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DFI LANParty DK X58-T3eH6

X58 Roundup: Seven $200-300 Core i7 Boards
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Features and Layout

DFI’s primary focus could be the overclocking community, but its LANParty DK X58-T3eH6 appears to be a traditional 3-way SLI gaming platform at a glance. Don’t let that glance fool you, as the middle slot is locked in x4 transfer mode just like the bottom slot of so many sub-$300 competitors.

By putting the reduced-bandwidth slot in the middle, DFI spreads the graphics cards an extra two slots apart in 2-way SLI and CrossFire configuration, achieving better cooling and allowing for enhanced overclocking capability.

With the same bandwidth as previous-generation x8 slots, the PCIe 2.0 x4 slot is still good enough for lower performance cards such as the Radeon HD 4850, so buyers who already own an older triple-card CrossFireX configuration could potentially use the X58-T3eH6 in their processor/motherboard upgrade. The slot is otherwise useful for a number of high-bandwidth expansion cards such as a PCIe x8 RAID controller or Fusion-io ioDrive.

Another PCIe x4 slot is located beneath top x16 slot, but this one uses an actual x4 connector. It’s also limited to first-generation transfer speeds by its connection to the ICH10R southbridge, but that’s more than fast enough for the majority of non-graphics needs. Most builders won’t be able to access it however, since enthusiast-level graphics cards typically have double-slot coolers.

One particularly interesting feature of the X58-T3eH6 is the presence of three USB 2.0 double-port headers internally, rather than the standard two. Because many builders load their front panels with USB breakout connectors and devices, this is a good idea in spite of the fact that it reduces rear panel ports to six from the now-common eight.

This LANParty DK also lacks any I/O panel-based eSATA, but still has eight ports internally. Easier to design and less expensive to produce, builders can instead connect the top two ports to front-panel eSATA breakouts for added convenience compared to rear-panel ports. Anyone who had already planned to add such a device should be especially pleased.

Our only major quibbles with the X58-T3eH6 are that its IEEE 1394 FireWire internal header is in the difficult-to-reach bottom rear corner and that the floppy header is located at the bottom edge. But while the FireWire port may be in the worst possible location, the floppy connector is still easier to access than that of most competitors. Windows Vista users will of course laugh at this last XP-centric comment.

While many manufacturers have put their Front-Panel audio header in that same dreaded bottom rear corner location for generations, DFI did us a favor by moving it several slots up the rear edge. This makes cable management for top-panel or upper-bay FP-Audio panels far easier, but those connector sets typically also include a FireWire port. Though similar to EVGA’s X58 3X SLI design, DFI put it’s FP-Audio connection slightly farther from the top x16 graphics card slot to prevent any cable from pushing up against the bottom of a graphics card cooler.

Power and Reset buttons are handy for bench testing, while the nearby Port 80 diagnostics display can clue overclockers into the source of any problem they may encounter. Both of these will typically be inaccessible in a completely configured system.

DFI LANParty DK X58-T3eH6 (Revision A)

Northbridge

Intel X58 Express

Southbridge

Intel ICH10R

Voltage Regulator

Six Phases

BIOS

DX58D219 (02/192009)

133.3 MHz Base Clock

133.0 (-0.25%)

Clock Generator

ICS 9LPRS918JKLF

Connectors and Interfaces

Onboard

3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (Modes: x16, x16, x4)

 

1 x PCIe x4

 

2 x PCI

 

3 x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector).

 

1 x IEEE-1394 FireWire

 

1 x Serial Communications Port

 

1 x Floppy

 

1 x Ultra ATA (2 drives)

 

8 x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s

 

1 x Fan 4-pin (CPU)

 

5 x Fan 3-pins (Chassis, Power)

 

1 x Front Panel Audio connector

 

1 x CD-Audio In

 

1 x Power Switch

 

1 x Reset Switch

IO panel

2 x PS2 (keyboard and mouse)

 

2 x Digital Audio Out (Coaxial + Optical)

 

6 x USB 2.0

 

1 x IEEE-1394 FireWire

 

1 x RJ45 Ethernet

 

6 x Analog Audio Jacks (8-ch. out, 4-ch. in)

Mass Storage Controllers

Intel ICH10R

6 x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)

JMIcron JMB363 PCI-E

1 x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)

 

2 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s

Network

Marvell 88E8053 PCI-E

Gigabit LAN Interface

Audio

Realtek ALC889 HD Codec

Eight-Channel (7.1 Surround) Output

IEEE-1394 FireWire

Via VT6308P PCI

2 x FireWire 400 (1x Internal, 1x I/O Panel)


A JMicron JMB363 controller adds two SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports and an Ultra ATA 133 cable header, but overall throughput is limited somewhat by its 2.5 Gb/s PCIe x1 chipset connection.

Also using a 2.5 Gigabit PCIe connection, the Marvell 88E8053 network controller has more than enough bandwidth to support its single Gigabit Ethernet port.

DFI finds the VT6308P FireWire controller a perfect place for its LANParty logo. With two 400 Mb ports, the controller is served well by legacy PCI.

The ALC889 HD Audio codec has advanced features such as multi-streaming of separate front-panel (stereo) and rear-panel (7.1-channel surround) audio signals from different sources. It’s also rated at up to 108dB signal-to-noise ratio, which is around 10dB better than the next model down featured on several similarly-priced motherboards.

Check prices for DFI's LANParty DK X58

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