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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [01.26.04]
Manufactured by: DFI

Price on $180
Avg. Price for 875PE Mobos: $120-130

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Still the prettiest motherboard around

We already reviewed the NFII version of the Lanparty, and gave it a score of 90%. We really liked the bundle (I'll go over it again here for you Intel folks), and of course loved the looks of the board. It didn't perform spectacularly, however, and didn't OC as high as we'd have liked.

But this time we are not only looking at the Intel version of the Lanparty, but this is a second generation board. We skipped the first version of this board unfortunately, but the PRO875B will get our full attention.

The Board

The first thing we have to look at before getting to the crazy bundle, is the board itself. Check it out!

By now I am sure you're familiar with Lanparty's yet-to-be-emulated UV reactive colours. The Intel versions are a halloween-ish orange/black combo. The "B" version adds green to some components to make the board a bit more user-friendly installation wise. This way, you don't get your dual channel DIMM installation messed up, and you have a way to determine the different IDE channels, for both the Intel controller and RAID 1.5 controller.

RAID 1.5?

Yes, one of the cooler features of the Lanparty boards is the inclusion of the Highpoint PATA RAID controller, which supports "RAID 1.5". You of course know about RAID 0 (striping two drives together to make one large drive that has high read/write performance) and RAID 1 (mirroring a pair of drives to make one drive, though it does not double the size. However it provides redundancy in case one drive fails, and tends to increase access speeds).

Although I couldn't find any documentation explaining how it works, the theory behind RAID 1.5 is to provide the best of both worlds - the read/write performance of RAID 0, and the security and access performance of RAID 1. Of course 1.5 isn't a "true" RAID designation, but neither is RAID 0.

Back to the Board

Going back to the motherboard, let's have a look at the area that you know we can be very picky about - the area just above the AGP slot, below the DIMM slots. A poorly designed motherboard will place the DIMM slots too low, and makes installing and uninstalling RAM a pain while a video card is installed. We also have to note the AGP retention mechanism.

There is plenty of room below the DIMMS, so we'll have to give DFI an A+ for that, especially considering how jam packed this board is! And I can tell you that I am very happy with the AGP retention clip - it is VERY easy to use. Simply press down, from above the video card, and the card is free to pull out of the AGP slot.

DFI did an excellent job placing all the ports near the edge of the board. Worth noting is the placement of the 4 pin P4 ATX connector. This has to be near the CPU, but many boards place it BELOW the CPU socket, forcing you to install that 4 pin cable right across or above the hot CPU area. DFI's installation is the best I've seen so far, although I wish it were right beside the main ATX power connector.

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