Package and Contents
In usual fashion we start off with the package and contents that you get with the board. When you're paying a premium for a board, you hope to get a little more than just a board and one or two cables. DFI supplies the board in a standard ATX sized box; no over sizing here. The front has very little apart from the DFI and LANParty logos.
On the back we have a lot of different marketing info. Unfortunately DFI doesn't supply any artwork of the board on the back; in today's market if you really want to get ahead, a full colour photo of the board helps to make the final decision.
DFI provides a reasonable cable bundle with the board. For the interface cables, DFI gives you a total of four serial ATA data cables. While the board does support eight drives in total, four is enough to get started. The cables are also green in colour and are UV reactive; if they are placed under a UV black light, they will glow a bright green.
As for the parallel cable bundle, DFI has two sets; a FDD cable with single drive support and an IDE cable that supports two drives. The cables have been rounded (something we don't see much of these days, but as we know, they were very popular before SATA) and are also sleeved in the same UV reactive tubing that the SATA cables come in.
DFI doesn't use any heat pipes to cool their boards. If you plan to run a water cooled system, the chipset comes bare on the board. There's no heatsink attached if you want to use a water block. If you aren't, a heatsink is included that you can attach to the boards Northbridge. One thing that was noticed is the size and how close it is to the CPU area; if you do install this, some heatsinks won't fit. Our OCZ Vanquisher wouldn't fit with this board due to the fans placement.
If you plan to use the included heatsink, a small tube of thermal interface material is included. While it is adequate, using something better like MX-2 would be a much better idea.
Like ASUS, DFI goes that extra mile with its sound cards. The HDA audio codec is placed on a daughter board. This is supposed to promote better audio quality by keeping the audio components away from the boards internal noise circuitry.
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