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DFI LAN PARTY KT400A: PCB Design

Let’s see how smartly all the connectors are located on the PCB. Running a little ahead, I must confess that most mainboards we reviewed today provoked no criticisms in terms of PCB design. There is already a common standard most companies follow when designing their products, and any deviations are quite tiny all in all. DFI had to bend aside because couldn’t fit the game port anywhere. That’s why the PCB carries one more connector, while the USB port, which would have been in its place, moved in between the third and fourth (counting from below) PCI slots. It may cause some difficulties when plugging the cable into it. By the way, ABIT also had no place for the game port in its KD7-S, but made it easy: they just abandoned it altogether thinking no one would ever need this port. Well, this sounds logical enough.

But back to DFI LAN PARTY. The mainboard package doesn’t include the USB bracket (well, they had to forget about something!). This means they suggest you connect the USB ports of the system case to the onboard connector. I also think that the location of the 12V power connector next to a high capacitor is not very convenient: if you are unlucky enough, you may accidentally tear it off trying to unplug the 12V power cable.

As for good things, you can install an AGP graphics card of any length and it won’t block the DIMM slots clips: the memory slots are placed at a distance from the AGP slot.

DFI LAN PARTY KT400A: BIOS

This mainboard is controlled by a BIOS from Phoenix/Award. There is nothing wrong about this particular BIOS, except a strange location of settings that enable/disable the mainboard’s integrated controllers. You usually find them in Integrated Peripherals, but DFI somehow chose to include them into Genie BIOS Setup – the page that contains overclocking and voltage options and so on. The name itself – Genie – is not too appropriate, I think. I only guessed its purpose by its place in the main menu – it was the same as in the BIOS’s of other mainboards.

Otherwise, the BIOS of DFI LAN PARTY is quite standard. So, let me finish our story and go over to the next mainboard.

EPoX EP-8K9A9I

EPoX offers two KT400A-based mainboards: EP-8K9A9I and EP-8K9A9+. The latter features a Serial RAID controller (VIA VT6420) and two Serial ATA ones. Both mainboard models use the same PCB, of course.

As for the accessories, there is nothing remarkable about them. Well, the mainboard is a mainstream product, and EPoX has never had the fame of an extravagance manufacturer. The advantages of EPoX mainboards are usually hidden inside – in the overclocking settings and good manufacturing quality.

 
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