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Infinity Reached, DFI's smartest motherboard - 875P and 865PE

By: Cameron Johnson | Socket LGA 775 in Motherboards | Posted: Feb 15, 2004 5:00 am



- Packages and Contents



First off we take a look at the 875 Infinity and its package. DFI has designed a totally new box system for its Infinity boards. In all there are three in the Infinity rage, the 875, 865PE and NFII. These motherboards are coloured grey, blue and black for the Intel motherboards and grey, green and black for the NFII.


Inside the box, DFI has concentrated more on the motherboards rather than adding fancy packing materials and rounded cables like you get in the Lanparty series. Inside the box you get two user manuals - one for the motherboard itself and one for the Highpoint IDE RAID controller, which is pretty simple to setup. One driver CD is included with all the latest Intel INF, IAA and up to date drivers for the other onboard hardware. Two floppy disks are included for Windows 2000, XP and NT for the Highpoint and Intel ICH5R RAID systems. You will need these disks if you have bootable drives on the ICH5R or Highpoint RAID controllers and wish to install one of the above mentioned OS's.


The included cables are simply two standard IDE cables for Primary and Secondary IDE, one FDD cable and two Serial ATA cables for ICH5R Serial ATA. This is identical for the 865PE Infinity except it has it doesn't have the Highpoint RAID manual but rather one for the Silicon Image Serial ATA controller and a floppy disk for XP/2K for the Silicon Image controller for XP/2K installation if you have a bootable disk on the Silicon Image controller.


- The Motherboards - Features and Layout




First off our top images is of the 875 Infinity and below is the 865PE Infinity. As you can see, they both use a red PCB with a very similar layout with very small differences. Both use a reference sized PCB at 30CM by 22.5CM. This PCB accommodates a very robust feature set.


The layout of the expansion components for both are a simple AGP slot supporting 4x and 8x transfer rates as well as five PCI slots for 3.3v/5v 32bit PCI expansion cards. Both motherboards use a Blue/Black DRAM module combination system to identify Channel A and B making the setting up Dual Channel Memory far less stressful.


On the location of the primary components DFI scores a winner on one but moved them on the other, making it loose some points. We are refereeing to the power connectors. Both the 20 pin power connectors are located beside the IDE connectors, however, the placement of the 4 pin power connector on the I875P between the CPU and the DRAM at the top of the motherboard does prevent the cable being draped over the CPU heatsink. The placement of the power connector on the 865PE Infinity is between the Northbridge and the I/O panel, forcing the cable over and around the CPU heatsink, restricting air flow around the CPU.



- Chipsets


The 875 Infinity as you would expect uses the I875P Canterwood chipset, while the 865PE Infinity uses, you guessed it, the I865PE Springdale chipset. Both these chipsets have their positives and negatives; this is why two separate products have been created. If you want Canterwood or Springdale you have it in the Infinity range. Both chipsets are cooled by the same passive cooling solution.


Both use the ICH5R Southbridge. This gives no great advantage to buying either product. If you want the cheaper Springdale you aren't denied ICH5 Serial ATA RAID like we've seen on quite a few other Springdale based motherboards.



Here we see the two additional RAID controllers. The one above is the Highpoint 372N IDE RAID controller on the 875 Infinity. Below is the Silicon Image 3112A Serial ATA RAID controller on the 865PE Infinity.


Again the Network controllers are different on each. The 875 Infinity uses the Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller connected to the CSA bus while the 865PE Infinity uses the Realtek Gigabit controller connected to the PCI bus.



Here you can see the differences between the two DFI Infinity motherboards. On the left you see two switches on the 875 Infinity. These control the power on and reset function. However while the 865PE Infinity uses the same PCB, as you can see the switch mounts are soldered onto the PCB but not included.



Now we see the last of the differences between the two, this being the Firewire controller. Only the 865PE Infinity has Firewire support through the VIA VT6306 PCI Firewire controller chip, which by far for its price is the most impressive Firewire controller chip on the market at the moment.


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