The DFI LANParty BI 785G-M35
The DFI LANParty BI 785G-M35
As with any mATX board, getting all the components to fit on the limited space optimally takes some skill. DFI, though decent, did not excel in this department as the vendor made some compromises that we were not fans of. For one, this board's SATA ports are facing upwards, which meant that it is possible for the SATA cables to get in the way of any expansion cards. Fortunately, DFI has placed them far enough from the graphics card slot that even the modern, longer cards would not interfere. Still, it's less than ideal.
Another less critical issue is the location of the 12V ATX power connector, which is sandwiched in between the heatsink and the rear I/O panel. Although most users would hardly be removing the power cable often (likely only if they have changed their power supply unit), we found it quite difficult to remove the cable once it was attached due to the lack of room for our fingers to grasp and hold onto the retaining clip at the end of the power cable. It's not common but nevertheless, we felt that the connector could be located near the edge of the board instead.
Next, there's the placement of the USB headers. With only four at the rear panel, these headers are likely to be used. Notice then that they are placed besides the PCIe graphics slot, where a typical dual-slot graphics card would then block. Again, DFI could have done much better.
We do have to give the nod to DFI for the number of fan connectors on this board. There are six fan connectors, more than we expect for a mATX board. In fact, it even rivals some full-sized ATX boards. Enthusiasts hoping to turn this into a budget high-end system will find this very useful indeed.
Besides these shortcomings, the DFI LANParty BI 785G-M35 is a rather typical example of the current 785G boards on the market. We won't be delving into the chipset here, except to mention that it has all the advertised features, including the optional 128MB of SidePort memory (from Hynix) that adds to the integrated graphics buffer and gives a slight performance boost.
We did notice some common features that have been omitted, including FireWire and eSATA. By themselves, these are not exactly crucial so if you didn't need those, you're not losing anything. Meanwhile, the board retains the floppy and IDE connectors, even a COM port. You may also notice the use of solid capacitors, another common trend for motherboards despite the mainstream nature of the 785G.
Since this is a DFI board, it also comes with the vendor's proprietary technologies. In this case, there's the Auto Boost System II (ABS II), which allows users to create custom profiles in the BIOS with their own preferred (and usually overclocked) settings. Users can also swap profiles online or download them from DFI's website, making it easy for beginners to get into this. This is supplemented by the CMOS Reloaded, where multiple BIOS settings can be saved and restored by the user.