Articles: Mainboards

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Closer Look

DFI LANPARTY PRO875B is intended to satisfy the needs of the most demanding user, where hardcore gamers surely belong. This fact explains the high price of the product and the abundance of interfaces and protocols supported by it. The i875P chipset used for this board contributes a lot to this. For today, it is truly the most functional and high-performing chipset. Spicing it up with a pinch of additional onboard controllers, DFI concocted a well-balanced and high-quality product.

Of course, DFI LANPARTY PRO875B supports every modern Socket478 processor, the 800MHz FSB and Hyper-Threading technology, but that’s really not a problem today. What’s more important is whether this mainboard will be capable of working with the upcoming processors on the 90nm Prescott core. So far, the official list of processors approved for the use with the mainboard is capped from above by the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.2GHz. As for the Prescott support, DFI never mentions it.

As you know, a mainboard that is claimed to support Prescott processors should feature an improved CPU voltage regulator circuit with increased output wattage, compatible with the Prescott FMB 1.5, and some indirect evidence suggests that DFI LANPARTY PRO875B will handle the Prescott just all right. First, the three-phase CPU voltage regulator installed on the mainboard differs from the one on the previous revision (without the “B”). Second, the declared support of the Pentium 4 EX already requires the mainboard to output high wattage to the CPU, and LANPARTY PRO875B seems to have no problems with that. So, I have some hopes about this mainboard with respect to the upcoming Prescott.

DFI LANPARTY PRO875B, as well as any other i875P or even i865PE-based mainboard, supports up to 4GB of dual-channel DDR SDRAM. With a FSB frequency of 133MHz, it supports DDR266 and DDR333. DDR400 can be used with 200MHz FSB. There are four DIMM slots, two for each memory channel. The dual-channel mode can be enabled when you flick the modules in pairs into the slots of the same color. i875P is the most expensive chipset from Intel for desktop PCs; as a result the mainboard supports ECC. LANPARTY PRO875B also features Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT), which is automatically enabled when you clock the FSB at 800MHz and use DDR400 SDRAM. Well, as you surely know some i865PE-based mainboards offer PAT, too, although Intel didn’t originally intend it to be there.

The network controller installed on the mainboard complies with the Gigabit Ethernet standard, and that’s nice. It’s even nicer that DFI didn’t play a miser and used an Intel PRO/1000CT Gigabit LAN chip (Intel 82547). It means the network controller is attached directly to the North Bridge across the dedicated CSA bus (2Mbit/s bandwidth), rather than to the South Bridge across the relatively slow PCI. So, the Gigabit network solution we have in this mainboard should work faster than those that use the PCI, while the PCI bus itself is free to serve other devices.

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