DFI RDX200 CF-DR MotherboardThe Motherboard - DFI RDX200 CF-DR- Package and Contents The last time we saw a "Lanparty" motherboard from DFI, it had a huge box this time the box is a little bit more normal sized. The RDX200 CF-DR is part of the Lanparty UT series which is a bit of a cut down bundle. The normal Lanparty comes with a whole bunch of extras which in the end make it more expensive. The box for the CF-DR is quite nice and really stands out in the red. The front of the box doesn't show much more then the processors supported by the board, in this case X2, FX and Athlon 64. We can also see that it supports Crossfire which is the big thing around this chipset.
DFI RDX200 CF-DR Motherboard Cont.RDX200 CF-DR Continued- Motherboard LayoutThe RDX200 CF-DR looks similar to a lot of the motherboards in the DFI line up with the yellow and orange theme seen throughout the motherboard. The general overall look of the motherboard is nice.
HIS Radeon X850XT Master CardGraphics Cards - HIS Radeon X850XT- In The Box As we have mentioned the main emphasis of this article is Crossfire and as you would expect we have a Crossfire setup in place. While we would like to be utilizing a Radeon X1800XT Crossfire setup that isn't going to happened thanks to X1800 Master cards being non existent at the moment.
HIS Radeon X850XT Master Card Cont.The Graphics Cards Continued- The Cards Moving to the cards we can see that from the below view that they look exactly the same. Both cards use the standard X850XT cooler and from front on you wouldn't be able to tell which the master card is and which the normal X850XT is.
The Other PartsThe Other Parts- Crucial Ballistix RAMEvery good system needs good memory and now quantity is becoming important but thanks to companies like Crucial its not a matter of quantity over quality as we have with us a set of their DDR500 2GB kit which comes with a great looking heatsink and timings of 3-4-4-8 @ 2.8Volt.
Overclocking the SystemOverclocking the SystemOverclocking of our system is done in two parts; firstly we overclocked the processor which also overclocked the memory. Once we found a stable setting in Windows and we are able to run some of the more strenuous benchmarks without any trouble, we then move onto overclocking the HIS graphics cards. The DFI BOS is absolutely full of different settings and just about everything can be adjusted down to the tee. While we have been able to see our X2 achieve clocks of around the 2.6GHz mark today we didn't have that kind of luck.The maximum stable overclock we found with the DFI Crossfire motherboard was 2.35GHz. This was achieved at a front side bus of 235MHz which is nothing to sneeze at. This is almost a 20% increase in CPU speed and considering we still find ourselves quite new to the BIOS on offer from DFI, we have no doubt that the board is able to achieve more with some tinkering. At this speed we also ran the memory at 1:1 which is still under spec for the Crucial modules so we would be a bit worried if we ran into troubles with the memory.Moving on to the HIS graphics cards we find ourselves loading up old faithful ATI Tool to see what we can do. As far as we can tell when it came to overclocking it would seem that we are only overclocking the master card which comes stock at 520MHz on the core and 540MHz on the memory. We were able to increase this to what was a quite impressive 586MHz on the core and 609MHz on the memory or in DDR this is 1218MHz which is quite a nice memory speed.A quick run down shows that @ stock speeds our X2 3800+ runs at 2GHz and the X850XT Master Card runs at a stock core speed of 520MHz and memory speed of 540MHz or 1080MHz DDR. The overclocked setup finds our X2 3800+ running at an increased rate of 2.35GHz and our X850XT Master Card being increased to 586MHz on the core and 609MHz or 1218MHz DDR on the memory.
Benchmarks - Test System SetupTest System SetupProcessor(s): AMD Athlon X2 3800+ @ Various SpeedsMotherboard(s): DFI Lanparty UT RDX200 CF-DR (Supplied by Bronet Australia)Video Card: 2 X HIS X850XT (1 x Master Card) (Supplied by HIS)Hard Disk(s): WD Raptor 74GB 10,000RPM SATA (Supplied by Western Digital)CPU Cooling: Gigabyte G-Power Pro Cooler (GH-PDU21-MF) (Supplied by Gigabyte)Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP1Drivers: ATI Catalyst 5.11 and DX9cWhen it came to testing the Crossfire as we mentioned in the overclocking section we will simply be testing it against itself to see what the platform is truly capable of. We will be running the system at its stock speeds through our normal array of benchmarks and then with the maximum overclock on both the CPU and VGA. While we would normally benchmark at lower resolutions when looking at a motherboard we will be running our normal benchmark setups which include 1024 x 768 and 1600 x 1200 as we want to see how the system performs in a gaming situation. This is the reason you do spend the money on buying two graphics cards after all.We have also included a few system benchmarks in the shape of SiSoft Sandra and PC Mark. The reason for this is more to see what kind of theoretical performance increase we get when overclocking the system. If we get more memory and CPU bandwidth, hopefully this will help with the VGA overclock to really give us some extra power in our games and normal 3D benchmarks.Before we get onto the results we must mention that we didn't run all the benchmarks we would like. It seemed that even with all the up to date drivers we had trouble running Far Cry, Half Life 2 and F.E.A.R. on the Crossfire solution. A fresh install was included on the hard drive along with all the up to date drivers. We do have another Crossfire board coming so we will re-evaluate it and see where we are sitting then and we also do have a 975X board coming which supports Crossfire. Hopefully it's no more then some teething issues as it is still quite a new technology for ATI.
Benchmarks - SiSoft SandraSiSoft SandraVersion and / or Patch Used: 2005Developer Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.co.ukProduct Homepage: http://sisoftware.jaggedonline.com/index.php?location=home&a=TTA&lang=enBuy It Here
Benchmarks - PCMarkPCMarkVersion and / or Patch Used: 2005Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/pcmark04/Buy It Here
Benchmarks - 3DMark033DMark03Version and / or Patch Used: Build 360Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark03/Buy It Here
Benchmarks - 3DMark053DMark05Version and / or Patch Used: Build 120Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/Buy It Here
Benchmarks - Doom 3Doom 3Version and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.idsoftware.com Product Homepage: http://www.doom3.comBuy It Here
Benchmarks - Quake 4Quake 4Version and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.idsoftware.com Product Homepage: http://www.quake4game.comBuy It Here
Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AFHigh Quality AA and AFIn our High Quality tests we bump the Antialiasing (AA) and Anisotropic Filtering (AF) up causing the card(s) to be put under more load.This usually helps us remove the CPU limitation. We use 4 x AA and 8 x AF as this is quite a common setup for most people who are venturing into the AA and AF area.
Final ThoughtsFinal ThoughtsThe problem is we have what seems to be a nice bunch of components all let down by one common problem. The motherboard from DFI is fantastic, it offers an absolute bucket load of features, a number of tweaking options in the BIOS, was extremely easy to setup, has a great layout and is just overall a great board. The only problem that we can really find with it is the chipset it uses; it lacks items like SATA2 not because DFI didn't have access to it or want to implement it but because the ATI Southbridge doesn't support it. The same goes for the HIS cards here, both cards are great, overclocking on the master card was extremely easy and we can see that it was extremely effective but the problem is that Crossfire just isn't really ready yet for everybody. It is obvious that the performance advantage is there as if we venture over to our last Catalyst Analysis article and compare the score we get on a standard X850XT in our nForce 4 system at times it is a lot lower then the Crossfire setup.It is clear that some people no matter what you tell them thought are going to want the Crossfire motherboard be it because they are an ATI fan boy or girl or just don't want to use the nVidia offering. If you are in this category the DFI board is great but it is probably aimed at your intermediate user when it comes to BIOS. Not because its hard to overclock but because if you really want to get full potential out of it you do have to get in deep with it.While our overclock wasn't the best we have seen when it was at this speed it was 100% rock solid. We have heard absolutely nothing in regards to what is happening with the X1800 master cards which makes us wonder if ATI realize that this technology just isn't right yet.There isn't a lot of information on the net about Crossfire because it seems that samples really are quite thin and our general feel is that ATI (and some of their partners) don't want to make much noise about it. With the problems we had running a few games and some of the horror stories you hear on the internet it is understandable. We will say though that Crossfire for us was extremely easy to setup which is surprising considering the kind of nightmares we and other people went thought when setting up SLI for the first time. Crossfire needs another generation of graphics cards to come around before it really can take off - performance isn't bad but from a price/performance ratio people are going to be better of venturing down an X1800 or 7800GTX path for the time being.
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:26 pm CDT
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