Overclocking: DFI nForce4

With DFI's reputation as an overclocker's board, and the incredible range of tweaking options available in the BIOS, everyone is expecting incredible overclocking performance with the new DFI nForce4 boards. They will definitely not be disappointed.


Front Side Bus Overclocking Testbed
Processor: Athlon 64 4000+
(2.4GHz, 1MB Cache)
CPU Voltage: 1.55V (default 1.50V)
Cooling: Thermaltake Silent Boost K8 Heatsink/Fan
Power Supply: OCZ Power Stream 520W
Memory: OCZ PC3200 EL Platinum Rev. 2
(Samsung TCCD Memory Chips)
Hard Drive: Seagate 120GB 7200RPM IDE 8MB Cache
Maximum OC:
(Standard Ratio)
238x12 (Auto HT, 2-3-2-7, 1T, 2.9V)
2856MHz (+19%)
Maximum FSB:
(Lower Ratio)
318x9 (2862MHz) (Auto HT, 2.5-4-3-7, 2.9V)
(1:1 Memory, 1T, 2 DIMMs in DC mode)
(+59% Bus Overclock)

The DFI nForce4 boards shredded all previous records with this CPU and memory - reaching the highest overclocks at stock speed and at a lower mulitiplier that we have ever tested with this combination. We have squeaked by the 300 CPU clock frequency (DDR600) in the past, but it always required a 2T command rate. This time, we reached an astounding 318 (DDR636) at 1T, at the rather aggressive memory timings of 2.5-4-3-7 with our standard OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev.2, which is based on Samsung TCCD chips. This is the highest DDR speed that we have ever reached with this memory or any other double-sided DDR memory.

What impact does 318 have on performance? Quake 3 ran at 642FPS and SiSoft Sandra 2004 standard memory bandwidth was 8,300 MB/s. The Sandra unbuffered memory bandwidth was at 4000 MB/s. All these results are new performance records in our memory testing. The very wide range of memory voltages to 4.0V is particularly useful in reaching the highest possible overclocks, along with a very complete set of memory tweaking options in the BIOS. There is still a huge reserve in the available memory voltage range as we only needed 2.9V to reach these performance levels. Those with exotic cooling will appreciate that the CPU voltage and memory voltage settings on the DFI will give them what they need to squeeze every bit of performance from their CPU and memory.

DFI delayed final release of both nForce4 boards to update some 20 components on the board and to make further modifications to BIOS timings. The goal was to improve memory compatibility and further improve the already stellar overclocking abilities of the engineering sample. Compared to the engineering sample board that we tested, the final retail board is a much better overclocker. The update certainly appears to be a success, and DFI tells us that all retail boards, the boards coming off the line, have the modifications and new BIOS.


Board Layout: DFI nForce4 Memory Stress Testing
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  • mob58 - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    I sprang for the Ultra-D following Anandtechs Review expecting great things. Unfortunately my experiences with this board have been miserable. I'm going to try to RMA it. I've built about a dozen systems and have never had so many problems. I suppose I just got a bad board, but this has soured my opinion of DFI a bit. Any recommendations for an altenate? Reply
  • Quanticles - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    There isnt any talk of a standardized SLI format, is there? Reply
  • oldbutdumb - Thursday, February 17, 2005 - link

    I won't get into the DFI trap again. I worked real hard to get the first Lan Party NFII A to work then rma'd it and got the NFII B Ultra. Same story. Too many issues of incompatibilities between bios versions and other hardware used with the boards. I don't know if it's DFI's fault or Nvideas but either way your left with a defective system Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - link

    #110 - Any 2-slot bridge will work on the DFI. The DFI, Gigabyte, and MSI are all 2-slot bridge designs and interchangable. The Asus A8N-SLI is a 3-slot design, and is longer than the other bridges.

    ALL - As of this date of 2/16 all of the DFI Ultra-D boards in the market are still moddable to SLI. No one has received shipments yet of the new revised nF4 Ultra chipset that can not be modded, but they are expecting the first shipments soon.
    Reply
  • mikerand - Sunday, February 13, 2005 - link

    the comment on the review says:
    "DFI has advised us, and posted on their website, that they will NOT sell the SLI bridge to buyers of the Ultra board"

    does this mean if you buy an ultra board and mod it that without this bridge you wont be able to run it in sli mode?

    is dfi the only place you can get this bridge from?
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, February 12, 2005 - link

    Thanks Wesley. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, February 11, 2005 - link

    #106 - YES, the Sil3114 supports SATA drive mode in addition to various flavors of RAID. Yes, the BIOS does have a CAS 1.5 option. Reply
  • Teleri mm - Friday, February 11, 2005 - link

    Anyone know for sure if the boards at Newegg are still modable?

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?desc...

    Teleri
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, February 11, 2005 - link

    Another question (shame you didn't answer my previous ones about overclocking and SATA drives, and whether drive(s) connected to the SiI 3114 controller can be used in non-RAID mode).

    Does the BIOS give the option of a CAS 1.5 setting?
    Reply
  • amgreenwalt - Wednesday, February 9, 2005 - link

    I would like to see a comparison between Asus,Abit,MSI & DFI. My only concern with DFI is the layout. I have a Koolance Case and I like to minimize the amout of cables in the open. Not too sure how that would work in this situation. Is there anyone who has this board with a koolance setup? Reply

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