Articles: Mainboards

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DFI LAN PARTY KT400A: Features

So, this mainboard has everything you might wish as far as accessories are concerned. The situation with its functionality is about the same. Firstly, there are ultra-violet highlighted PCI, DIMM and IDE slots and connectors. The special IDE and FDD cables add to the impression. I doubt that it has any favorable effect on the mainboard functions, but what a treat for people who have windows in their system cases! Secondly, the mainboard carries numerous red light-emitting diodes. Four of them serve diagnostics purposes, so they are similar to Dr.LED from AOpen or POST-codes from EPoX we will meet later. Two more LEDs indicate the power status of PCI and memory slots thus helping to prevent them from damage. The LEDs are quite bright and can even light up a dark room. I guess they look cool in a system case with a side window.

One more nice thing about this mainboard is the power and reset buttons. This feature will be of little use during regular work, but may come in handy when you work with the mainboard not installed into the system case, because it will save you time and trouble searching for the proper pins to be closed with the tip of the screwdriver.

What is next? Well, LAN is Local Area Network, so DFI LAN PARTY should offer something exceptional in this respect. And it does with its two Ethernet controllers. The first of them is a VIA VT6103 PHY-controller; the second is RTL801L from Realtek. Thus, if you need, you may use this mainboard as a router for your home LAN. The Ethernet ports are placed at the back panel, so there was no place left for the game port. It comes on an additional back panel bracket. Furthermore, the mainboard couldn’t accommodate all mini-jack connectors, so you will have to mess up with the drivers assigning the FRONTX connector for microphone in, or use an S/PDIF-input speaker set. The bracket with this input port as well as output port is enclosed with the mainboard.

Now, to the HDD subsystem. The mainboard uses an advanced IDE RAID controller from Highpoint – HPT372N. This chip is better than PDC20376 used in Gigabyte’s products (we will talk about it a bit later). So, the HPT372N controller supports RAID arrays of levels 0 (stripe), 1 (mirror), 0+1 (stripe + mirror), JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) and RAID 1.5. The first four array types are quite well-known, while the last one is used less often.

The capacity of a RAID 1.5 array equals the capacity of each of the drives (two identical drives are required). The data are stored on one half of each drive, while the second half mirrors the first half of the other drive. Thus, the data are fully mirrored and the data security is analogous to RAID 1 (mirror). Also in some conditions the data can be read from two HDDs simultaneously, like in Stripe, which should theoretically ensure aster work of the entire disk subsystem. It is true that RAID 1.5 does perform better than RAID 1, though not in all cases. Nevertheless, this technology can ensure a performance boost at the same price (RAID 1.5 requires two HDDs, i.e. the same as RAID 1).

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