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BIOS

DFI LANPARTY UT NF680i LT SLI-T2R mainboard was tested with the latest BIOS version at the time of tests dating back to 05.21.2007. it was interesting to see two different BIOS versions on DFI web-site that were dates identically. One of them was specifically optimized for quad-core processors.

The options in the first BIOS sections are quite standard overall. I was surprised to find no way to disable the IEEE1394 controller. I don’t have anything against it, but there is usually an option that allows disabling it if needed.

PC Health Status section contained one very interesting parameter that I haven’t seen anywhere before: CPU Core Temperature Adjust. The new BIOS versions are know to be correcting the actual processor temperature. They usually report lower temperature than it actually is to prevent users from worrying too much about it. As a result, the CPU temperature may be very different depending on the BIOS version and have nothing in common with the real temperature. CPU Core Temperature Adjust allows correcting the utilities’ reporting scale in the interval between -32?C and +32?C with 2?C increment.

I was very pleased with the fact that you can adjust the rotation speed of three fans out of six depending on the components temperatures. Of course, these are only three fans, and not six, like on abit mainboards featuring uGuru technology, but it is still more than one or two fans by most mainboards out there. Unfortunately, these options turned out purely decorative: they didn’t work although processor fan rotation speed adjustment was listed among the fixes of the latest BIOS version.

Actually, I wasn’t at all bothered by the 1500rpm rotation speed of the Scythe Mine fan: it was very quiet. The 50x10mm fan I used for the chipset North Bridge dates back to the days when two fans like that cooled down a Slot A AMD Athlon processor. At that time I was pretty annoyed with the noise generated by these fans running at 4500rpm. However this time, I didn’t mind them at all, because all sounds were nothing compared to the howling of the South bridge fan rotating at over 6000rpm.

Actually, I can’t say that fan rotation speed adjustment doesn’t work at all. The South Bridge fan started at about 2000rpm but in a few seconds it sped up to 6600-6700rpm, which was very loud. The maximum speed I detected on this fan was 6900rpm. So, the rotation speed adjustment does work, although it is automatic and cannot be altered manually. By the time the tests of DFI LANPARTY UT NF680i LT SLI-T2R mainboard were completed I was ready to state that this was a very serious drawback that may affect the buying decision not in favor of this solution.

Another thing in PC Health Status section that may concern you, is the absence of processor Vcore monitoring. However, don’t panic: some of the voltages are displayed in the Voltage Control section:

It seems like a very smart idea to display the voltages in the section where you can actually adjust them rather than among all other monitored parameters of the system.

Just like on abit mainboards supporting uGuru technology, almost all overclocking-friendly settings are put into a single section called Genie BIOS Setting. It is even more convenient than on abit boards, because the memory timings are also here. At the same time it was pretty strange to see additional Silicon Image RAID controller management in this very section with RAID enabled by default.

Let’s start our discussion of Genie BIOS Setting with Voltage Control section. As I have already said, this is where all the current voltages are listed. However, the difference between the actual voltage settings and the ones you select is quite noticeable.

Processor Vcore may be adjusted from 0.44375V to 1.6V with an incredibly small increment of only 0.00625V.

This increment is half the size of what most contemporary mainboards offer, however, this feature didn’t prove very useful in reality. To successfully overclock the processor we used for our tests, we had to raise its Vcore to 1.408-1.41V. Asus Commando mainboard also lowers this voltage setting that is why it is set at 1.45V in the BIOS. I believe that the tiny increment on DFI LANPARTY UT NF680i LT SLI-T2R mainboard would let me set the exact voltage I needed, but the mainboard monitoring reports showed that it was jumping up and down and turned out either set at 1.42V, which was too high, or at 1.4V, which was too low. So, I had to go with 1.45V Vcore setting during our test session, because I would rather put up with a slightly higher core voltage than lower one.

 
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