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Computex 2004 Update (Part 2)
By Vijay Anand
Category : Events
Published by Vijay Anand on Saturday, 5th June, 2004


June 1st 2004 was AMD’s official launch of the Socket 939 Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX processors along with much higher speed variants than available before. As we mentioned in our coverage of the AMD launch, socket 939 brings forth affordable dual-channel solutions and is designed to take advantage of a much speedier HyperTransport bus of 1GHz. However, the processor’s pin assignments have been changed for better efficiency and is better designed for use on 4-layer motherboard PCB versus 6-layer PCB required for the older 940-pin processors. Due to these changes, the existing chipsets aren’t compatible with the new socket 939 processors and will require newer variants such as the NVIDIA nForce3 Ultra. This single chip MCP’s feature set is similar to that of the nForce3-250GB except that the nForce3 Ultra supports even higher HyperTranport speeds of 1GHz.

The mood at DFI’s booth was perfect for their LANPARTY theme where new motherboard models joined the ranks of DFI’s elite motherboard models.

At DFI’s ‘LANPARTY’ decorated booth, we caught one of these nForce 3 Ultra motherboards. Apart from the socket 939 inherited features such as dual channel DDR 400, it had dual parallel ATA connectors, four serial ATA ports (all of which are RAID capable), dual Gigabit LAN ports, two Firewire ports, eight USB 2.0 ports and diagnostic LEDs. That’s quite a feature-rich motherboard, but there’s even more. As with all LANPARTY models, there are quite a bit of DFI-specific specialties and other packaged items that are normally optional for all other motherboards.

This is DFI’s top Athlon 64 socket 939 motherboard based on the NVDIA nForce3 Ultra – the DFI LANPARTY nF3 ULTRA-D.

Newly introduced in these soon-to-be-released LANPARTY motherboards is DFI’s Karajan audio technology. Motherboards such as the DFI LANPARTY nF3 ULTRA-D are equipped with this. On normal motherboards, analog audio signals from onboard audio codecs are always subjected to noise from the high-speed busses on the motherboard. On a quality sound card, analog audio signals are still prone to noise, but it is far less than that induced for onboard sound. Karjan audio was introduced to reduce signal noise to produce much more clearer audio by placing the audio codec on a tiny riser located right at the ATX rear I/O deck with all the required ports on this riser as well. The idea sounds swell and when we do receive DFI’s latest LANPARTY motherboards in the near future, we’ll evaluate if this extra effort by DFI paid off.

This is DFI’s Karajan audio technology. If you notice carefully, you will see the audio codec on the mini riser card that also contains all the necessary audio ports.

DFI’s LANPARTY series also includes yet to be announced Intel platforms, which are the Grandsdale and Alderwood (now known as i915P and i925X respectively). Both motherboards represent their top of the line models for the Intel Pentium 4 Prescott processors based on the new socket 775 (Pentium4-775). Hence they share the same specifications:- three PCI slots, two PCIe x1 (PCI Express) slots, one PCIe x16 slot, 8-channel Karajan audio, one PATA, four SATA ports, two Firewire ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, Dual Gigabit LAN and diagnostic LEDs.

DFI’s LANPARTY 925X-T2 utilized the i925X Northbridge and the ICH6R Southbridge. It has four memory slots for dual channel DDR2-533.

This is the DFI LANPARTY 915P-T with the i915P Northbridge and the ICH6R Southbridge. It supports a processor bus speed of 533MHz and 800MHz, hence it supports both Pentium 4-775 and the Celeron-775. Additionally, DFI opted the board to be equipped with less expensive dual channel DDR-400.

Both motherboards supported Karajan audio technology.

For those who are not quite ready to upgrade to the high-end Intel and AMD platforms, DFI still supports the nForce2 Ultra 400 + MCP2-T platform via the LANPARTY NFII Ultra B.

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