CeBIT exclusive: DFI Infinity 965 board - overclocking party
Author: Grga Curkovic
Date: 23 Mar 2007
DFI enjoys great respect among enthusiasts and overclockers for its motherboards. They earned that respect with their nForce3 and nForce4 boards, which were ahead of their time when they were launched. Though it has only been two years since then, IT is progressing so fast that it can be called ancient history. Don?t be pissed is you are a proud owner of DFI LanParty NF4 Ultra-D or SLI-DR, the author of this text is a proud owner of the latter and still uses it with satisfaction. But since then a lot has changed in the motherboard business and DFI has kept a low profile in the last year. Don?t get us wrong, low profile doesn?t mean they did nothing, it simply means that they didn?t come out with yet another revolutionary board. But that doesn't mean that our usual IT-review-CeBIT-DFI madness can't go on for another year.Getting a perfect balance of price, features and overclockability is a hard job, but guys at DFI have been working hard. The showed us two products at our CeBIT meeting, a nForce 680i LT SLI based Lan Party board that was unfortunately damaged in transport and wasn?t available for a review, and a Intel 965 based Infinity board. The latter was fully functional and we borrowed it for an overnight testing, and that?s how this review was born.
The first thing we noted is that DFI changed the Infinity series design and the PCB is no longer green. The new color is black, and the slots are white and blue. One of the things DFI was criticized about was that the old green PCB was thin. Well, the new PCB looks much better and is thicker. Taking a first look at the board revealed that it has 8 phase voltage regulators which indicate that this board could overclock well. The rest of the layout is pretty much standard, but it?s obvious that guys at DFI have been working hard and paid extra attention to details. As a product of their labor, we can say that all the headers are easily accessible and there are no foolish design flaws. The back side of the board was also carefully designed and there are no resistors behind the CPU so installation of all cooling solutions should be possible. Most (if not all) nForce 600 series boards have resistors at the back of the CPU that prevent you (or just make it hard to, depending on your imagination) from installing some cooling solutions, so working with a board that doesn?t have this flaw was a pleasant surprise. The board has the standard 24 pin and 8 pin power connectors and an additional floppy 4 pin power connector. At first, this looks like a silly solution, but when you think about it, there it frees up one of your molexes, and uses a pretty much redundant connector. It also takes less space on the PCB and makes the design more efficient. Both the northbridge and the southbridge are passively cooled, and that seems to be working well. DFI has been thinking about water cooling and the PCB has holes that will enable you to install coolers or water blocks over voltage regulators. Apart from that, the board has all the standard Intel 965 features. The overall impression of the layout is very good, and actually there is nothing bad we can find on it. The board tested is still not a final product, but from what we have been told it?s 99% finished. Our sample was slightly damaged, to be more exact 3 capacitors were missing, but it still worked. If you can call this kind of overclocking work, actually, because we could use a lot more words for that...