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Case, Power Supply, Fan Reviews
  Product:     DFI LanParty NFII Ultra B Motherboard  
  Price:     $248 (CAN) / $187 (U.S) 
  Supplied By:     Frogtuning
  Author:     Mantis
  Date:     March 7th, 2004
  Rating:     star star star star star star star star star

MODTHEBOX would like to thank Jeff from Frogtuning for sending the DFI LanParty NFII Ultra B Motherboard for review.

Introduction:

Many companies have begun incorporating consumer preferences, consequently leading to highly successful products. Motherboard manufacturers have been catering to the performance users needs by implementing additional features such as new in-depth BIOS settings and increased voltages to allow overclockers to squeeze out the theoretical maximum of today’s hardware. Given the recent release of the Athlon 64, the nForce II platform still remains the dominant choice for majority of users. The lack of manufacturing of the nForce II platform allows for an easier process of selecting the top offerings to build a system upon. Feature rich motherboards offer a great solution for a variety of machines and also simplify and decrease system build times by eliminating common add on cards. Established in 1981, DFI offers a complete line-up of advanced motherboards as well as graphics solutions and Applied Computing Platforms. Today in MTB Labs, we will be evaluating the DFI LanParty NFII Ultra B Motherboard.

Specifications:

The DFI LanParty NFII Ultra B Motherboard is currently DFI’s prestige model being offered based upon the nForce II Ultra 400 chipset. Highlights such as Serial ATA RAID, 5.1 Sound Storm audio, Dual LAN, USB 2.0, IEEE1394, Dual Channel DDR 400, UV reactive components and CMOS Reloaded allow for a feature rich motherboard. The LanParty NFII Ultra B is specifically targeted towards gamers and bundles an extensive amount of accessories. Here are some specifications taken directly from the Frogtuning and DFI websites:

DFI LanParty NFII Ultra B Motherboard - Key Specifications
Processor AMD Athlon™/Athlon™XP/ Athlon™XP Barton/ Duron™Processor
CPU Socket Socket A
FSB 200/266/333/400+ MHz (by overclocking)
Chipset nVIDIA® nForce2 chipset
nForce2 Ultra 400
nForce2 MCP-T
System Memory Supports dual channel memory interface
Supports up to 3GB memory (unbuffered DIMM)
Supports PC1600 (DDR200), PC2100 (DDR266), PC2700 (DDR333) and PC3200 (DDR400) DDR SDRAM DIMM, 2.5V type
Three 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM sockets
BIOS Award BIOS, Windows® 95/98/2000/ME/XP Plug and Play compatible
Genie BIOS provides: CPU/DRAM/AGP overclocking and CPU/AGP/DRAM/Chipset overvoltage
4Mbit flash memory
CMOS Reloaded
Power Management Supports ACPI STR (Suspend to RAM) function
Wake-On-Events include: Wake-On-PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse, Wake-On-USB, Wake-On-Ring (external modem), Wake-On-LAN, RTC timer to power-on the system
AC power failure recovery
Hardware Monitors Monitors CPU/system temperature
Monitors ±12V/5V/3.3V/VBAT(V)/5VSB(V) voltages
Monitors CPU/chassis fan speed
Read back capability that displays temperature, voltage and fan speed
CPU Temperature Protection function monitors CPU temperature during system boot-up
Audio Realtek ALC650 AC'97 2.2 S/PDIF extension compliant codec
Supports Microsoft® DirectSound/DirectSound 3D
AC’97 supported with full duplex, independent sample rate converter for audio recording and playback
S/PDIF-in/out interface
6-channel audio output
LAN nVIDIA® nForce2 MCP-T and ICS1893 Phy
Full duplex support at both 10 and 100 Mbps
Realtek RTL8110S Gigabit LAN
Full duplex support at 10, 100 and 1000 Mbps
PCI IDE Supports ATA/33, ATA/66, ATA/100 and ATA/133 hard drives
UDMA Modes 3, 4, 5 and 6 Enhanced IDE (data transfer rate up to 133MB/sec.)
SATA IDE with RAID Silicon Image Sil3114 PCI to Serial ATA controller
Supports four SATA (Serial ATA) interfaces which are compliant with SATA 1.0 specification (1.5Gbps interface)
Supports RAID 0 and RAID 1
IEEE 1394 nVIDIA® nForce2 MCP-T and Agere FW803 Phy chips
Supports three 100/200/400 Mb/sec ports
AGP Supports AGP 8x up to 2132MB/sec. and AGP 4x up to 1066MB/sec. bandwidth for 3D graphics applications
Rear Panel I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 mouse port
1 x PS/2 keyboard port
1 x DB-9 serial port
1 x DB-25 parallel port
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
2 x RJ45 LAN ports
2 x S/PDIF RCA jacks (S/PDIF-in and S/PDIF-out)
3 x Audio jacks: line-out, line-in and mic-in
2 x Audio jacks for center/bass and rear out
I/O Connectors 1 x Connector for 2 additional external USB 2.0/1.1 ports
3 x Connectors for 3 external IEEE 1394 ports
1 x Front audio connector for external line-out and mic-in jacks
2 x Internal audio connectors (AUX-in and CD-in)
1 x S/PDIF connector for optical cable connection
1 x Connector for IrDA interface
4 x Serial ATA connectors
2 x IDE connectors
1 x Floppy connector
2 x ATX power supply connectors
3 x Fan connectors for CPU fan, chassis fan and 2nd fan
4 x Diagnostic LEDs
1 x Diagnostic LED connector for external 4 diagnostic LEDs display
EZ touch switches (power switch and reset switch)
Expansion Slots 1 x AGP slot that supports 8x/4x AGP
5 PCI slots
PCB 4 layers, ATX form factor
30.5cm (12") x 24.5cm (9.64")
   

NVIDIA nForce 2 400/Ultra Chipset Overview At A Glance
The NVIDIA nForce 2 400 Ultra chipset revolutionizes traditional motherboard architectures through a series highly of integrated platform processors. Similar to the North and South Bridge, the NVIDIA nForce 2 Ultra uses platform processors such as Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP – only on selected models), System Platform Processor (SPP) and the Media Communications Processor (MCP) and Media Communications Processor Turbo (MCP-T) for maximum system performance, connectivity, audio functionality and efficiency. Here is a brief overview:

SPP - System Platform Processor: The System Platform Processor (SPP) is equivalent in function to the Northbridge technology. The nForce 2 400 Ultra SPP supports the latest 200 Front Side Bus AMD Athlon XP processors and below. Two independent Dual DDR 400 64-Bit memory controllers operate concurrently to deliver an impressive 6.4GB per second of memory bandwidth, double of that found on other DDR 400 based chipsets.

IGP - Integrated Graphics Processor: The second-generation Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) features of an onboard NVIDIA GeForce 4 MX 440 paired with an 8X AGP port. Similar to the SPP (Northbridge Technology), the IGP utilizes the same Dual 64-Bit memory architecture with the only difference of an onboard NVIDIA GeForce 4 MX 440, which can be easily disabled.

MCP, MCP-T – Media and Communications Processor/Turbo: The Media and Communications Processor - Turbo (MCP-T) is equivalent in function to the Southbridge Technology. The nForce 2 MCP-T is responsible for handling the bulk of the Digital Media Gateway functions which include the IEEE 1394a/Firewire, USB 2.0, LAN, Ultra ATA 133 communication along with the integrated Audio Processing unit for real-time Dolby Digital 3D (AC3) encoding.

DFI LanParty NFII Ultra B Motherboard
Click image for larger view
DFI LanParty NFII Ultra B Motherboard
Click image for larger view
 

The DFI LanParty NFII Ultra B Motherboard ships in a colorful oversized retail box with a LAN Party atmosphere illustration gracing the front. The LanParty and DFI logos are clearly marked on all sides of the package. Extensive product specifications and highlights are located at the rear of the package. Unlike standard motherboard bundles, the necessary accessories have been divided into 4 smaller retail boxes, which consist of a FrontX module, PC Transpo system, Rounded IDE Cables and an accessory package. The entire bundle includes of the following items:

  • DFI LanParty NF11 Ultra B Motherboard
  • Users Manual
  • Quick Installation guide
  • 2 x Serial ATA data cables
  • Serial ATA power cable
  • Card edge bracket with two IEEE 1394 ports
  • 1 x Round IDE cable
  • 1 x Round FDD cable
  • PC Transpo kit
  • FrontX device
  • ATX I/O Shield
  • Thermal paste
  • LanParty sticker
  • Case badge
  • 5 x Jumper caps
  • Raid driver diskette
  • Mainboard utility CD
  • WinDVD/WinRIP CD
DFI LanParty NFII Ultra B Motherboard
Click image for larger view
DFI LanParty NFII Ultra B Motherboard
Click image for larger view
 
The accessory package contains an ATX I/O back plate, two serial ATA cables, a serial ATA "Y" power splitter and an additional dual IEEE 1394 plate. A set of rounded IDE and floppy cables are also included in a separate box. A large pull tab labels the Master, Slave, and System portions of the cable and promotes easier removal. The shielded IDE and Floppy cables are UV reactive and measure 18" in length. Unfortunately, only a single dual device IDE cable is included instead of two.
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