Designer Systems!

We all want the best and I’m no different. Every single day I find myself browsing through pages and pages of reviews about a product that I probably do not necessarily need or can afford. I think it’s healthy, window shopping is something that not only frustrates me but also gets me a little excited, frustrating because the lack of available funds and excited because I think I have the money to spend on it, but I really don’t. So the current obession is a new motherboard to replace the not so old MSI K8N Diamond that I currently have, just to be perfectly fair I will put them side by side specs wise just so I can actually see the difference…I’ve had the MSI K8N Diamond for about 3 months now and it was one of the first things that I bought when building my new PC.

I searched for different motherboards, such as Asus and Gigabyte and I have to admit the only thing that swayed me into buying this motherboard is the price and the onboard sound. The MSI K8N Diamond comes with an onboard Soundblaster Live, I know it’s not much but I thought it would save me a few dollars so I didnt have to buy a separate soundcard, now I’ve realised that I want another anyway. A better one. Got to keep up the trend right!?

Ok so at the moment(today – it’s likely to change!) the motherboard of choice for me is the DFI LANParty series – There is a LANPARTY UT NF4 SLI-DR Venus but it costs just under $500 so it’s a bit of an overkill – I’ve settled for the moderately priced LANPARTY UT NF4 SLI-DR Expert

MSI K8N Diamond Pros

  • First motherboard chipset to natively support 10 USB 2.0 ports.
  • The only consumer chipset to support cross-controller RAID (i.e. a RAID array can consist of both PATA and SATA hard drives).
  • First motherboard chipset to natively support SATA II with a dual controller architecture providing 3Gb/s bandwidth to each drive.
  • Built-in Gigabit Ethernet MAC with advanced networking features to offload CPU utilization.
  • NVIDIA Firewall technology – True hardware-based firewall.
  • NVIDIA ActiveArmor – A dedicated hardware engine that offloads the CPU from intensive firewall and network processing. Works hand-in-hand with NVIDIA Firewall technology.
  • Scalable Link Interface (SLI) technology.
  • UT NF4 SLI-DR Expert PCStats Review:

    Computer hardware enthusiasts looking for the best motherboards money can buy only have to look one place, DFI. After hearing for years how the overclocking market is too small for a manufacturer to survive in, it is very refreshing to see DFI doing so well in it. Much of DFI’s success is based on the fact that it is willing to go all the way and give enthusiasts options that we really want, no half-assed approaches.

    The original DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR was an excellent motherboard, but nothing in life is perfect and it did have its fair share of quirks. DFI has listened to the complaints coming from users and the new DFI LANPartyUT NF4 SLI-DR Expert looks like a very worthy successor.

    The layout of the DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR Expert is excellent and a real improvement over DFI’s previous layout. The extra space between the PCI Express x16 slots will allow hardcore users to install larger videocard heatsinks or even waterblocks. Thankfully, the SLI jumpers have also been retired in favour of a switchless SLI option.

    DFI has also upgraded the power supply on the motherboard to a four phase design, and each of MOSFETs relating to it are cooled with mini-heatsinks. The power plant found on the LANPartyUT NF4 SLI-DR Expert should deliver more stable power as a result.

    In terms of performance, simply stating the DFI LANPartyUT NF4 SLI-DR Expert is fast seems like an understatement. It has the most available bandwidth of any Athlon64 motherboard that has passed through the PCSTATS test labs, and is able to routinely outperform every motherboard in almost every test we tossed its way. From SYSMark2004 to PCMark05, and the game benchmarks like Doom 3 and Comanche 4, the DFI LANPartyUT NF4 SLI-DR Expert leads the way.

    Overclockers will find a lot to fiddle around with in the BIOS settings of this motherboard; there are a ton of memory tweaks, enough to keep tweakers busy for a long time. The voltage options are even more impressive, and the memory and chipset voltages can be very finely tuned. When it comes to overclocking the unit we tested proved itself capable of reaching a speed of 370 MHz. The original DFI Lanparty NF4 SLI-DR motherboard PCSTATS tested overclocked to 431MHz, so the results aren’t quite as high (or better than first time around) as we would have liked to have seen.

    It’s also one of the best for overclockers. If you consider yourself a hardcore overclocker and want to set some speed records, there is no other board to consider than the DFI LANPartyUT NF4 SLI-DR Expert.

    The DFI LANPartyUT NF4 SLI-DR Expert is currently priced @ $275 AUD and that is the cheapest according to STATICICE – Not too expensive considering I paid $220 for the MSI K8N Diamond.

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