A Quick Look at The LANParty ICFX
The first thing I noticed about the DFI LANParty ICFX Crossfire Express 3200 motherboard is the packaging. It is without a doubt the best packaging I have seen on any mainstream computer component. The hardware inside the boxes is equally impressive. I have never been let down by DFI on the aesthetics of their boards and this is no exception. The layout is absolutely exquisite.
A very nifty little feature that scored major points with me is how each SATA port is clearly labeled directly on the board which takes all of the annoying guess-work out of hooking up your SATA hard drives in numerical order. The fan connectors are not only clearly labeled too, but plentiful as well. There are a total of seven fan connectors and every single one is in just the right place. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a LAN Party board without the signature UV reactive PCI, IDE, SATA, and DIMM slots. Also cool is the removable "sound card".
As you can see from the pictures, the stock north bridge heat sink is quite substantial. However, in spite of it’s size, does not cool very well. The board actually became unstable from the heat after about 15 minutes of Orthos. DFI has recognized this problem though and is making an effort to rectify it. They provided me with a sample of their new, innovative north bridge heat sink (above) design that is used on their new 680i LT board. This heat sink keeps the chipset under 50C even under high loads as opposed to the high 80s with the stock heat sink. The south bridge is usually not as much of a concern heat wise.
This board has more overclocking features than I knew what to do with. Everything from secondary timings to options to change more variables on the north bridge than I knew existed. It is an overclockers dream. I was able to push my X6800 to 3800MHz with 400FSB and the north bridge remained at a stable 50C thanks to DFI’s new heat sink (with an 70mm fan).
This is an all around good board. It is perfect for both the enthusiast and the average consumer. DFI is known to produce some of the best overclocking motherboards and this is no exception. The only thing that I was somewhat disappointed in is the way the north bridge heat sink is mounted. It uses hooks instead of pushpins, which eliminates the possibility of water-cooling it. However, this is a small price to pay for a top of the line board with performance to match.
At the moment I do not have in my possession a pair of Cross Fire capable video cards. I will, however, acquire some rather soon. When I get these video cards I will amend this review further with benchmark results.