DFI nForce 680i LT-T2R Overclocking Motherboard Review

Motherboards/Intel S775 by thorgal @ 2007-07-19

When DFI comes out with a new motherboard, the enthusiast community is always listening. And when DFI goes a step further and introduces their first NVIDIA based Intel motherboard, they´ve certainly got our attention as well. Is this the definitive 680i nVidia board that overclockers have been waiting for? We test the DFI 680i LT-T2R overclocking potential with Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad CPU to find out...

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Bios options galore

0scar wu and his BIOS programming

Before we take a look at the bios options, a word about Oscar WU, THE Oscar Wu. For those too young to remember, Oscar Wu was once an Abit employee, and one of the lead designers of the famous Abit NF7-S, considered one of the best motherboards of its time. After the NF7, he joined DFI for their nForce 2 AMD motherboard, which was not bad at all. From then on, we could even go as far as to say that much of DFI's success can be attributed to Oscar Wu's skills. After the NF2 series he got really famous designing the nForce4 series of DFI motherboards, which are generally considered the best AMD Athlon64 motherboards ever. Oscar is especially famous for his bios tweaking skills, adding many useful features to our biosses, features we have grown very used to but were not available a few years ago. Right now, Oscar has joined the DFI Intel team, first for the RD600, and now for our board of the day. I think I can safely tell you that, since he joined the Intel team, he has developed another ground breaking bios feature which we'll be talking about on this page. Oscar is still only 28 years old, and we can only hope that he'll be around for a very long time...

Time to have a look at the bios itself. As you may know, 90% of all pc systems use one out of two BIOS (Basic Input Output System) code sets, namely Phoenix Technologies Award Bios, or American Megatrends' AMI Bios. As long as I can remember, DFI has been working with Phoenix Technologies, and this board is no exception. The bios is thus an award bios, and as such the following screen is easily recognized :

Madshrimps (c)
The main Award Bios screen

Before we get started with the different options, an extra word on the displayed bios. In this review I used different versions of the bios as they became available, some of which were still in beta version. One peculiarity by the way is the fact that DFI pushes different bios for dual cores and quad core processors. The reason for this lies within the overclocking pages, namely the GTL-ref tuning, but more on that very soon...

Basic options

On the thumbnails below you can find the basic bios options, which we'll not go into much detail about :

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

The first five thumbnails show the following pages (left to right) :

  • Standard CMOS features
  • Advanced Bios features
  • Advanced Chipset features
  • Integrated Peripherals
  • Super I/O device (a subscreen of the Integrated Peripherals)

    Most of the options can be found on any PC system, and should as such be no problem to tune, or give no problem when left at their default setting. The only thing you might have to tweak is the raid option, but these are covered very well in the manual.

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

    The above three thumbnails show the next three items of the main screen :

  • PC Health Status
  • PnP/PCI configurations
  • Power Management setup

    This board has extensive power management capabilities, which is required nowadays as energy conservation is a hot and necessary topic today. The PC Health status gives you control over the connected fans, which can be temperature controlled. The PnP/PCI configurations are in my opinion best left the way they are, except maybe for the top item where you could choose to initialize your PCI-Express graphics card immediately (not that it will make much of difference).

    Time to have a look at the important OC settings on the next page ->
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    Comment from Rutar @ 2007/07/19
    once again DFI is LATE with their board
    Comment from thorgal @ 2007/07/19
    Originally Posted by Rutar View Post
    once again DFI is LATE with their board
    I couldn't agree more.

    However, I must say it, it's a great board to play with. Certainly not the easiest, but a great board for the enthusiast nonetheless.
    Comment from Sidney @ 2007/07/20
    Better late than never
    Comment from Rutar @ 2007/07/20
    Originally Posted by lazyman View Post
    Better late than never
    not if even the engineering monkeys from MSI get 500 FSB for everyone boards with the P35 chipsets for less money
    Comment from thorgal @ 2007/07/20
    Originally Posted by Rutar View Post
    not if even the engineering monkeys from MSI get 500 FSB for everyone boards with the P35 chipsets for less money
    Uhm, yes and no. P35 is not an SLI motherboard, and will never be. But P35 is a great chipset, no doubt about that. Anyway, most of this is in the article's conclusions already
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/07/20
    sli :d

    edit: you were a few seconds earlier
    Comment from thorgal @ 2007/07/20
    Info : Added some extra everest screenshots for reference memory scores
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/07/20
    default 7500mb/s read, with OC over 11000mb/s, 46% increase, not bad
    Comment from geoffrey @ 2007/07/21
    Great review T
    Comment from blind_ripper @ 2007/07/21
    nice review thorgal (big daddy)
    say are u comming to lanscape , wanted to talk over msn but evry time no awnser
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/07/22
    this is not the place to contact him for off-topic matters PM or email the big daddy