The northbridge gets a make over first, but what will come later?
DFI has shown bit-tech
its new intentions for upcoming boards, and the outlook is even more crazy than ever before! Featured on the stand are it's standard LANParty thoroughfare we have known and loved for many years, but that is set to change drastically
. Despite pressing questions, an arm lock and a very harsh Chinese burn, we were unable to extract information on the "totally new look" the new range will take, other than the fact it'll have some seriously
Where the nForce 680i LT SLI LANParty board had a huge alternative northbridge cooler bundled in the box, the future boards should have something similar in addition to a whole lot more. The demo product shown to us (no pictures allowed, unfortunately) had variable placements for the fin arrays to best optimise the cooling to suit your case fan arrangement. It was very obviously an engineering concept that was far from completion, but it was enough to definitely make us interested.
Also shown was a prototype audio unit that's an evolution of the Karajan module. The daughter board PCB may not be a new concept and this one has no discrete grounding or EMI to improve its signal-to-noise ratio, but it is on a flexible cable to put it on whatever PCI bracket you want. Of course, the whole advantage of Karajan to us was that it didn’t take up a PCI slot, but we’ll reserve judgement until when we see the final product.
Product specifications for the future include a P35-T2R and T3R for DDR2 and DDR3 respectively, an RD790-M2R with seven phase digital PWM and eventually an X38 board, but no final arrangement has been made yet as for a choice between DDR2 or 3 support. The products shown on their stand were only mock-ups for the public.
The RD790-M2R has a seven phase digital PWM system (six Vcore and one northbridge), while the P35 and X38 have eight phase. Each uses a second generation system similar to Abit's, with improved BGA controller ICs that use less power and thus remain cooler. Eight phase may seem excessive, but it provides better power regulation for overclocking quad core CPUs. DFI always design boards for the extreme high end, and as such it's expected these users will likely have Intel Core 2 Quad CPUs.
DFI may have previously been slightly late to market with some of its products, but that was mostly due to the limited (but exceptional) BIOS team. Now the company has recently employed two more engineers and are still looking for another two to not only provide the most extensive BIOS creations on the market, but also ones that are highly optimised in a shorter period of time.
Several days at Computex gives you enough time to really catch up on industry news behind the scenes. It appears Foxconn has nabbed a few ex-Infinity engineers to design their high end MARS board due out soon. With DFI pedigree under the hood it could provide some stronger competition for the rest of the industry, because Foxconn is one of the biggest companies that haven’t previously been as successful at the high end.
DFI's LANParty RD790 motherboard
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