LANPARTY 925X-T2: The Board & Layout
The LANPARTY 925X-T2 is a well laid out motherboard, with only a few minor issues worth mentioning. Connector placement was very good, and aesthetically speaking it is somewhat unique. No other company uses the same color scheme as DFI's LANPARTY line of motherboards...
The LANPARTY 925X-T2 is built upon a dark colored PCB with orange and yellow connectors and headers. The 925X Northbridge is passively cooled by a relatively large all-copper heatsink, and the ICH6R Southbridge is outfitted with a passive aluminum cooler as well. There is a single PCI Express X16 slot on the 925X-T2, along with three standard PCI slots, and three PCI Express X1 slots. Two of the X1 slots are located in traditional locations, but one of them is situated at the lower-right corner of the board. This oddly positioned slot will likely accommodate RAID controllers, or other similar devices, that don't require any external connections.
As we mentioned earlier, this board is equipped with an ICH6R Southbridge, so it is RAID capable and has full support for Intel's "Azalia" High Definition Audio. DFI uses Realtek's ALC880 codec, which supports 24-bit/192kHz audio through eight output channels to compliment the Azalia audio. But DFI implemented the audio solution in a rather unique manner. The ALC880 and the external inputs and outputs are incorporated onto a separate module, that plugs into a header on the motherboard. According to DFI, confining the audio circuitry to a separate module helps improve audio quality, by reducing electrical noise.
The LANPARTY 925X-T2 is equipped with 4 SATA ports, a single IDE connector, and a single floppy connector. It's also equipped with dual Gigabit Ethernet controllers, one of which uses the PCI bus and the other uses PCI Express link for improved throughput. The board has a 24-pin primary power connector, but it is keyed to accept a 20-pin connectors from standard ATX power supplies as well. The 925X-T2 also has a pair of PCB-mounted power and reset switches, and a set of four diagnostic LEDs that'll light in a specific pattern to report specific POST error codes. The rear I/O panel houses PS/2 mouse and keyboard connectors, 8 audio connectors - including S/PDIF, 6 USB ports, a single Firewire port, and dual RJ-45 jacks.
The only issues we had with the LANPARTY 925X-T2's layout related to the DIMM slots and PCI Express X16 slot. The DIMM slots are located a bit too close to the PEG slot, which makes it difficult to install or remove RAM without also removing the video card. And the retention clip on the PEG slot is also fairly close to a pair of capacitors and a coil mounted to the board. When removing a graphics card, you've got to be careful not to bend either of the caps or the coil when depressing the retention clip.