test scores.

    This will all make more sense as new reviews are published using the ATI 9800 PRO.
  • Anonymous User - Friday, August 1, 2003 - link

    Without using the same video card, you can NOT compare the DFI and the Gigabyte nForce2 motherboards. Moreover, you can NOT say that the DFI is the best performing AMD motherboard.

    This review is useless for someone who wants to buy an nForce2 motherboard and wants to compare these two.

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