Auto Boost System
As its name suggest, this DFI board uses Intel's P45 chipset and the newer ICH10R SouthBridge. While we have reviewed a few P45 motherboards so far, this is our first look at a DDR2 version. Yes, for those who are loathe to spend more for DDR3 memory which is still relatively more expensive, this is a truly mainstream board with DDR2 memory support. Officially, memory speeds of up to 1066MHz is supported, though DFI lists 1200MHz as possible during overclocking.
One feature that DFI advertises is its use of a 4-phase digital PWM as a more consistent and efficient approach compared to conventional solutions. This is bolstered with the presence of solid capacitors, a now common sight on quality motherboards. DFI also uses a passively cooled, heat-pipe based cooler that's heavy on the black and aluminum (sad to disappoint the copper 'fans'). Hence, the board was relatively light and there were no metal plates beneath the board for cooling purposes like some other brands.
The DK P45-T2RS PLUS comes with a Marvell 88E8053 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet controller, which is newer than older PCI based versions. We doubt that would matter anyway in terms of real world performance, but it's good to know that you can achieve true Gigabit LAN speeds on your internal network. HD audio is provided onboard as usual by Realtek and its ALC885 CODEC is found here, capable of 8-channel audio output, though this is a slightly older CODEC. No Karajan audio feature on this board, but there are both analog and optical/coaxial S/PDIF outputs at the rear of the motherboard however.
Given its target audience, this DFI board naturally has some features that may appeal to overclocking enthusiasts. This includes up to two reset CMOS jumpers, POST LED indicators and as we shall elaborate later, DFI's new Auto Boost System.
Auto Boost System
So what exactly is this Auto Boost System (ABS) from DFI? The basic idea is to make overclocking more friendly to end-users, which explains why only the more mainstream boards are outfitted with this new feature. By default, DFI implements this by having an automatic FSB boost that's based on certain profiles in the BIOS. Pressing F1 while the system is booting up will trigger the profiles and cause the system to be running at the higher speeds (provided that these are feasible numbers and not wild overclocks).
Furthermore, users can install the ABS utility in Windows and customize the profiles from there. Users are able to write their own profiles and backup/load profiles from and to the hard drive. An interesting usage of this feature is to have tested and successful overclocked profiles from DFI or other enthusiast's profiles loaded into the BIOS while in Windows. In short, your overclocking can be done for you by others. It could be as simple as loading a profile and enabling it on the next reboot. At the moment, DFI has a number of 'official' overclocking profiles on its website, though the PLUS version seems to have much fewer, probably due to it having a later release date.