Early this year, DFI took the world by storm with the introduction of their wildly popular nForce 4 boards, namely the Ultra-D, SLI-D and feature-laden SLI-DR. Since that time, these boards have proven to be exceptional enthusiast boards, providing myriads of overclocking options and adjustments with voltages for CPU, north bridge and in particular, the memory that allowed the end-user unlimited ability to overclock to their heart's desire. Gone were the days of voltage modifications and use of the programs, WPCredit and WPCrset, to take a board, CPU and memory to their limits. DFI, in one fell swoop, had brought overclocking to the masses, where once overclocking was for the knowledgeable few. Now, even the casual overclocker could overclock like an old pro.

DFI has updated this legendary overclocker's board with a large number of board revisions and component upgrades. DFI calls the result the LANParty UT SLI-DR Expert. We're here to find out if the upgrade is more than just words and clever marketing.

The most obvious change in the Expert was the new box graphics, which were introduced initially with the release of their ATI based RDX200 CF-DR motherboard. Of course, the nForce4 Expert is green and the ATI RDX200 is red. Packaging otherwise was familiar and much like other recent DFI boards.

Our evaluation of the Expert revision of the SLI-DR for this review will take a step away from the standard AnandTech review methodology and focus on the changes to the original SLI-DR, along with the new board's ability to overclock the CPU, HTT and memory. The original SLI-DR was reviewed as part of our " SLI Roundup" here in February and the complete suite of standard tests were run. The basic feature set has not changed on the Expert version of the board and all pertinent testing and results in regards to Audio, Ethernet performance, Disk Controller performance, Firewire and USB throughput remain valid for this revision and may be referred to if you want to know more about the performance of these features.

The idea with the introduction of this Expert revision is increased stability, overclockability and flexibility in working with different types of RAM modules, in particular Winbond BH-5/UTT and Samsung TCCD. That is what we will be testing.

DFI NF4 SLI-DR Expert: Feature Set
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  • karioskasra - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    Agreed. The nb fan on the dfi sounds like a cat getting mauled. It's enough to make you go water just for the quiet. Reply
  • karioskasra - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    I'm calling for dual cores to be included in the standard test setup. Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    newegg has them in stock - 2 bills Reply
  • decptt - Friday, November 25, 2005 - link

    I wanna ask the author.
    Have you tested 4x1GB yet?
    Can it see 4GB or can't it?
    What timing do you use?
    Reply
  • RSica - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    I did not test with 4x 1GB sticks because I only have 2 in my possession for reviewing. I did in fact as mentioned run 4x512MB sticks at 2T with no problem whatsover for testing.

    Future reviews will very well see x2 A64's included but I'm not sure what the timetable will be for their inclusion.

    Again, thank you for your comments !

    Randi
    Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    i think the article said that it couldn't pass 1T for 4x1gb, but it can run it (at 2t). Reply
  • SignalPST - Friday, November 25, 2005 - link

    Thanks Randi for the very detailed review of the Expert.
    I was wondering, with the new layout of the RAM slots and CPU, is it possible to populate all 4 RAM slots and still be able to fit the thermalright XP-120 without problems?
    Reply
  • tjr508 - Friday, November 25, 2005 - link

    Bravo to DFI for using decent power supplies and such, but why is the SIL 3114 such a dissapointment? Does any desktop user need SATA2 at this time? Does anyone need DDR2 as opposed to high quality DDR (not this board but in a couple months). This whole idea of "futureproofing" drives me crazy. It may be nice if people saw mobos they liked and baught them to keep them in a closet for a couple years, but I believe most people buy their systems within a week or so. I can understand buying a 3000+ and maybe sticking in a $30 fx57 in three or four years, but you can do that with any board on the market pretty much. Adopting future standards before they can provide reasonable performance improvements will alter your financial experience far more than your computing experience. Then again I would have to blame the consumers more so than the companies as their tactics are obviously making them money. I would love to know how many SLI boards out there have one video card attached to them as well as how many unsued SATA channels there are out there. I just think it is dissapointing that in today's market its hard to find an extra feature you want without paying for five more that you don't. Reply
  • Tanclearas - Friday, November 25, 2005 - link

    I had to double-check that I was indeed still reading a review at Anandtech.

    Since when is the max FSB of a motherboard determined using any memory ratio other than 1:1?

    How many other boards reviewed at AT were booted into Windows at a certain FSB before being cranked up?

    Why the change in CPU from previous tests (using a 3500 rather than 4000)?

    What is with the graph for Futuremark that compares the different component scores of the same board? What is the point of graphing those numbers?

    Where is the comparison to the A8N32-SLI? I'm pretty sure that's the benchmark board right now for enthusiasts.

    I didn't even finish reading the review.
    Reply
  • RSica - Friday, November 25, 2005 - link

    Good Morning :)

    _The object of the testing was to not only find the max 1:1 clockability of the board (310Mhz), but to find it's ability to reach the HTT limits of 2 different CPU's in our possession which certainly necessitates using a divider.

    -This board booted into Windows at 510Mhz HTT. Having come from an extensive overclocking background, it is recognized that the fact a board will not boot into Windows at a specified speed does not necessarily mean the board/CPU will not function at an increased HTT speed. In this case, to determine the maximum HTT the Expert and 3500+ Winchester could attain the use of the Popular overclocking program ClockGen, and it only resulted in an additional 2Mhz HTT.

    There are many readers that indeed take great interest in the overall top HTT overclockability of a board.

    - The change in CPU's was merely to find the boards ability to overclock the HTT to it's maximum. This gem of a 3500+ was known to have reached an HTT of 500Mhz previously. The 4000+ has a maximum HTT of 400Mhz. Of course for all tests other than the Extreme Overclocking section, the 4000+ was utilized fror straight up comparisons.

    -I have updated the gaming performance graphs which includes comparison to the A8N32-SLI
    I'll update the other graphs as time allows.

    I thank you wholeheartedly for your comments, Randi :)
    Reply

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