DFI LanParty nForce2 Ultra

DFI LanParty nForce2 Ultra - Page 1


DFI LANParty nForce2 Ultra
Looks and Performance That Can Kill

By, Tom Laverriere
September 1, 2003

Routine, to some people, is perfectly acceptable.  Knowing what's going to happen at certain times of the day, every single day, is what puts them at ease.  Others believe change is good.  They're always trying to find a way to do something different, better, or faster.  These are the people that like not knowing what to expect and, rather, just react to what happens and make spur-of-the-moment decisions.  Is either approach better than the other?  Not necessarily, it all depends on who you ask.  If you asked DFI, the motherboard manufacturer, what they preferred, all they would have to do is show you their new line of enthusiast motherboards, and you'd know exactly which approach they aspire to.  With their new line of LANParty motherboards, DFI has definitely broken from the mold we see other motherboard manufacturers using.  At first glance, it's easy to see the glamour of these new motherboards.  But DFI didn't just stop at looks.

LAN parties are ever increasing in popularity.  It's when a bunch of geeks like you and us here at HotHardware, get together in the same room with our systems, link up and Deathmatch until we drop.  At first it was just a matter of getting your rig to these places, it didn't matter what it looked like.  Now that modding is a huge sideshow to the whole Enthusiast PC community, catching the eyes of your fellow competitors at one of these LAN parties, is just as important to some, as is winning the Deathmatch.  DFI LANParty motherboards will definitely draw plenty of attention as it certainly did ours.  Today in the HotHardware labs, we have one of those boards from DFI, the nForce2 Ultra 400 LANParty motherboard.  Using NVIDIA's latest nForce2 chipset, the nForce2 Ultra 4000, this board is not only "perty", it should pack plenty of punch, when it comes to performance. 

Let's break it in and see if beauty and brawn can come together in perfect unity.


DFI LANParty NFII Ultra: Featureset

The Green Monster
Dual Channel DDR that Glows

AMD Athlon XP 266/333/400MHz FSB

AMD Athlon 200/266MHz FSB

nVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400 and nForce2 MCP-T

 Supports dual channel memory interface

Supports up to 3GB memory ( unbuffered DIMM )

Uses PC1600 ( DDR200 ), PC2100 ( DDR266 ), PC2700 ( DDR333 ), or PC3200 ( DDR400 ) DDR SDRAM DIMM 2.5V type

Three 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM sockets

L2 cache memory


AC'97 2.2 S/PDIF extension compliant codec

Supports Microsoft DirectSound/DirectSound 3D

AC'97 supported with full duplex, independent sample rate converter for audio recording and playback

6-channel audio output

Dual LAN chips - nVIDIA nForce2 MCP-T and ICS1893PHY, Realtek RTL8101L

Integrated IEEE 802.3, 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX compatible PHY

Integrated power management functions

Full duplex support at both 10 and 100 Mbps

Supports IEEE 802.3u auto-negotiation

Supports wire for management



RAID 0, 1, 0+1, and 1.5

Two independent IDE channels support 4 hard disk drives ( UDMA modes 33/66/100/133 or EIDE )

Supports PIO modes 0/1/2/3/4, DMA modes 0/1/2 and UDMA modes 0/1/2/3/4/5/6

System BIOS
Award BIOS, Windows 95/98/2000/ME/XP Plug and Play compatible

Genie BIOS provides: CPU/DRAM overclocking, CPU/AGP/DRAM/Chipset overvoltage

Supports SCSI sequential boot-up

Flash EPROM for easy BIOS upgrades

Supports DMI 2.0 function

4Mbit flash memory


Internal I/O Connectors
1 x USB 2.0/1.1 connector for 2 additional USB ports

3 x IEEE 1394a ports

1 x game/MIDI port

1 x Front audio connector for external line-out and mic-in jacks

2 x Audio connectors ( AUX-in and CD-in )

1 x 4-channel audio output connector

1 x S/PDIF-in/out connector

1 x IrDA interface

2 x RAID IDE connectors

1 x Serial ATA connector

2 x UDMA IDE connectors

1 x Floppy Drive connector supports up to 2 2.88MB floppy drives

2 x ATX power supply connectors

1 x Wake-On-LAN connector

CPU, chassis and second fan connectors

Back Panel I/O
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports

2 x RJ45 LAN ports

2 x NS16C550A-compatible DB-9 serial ports

1 x SPP/ECP/EPP DB-25 parallel port

1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port

1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port

Three audio jacks: line-out, line-in, and mic-in

Serial ATA

Uses Marvell 88i8030 chip

Supports one SATA interface which is compliant with SATA 1.0 specification


IEEE 1394

Supports IEEE 1394a at 100/200/400 Mb/s transfer rate


System Health Monitoring

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



1 x Transport carrier

1 x FrontX 5.25" bay for additional ports

2 x UV Reactive rounded IDE cables

1 x UV Reactive rounded Floppy cable

1 x Media CD

1 x Driver CD

1 x Intervideo WinCenema CD

1 x 3.5" High Point RAID driver disk

2 x Multi-language manuals

1 x SATA power adaptor

1 x SATA cable

1 x Rear USB bracket

1 x Rear Game/MIDI bracket

1 x Rear S/PDIF-in/out bracket

1 x Silicone Heatsink Paste

5 x Extra long jumpers

1 x LANParty sticker

1 x LANParty Case Badge





Once you get past the looks of the new DFI LANParty NFII Ultra, it's not hard to see that DFI was out to attract true enthusiasts with its impressive array of features.  This board packs just about everything under the sun onto its black PCB, including IDE RAID, SATA, USB 2.0, dual LAN, support for the latest Athlon XP chips with 200MHz FSB, and much more.  DFI has also added plenty of never seen before perks such as fluorescent PCI slots into its total package making this motherboard special on many different levels.  Let's have ourselves a closer look and see if we can show you exactly what we're talking about over here.

Meet the Green Machine: DFI NFII Ultra

Tags:  nforce, LAN, party, Ultra, force, art, ULT, RT, AR

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