Articles: Mainboards

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PCB Design and Functionality

Despite the rich features of this mainboard and evident complexity of its layout, the design of DFI LANPARTY UT NF680i LT SLI-T2R is practically impeccable:

The mainboard is equipped with three PCI Express x16 slots, two of which work full speed and serve to accommodate two graphics cards in SLI configuration. The last slow runs at 8x speed and the graphics card installed in it may deal with physics calculations. Besides, there are three PCI slots and one PCI Express x4 slot. There are also 6 onboard fan connectors available. Power supply connectors are very conveniently positioned, and the installed graphics card will not block the memory slots latches.

Four small aluminum heatsinks cover the warmest components on the PCB. The heatsink for the digital 6-phase processor voltage regulator circuitry stands out by its design and size.

The digital processor voltage regulator circuitry design has numerous advantages, however if it hadn’t been for space limitations the heatsink could have been even bigger. It heats up incredibly during operation: no previous-generation Intel processors, no top of the line Nvidia chipsets, no flagship ATI graphics cards can ever reach temperatures like that. You can hardly feel it for a second – it is so hot.

The South Bridge is cooler with DFI’s traditional “sun-shaped” copper heatsink. The chipset provides a horizontally aligned FDD and six SATA connectors. There is also an additional Silicon Image SiI3132CNU RAID controller brining two more SATA ports to the board. Among other features we should certainly list Power On and Reset buttons, POST code indicator, color-coded set of front panel pin-connectors and three jumpers.

The red jumper serves for CMOS clearing, although you can achieve the sane effect by simply pressing the Power On and Reset buttons simultaneously. One of the two blue jumpers serves to disable the integrated PC speaker, while the second one will allow you to reboot the system with previous set of parameters in case you over-overclock it and it won’t start, which means you won’t have to reset all BIOS settings to defaults again.

In front of the expansion slots there is ITE IT8718F-S input-output controller, VIA VT6307 IEEE1394 controller and two Gigabit Vitesse VSC8601 controllers. Eight-channel Realtek ALC885 sound controller is relocated onto an add-on daughter-card named after a well-known conductor.

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