DFI LanParty Pro875B (Intel 875P Canterwood) Motherboard Review
DFI LanParty Pro875B
||Intel 875P Canterwood
||Pentium 4 FSB 400/533/800MHz
Celeron Northwood FSB 400MHz
RAID - 2x UltraDMA/133
||Audio AC'92 v2.2
8 USB 2.0
The sector of high-end motherboards is especially attractive among manufacturers. It's no secret that profit from sales of motherboards priced higher than $100 is not significant (as per the measures of IT industry). So the justified increase of prices up the the 150-200$ mark allows companies to gain much more essential profits.
There are its own leaders on the market, as well as there are many companies aspiring to join them. For example, Asus motherboards have firmly fixed their grounds in the hi-end sector. In most cases, high prices implying excellent quality as well as dignified reputation of the leading motherboard manufacturer imparts the company products a higher status. Nevertheless, Asus is also experiencing some pressure from the part of competitors and has to enrich the package bundle (e.g., a WiFi module that comes as a bundle item for Asus K8V Deluxe). Another example is Gigabyte who offers a line of custom-designed motherboards with support for the DPS technology (see the review Gigabyte K8NNXP). And one more classical representative of the high-end is the MAX product line by Abit. Each board of this series offers the OTES cooling system (e.g. - KV8-MAX3).
Even Elitegroup (ECS) whose original estate has been value-sector products has attempted to enter the sector of expensive motherboards. In particular, the Photon line of motherboards was produced that stands out with its richer package bundle, as well as overclocking tools (e.g., Elitegroup Photon AF1).
Among the second-rank manufacturers, it's difficult to distinguish any high-end products. Nevertheless, these companies do not abandon attempts to have a bite of this rich pie. For instance, Chaintech started sales of the Zenith series boards (as well as Apogee - e.g. Chaintech 7VJL ) which stand out with their rich package bundle. The main idea behind it is this: to maximize the package bundle, build up marketing activities and release a product with the overstated price.
That is the way DFI followed through producing a new line of boards dubbed LanParty. As you can judge by the name, boards of this series are aimed mostly at gamers who join various computer parties where the exterior of the system plays a leading part. No matter how good a person is at games, but folks will always flock around his PC pointing at the hardware with envy :) . And there is indeed something to point at: LanParty series motherboards offer smart coloring that brightly gleams in the ultraviolet.
In ultraviolet: green DIMM slots glittering, and the greed IDE connector - not
It's a pity we got only a poor 25W light bulb at hand ( taken from SU-7 Fitter Fighter :), but even such a lamp proved that DFI justified our highlighting expectations. In particular, gleaming are the orange IDE connectors and AGP/PCI slots, green DIMM slots, the plastic frame of the processor socket and a battery pad. Also, with blue illumination gleaming are varied stickers (e.g. that with the serial number). But the green IDE connectors are not shining - this is easily on the photo.
DFI LanParty Pro875B Specifications
|DFI LanParty Pro875B
||- Intel Pentium 4 (Northwood / Prescott) with the 400/533/800 MHz bus;
- Intel Celeron (Northwood) with the 400 MHz bus;
- Socket 478;
- Support for the HyperThreading processors
||- North bridge Intel® 875P Memory Controller Hub (MCH);
- South bridge Intel® Intel 82801ER Enhanced I/O Controller Hub (ICH5);
- Link between bridges: Hub Link v1.5
||- Four 184-pin slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM;
- Maximum memory capacity 4GB;
- Supported memory types - PC2100/PC2700/PC3200;
- Dual-channel memory access;
- Onboard power indicator
||- AGP slot with support for the 4x/8x modes;
||- Five 32-bit PCI Bus Master slots;
- Eight USB 2.0 ports (4 integrated + 4 additional);
- Integrated audio AC'92 v2.2;
- Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN controller;
||- FSB adjustable within 100 MHz to 400 MHz in 1MHz increments;
- Processor/memory/AGP voltages adjustable.
||- 2 channels UltraDMA/100/66/33 Bus Master IDE (with support for up to 4 ATAPI devices)
- Support for SerialATA (2 channels - ICH5R, with support for RAID)
- Additional IDE Raid controller (HighPoint 372N chip, 2 channels IDE, supporting ATA33/66/100/133 & RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 1.5 with support for up to 4 ATAPI devices)
- Support for LS-120 / ZIP / ATAPI CD-ROM
||- 4MBit Flash ROM
- Award Phoenix BIOS with support for Enhanced ACPI, DMI, Green, PnP Features and Trend Chip Away Virus
- CMOS Reloaded technology
||- One FDD port, one serial and one parallel ports, ports for PS/2 mouse and keyboard
- Onboard power indicator + power-on and reset buttons
- STR (Suspend to RAM)
- SPDIF In\ Out
||- Wake-up on modem, mouse, keyboard, LAN, timer and USB
- Standard 20-pin power connector ATX (ATX-PW)
- Additional 4-pin power connector
||- Processor temperatures, voltages and the rotational speeds of the three fans are monitored
||- ATX form factor, 245mm x 305mm (9.63" x 12")
The board is packaged in a huge box with an image of the potential buyer :) .
- 1x software & drivers CD;
- 1x third-party software CD;
- Two rounded ATA-100 cables, one rounded FDD cable;
- Two SerialATA cables + a power adapter (2 connectors);
- User's Guide + Quick Setup Manual in English;
- Additional description of the board's features + description of CMOS Reloaded;
- 5-inch FrontX panel + two USB 2.0 ports, audio outputs and a diagnostic unit;
- A bag to carry around - PC Transport;
- A header with a GAME-port;
- A LanParty logo sticker + a DFI logo sticker;
- A pack of additional jumpers;
- A cap for the rear panel;
- 1x floppy disk with HTP372N RAID controller drivers;
- 1x ICH5R drivers floppy.
The list of package bundle items is extensive, and of course all this takes up much space. The rounded cables are packaged in one box, the bag to carry the CPU around in another, and the FrontX panel with the related cables in the third. All the remaining items are packed in the fourth box, with the motherboard itself in the fifth. All the five boxes are packed in one big box with a plastic handle.
Let's start with the most unusual: the bag to carry the computer around. Clearly, if the motherboard is positioned for LAN party fanciers, this thing will be very useful.
In fact, the bag proved to be very convenient: you can carry both Standard ATX cases and Full ATX cases (the length of the belts is flexible). You can carry the case in one hand (a very convenient handle) and over the shoulder (less convenient belt). Moreover, you can use the PC Transport as a backpack.
Finally, the bag has special pockets for various stuff (keyboard, mouse, cables).
Now a few words on the FrontX additional panel.
With this thing, the user can bring additional USB ports, audio outputs as well as a diagnostic unit over to the front panel of the PC housing. Especially note that the panel has removable plugs, which makes it possible to select the number and position of the ports to your taste.
The panel is equipped with a closing lid which hides the ports if they are not used. Therefore, the exterior of the system is not spoiled.
What is bad about it is that some systems may be of different color, and the FrontX panel will strongly stand out.
Now look at the rounded cables which are very well made.
By the way, the cable should also shine in the ultraviolet, but on my systems they didn't.
The remaining contents of the boxes are standard: two SerialATA cables and the related power adapter with two connectors, a cap to the rear panel and a header with a GAME port.
Besides, you can find a quick system assembly guide in the box.
As regards the complete user's guide, it is divided into two parts: "User manual" and "Features". The first brochure gives a description of all the connectors and jumpers, as well as the board's specifications in several languages (including Russian - a keen interest of DFI to our market :). The second brochure gives a very brief description of utilities and third-party software, as well as a RAID array setup & administration guide.
Unfortunately, none of the booklets gave any description of the BIOS settings. So we had to check the quality and depth of description with the *.pdf file downloaded from the company website. The manual has nothing to complain about: all the sections are written very well and competently.
Of the third-party software, InterVideo: WinDVD and WinRIP stands out (the same is in the package bundle to Asus motherboards of the "Gold" series). On the master CD, there is a complete pack of drivers, DFI utilities for BIOS update (RadarSyn and WinFlash), as well as McAfee VirusScan. The board also comes bundled with two 3" floppies containing drivers to HighPoint and ICH5R RAID controllers.
If you look at the price of the board and compare it with the prices for separate components, then you can see that the package bundle is worth the price tag. See for yourselves: in a retail shop, such a carrying bag costs about $35, plus $10 for a panel, and $15 more for three cables. In the total, the price of the board makes up about $90-100, which is cheap enough for a board built on the expensive i875P Canterwood chipset.
Another thing is that if the board appeals to the user, the extra components (PC Transport, FrontX) are not necessary. Then you would have to buy them separately elsewhere to present your friends :-)).
And the last note about the package bundle: what is really missing is the ultraviolet lamp with a chuck to plug in to the PSU. When I took the board to my hands, I was absolutely unaware where to look for such lamps, how much they are and where to plug them in.
Finally, here comes the following conclusion: the package bundle can be rated at "4.5/5". Also note that if your PC case has no additional USB ports, then to implement all the ports of the DFI LanParty Pro875B board, you would have to buy a header for three USB ports.
||CPU & Memory: