Those who wondered how many more prototypes and market balloons they would have to endure before a retail ATI Crossfire AMD board appeared will be happy to know that this DFI is for real. While this exclusive AnandTech review posts, New Egg has DFI LANParty UT RDX200 boards for sale. Similar to their early scoop in the nForce4 market, DFI is also first to retail with a Crossfire AMD offering.

DFI produced what is arguably the most enthusiast-friendly board on the retail market when they launched the LANParty nForce4 series. They then shocked the conventional wisdom among computer manufacturers when their LANParty nForce4 boards became the best seller in a market crowded with nForce4 products. With firm credentials for leadership in the Enthusiast market, DFI set their sights on producing a similar "Gold Standard" motherboard based on the ATI Crossfire AMD chipset. The question on everyone's mind is, has DFI done it again?

To answer that question, we need to first consider the current market. Crossfire is mostly a dual-video idea that is just a promise until ATI has X1800XT Crossfire in the market. There are some X8xx owners who may buy a Crossfire board to upgrade their existing X8xx ATI video, but X850XT Crossfire is not even an option for new buyers. New buyers have no interest in a new system with Crossfire X850XT when they can choose a single card 7800GTX or X1800XT single card solution that will perform better. NVIDIA still has the advantage here, since today you can buy the ATI X1800XL, but the top-line X1800XT will not even hit the market until November 5th. The point of this is that while it is reassuring in the buying decision that ATI has an apparently competitive dual-video product to NVIDIA SLI, no one will buy an ATI Crossfire board today just because of Crossfire.

So, what will persuade buyers to go to an ATI chipset instead of the current NVIDIA nForce4? First, stock performance has to be at least as good as nForce4. Second, enthusiast features and performance must at least be as good as NVIDIA, but preferably even better. The AMD market is driven by computer enthusiasts and hobbyists, so if you satisfy them, the market will follow. Third, if performance and features are very close to NVIDIA, then value - bang for the buck - becomes a very important factor.

To DFI's credit, many of the features of their new RDX200 board seem to be geared toward an understanding of what it will take to succeed with their new ATI chipset motherboard. Crossfire dual-video is on the board, but the emphasis is on performance and features. DFI lavished all the adjustments and tweak options of their nForce4 board on the RDX200 and then went even further. Oscar Wu found out how to make 4DS DIMMs run at 1T Command Rate and launched that solution with this board. He also claims that he has a working CAS 1.5 on the ATI motherboard, and the options for CAS 1.0 and 1.5 are available in the BIOS. Memory voltage extends to 4.0V, so any memory is supported, but this is done without special jumpers or a heat-producing work-around.

DFI firmly believes that these new options, combined with a chipset designed for the enthusiast, will be enough to persuade many buyers to move to the RDX200. So the board is not a value board. This 6-layer design will set the buyer back over $200. Is DFI on target - does the LANParty UT RDX200 have what it takes to win in the market? We will try to answer that question in our closer look at performance, features, and overclocking abilities of the DFI LANParty UT RDX200.


DFI LANParty UT RDX200: Board Layout
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  • Skoad - Friday, October 21, 2005 - link

    Board just came in stock at newegg for $209+5 shipping.


    Also what psu was used in this test. I read somewhere that the board needs an 8pin connection from the psu and that very few psu's have this right now.

    I can't seem to find where I read this at atm.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, October 21, 2005 - link

    We use the OCZ 520W as a standard bench PSU. It has both 4 and 8-pin 12V connectors. 8-pin slots will also work with 4-pin 12V plugs. Reply
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    Will there be a value ATi board?

    I don't forsee myself getting a xfire solution, ever.
    Reply
  • smaky - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    Guess who is getting one this week? hiihihihiihih x850? Reply
  • danidentity - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    You make no comment on the stability of this board, how is it? Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    Sorry, but I can't help but ask why the gaming performance graphs were not all done on the same graphics card. Initially I thought WOW THIS NEW ATI CHIPSET IS MAD FAST but then I see it was using the 7800 gtx while all the other boards got 6800 ultras... WTF?
    What the heck is going on? Was the scientific method forgotten or something? This is a let down.
    Reply
  • rjm55 - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    I'm always amazed in reading AT Comments that those who complain loudest are the ones who don't even bother to READ the review. I may not always agree with Wesley's approach on a review, but I know his results are always documented clearly in the review, logical, and repeatable. In fact he is the reviewer at AT who is most careful to always document the components he tested with and the setups. Derek and Anand often leave you guessing how they tested and you have to ask to figure it out.

    If you had bothered to read the test setup you would have seen that the red bars are tests with the 6800 Ultra - the same used in every other compared board. The 7800GTX and Crossfire were BONUS results - for those who would be screaming "Why have you tested with the obsolete 6800 Ultra instead of the 7800GTX".

    Please READ before you scream so your rants aren't a total waste of time.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    Sorry to have to point this out, but assembling and testing a motherboard can take several days. The 7800GTX scores were there for reference, but 6800 Ultra was used as well (the red bar) to make scores comparable. It's not practical to go back and retest seven (or more) motherboards every time a new article needs to be published. If we don't include something like the 7800GTX, people wonder how that affects performance. Just look at the red bars for motherboard comparisons and the gold bar to see what a $500 (instead of $350) GPU will do. :) Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    nevermind, wesley made no error, just me :D the board using the 6800u in red is the direct comparison (which it said in the article, albeit not on the gaming performance page). must have been too late at night or i was just too dumb to see it! excellent article as always. Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - link

    hats off to DFI, this board is wicked fast. i am curious though as to how it will sell given the high price. Reply

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