Board Layout: DFI nForce4

Each new generation of DFI motherboards seem to be improving on board design, and the DFI nForce4 boards feature a very functional layout.

The DFI nF4 places the CPU in the top center of the board and DIMMs at the top. This arrangement worked well in our testing and should work better for those who change memory frequently than the crowded right edge location used on most boards.

The ATX 24-pin and the 4-pin 12V connector are in ideal locations on the DFI nF4. The bulky 24-pin ATX is located on the preferred top right edge of the motherboard, and the 4-pin 12V power connector is right beside it. This board-edge location keeps bulky cables away from the CPU and memory.

The CPU socket is in the top center of the board. PCI slots are below the socket and memory is above the CPU. There is plenty of room around the Socket 939, so most Heatsink/Fans should work fine. A Zalman 7000 overhung DIMM slot 4, but it still cleared our stock OCZ memory and dimms could work in all slots.

The IDE connectors are at our preferred upper right edge of the motherboard, and the floppy connector is a board edge connector about right midline of the board. Both locations are nearly ideal and worked well in our testing. If you use a floppy drive, you might want to connect the floppy before screwing down the board, as many mid-tower cases are tight in the area of the floppy connector. Having said that, we would still choose this floppy location any day over the floppy placed at the bottom of the board.

SATA connectors are to the right of the nF4 chipset and the magnetic levitation fan. The fan is low enough for video cards - both ATI and nVidia - to mount properly. We tried both ATI and nVidia top-of-the line cards to make sure.

Most competitive boards with 2 x16 PCIe video slots use a simple card edge selector that is reversed for SLI operation. DFI uses 6 jumper blocks that must all be moved to switch to SLI mode.

DFI also continues CMOS reloaded, which was introduced with the second generation LANParty boards. This feature allows you to save several different custom BIOS set-ups so that you can recall custom BIOS settings easily for a particular overclock or settings for a different OS. Overclockers and users who run multiple operating systems will really find CMOS Reloaded to be a useful feature.


Basic Features: DFI nForce4 Overclocking: DFI nForce4
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  • chevas - Tuesday, February 8, 2005 - link

    Did I miss something? Why do I not see the A8N-SLI deluxe included in these tests?!? Reply
  • Penth - Tuesday, February 8, 2005 - link

    NO SLI Bridge? What am I to do with my Ultra-D now? Reply
  • beany323 - Monday, February 7, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • bigtoe36 - Monday, February 7, 2005 - link

    many companies have applied chipset tweaks with Asus pioneering PAT on 865PE boards from the onset...seems all of a suden the tier ones are being made to tow the line??? Reply
  • ViRGE - Sunday, February 6, 2005 - link

    Wesley, that's certainly a very believable story. Though Asus is a very good mobo company, they're also who I would suspect any such complainer to be. They're the most powerful tier 1 last I checked, and most likely to lose SLI sales due to semi-SLI, in part because it wouldn't be like them to release their own semi-SLI board. I'd hate to think that someone is trying to kill the modding community like that though. Reply
  • bbomb - Sunday, February 6, 2005 - link

    Nvidia is going to kill off SLI before it even gets off the ground by making it the most insanely difficult and expensive thing for computer users to do. Why cant they make it so that you can just slap in any two nvidia cards and get SLI to work? Why do they have to make it so that motherboards now cost over $250 retail for an SLI version?

    I pray to god that ATI's version is half the price of Nvidias and allows any two ATI cards to work in an SLI fashion just top put Nvida back in their place. I bet the Nvidia prevents any ATI cards from working in SLI mode on any Nforce chipset should ATI get that to work.

    This is what happens when graphics card companies use their chipsets to restrict what computer users can do with that companies video cards. I do belive that Nvidia said that they were two separate businesses but now they must have combined them to place the most restricitons possible through drivers to prevent affordable solutions from coming out.

    F you Nvida it's all ATI and Via for me now.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, February 6, 2005 - link

    #93 - There was no press at all on the MSI "semi-SLI" Ultra - just a couple of posts on Forums - and nVidia was all over it. MSI said they canned the idea and the nVidia drivers were quickly changed so "semi-sli" would not work with current drivers on the Ultra.

    I doubt it was the press that caused this to happen. Ultra chip shipments were still going to all the manufacturers after the "mod" article went up on January 18th and there was not one word from nVidia until Friday February 4.

    The best we can figure is that a powerful tier 1 manufacturer complained loudly to nVidia late this week that they were losing SLI sales to DFI because of the "illegal" SLI. nVidia was forced to act due to the political clout of this manufacturer.

    Of course nVidia had other options as well. They could have decided to lower the price of SLI and discontinue Ultra, which is what we thought would happen.
    Reply
  • bigtoe36 - Sunday, February 6, 2005 - link

    #93

    It was all over the forums MSI had a semi SLI board and NV came down on them hard...nothing was in the "official press" though.

    I have a feeling a tier 1 has moaned here as DFI are tier 2 and probably had no help designing the board...so pretty much went it alone and designed the board how they wanted to.

    I would have thought the best move would have been to lower the cost of SLI and remove the "branding tax" and drop the Ultra chipset.
    Still NV make the decissions here not us.
    Reply
  • arfan - Sunday, February 6, 2005 - link

    likes what i say, nvida is not stupid, i hope via can make sli mobo with cheap price Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Sunday, February 6, 2005 - link

    It's time for another "The message is clear:" thing.
    If chip manufacturers want to sell different products at different prices they should make sure they use DIFFERENT CHIPS! Nobody can pencil mod across a submicron trace. Why oh why do they do this and then put the lock in software?! I suspect it's because they wanted to be able to make a load of generic chips and brand them as the market demands.
    Still... it's stupid! I remember reading AT's article on that pencil mod and had to blink a few times to make sure I was reading it right... :)
    Reply

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