DFI NF4 SLI & Ultra Infinity Motherboard ReviewsSun, Sep 25, 2005 - 12:00 AM
With the nVidia SLI chipsets becoming lower in price we are finally starting to see a number of solid SLI motherboards come out in the mainstream segment. The DFI NF4 SLI Infinity and NF4 Ultra Inifinity have both proved to be solid motherboards and share many common features with the high end boards that are also made by DFI. The DFI SLI Inifinity is currently priced under $125, while the DFI Ultra Infinity can be found online for under $100. The DFI nF4 SLI Infinity is priced in the performance-mainstream price range and the DFI NF4 Ultra Infinity is priced just in the mainstream segement.
The Infinity SLI bundle is as simple as they come….. instruction manual, two IDE cables, two SATA cables, installation software, and SLI bridge. No one is going to mistake these for one of the LANParty Series bundles. For the market this series targets the manual is far too simple, I think DFI needs to expand the manual a great deal to help the new overclocker or budget gamer (who these boards are marketed at), especially considering the feature rich BIOS and overclocking performance of these boards.
The DFI NF4 SLI showed itself to be a great board for the gamer on a budget. I was greatly impressed by the overclocking performance of this board (both boards actually), that, coupled with a pretty deep and customizable BIOS definitely makes this board worth the price. While this board fills DFI’s slot at the lower end of the motherboard price range I feel that the Infinty SLI would satisfy the needs of even the most hardcore gamer or enthusiast.
The DFI Infinity Ultra is the board that really impressed me. People on a budget are probably not going to grab a $125 board and slap a pair of $200-500 video cards in it. What people on a budget will do is grab an inexpensive solution that provides good performance and combine it with a mid-range video card along the lines of an X800XL or a 6800GT. As with the Infinity SLI, the Ultra features a very customizable BIOS and great overclocking potential.
DFI has spent a great deal of time and effort to get where they are now. As I stated earlier, I feel their NF4 LANParty Series boards are the finest on the market, and with the release of the NF4 Infinity Series, DFI has brought to market a fine compliment to their high end boards. Couple the outstanding performance with DFI’s fantastic tech support and user forums, as well as the most frequently updated BIOS releases I have ever seen, and its hard to recommend any other motherboard maker.
My issues with both of these boards were few. First, the strange size of the Infinity Ultra could cause issues with some cases. Second, adding to the size issue was the fact that everything seems cramped together. Third, I was disappointed in the 3-pin fan headers. With a header for both the CPU fan and chipset fan, both boards only have one additional 3-pin header, which could lead to cooling issues (I know, its easy to buy a 4 to 3 pin adapter). Lastly, although I have to give DFI credit for using an active cooling solution, unlike most budget boards, I felt the chipset fan used with the Infinity NF4 Series was pretty loud and fairly ineffective. Outside of those gripes I think these are great boards at a great price.
The Legit Bottom Line
DFI has come a long way in a short time, rapidly establishing itself as the board of choice for a wide range of users. While their high end LANParty NF4 Series has become the favorite of gamers and overclockers, the Infinity Series should easily do the same for beginning DIYer’s or those on a tight budget.