Is there any alternative to the NVIDIA nForce4 chipsets these days? We have already asked this question many times before, but we always ended up with the conclusion that the competitor chipset solutions for the Athlon 64 platform could not boast the same high performance and comparable feature set. However, some time ago we got hope that the unshaken domination of this core logic set will soon be over. The hope was pinned on the ATI Technologies, NVIDIA’s primary competitor, who started pushing into the market a new Radeon Xpress 200 chipset and its modification supporting two graphics cards – Radeon Xpress 200 CrossFire. The very first response this ATI chipset received in the industry was based on the very first mainboard for computer enthusiasts – Sapphire PURE Innovation PI-A9RX480 and was not very positive to tell the truth. But first of all, this mainboard was just the first product built on the new ATI Radeon Xpress 200 CrossFire chipset, and secondly, Sapphire Company has never really manufactured top-of-the-line mainboard solutions from the highest price range targeted for gaming and overclocking fans. So, we didn’t make any hopeless conclusions about the new ATI chipset for Athlon 64 platform at that time and decided to wait until other similar solutions appear in the market. We were especially looking forward to the platforms from the well-known developers of enthusiast solutions.
Finally our patience was rewarded and our expectations, which have been warmed up every now and then by the manufacturers revealing their intentions to design a Socket 939 product based on ATI Radeon Xpress 200, came true. Our lab received DFI LanParty UT RDX200 CF-DR mainboard. And it was not a review sample, but a fully-fledged retail product that can be found in stores today.
I have to say that DFI mainboards for Socket 939 platform have become extremely popular. The company owes it mostly to the fact that they have always paid closest attention to overclocking friendly features when working on their products. Therefore, DFI is one of the most respected brands among overclocking fans today. Therefore, we certainly had very high expectations when we got our hands on the DFI LanParty UT RDX200 CF-DR. DFI engineers simply had to squeeze all the juices from the Radeon Xpress 200 chipset to reveal its best features and advantages. That is why we were very much excited about the opportunity to review DFI LanParty UT RDX200 CF-DR mainboard: we hope that it would change our opinion about the Radeon Xpress 200 chipset and would be able to state that NVIDIA nForce4 had finally got a worthy competitor in the market.
So, we were very enthusiastic about this test session. However, before we pass over to the actual results, let’s take a closer look at the formal specifications of this solution.