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DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards
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Date: Feb 23, 2004
Section:Motherboards
Author: HH Editor
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DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards - Page 1

DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B vs. ABIT AN7
The Clash of the nForce2 Ultra's

By: Tom Laverriere
February 29, 2004

     

Fast, stable, feature-rich and affordable, these are just some of the words we have chosen historically, when speaking about NVIDIA's nForce2 chipset.  Over the past year we have seen quite a few of these motherboards come through the HotHardware labs and most lived up to our expectations surrounding this Athlon motherboard chipset technology.  When considering a motherboard sporting the nForce2 chipset, there usually isn't a lot to differentiate one manufacturer from another.  The same set of features such as Dual  Channel DDR memory support, 8X AGP, and USB 2.0, to mention a few, are standard on all these motherboards.  However, a product that sets itself apart from the rest is what the enthusiast crowd is always yearning for.  Today, in the HotHardware labs we have two motherboards that aim to achieve that status.

While initially you may be thinking these two motherboards are going to be just your run-of-the-mill type nForce2 Ultra motherboards, you could be in for a nice surprise, since they come from the likes of Abit and DFI.  Both of these motherboards aim to truly please the enthusiast crowd with a unique set of BIOS tools.  DFI touts its "CMOS Reloaded" feature while the ABIT AN7 bears its own "μGuru" trademark.  While these two new innovations are very different in terms of their functionality, both companies are targeting the same end result, allowing users to tweak settings to the outer limits of performance, with greater ease.  Let's see what the DFI LANParty NFII Ultra and ABIT AN7 are all about.

Specifications & Features
Your Not So Typical NFII Motherboards


DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B

CPU
AMD Athlon(TM) XP 266/333/400MHz FSB
AMD Athlon(TM) 200/266MHz FSB
 

Chipset
nVIDIA® nForce2 chipset
  - nForce2 Ultra 400
  - nForce2 MCP

 

BIOS

Award BIOS, Windows® 95/98/2000/ME/XP Plug and Play compatible
Genie BIOS provides:
  - CPU/DRAM overclocking
  - CPU/AGP/DRAM/Chipset overvoltage
Flash EPROM for easy BIOS upgrades
4Mbit flash memory


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

 

Expansion Slots

1 AGP slot that supports 8x/4x AGP
5 PCI slots



Audio
AC'97 2.2 S/PDIF extension compliant codec
6-channel audio output

 

LAN

nVIDIA® nForce2 MCP and ICS1893 PHY chips
Integrated IEEE 802.3, 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX compatible PHY


Hardware Monitor
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 and within OS, with included utility

 

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
Silicon Image RAID Controller with 4 SATA Channels

SATA 150 RAID 0/1 configurations
 

Rear Panel I/O Ports

4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
2 RJ45 LAN ports
2 DB-9 serial ports
1 DB-25 parallel port
1 mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
1 mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
3 audio jacks: line-out, line-in and mic-in

 

I/O Connectors

1 connector for 2 additional external USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 connector for 1 external game/MIDI port
1 front audio connector for external line-out and mic-in jacks
2 internal audio connectors (AUX-in and CD-in)
1 4-channel audio output connector
1 S/PDIF-in/out connector
1 connector for IrDA interface
1 connector for serial ATA interface
2 IDE connectors
1 floppy connector
2 ATX power supply connectors
1 Wake-On-LAN connector
3 fan connectors for CPU fan, chassis fan and second fan

 

PCB

4 layers, ATX form factor
30.5cm (12") x 24.5cm (9.64")

 
ABIT AN7

CPU
Supports AMD-K7 Socket A 266/333/400 MHz FSB Processor
 

Chipset
NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400 chipset with MCP-T
Integrated 128-bit memory controller
Supports Advanced Configuration and Power Management Interface (ACPI)
Accelerated Graphics Port connector supports AGP 8X/4X (0.8V/1.5V)

 

Memory
Three 184-pin DIMM sockets
Supports 3 DIMM Un-buffered DDR 266/333
Supports 2 DIMM Un-buffered DDR 400

 

ABIT Engineered

ABIT μGuru? Technology
ABIT SoftMenu? Technology
ABIT FanEQ? Technology
ABIT MaxFID? Technology
ABIT CPU ThermalGuard? Technology
ABIT FlashMenu?


SATA 150 RAID

On board Silicon Image SATA PCI Controller
Support 2 channels SATA 150 RAID 0/1

 

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.)


Audio
6-Channel AC 97 CODEC on board
Professional digital audio interface supports optical S/P DIF In/Out
NVIDIA SoundStormTM Technology with real-time Dolby Digital 5.1 encoder

 

LAN

On board Realtek 10/100 LAN


IEEE 1394
3 ports IEEE1394 Supports 400 Mb/s data transfer rate

 

Hardware Monitor
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 and within OS, with included utility

 

Rear Panel I/O Ports

1 x PS/2 Keyboard, 1 x PS/2 mouse
1 x Serial Port connectors, 1 x Parallel Port connector
1 x S/P DIF Input, 1 x S/P DIF Output
Audio connectors (Front Speaker, Line-in, Mic-in, Center/Sub, Surround Speaker)
2 x USB, 1 x IEEE1394 Connector
2 x USB, 1 x RJ-45 LAN Connector

 

I/O Connectors

1 AGP 8X/4X slot, 5 PCI slots
Floppy Port supports up to 2.88 MB
2 x Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 Connectors
2 x SATA 150 Connectors
2 x USB headers, 1 x IEEE 1394a header, 2 x CD-IN

 

PCB

245 x 305mm ATX form factor


Besides the length of the feature list, there are quite a few differences between these motherboards.  Performance wise, both motherboards are aimed at the enthusiast crowd, but the DFI LANParty motherboard also delivers enthusiast type bells and whistles.   This motherboard offers everything from Dual Ethernet LAN capabilities to 4 channels of SATA with RAID and everything in between.  It's obvious that the DFI motherboard had the enthusiast in mind when designing this motherboard, but all of that comes at a price of course.  The DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B weighs in a hefty $50 more than the ABIT AN7 on various search engines.  On the other hand, as you will see in the pages ahead, it's easier to justify the price tag that comes along with a full featured motherboard like the DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B.  All that said, the ABIT AN7 has its own respectable list of features and offers the functionality most users would ever need.  Let's delve into each of these motherboards a bit deeper.

What a LANParty Looks Like

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DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards - Page 2

DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B vs. ABIT AN7
The Clash of the nForce2 Ultra's

By: Tom Laverriere
February 29, 2004

     

The DFI LANParty series of motherboards are anything but typical.  The LANParty motherboard garners its name from not only its looks, but all the goodies that are bundled along with it, making it an excellent centerpiece for a LAN gaming rig. 

Did Someone Say Party?
Look At All the Purdy Colors

Click images for full view
   

   

 

As you can see by the bundle, DFI doesn't skimp on trimmings.  There are three manuals included with this motherboard providing ample documentation on all aspects of the product from quick installation procedures to all the entire feature set and how to use every last piece of equipment.  The accessory kit comes with a pair of SATA cables as well as the SATA power connector.  A rear USB bracket and a packet of thermal grease round out the accessory kit.  A FrontX panel also ships with the LANParty motherboard and offers USB, IEEE-1394, sound, and diagnostic capabilities at the front of the case for easy accessibility.  Just slip the FrontX panel into an empty 5.25" bay, make the appropriate connections to the motherboard and you're off and running.  One minor drawback of the FrontX panel is the fact that it only comes in a beige color.  It would be nice to see an option for black, since a lot of today's cases are no longer the typical beige color.  A pair of round, UV reactive cables are thrown in for good measure.  One floppy disk cable and an EIDE cable are in the box.  On the down side, there was only 1 PATA cable with our unit.  We can remember the days of one EIDE cable being sufficient, but that tends to be the exception rather than the norm in today's Desktop PC.  Sticking with the LANParty theme, DFI throws in what they like to call the "PC Transpo".  The PC Transpo is perfect for lugging ATX cases from point A to point B.  Besides a few minor drawbacks this has to be one of the, if not the most complete bundle we've seen from a motherboard manufacturer.  Now, let's take a closer look at the motherboard itself.

   

     

   

     

 

Obviously, DFI has chosen a green UV sensitive motif for its NFII Ultra B motherboard.  The DIMM slots, FDD and EIDE connectors, as well as the expansion slots are all composed of the green UV reactive material.  Put this motherboard in a case with a window and a black light and it really comes to life.  Besides the physical aesthetics being quite extravagant on this motherboard, there is more under the hood than meets the eye.  This motherboard is packed with add-on features.  Dual LAN, four SATA connectors, three IEEE-1394 connectors, and up to 6 USB 2.0 ports to name a few.  That's a lot of IOs to stuff onto one motherboard so let's cover the layout a bit.

The Layout of the motherboard is well done with only a few setbacks.  The CPU socket area is a bit tight and we had some trouble installing our Thermaltake Volcano 11+ heatsink onto this motherboard.  So all of those with an oversized after market heatsink in mind, should check to be sure it will fit on this motherboard.  The ATX power connector is slammed right up against the CPU fan power header which makes the wire organization a bit awkward and messy.  The other two fan headers on this motherboard, chassis fan and utility fan, are squeezed in at the very bottom of the motherboard, just on the other side of the last PCI slot, making them extremely hard to reach, especially over PCI add in cards.  Other than those minor quibbles, we liked the design of this motherboard in terms of the EIDE and FDD connectors which are the top, right hand side of the motherboard.  This is an ideal placement for even full-sized towers.  The DIMM slots will not interfere with the AGP slot as we were able to change memory modules without the removal of the video card.  Overall, this is well designed motherboard and one we find little fault with.

There are a few proprietary add-in features to this motherboard.  DFI adds a reset and power button on the bottom of the motherboard which makes this motherboard extremely easy to use when sitting outside of a case.  This comes is extremely handy when troubleshooting any problems the motherboard may have.  A passive heatsink was placed on the Southbridge chip of this motherboard, which is a nice touch since it does get hot during operation.  A larger, passive heatsink was used on the Northbridge chip as well.  While these passive heatsinks do provide some head room in terms of overclocking the motherboard, a heatsink fan combination is preferable of course , especially on the Northbridge.  Four SATA headers provide a wealth of RAID configurations such as RAID 0, 1,0+1, and JBOD.  The Dual LAN on this motherboard includes both a 10/100 connection as well as a Gigabit connection.  Overall we were very impressed with all the options the DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B motherboard has to offer.

DFI LANParty BIOS Setup
CMOS Reloaded

Click images for full view
   

     

     

     

If you were impressed with this motherboard's hardware, be sure the the BIOS firmware will not let you down either.  The DFI LANparty motherboard incorporates the Phoenix AWARD BIOS.  There are a lot of details to mention here so let's dive right in.  The advanced chipset screen allows the timings of the RAM to be set to many different combinations.  Entering the "Genie BIOS" screen is where you'll find the heart and soul of this BIOS.  For those of you with unlocked Athlon processors, there is wide array of multipliers to choose from.  To compliment this multipliers, the CPU clock can bet set from 100 MHz all the way up to 300 MHz in 1 MHz increments.  The DRAM clock is just as adjustable with ratios of "By SPD", 1:1, 2:1, 5:4 and 6:5 to name a few.  The AGP clock can be set to anything from 50 MHz, or 66 MHz all the way to 100MHz in 1 MHz increments.  

On to the voltages... We have the option to change the CPU core voltage from "Auto" all the way up to 2.000V in 0.025V increments.  The DRAM voltage is adjustable all the way up to 3.30V in 0.1V increments.  The AGP and chipset voltages are also changeable and have five options each.  Now if all these options don't tickle your fancy, then we're sure this next one will.  DFI has called it "CMOS Reloaded" and it allows the user to save different BIOS profiles for fast switching.  The user can save up to four different BIOS configurations and distinctly name each one of those.  This screen comes in extremely handy in the event the BIOS needs to be reset.  We were very impressed with the LANParty NFII Ultra B's BIOS, due to the fact it is geared directly toward the enthusiast and has every option you would like to see in such a motherboard.  Let's see how the ABIT AN7 compares.

ABIT and UGuru For You

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DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards - Page 3

DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B vs. ABIT AN7
The Clash of the nForce2 Ultra's

By: Tom Laverriere
February 29, 2004

     

We configured identical test setups for both of the motherboards used in the following benchmarks.  We used a standard WinXP Professional installation with Service Pack 1.  Automatic Updates, and System Restore were turned off and the Windows GUI was set to "best performance" in the visual effects section of the advanced settings control panel.  Here are the specifications of our system.

HotHardware Test Setup
Primed For Some Action

 

Motherboard:

DFI LANParty nForce2 Ultra B Motherboard

Abit AN7 nForce2 Ultra Motherboard

 

Common Hardware and Software:

AMD 2800+ Athlon XP Barton Processor 333MHz FSB

2 x 256MB Kingston HyperX PC3500 Memory

AOpen Aeolus FX5600S 256MB (Drivers - v.53.03 WHQL)

Seagate 40GB ATA-100 7200RPM Hard Drive

On-Board Sound

WinXP Professional w/ SP1

DirectX 9.0b

NVIDIA Unified Driver Package v3.13

 

Sandra Benchmarks
Synthetic Testing

To get things started we put the motherboards through a round of Sandra benchmarks and below are screenshots of the results achieved from both motherboards.

 

DFI LANParty 

CPU Test

 

ABIT AN7

CPU Test

 

 Mem Test

 

 Mem Test

 

MM Test

 

MM Test

 

Both boards perform well here and  there is nothing out of the ordinary to report here.  The Memory Test has both boards coming in over 3000 MB/s which is very respectable for an Athlon XP based system.  Now that we have put both boards through a quick round of benchmarks we decided to have a go at overclocking each board.  Let's find out what how well each motherboard produced. 

Overclocking the nForce2 Ultra
Removing the Restrictor Plate

Even though both motherboards offer the same about the same voltage adjustment granularity, we were a bit surprised to find out that we ran into a "dead heat" with overclocking.  Both the DFI LANParty and ABIT AN7 motherboards topped out at 10.5 X 230 MHz giving us 2420 MHz of processing power.  Below are some screenshots of both motherboards run through another round of Sandra benchmarks at the overclocked speed.

DFI LANParty:

 

CPUID

 

CPU Test 2.42GHz

Mem Test 2.42GHz

MM Test 2.42GHz

ABIT AN7:

 

CPUID

 

CPU Test 2.42GHz

Mem Test 2.42GHz

MM Test 2.42GHz

 

Even though the ABIT AN7 motherboard allows for a 2.313V to the core, which is higher than the DFI LANParty allowed (2.000V), it did not help achieve a higher overclock.  Both of these overclocks were achieved with standard air cooling and the CPU core voltage set to 2.000V and the DRAM voltage set to 3.0V.  The reason we decided on a 10.5X multiplier was to get our sticks of PC3500 to at least its default rating of DDR433, which means a front side bus of 216 MHz must be reached.  Once we hit that, we upped the DRAM voltage and cranked along.  After topping out at 230 MHz, we tried a bunch of different settings to get higher but to no avail.  We backed off on the timings of the RAM, we tried different multipliers, but the best performance spot we could hit in terms of both memory bandwidth and total MHz was 10.5X by 230 MHz.  This is nothin to sneeze at, as a retail Athlon XP 2800+ ships with a multiplier of 12.5X and a front side bus of 166 MHz giving us 2075 MHz.  We managed to hit 2420 MHz giving us an effective 16% increase of total MHz not to mention a front side bus running at 460 MHz!  This speaks volumes of both the chipset and memory modules we were using in our setup, since even at this speed we were able to keep RAM timings of 2-3-3-6 with Kingston's HyperX product.

Also worth noting is how much higher the memory test scores were for the DFI motherboard compared to the ABIT motherboard at the overclocked settings.  The DFI LANParty motherboard scored 3496 MB/s while the ABIT AN7 motherboard managed just 3293 MB/s with the same exact settings.  This is a 6% difference in scores which we found to be rather odd considering both boards were run using the same exact timings.  This maybe something that can be remedied with a simple BIOS revision for the ABIT motherboard, but at this point there's no way of knowing. 

Now that we've looked at both default and overclocked performance of the motherboards, let's run them through some real world applications and get some numbers.
 

Winstone Benchmarks

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DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards - Page 4

DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B vs. ABIT AN7
The Clash of the nForce2 Ultra's

By: Tom Laverriere
February 29, 2004

     

Using the latest version of Business Winstone 2004 and Content Creation Winstone 2004, let's get a feel for real desktop performance from these motherboards.  For default test settings we ran our 2800+ CPU using a 10.5X multiplier and a front side bus of 200 MHz giving us 2.1 GHz.  This is obviously running our 2800+ at a 3000+ setting, allowing us to take advantage of the full 400MHz System Bus bandwidth of the nForce 2 Ultra 400 chipset.

Business and Content Creation Winstone 2004
Desktop Application Performance

Applications used in the Business Winstone 2004 tests include:

  • Microsoft® Access 2002 SP-2

  • Microsoft® Excel 2002 SP-2

  • Microsoft® FrontPage 2002 SP-2

  • Microsoft® Outlook 2002 SP-2

  • Microsoft® PowerPoint 2002 SP-2

  • Microsoft® Project 2002 SP-2

  • Microsoft® Word 2002 SP-2

  • WinZip® 8.1 SR-1

  • Norton Antivirus? Professional Edition 2003

 

 

 

Applications used in the Content Creation Winstone 2004 tests include:

  • Adobe® Photoshop® 7.0.1

  • Adobe® Premiere® 6.50

  • Macromedia® Director MX 9.0

  • Macromedia® Dreamweaver MX 6.1

  • Microsoft® Windows Media? Encoder 9 Version 9.00.00.2980

  • NewTek's LightWave® 3D 7.5b

  • Steinberg? WaveLab? 4.0f

 

 

 

It's no surprise to see that both motherboards managed nearly identical scores in these benchmarks, since they are running at the same settings and because the Winstone tests are very hard disk intensive.  We have a 7200 RPM Seagate 40GB EIDE drive with an 8MB buffer hooked up for these tests, so we're probably seeing the bottleneck there more than any other component in the system.  Next up in our benchmarking queue, we have some high end workstation metrics using SPECViewperf and more overall system measurements using Futuremark's PCMark 2004.

 

SPECViewperf and PCMark 2004

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DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards - Page 5

DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B vs. ABIT AN7
The Clash of the nForce2 Ultra's

By: Tom Laverriere
February 29, 2004

     

While SPECViewperf mainly gives us an idea of how the graphics subsystem performs, it is also designed to showcase a system's bandwidth and over all application performance as well.

SPECViewperf 7.1.1
High-End Workstation Performance

Again in this test we're seeing almost identical scores, but the DFI LANParty motherboard manages to outscore its counterpart in every category.  While the differences are minor, they are performance gains nonetheless.  The biggest difference can be seen in the dx-08 set of benchmarks at the overclocked settings.  We're still not ready to declare a winner or a trend at this point however, since all scores are probably within a margin of error.

 

PCMark 2004
Synthetic CPU, Memory, and HDD Bandwidth Testing

PCMark 2004 is another synthetic benchmark that utilizes standard desktop functions like JPEG Decoding, Audio Compression and Text Search. 

 

 

The HDD and CPU scores seem to be neck and neck, but its interesting to see that the DFI LANParty motherboard again manages its largest lead in the memory performance category.  Perhaps DFI has managed to better utilize or enhance the memory timings and subsystem on its motherboard compared to the ABIT motherboard.  Regardless of what the real culprit is, it's obvious that DFI is a better performer when it comes to the memory subsystem benchmarks.  Enough of the synthetic stuff, let's get down and dirty with some real 3D Gaming scenarios.

UT 2003, Halo, Aquamark 3 and The Ratings

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DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards - Page 6

DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B vs. ABIT AN7
The Clash of the nForce2 Ultra's

By: Tom Laverriere
February 29, 2004

     

For our set of gaming benchmarks we used the Unreal Tournament 2003 demo, Halo - Combat Evolved, and Aquamark 3.  This will give us a feel for both Direct X and OpenGL gaming performance.  To take as much stress off of the graphics subsystem as possible and put the overall system bandwidth and compute power to work, we ran the benchmarks at a 640x480 resolution.

Gaming Benchmarks
DX8, DX9 and OpenGL Gaming Performance

Using a custom "Fly By" benchmark for Unreal Tournament 2003, we did a test on the Citadel level.  Both boards are once again neck and neck, although at overclocked speeds we're seeing the DFI motherboard pull away a more significantly.  Perhaps this has something to do with the memory subsystem of the DFI motherboard again and if that's the case it shows that DFI has taken the extra time to really tune this board and get as much as it can from it performance wise.

 

Following the Readme file provided with Halo, we ran a timedemo at both default and overclocked speeds.  Once again the motherboards are chugging along hand in hand.  The DFI board once again shows a slight lead in this benchmark.  More noticeable is how the overclocked scores are barely ahead of the default settings which points to the fact that this game is highly dependent on the graphics subsystem regardless of the resolution.

 

Auqamark 3 uses a DirectX 9 enhanced gaming engine, along with some DX8 and DX7 pixel shader programs.  Once again we set the resolution to 640x480.  Continuing with the trend, the DFI LANParty motherboard manages an ever so slight lead at both the default and overclocked settings.  The overclocked scores managed to outpace the default scores by a bigger margin this time which shows system bus bandwidth is an important factor when running Aquamark 3.

 

Besides the chipset of these two motherboards being the same, they are quite different when looking at the details.  It's obvious from an enthusiast point of view that the DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B motherboard offers an all around package that is hard to beat.  While the ABIT AN7 doesn't have all the bells and whistles its competitor had, it shines as well where it matters most, in performance.  Throughout the benchmarks these two motherboards were almost dead even with a slight advantage going to DFI.  Maybe only a small point to fret over was the memory subsystem performance of the ABIT AN7 motherboard, but again this can be easily resolved with a simple BIOS revision in the future. 

Deciding on a motherboard is never easy, but in this case we think the decision is easier because each board will appeal to a different audience.  Only the true enthusiasts among us will be able to completely appreciate what the DFI LANParty solution has to offer: 4 SATA ports, Dual LAN, a distinctive look and an amazing bundle.  The price point of the DFI motherboard is higher, currently around $145 or so while the Abit AN7 lists for around $105.  However, the NFII Ultra B's price is right in line with what you are getting in return.  The ABIT AN7 motherboard is in most ways your basic run of the mill nForce2 Ultra motherboard, but certainly performs better than average and shouldn't be overlooked with its powerful "ųGuru" overclocking feature.  Each motherboard offers its own special feature for overclocking.  DFI offers its CMOS Reloaded feature, while ABIT sports its ųGuru processor and "On the Fly" overclocking.  We feel the ųGuru system is not as mature as we'd like to see it yet, but it's a stride in the right direction and will work well enough for most uses.  So in the end, it comes down to performance.  While both motherboards performed admirably, the DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B did manage to outpace the ABIT AN7 by a hair in almost every benchmark.  From our standpoint we'll conclude that both of these motherboards are great products overall, delivering performance and features proportional to their respective price points.

We're giving the DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of:

 
 
 
And the ABIT AN7 also scores a Heat Meter rating of:
 

 

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DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards - Page 7
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