Overclocking with the DFI UT P35-T2R Motherboard

The last three months have seen the overclocking enthusiast sector bombarded with motherboards based around the Intel Bearlake (P35) chipset. While it has become an expectation for many to see boards from the main players up front and ready to go at product launch, early adopters have naturally expected DFI to be fashionably late to the ball with their own LANParty series offering. In terms of business, the enthusiast sector is an area of the retail market where being late does not earn the "money shot"; vital sales are lost in delays, no matter how good the product is - the delay is costly. So costly that many of the leading players in the once hot AMD S939 sector such as DFI, abit, MSI, Albatron, Chaintech, Shuttle, and EPoX have seen their market shares dwindle (sometimes drastically to the point of not being around anymore) since the introduction of the Core 2 Duo from Intel and the resulting market switch by the enthusiasts to the blue camp.

This time around DFI managed a reduced delay period of two months behind the official Intel Bearlake chipset rollout, greeted by applause from most tweakers who have been awaiting a killer product from the company since the "glorious" NF4 era. We thought the RD600 would fill that role last year, but it came up short in performance even though the BIOS options foretold the future about DFI's BIOS designs on Intel product. DFI managed to hit a home run with the Infinity 965-S Dark. Unfortunately, everyone had left the P965 ballpark to watch the P35 play in a new stadium by that time. Hopefully, their X38 product will be released in the coming weeks but until then (probably afterwards also based on early numbers), we think most people will be more than satisfied with the UT P35-T2R - provided you can afford it and do not have a need for multi-GPU benchmarking.

Beyond color enhancing UV lights to show off the board, the enthusiast knows that beauty in electronics, as with all other things, can often lie only skin deep. Rigorous in-house testing by DFI to iron out BIOS kinks was chosen over sending out boards at the chipset launch. This was done in an attempt to nail issues before users spent their hard earned dollars for partial functionality. As a matter of fact, anyone who buys motherboards close to official chipset launch dates should be fully versed in the ritual BIOS flashing regimen often required for long-term usefulness. Running a few quick benchmarks featuring high front side bus speeds might grab some early headlines, but it does not indicate a board's actual performance capability or stability. Put in perspective for the end-user, the two month delay is not such a bad thing, if a more solid and compatible motherboard is the end result.

Due to the very extensive BIOS options on this motherboard, assessing a product like this demands extra time. It also forces you to go over the options with greater detail while explaining their use and determining the worth of performance benefits when changing these options. While we are certainly not BIOS engineers, we are hoping that the time we have taken to go beyond the scope of normal motherboard review criteria will be welcomed by our readers, who are often just as confused as we are when we first take a look at a new DFI BIOS.

The goal then of this article is to take a focused look at how to properly set up and overclock this latest DFI offering, and even if you're not specifically planning on purchasing this motherboard we hope to provide some insight into what is involved in reaching top overclocks with Intel's impressive P35 chipset. In the near future, we will be able to provide direct overclocking performance comparisons and capabilities of this board against additional motherboards in the upper-end market sector. In the meantime, our results today are more of a dog and pony show as to what the board is capable of under various overclocking scenarios.

Additionally, we will be providing a catalog of "How to Guides" that will outline the BIOS settings utilized, BIOS option explanations, and recommended setups in our motherboard forum as we roll out these articles in the coming weeks. We welcome your input, suggestions, and ideas for improving this type of content. For now, let's take a look at DFI's latest board and its general performance results before we hit on the overclocking features.

Board Features


View All Comments

  • retrospooty - Sunday, October 21, 2007 - link

    Not really. Check this memory test here at AT. http://www.anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=312...">http://www.anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=312...

    At DDR 2000 at 6X500 CPU the best sisoft standard memory score for DDR3 is 9138 at DDR3 2000 8-7-6-18 ... I get 8871 with my DDR2 1000mhz at 4-4-4-10 with a similar setup on the DFI P35 mobo. DDR3 even at a highly overclocked 2000mhz is hardly faster than DDR2 at 1000 now. I am not going to go to DDR3 until Nehalem is cheap, and DDR3 latency is lower and cheap, 2 more years out.

    And PCI-E 2.0 is not going to help for a long time. Like with PCI to AGP, and AGP to PCI-E there is no improvement at all right off the bat. The graphic bus standard is always WAY ahead of the actual cards need for it, 1-2 years at least. We are not even utilizing PCI-E 8x, much less 16x, not even with dual 8800GTX's. Also , PCI-E 2.0 is backward compatible, so I I get the latest greatest Graphic card next year (whatever it is) it will be PCI-E 2.0, but will work fine on PCI-E 1 motherboards.
  • Raja Gill - Thursday, October 18, 2007 - link

    It's one of those things in life, despite having no real logic to it, 'tweaking' actually has a market. DFI took a risk, while this segment does not guarantee large sale volumes, some of the return is made up in a higher profit margin. Without DFI around, some of the more pioneering BIOS options (that actually are of use to Joe blow due to Intel's binning strategy), would never filter thru to other boards. The asking price is high, both Gary and myself recognised this. It has to be said that those who have paid the premium have generally not been dissapointed. In terms of the cascade results, yes, boardss like this and Asus's ROG line are used by the benchmarking community to chase big records, again this is a growing community who pays high dollar for every last drop of performance. We are aiming to satisfy a slightly wider audience with the performance board reviews, by looking at how they will be used, and help out with settings by spending long hours exploring the BIOS functions ourselves, still trying to give a balanced view for JB and some insight to help the benchmarkers decide if the board fits their needs... The bios's on so many of these boards are getting more complex, we hope those who buy the boards can use some of the settings we provide to get a base to work from, (if they need it)..

    If there's anything else you would like to see added, please let us know....

  • Jodiuh - Friday, October 19, 2007 - link

    SCREW THEM ALL! I've been drinking and still managed this in under 2 hours.


    Sure I've been able to achieve good results w/ lowly air on the Giga DS3, Asus P5B, DFI Dark, and Abit IP35, but this board:

    1. makes oc fun
    2. great layout (usb ports towards the front where they should be, shame Abit)
    3. great stock cooling, especially for air
    4. excellent bios
    5. did I mention speed drunk oc? (beer, then 50mhz on the bus)

    It's truly a great game. And for about $260, it's a steal. There's no other board that offers this much pleasure. Sure it's $, but then didn't most of you pay $320 for your 6600's? :D
  • Avalon - Friday, October 19, 2007 - link

    Any drunk monkey could OC a decent C2D to 3.5Ghz. I've had plenty of fun OC'ing on my $90 Gigabyte P35 DS3L, which also has a great layout and decent BIOS. It's no DFI, but it gets the job done for $160 less, which is enough money for me to buy a decent video card, 4GB of RAM, 750GB of hard drive space, etc...

    Don't get me wrong, DFI is by far my favorite motherboard company, and their BIOS tweaking is the best available. However, I will NEVER consider a $260 board a "steal" when the only thing I'll get out of it over a significantly cheaper board is that I have more settings to play with if I feel bored. Fortunately, when I get bored, I load up a game, instead.
  • cmdrdredd - Saturday, October 20, 2007 - link

    Avalon hit it right on the head. Any decent C2D can do over 3.2Ghz and some up close to 4Ghz with proper cooling on $90 boards. There is absolutely NO reason to buy a $260 board this late to market. Not to mention that it is also slower than boards which retail for less money in this review at the settings used.

    The number of people actually willing to and wanting to use 550Mhz+ FSB is too small to matter.

  • Jodiuh - Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - link

    Most of the 965 board's are a crap shoot for 500fsb, but the 2 p35's I've used had no qualms about this. It's not just getting the OC for me tho. I needed a board that:

    -doesn't look like rainbow brite exploded on it (Gigabyte DS3)
    -doesn't use an AMI bios, hits 500+ FSB easily (Asus P5B Deluxe)
    -doesn't crackle (DFI P965-S, Abit IP35 Pro)
    -isn't NV (EVGA 680i)

    -has usb ports, front panel header, and SATA ports in the far right of the board
    -and of course the great stock cooling (uses nuts/bolts), excellent bios, and stable voltages add to the package

    There's just no other non-Asus board that did all that right now. Paying another $70 for the extras isn't an issue for a hobbyist that plays w/ his rig.
  • Acanthus - Friday, October 19, 2007 - link

    Yes, we did.

    And on quad cores, this board does no better than other boards much cheaper than itself.

    I am not here to bash DFI, they make great stuff.

    The price of admission is too high for this board for quad overclocking from the results i've seen. The FSB limitation appears to be the G0 quads themselves, they all seem to top out at 470-510fsb anyway. The Asus P5K and Gigabyte P35 DQ6 both easily do those speeds on unmodified boards.
  • customcoms - Thursday, October 18, 2007 - link

    Thanks anandtech for providing an overclocking article TRULY worth reading! We needed a motherboard review like this when DFI's original nForce4 boards came out-trying to figure out every bios option, while fun and rewarding, is a very very time consuming process.

    Its one thing for a reviewer to claim "this board is capable of 500+ fsb speeds" and another COMPLETELY for that reviewer to document virtually every step and every bios option they used to get to that speed. This review is along the lines of the user reviews I normally turn to to verify the components I am interested work as advertised. While the cascade cooling results and extreme price of this board could have been left out, it is good to see a reviewer actually using the hardware in the environment a $300 (or $260, or any board over $200 imo) motherboard is going to be used in.
  • Jodiuh - Thursday, October 18, 2007 - link

    It can be found for $260 from motherboardpro. Comes w/ a nice little LAN carrying harness too. Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Thursday, October 18, 2007 - link

    Still too much money. As was said before, it still does not beat some of the boards which have been out for a long time. Sure it looks nice, but for the money spent here, you can buy more memory or the next step up in CPU if you go with a less expensive board.

    It's late, expensive, and does not have any magic that makes me say "it's better than anything else out there". Even the $90 IP35-E is a good match against this DFI board unless you have to or like to spend hours setting up the bios just so.

    It's nice, but like I said too little too late.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now