DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR and LANPartyUT NF4 Ultra-D: new motherboards on nForce4
Each new day extends the variety of products on nForce 4 SLI/Ultra. Yesterday it was DFI´s turn, so it updated its LANParty series with two new models, LANParty NF4 SLI-DR and LANPartyUT NF4 Ultra-D. All in all the company is going to release at least 5 motherboards of this kind based on these two novelties. They will primarily differ by bundles and the amount of connectable SATA drives (up to 4).
The series is primarily intended for DIY and enthusiasts segments and offers extended voltage ranges of memory (2.5-4.0 V), CPU (up to 2.1 V), chipset (1.5-1.8 V), HyperTransport (1.2-1.5 V), multipliers up to x20 (Athlon 64 FX required). "Power" and "Reset" buttons are also output onto PCB, so one can test a motherboard without messing with a PC case.
Naturally, all of these boards are designed for AMD Athlon 64 Socket 939 processors and offer 3-phase power supply. There are 4 power connectors onboard: usual 24-pin ATX + 4-pin 12 V; HDD and FDD (recommended for use in SLI configurations). MOSFET feature aluminium heatsinks. The vendor underlines the quality of electrolytic capacitors, all of them are made in Japan. Besides, some have organic filling agent. The chipset features active cooling a special magnetic fan that reduces friction and makes little noise.
The series´ top is LANParty NF4 SLI-DR that has the best bundle and also offers interesting way of SLI mode switching. Unlike the reference switcher board, DFI utilizes 6 sets of usual jumpers, 8 per set:
Theoretically, such approach provides more flexibility in separating all twenty PCI-E channels of nForce4 between 4 slots. The amount of channels per slot is set depending on the mode. The bundle includes a special switching tool:
As for LANPartyUT NF4 Ultra-D, it doesn´t support SLI officially. Instead, it supports Dual Xpress Graphics (DXG) that utilizes two graphics cards to output image to 4 monitors. The second PCI Express x16 slot requires two PCI-E channels.
Featuring various chipset versions, LANParty NF4 SLI-DR and LANPartyUT NF4 Ultra-D still have same PCBs and same PCI Express slots. The flowery sentences of press release regarding DXG («versatile graphics support and utmost future-proof upgrade ability») makes us think that, perhaps, LANPartyUT NF4 Ultra-D will obtain SLI (or AMR?) support in the future. Though it´s based on nForce 4 Ultra, the Web repeatedly brings rumours of this.
The board sound system is also interesting. Karajan audio unit resembles a miniature soundcard with standard I/O interfaces. This solution has both advantages and drawbacks: on the one hand, circuits are shortest, but on the other the unit is located near CPU, memory, CPU cooler that might produce interfering noise.
Series´ key specs:
- Support AMD Athlon 64 FX / Athlon 64 / Sempron ïîä Socket 939
- 4 x 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM sockets for up to 4 GB of dual-channel DDR266, DDR333 or DDR400
- 2 x PCI-E x16, 1 x PCI-E x4, 1 x PCI-E x1
- 2 x PCI
- 8-channel Realtek ALC850
- Dual Gigabit LAN: Vitesse VSC8201 Gigabit PHY and Marvell 88E8001 Gigabit PCI
- 2 x IDE for 4 x UltraDMA 133 MB/s drives, RAID 0/1 (chipset)
- 4 x Serial ATA II, RAID 0/1 together with Parallel ATA
- 4 x Serial ATA, RAID 0/1, 5 (Silicon Image Sil 3114; optional)
- VIA VT6307 FireWire, 2 x IEEE1394
- 10 x USB 2.0/1.1 total
- Side FDD connector, 4 + 2 LEDs, 5 fan connectors
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