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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  • Gerbil333 - Friday, February 4, 2005 - link

    justinmann, why are you wasting your time at this site? There's nothing wrong with the review, so if you don't like it, then don't come here. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, February 4, 2005 - link

    #71 - We also did exclusive reviews of the MSI SLI at http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2258... the Gigabyte Ultra at http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2273, the Gigabyte SLI at http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2285, and the Asus SLI at http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2284...

    However, the focus in those reviews varied from video to chipset to motherboard, and the previous testing was therefore not conducive to comparison in this review. That is why we are doing an SLI roundup to bring all these boards and information together in a consistent head-to-head roundup.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, February 4, 2005 - link

    #71 - We are always "boning for" exclusive coverage of new items. It is one advantage a major site like AT has over smaller sites. An exclusive also does not make any of us one dime at AT, but it can increase readership if it is a much anticipated item, like this DFI board. It is a matter of honor and respect, and we are flattered so many manufacturers have enough respect for our Editorial integrity and readership that we are often offered exclusive reviews.

    I stated my opinion in the article, which I stand by. I did not award an Editor's Choice since those should be reserved IMO for roundups or onging review series where there is much more comparative data. I will likely award an Editors Choice for best SLI board when that roundup appears.
    Reply
  • justinmann - Friday, February 4, 2005 - link

    Of course, that was not the bulk of my complaint Wesley. If you had read my post, which was much more concise than your article, you would have seen that I was asking why no other retail NF4 boards', which have been available for quite some time, benchmarks were included. Your response to my question points even more strongly to an apparent lack of journalistic integrity on your part. Are you boning for more exclusive coverage deals Wes?
    If you imply that this is the best nf4 board, which is what you did, you should provide ammunition to back it up. You failed to do that, and now have failed to justify why you failed to do that.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    #68 - Retailers can charge whatever they wish for the DFI boards or anything else. The $140 and $200 are expected street prices once the pricing settles down. It took quite a while for the new video cards to reach "street-price" levels and the same may be true of the DFI nF4 boards.

    We are told prices in Europe are higher.
    Reply
  • Rapsven - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    It's because their motherboard is so ungodly. Reply
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    According to the Inq the prices are:
    "DFI is shipping three models: LANParty NF4 SLI-DR, LANPartyUT NF4 SLI-R and LANPartyUT NF4 Ultra-D. The first two boards are based on SLI and the last one is based on Nforce 4 Ultra chipset. Suggested retail prices for these boards are $229 and $189 for the two SLI boards, and $159 for Ultra board."]

    Wesley, could you please check with DFI what the final suggested prices for these 3 boards are? The review mentions $140 but I believe they changed their minds after all the feedback.

    Reply
  • Zebo - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    Owned... now Justin, go get yourself one of these bad mobos. OC or not I'd like to see you satisfed..she'll do it in spades.

    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?desc...
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    #65 - The DFI is available for sale NOW, which you would know if you had actually read the review. AnandTech had an exclusive on this board which is why this is the first review posted of the DFI. I waited to post the review until the same day zipzoomfly and others would likely have the boards for sale - most are now sold out I am told by readers.

    You would also know if you had read the review that we will be posting an SLI roundup next week comparing all SLI capable boards in single and SLI mode. We have been waiting for the Epox, but it will not likely be available in time for the roundup - which now includes Gigabyte (already tested here), DFI, Asus, and MSI.

    Criticism is welcomed and helps us, but it would be appreciated if you actually read the review before you make comments like this.
    Reply
  • justinmann - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    It seems a bit premature to call this "the best nf4 board" when it's the only production model nf4 board even in the review. Seems to me that with the arrival of the MSI board last week, and the asus, gigabyte and chaintech boards weeks before, Anandtech could easily include more nf4 competition. Instead they have chosen to put an unavailable board up against outdated competition. It's a strange call in my estimation.

    When can we expect to see it compared to other boards with the same chipset?

    Justin
    Reply

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