Motherboard: DFI LANPARTY NFII Ultra Review :: Setup & Testing

10-07-2003 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun

The setup of the board was fairly easy and straightforward. After connecting the power connectors and installing the CPU, memory and video card, I installed Windows XP and SP1. Upon installing the 44.03 drivers and the latest nForce2 drivers from NVIDIA I was good to go. With the 20 pin ATX power connector and 4 pin connector connected, I used the onboard power button to turn the system on. It worked right out of the box, which is always a good thing.

My methodology of testing compatibility is to run the gamut of my computer hardware. Testing video card compatibility is done with an AIW 9800 Pro, a 9700 Pro, and a Ti4200 8X. It's been a year since I had issues with the 9700 Pro and AGP8x on an Intel P4 based motherboard.

No such issue was found with the NFORCEII Ultra board from DFI. Further, all 8x compatible cards were correctly identified as supporting this standard. Hard drive testing is done with a 120GB 8MB cache ATA133 HDD, a 60GB WD 7200 RPM ATA100 2MB cache HDD, and a Maxtor ATA66 2MB cache 7200 RPM HDD. All hard drives were correctly identified by the BIOS as the correct size and the DMA mode that the drive supports. The soundcards I tested included a SB Audigy, a SB Live 5.1 X-Gamer, a Hurricane Extreme 4.1 soundcard. All installed without issue as to IRQ sharing problems.

Other compatibility testing was done using a DFI 10/100 Ethernet card, a USR 56K modem and a Firewire HDD through the Firewire cable included. No issues with everyday use were observed or noticed. It seems like an anachronism to test hardware swapping parts in and out, but things happen. The throughput of the modem was 1217 Kbps as measured by DSL Report's Speed Test, and 57333 bps using the USR 56K modem. Download speeds downloading the 66MB Aquamark 3 benchmark was a constant 149 Kbps and 5.0 Kbps using the 56k modem.

DFI's BIOS utility is called Genie BIOS. This allows the user to have complete control over the BIOS settings. CPU speeds are increased in 1 MHz increments to the FSB, which is a great feature for overclockers. The board also supports auto-shutdown on fan failure and high temperature. Having both of these features can mean the difference between a stable motherboard and one that can cause a dead CPU because of heat.