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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  • flachschippe - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    Why is the A8N missing from the comparison? Reply
  • Zebo - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    WHAT BIAS??? Please spell it out for me as I don't see it. This a bad arse mobo... I wager best Wes ever seen and used in years of comp building time... I'm suprised he's not even more animated... and even to dwell on insignifigant "short comings" later in article shows me he was giving a fair shake...leaving "best" PCIe 939 title open even though he knows in back of mind DFI already won...:) Reply
  • byvis - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    #55 I agree that this board is very good in overclocking and etc... But I'm telling what I thoughts came to me reading this article. Until now I haven't read such biased and praying article. Everything has drawbacks, even ultra extreme mbs... Professional shouldn't express their opinion like this. I can, you can, but not professionals... This is ofcours IMHO :) So don't flame me :) Reply
  • erios666 - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    #60 - Ha! Excellent point Zebo and I'd have to agree. As an enthusiast I'll take care of the sound myself thank you. Just as I would the video. Reply
  • Zebo - Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - link

    Cheeezzzusss...some people....

    LOL get em flexy.

    Also those people complianing about sound are kinda weird. even if they put 880 or SB live on there it's still crap if you're at all interested in hifi. Plus it adds $20 to mobo cost... for "just ok" sound. NO THANKS. I'd prefer they drop sound all together (save $8+) as this is an enthusiast board.. not an all in one..notice thiers no on-board graphics?
    Reply
  • Shinei - Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - link

    The message is clear: DDR2 has failed! DDR636 at EXTREMELY reasonable latencies--color me impressed.
    I'd like to see how this board handles Crucial's Ballistix RAM, since Ballistix is pretty cheap on the Egg (~$220 for the pair of 512MB sticks) and performs like TCCD; would be interesting to see what the DFI can take the Micron chips to, considering the legs it gives to TCCD chips...
    Reply
  • Gerbil333 - Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - link

    #54: Considering Abit's best engineer, Oscar Wu, has been working for DFI for a while, I doubt Abit will change much. Abit's last good board was the NF7-S. Since then, they seem to have gone downhill. DFI has only been improving. Reply
  • flexy - Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - link

    my bad..nevermind...i confused the MSI board with the dfi....the dfi is NOT the one with the onboard sb live :) Reply
  • flexy - Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - link

    #42, you can have the SB live onboard sound with the SLI-DR...well....and the Ultra ius cheaper and comes with the crappy sound. WHO CARES ????
    I got a Audigy 2 Value for $42.

    If you NEED the good onboard sound..then get the SLI-DR board....if not get a pci soundcard.
    Reply
  • flexy - Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - link

    >>>
    The board is nice, but not outstanding, incredible, top performing, etc... Jesus AnandTech I have never seen you so biased. I hope that the benchmarks don't lie. Poor preview, poor...
    >>>

    ehrm...its the best and fastest enthusiast's NF4 board right now with the best overclocking capabilities AND a way to "mod" it to a SLI...what do you want more ? Cheeezzzusss...some people....
    Reply

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