It's certainly clear that there is a new chipset player on the Core 2 field and both nVidia and Intel better look out. The performance figures for the first released RD600 chipset are amazing, its overclocking is incredible, and its feature set is quite impressive. It's easily the best chipset we have seen designed by the folks at ATI in terms of not just performance and overclocking but also features.
ATI certainly did take its time though with regards to releasing this chipset. Rumours flew around for at least half a year in 2006 about the RD600, and the AMD and ATI merger didn't do much for its publicity, especially for Intel-fearing companies. Who wants to make a motherboard using a chipset from AMD for an Intel processor and risk making Intel annoyed at them? DFI had the balls and did it and did it well, too.
DFI for its first Crossfire 3200 Intel motherboard has done a great job, while there is a bit of room for improvement, the first release is incredible in terms of firstly overclocking which is the best we have seen in our labs from any Core 2 motherboard to date and performance and features are also A grade. And as far as pricing goes, it should cost around $250 USD in most regions which makes it about the same as most regular nForce 680i motherboard, minus of course the ASUS Striker.
All we can hope is to see some more BIOS updates allowing higher FSB's rather than having to cheat by using PLL overrides and software clock gens. Nevertheless, DFI are likely going to sell a lot of these motherboards to overclockers and if you are one of those people who like taking things to the extreme, you'll have plenty of fun tinkering with this motherboard as it was made for you guys!
First RD600 motherboard
Ultra overclocking friendly (best Core 2 board we have tested so far)
Very good performance even at stock
Crossfire and Quad Core support
Full featured layout with overclockers in mind
Should cost about the same as most 680i boards (around $250 USD)
Only goes to 511Mhz FSB - need to tweak setting or use softclock gen to run higher
Not cheap but not overly expensive either
Rating - 9.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Editor's Choice Award!