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 - Thursday, July 31, 2003 - link

    Anyone else having a problem seeing the images containing benchmark results? The Gigabyte board review had the same problem.
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, July 31, 2003 - link

    >Besides, nvidia is no longer the standard for performance, in fact they are becoming the (Trident) of the video card market.

    Can you say "drooling ATI fanboy"? I knew you could!
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, July 31, 2003 - link

    errr that should be "new" not "knew" in comment 16....i'm sure i misspelled some other things too, which y'all are welcome to point out
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, July 31, 2003 - link

    hey guys as wesley stated, he's knew to AT...let's give him some constructive criticism - preferably in as nice a way as possible ;)

    to wesley, please don't take the comments here the wrong way - i think everyone here just wants to see quality reviews here and really are trying to be constructive, even if it doesn't really sound like it all the time ;) you have high standards to live up to at anandtech and when ya slip, they're gonna let ya know ;)
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, July 31, 2003 - link

    I think you guys are being a bit hard on this review. Granted posting benchmarks comparing 2 different motherboards with 2 different video cards is just wrong but give them a chance to fix it.

  • Anonymous User - Thursday, July 31, 2003 - link

    Anandtech is starting to lose my respect! Were you guys payed to make the board look good?

    If the video cards aren't the same then there should be no gaming benchmarks!

  • Anonymous User - Thursday, July 31, 2003 - link

    I completly agree with number 8 above, there are a few primary boards that are the most popular, ASUS and EPOX being the main ones. I personally do not know anyone that uses a gigabyte nforce2 based board for their AMD chips. Heck that Gigabyte board you tested with was not even a consideration when I was looking for my nforce board.

    Besides the proofing issues involved in this article, it just would have been nice if you used the top tier of nforce boards as a comparison.

    Also, why on earth are you guys still using nvidia based video cards for testing purposes????

    In your attempt to keep us up to date and advised properly on new products and specially benchmarks, you should atleast keep your hardware up to date. Besides, nvidia is no longer the standard for performance, in fact they are becoming the (Trident) of the video card market.
  • Evan Lieb - Thursday, July 31, 2003 - link


    It's already been proven that nForce2 Ultra 400 motherboards are faster than KT600 motherboards. This DFI review wasn't meant to prove that again.

    Yes, this review used the 9800 Pro instead of our usual Ti4600. We're sorry about that, as we're currently transitioning our motherboard testbeds. Be patient and you'll find data comparing KT600 and nForce2 Ultra 400 boards using a 9800 Pro like we normally do.

    Take care,

  • Odeen - Thursday, July 31, 2003 - link

    Once again, we have fluff on the PCI bus that doesn't belong there... Why not just put a PHY that implements the 3Com MAC on the southbridge, instead of stealing PCI bandwidth and adding extra componentry.

    As awful ad 3com drivers might be, they still beat the processor hogging "win-NIC" that is Realtek.. The only saving grace is the use of the Cmedia codec for the Soundstorm. While not on par with Asus' implementation of the A7N266-C (ACR card with Sigmatel codecs, as far away from the motherboard as possible), it at least beats the godawful ALC650..

    (Before you jump on me with the Dolby encoding. DD is LOSSY as well, if you read 3dsoundsurge review of the Soundstorm audio, you'll find out that in DD encoding mode, you lose all frequencies over 18,000).. Granted, with all the fans yer average overclocker has, they don't really have the hearing to experience 18,000 hz, but it's still nice to know it's there :)
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, July 31, 2003 - link

    I would like to add a point about the exclusion of gigabit lan on the DFI NFII Ultra LanParty mainboard. Although gigabit lan would be a nice feature for an enthusiast, adding gigabit lan in place of dual megabit lan would alter nVidia's original marketing strategy for the NForce 2 chipset. Remember nVidia was touting "DualNet" as a great feature of NForce 2? Well, here is a reminder:

    Part of the nForce2 Digital Media Gateway. DualNet is integrated support for an NVIDIA Ethernet Mac and for a 3Com® Ethernet Mac—allowing a PC to serve as a home gateway, managing traffic between two separate networks and ensuring rapid transfer of data from WAN to LAN without any added arbitration or latency."

    So, DFI was just following along with the nVidia strategy. Besides, where are you going to put gigabit lan on this board? On the pci bus? You would saturate it. You need some bus which can handle a minimum of 133 MB/s throughput, like CSA, to get the full benefit of gigabit lan.

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