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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [07.01.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Manufactured by: DFI
Est. Street Price: $140-145

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First Impressions

DFI is one of many manufacturers who've recently made the move from producing cheap featureless OEM parts over to the consumer enthusiasts market.  With the Lanparty lineup of motherboards DFI is quite obviously directing the brunt of their marketing towards the computer gaming enthusiast market. With the buzz currently surrounding this new line of motherboards it would definitely seem as though their evil glow in the dark plan is working!

First thing I noticed when I received this board was the size of the box. It is at least twice as deep as any standard motherboard package.  (All the better to hold the goodies my precious) The little plastic handle integrated into the top of the box was convenient and much appreciated, as well as less likely to get you beat up compared to the "tote bag" included by some other not to be named motherboard manufacturer.

The artwork on the front of the box is nicely done and enlightening to those who aren't familiar with the term Lanparty just what one might look like. The back of the box nicely shows off the board UV sensitive slots which is good because my black light died and as such was unable to get a pic of the board in action.

Upon opening the box I was met with what has to be one of the largest and most complete bundles ever.

The bundle includes:

- Complete Set of UV reactive rounded IDE/Floppy Cables
- FrontX 5.25' front port access kit (includes 2 USB, 1 FireWire, 1 mic and 1 headphone jack)
- PC Transpo PC Carrying Case Strap
- SPDIF backplate adapter
- Single SATA cable
- Game port backplate adapter
- Lanparty case badge and window sticker
- Small packet of thermal paste
- ATX motherboard backplate
- Complete User Manuals and Quick Start Up guide
- Driver/Utility CD, WinDVD/WinRIP Application CD, Highpoint RAID controller driver disk

The rounded cables were of high quality and match the UV sensitive slots on the motherboard itself quite nicely.  The FrontX bay kit uses movable sliders that allow you to place each component wherever your heart desires or is most convenient. The PC Transpo Carrying Case uses oversized clips along with velcro straps, and even a stupid monkey like myself was able to put it together in under thirty seconds.

The Board

A lot of the hype surrounding this board is because it it's UV sensitive slots.  I have to hand it to DFI on this one, even without UV lighting, the green slots on a black PCB is pretty sharp.  Once again I apologize for the cheap workmanship that went into my black light and my inability to get any pics of this puppy in action.  Along with a new black light, I'm ordering in some of these cool UV case fans from OCZ, to do the job next time.  Check the forums for some pics once they come in (there are plenty on the official DFI Lanparty site).

Personally I think a UV sensitive north bridge cooler would've been a nice finishing touch here, but that's a very minor complaint.

Along with the usual fare, the backplate shows off the dual LAN setup, stacked on top of two USB 2.0 ports apiece.

We especially appreciate DFI including 4 mounting holes next to the socket.

With the target audience of the Lanparty in mind, it's easy to see why DFI included the mounting holes, even though according to official AMD specs, they don't have to. This allows for custom water cooling, and other monster cooling setups to be used on the board.

The north bridge cooler is passive and applied with a very small amount of thermal paste.  The KT400a chipset doesn't seem to get quite as warm as the nForce2 ones so this passive cooler should be fine for moderate overclocking.

An especially nice option that was included on this board was the inclusion of little power and reset buttons onboard.  This feature can in very handy during testing, and could also be handy to extreme case modders.

Finally DFI was able to avoid a minor annoyance which I've found to be a common trait in the layout of many nForce2 motherboards by assuring that there was plenty of room between the DIMM slots and the backside of the AGP slot for those of us with full length video cards. 


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