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DDR333 for P4: 16 Boards with Intel 845G - Part I

DFI NB76-EA: Please Improve This!

So how about packaging this board in a violin case?

The DFI NB76-EA board based on the Intel 845G chipset.

Recently, DFI has not exactly been the center of attention, because its products have been lacking interesting features and a reason for purchasing them, and therefore fail to attract ambitious users shopping at their local electronics store. The manufacturer came up with an absolute hit a few years ago with excellent Socket 7 boards. These had even integrated 2 MB cache on the board, thus lifting the K6 CPUs to the performance level of a Pentium II.

Accessories included with the DFI NB76-EA.

Doesn't work with GeForce 4 Ti 4600: the DFI NB76-EA quickly crashed!

Back to the latest test: DFI sent the first NB76-EA to our lab in Munich, and we found that this version ran into many problems when used with DDR333 and the newest version of BIOS. We then quickly received another board from DFI, which had the same problems. The main reason for these difficulties was the BIOS from DFI: we were not able to get a GeForce 4 Ti 4600 graphics card (test basis) to run without errors. When booting Windows 2000, the card crashed when the start screen appeared. The only thing that helped was to downgrade the BIOS to version 1.0, but then, the board was only able to run error-free with DDR266. A positive aspect is that DFI is the only manufacturer to include both an AGP adapter card for TV playback as well as DIF for TFT monitors.

DFI NB76-EA was the only candidate to include an adapter card for the AGP port.

Another interesting thing is the included card reader, which accepts Smart Media, Memory Stick and GSM. An LED strip on the board gives you status reports. A slot bracket with digital audio interfaces (SP/DIF) completes the range of features. The benchmark results look a bit bleak though: due to the weak performance with DDR266, DFI often take last place. The only remaining comfort is that a re-worked BIOS just might be able to work wonders. By comparison, the features themselves are quite respectable. And so is the price. Within the industry, DFI is well-known for its very reasonable prices.

BIOS update on the Internet for the DFI NB76-EA.