Features - A look at the Motherboards (Continued)
For those of you only venturing into the motherboard scene as of recently, allow me to give you a brief description on the differences between the chipsets with both motherboards.
- Chipset Rundown
The 865PE and Pro 875B motherboards are both designed with the Intel platform in mind as mentioned already. The 865PE is based on the "Springdale" standard unlike the 875 chipset of which is "Canterwood", at the end of the day the differences are very subtle. Basically, the only real world features and abilities the 865PE chipset lacks over that of the somewhat more expensive 875P is CSA LAN, ECC memory support, and "PAT". Although CSA LAN eliminates any bottlenecks within the PCI bus, you only benefit from it most when fully utilizing an actual Gigabit Ethernet connection. I will still admit it's comforting to know it's there, though. Aside from that, all the usual features of today such as Hyper Threading / 8x AGP / Dual Channel / 800MHz FSB support are seen on both motherboards. The big plus with motherboards based on the 865PE chipset is that they are considerably cheaper, allowing for a more cost effective solution over the somewhat more expensive i875P Canterwood range.
In reference to "PAT" (Performance Acceleration Technology) seen only on the 875P chipsets, shortly after the release of the i865PE chipset it was discovered that "PAT" could be enabled quite easily, and thus closed much of the performance gap between Springdale and Canterwood. Several motherboard manufacturers have gone about this by sneaking behind the Intel Engineer's backs with slight alterations to the name. For instance, Soltek call theirs "MBA" otherwise known as "Memory Boost Accelerator". DFI have of course done the same here with their 865PE, naming their variation to the functionality as "Super Patch". By default its disabled on this motherboard, however we decided to enable it during our overclocked bench tests of which you will see shortly.
DFI have also implemented yet another unique and highly useful feature to all of their latest LANPARTY "B" revision motherboards (as well as the 865PE), labeled as CMOS Reloaded, this enables the user to select/tweak, define, save, and rename the CMOS. Currently, CMOS Reloaded allows you to save two distinct CMOS configurations. This is a brilliant idea, particularly for the vast majority of overclockers and enthusiasts out there who do not wish to write their overclocking settings down on paper.
Now that you've had a brief rundown on the differences across the chipsets themselves, let's focus on the remaining features between both motherboards.
- Onboard Audio
DFI have chosen to go with the C-Media CMI9739a 6-Channel codec for both motherboards. Although it is nothing spectacular when compared to the likes of an Audigy 2, it is still more than sufficient for the average user who isn't overly fussed on the clarity of their sound output. An SPDIF in & out interface is included on the rear I/O panel (in place of what would have been a serial port) allowing for connection via a digital receiver.
- Additional Features (865PE)
-Silicon Image 3112a PCI to Serial ATA RAID controller provides two ports
- Intel ICH5 Southbridge provides two Serial ATA ports
- VIA VT6306 PCI 1394 integrated host controller provides three Firewire ports
- Realtek RTL8110S Gigabit LAN interface provides full duplex at 10/100/1000Mbps
As you can see, this motherboard certainly isn't lacking in the features dept. I am still a big fan of motherboards including PATA RAID but at the end of the day, we all know it's a slowly (but surely) dying interface.
- Additional Features (Pro875B)
- Intel ICH5R Serial ATA RAID controller provides two ports
- Highpoint 372N RAID controller provides two Parallel ATA ports
- CSA 82547EI Gigabit LAN Interface provides full duplex at 10/100/1000Mbps
Hmm, the obvious question here. Where's our Firewire, DFI? Apart from that, this motherboard has everything you need.
All in all, DFI have provided us with the usual assortment of features enthusiasts would expect to see on motherboards of today. Tied in with the all the goodies the box itself provides, DFI have given us an array of features galore.
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