Basic Features: DFI nForce4

DFI uses the same PCB for all nForce4 models. This assures that the overclocking capabilities of all the nForce4 boards are the same. In fact, all boards use the same BIOS. The 3 DFI nForce4 models are:
  • LANParty nF4 SLI-DR
  • LANParty UT nF4 SLI-D
  • LANParty UT nF4 Ultra-D

Models with the SLI name feature the nVidia nForce4 SLI chipset, while those with Ultra use the nF4 Ultra chipset. All boards feature dual PCIe slots, and the "R" in the SLI-DR adds Silicon Image 3114 4-drive SATA RAID. The two LANParty UT models are identical except one uses the SLI Chipset and the other uses nF4 Ultra.

We tested production models of the top and bottom of the DFI nForce4 lineup, and we can report that performance of these two models was exactly the same in all our benchmarks. Your choice, therefore, should be based on the SLI/Ultra choice and other features. In addition, those who are willing to mod a chip can make a minor change to the $140 Ultra-D board and convert it into an SLI chipset with SLI performance identical to the top line SLI boards. Details on this mod are available at Morphing nForce4 Ultra into nForce4 SLI.

 Specification  DFI LANParty nF4 SLI-DR  DFI LANParty UT nF4 Ultra-D
CPU Interface Socket 939 Athlon 64
Chipset nForce4 SLI (single chip) nForce4 Ultra (single chip)
Bus Speeds 200MHz to 456MHz (in 1MHz increments)
PCI/AGP Speeds Asynchronous (Fixed)
PCI Express 100MHz to 145MHz in 1MHz increments
Core Voltage Auto, 0.8V to 1.55V in 0.025V increments (Normal) PLUS
*104%, 110%, 113%, 123%, 126%, 133%, 136% (Special - to 2.1V)
CPU Startup Voltage Startup, 0.825V to 1.550V in 0.025V increments
DRAM Voltage 2.5V to 3.2V in 0.1V increments (3V jumper)
2.5V to 4.0V in 0.1V increments (5V jumper)
Chipset Voltage 1.5V, 1.6V, 1.7V, 1.8V
Hyper Transport Ratios Auto, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0
LDT Bus Transter 16/16, 16/8, 8/16, 8/8
LDT Voltage 1.2V, 1.3V, 1.4V, 1.5V
CPU Ratios Auto, 4x to 25x in 0.5x increments
Cool'n'Quiet MAX FID Auto, 8.0 to 13.0 in 0.5x increments
DRAM Speeds Auto, 100, 120, 133, 140, 150, 166, 180, 200
Memory Command Rate Auto, 1T, 2T
Memory Slots Four 184-pin DDR Dual-Channel Slots
Unbuffered ECC or non-ECC Memory to 4GB Total
Expansion Slots 2 x16 PCIe Slots
1 x4 PCIe
1 x1 PCIe
2 PCI Slots
Onboard SATA 4-Drive SATA by nF4 PLUS
4-Drive SATA by Sil31144-Drive SATA by nF4
Onboard IDE Two Standard nVidia ATA133/100/66 (4 drives)
4-Drive IDE (8 total)
Can be combined in RAID 0, 1
PLUS 4-Drive SATA by Sil3114
Sil3114 Raid 0, 1, 5
4-Drive IDE (8 total)
Can be combined in RAID 0, 1
Onboard USB 2.0 IEEE-1394 10 USB 2.0 ports supported nF4
2 1394A FireWire ports by VIA VT6307
Onboard LAN Dual Gigabit Ethernet
PCIe by Vitesse VSC8201 PHY
PCI by Marvel 88E8001
Onboard Audio Karajan Audio Module
based on Realtek ALC850 8-Channel codec with 6 UAJ audio jacks, CD-in, front audio, and coaxial SPDIF In and Out
Other Features Power and Reset momentary switches
BIOS Award 2/01/2005

All of the new DFI boards are based on either the nForce4 SLI or the nForce4 Ultra. More information on nForce4 is available at:

Morphing nForce4 Ultra into nForce4 SLI
NVIDIA's GeForce 6 SLI: Demolishing Performance Barriers
FIRST LOOK - nForce4: Gigabyte K8NXP-9
nForce4: PCI Express and SLI for Athlon 64
NVIDIA SLI Performance Preview with MSI's nForce4 SLI Motherboard

The DFI boards all support the full range of nVidia nForce4 features including nVRAID, Active Armor, SATAII 3Gb/s drives, NCQ, any-drive IDE/SATA Raid, PCIe Gigabit LAN by a PHY Ethernet chip (plus an additional PCI Gigabit LAN), and the nTune utility.

Packaging for the full LANParty nF4 SLI-DR is typical LANParty.

It is a huge package with a motherboard, UV cables, a system carrier, a Front-X box, and even UV sheathing for your system cables.

The UT provides a more modest package.

The UT does include most of the same features and accessories found in the LANParty SLI-DR, however. The board is the same except it is based on the Ultra chipset instead of SLI and the Ultra-D does not have the additional 4 SATA ports provided by the Silicon Image 3114. You still get the UV cables, and even the same Karajan Audio Module. The missing accessories are the system carrier, Front-X (which will be very important to some) and cable sheathing. If performance is what matters to you, then you can choose any of the new DFI nForce4 boards and then decide what additional features and accessories matter to you.

DFI has continued with the Karajan Audio Module first introduced on their LANP arty 925x. However, we wish that DFI had been able to use the High Definition ALC880 or a similar chip instead of the more common ALC850. The Karajan Module isolates audio for best signal-to-noise ratio and high definition chip benefits most from this isolation.

The Realtek ALC850 7.1 audio chip has appeared on many recent motherboards. This 8-channel audio codec is fully AC '97 2.3 compliant and features 16-bit 8-channel audio and auto-jack sensing with support for a full range of analog and digital IO. The Karajan Module includes both SPDIF in and out coaxial connectors on the rear IO panel. There is also an on-board SPDIF connector for an optical cable.

The ALC850 Codec provides four pairs of stereo outputs, with 5-Bit volume controls and multiple stereo and mono inputs, along with flexible mixing, and gain and mute functions. Two 50mW/20ohm headset audio amplifiers are integrated at Front-Out and Surround-Out, and both amplifiers are selectable for Front-Out, Line-In and Mic-In as a Universal Audio Jack.

You can find more information on the recently released ALC850 atRealtek.

DFI provides a full selection of rear I/O ports. These include 6 programmable audio mini jacks plus coaxial SPDIF in and out connectors to support the Realtek ALC850. The back panel also includes PS2 mouse and keyboard, 1 standard Firewire (IEEE1394a), 6 USB, and two RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet. There are no rear ports for a Parallel Printer or serial devices, but there is an onboard header for an external serial device - an IR header.

On "R" models, like the DFI LANParty nF4 SLI-DR, DFI uses the Silicon Image 3114 SATA controller to add 4 more SATA ports to the 4 already provided by the nVidia nForce4 chipset. The Sil3114 ports can be combined in RAID 0, 1, or 5. RAID 5 can be implemented on this controller with 3 hard drives.

The four DIMM slots support up to 4GB of up to DDR400 memory in a Dual-Channel memory configuration. Dual-Channel 1 is DIMMs 1 and 3, and Dual-Channel 2 is DIMMs 2 and 4. DFI specifies support for both ECC and non-ECC unbuffered memory. Contacts at DFI advise that best overclocking is achieved with the dual-channel DIMMs in Sockets 2 and 4.

Index Board Layout: DFI nForce4


View All Comments

  • xsilver - Sunday, February 6, 2005 - link

    Is there already performance benchmarks for ATI's SLI option?? -- it would hardly be surprising that it beats nvidia's solution as it is 6months if not a year after (I did read that they were using differing approaches to SLI) -- I was only stressing that if ATI were in the same position nvidia is in now, they would do the same thing of price gouging, stopping such easy mods etc...
    when ATI's solution comes out nvidia will respond with either lowering their price below ATI or developing their own next gen product -- and the cycle will continue || LATEST = GREATEST - usually :)
  • bob661 - Saturday, February 5, 2005 - link

    They probably wouldn't have bothered if there wasn't so much press about it.
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, February 5, 2005 - link

    It's only a few tens of dollars difference between an Ultra and official SLI board, given how much you'd be spending on two high-end graphics-cards if you go SLI, why would you even risk saving a few dollars in the first place and sourcing the bridge afterwards?

    The only people who are probably bothered about the Ultra to SLI mod being disabled, are those would would never buy two 6800GTs (or better) anyway. Reviews elsewhere have shown a 6800GT outperforms the 6600GT SLI in almost every game, so using SLI for 6600GTs is stupid.

    DFI would be fools to allow the Ultra to SLI hack to be continued if as a second-tier mobo manufacturer they expect to continue nVidia supplying them with chipsets. Even considering selling the bridge to Ultra owners struck me as foolish in the extreme for them.

    Myself I'll probably get an SLI board even though I'll never use two graphics cards, just because the price difference is so small compared with the other components that go into the system, and a mobo with all the bells and whistles is always nice to have "just in case".

    nVidia have made a great chipset in the nForce4, le's not deprive them of the revenue they deserve by not buying SLI boards if that's what you intend to do, or getting a lower cost board if you don't. Everyone who knows they'll never want to use SLI benefits from the price differential which allows Ultra chipsets to be sold slightly cheaper.
  • Zebo - Saturday, February 5, 2005 - link

    word on the street is buy your ultra board before 2/20 if you want to use Wes' SLI discovery...still does'nt help you find a bridge..

    xsilver- Bullheads about to beat NF4 like a drum, hold your tounge. I don't blame nvidia but I also belive in the FREEDOM of mobo makers to do what they will with a chipset they purchased...not to be lorded over by nivida on the back end.
  • erios666 - Saturday, February 5, 2005 - link

    Well, that update freaked me out. Ultra-D on order. ZZF seems to be the cheapest that's in stock. I'm still hoping to be able to play my vids in a surround gaming mode 3840x1024. We'll hafta see. Reply
  • Locut0s - Saturday, February 5, 2005 - link

    It's a disappointment that Nvidia has decided to making modding these boards harder but hardly a surprise. If anything it's surprising they didn't do this earlier. Reply
  • bupkus - Saturday, February 5, 2005 - link

    Competition from ATI is the only answer to this price gouge. Do you remember back before AMD's Athlon when it was just Intel with AMD and Cyrix trailing far behind? Reply
  • xsilver - Saturday, February 5, 2005 - link

    lol -- bullhead will also be bullshit if ATI were in the same position -- nvidia is losing $30 per modded chip -- they want to reduce the possibilities of this --- duh! -- other mods were not 100% guaranteed - eg. opening pipes etc. but this was -- Reply
  • Zebo - Saturday, February 5, 2005 - link

    The more I deal with nvidia scum (PVP on my $450 card anyone?) the more I think I'm waiting for bullhead (ati's chipset).. Reply
  • CrystalBay - Saturday, February 5, 2005 - link

    Keep up the good work oldman :)

    Signed another oldman... :0

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