The accessory kit
If there's one thing that DFI boards are renowned for, except for their overclocking abilities, it must be the accessory kit that comes with them. The "UT" lineup is the most excessive of them all, sporting almost everything an enthusiast can wish for, and then some. Have a look at the accessory box of this motherboard in the picture below.
These are the contents of the kit : Bernstein Audio Module with connection cable.
Motherboard Back Plate
AMD/ATi crossfire connector
UV Green IDE cable
UV Green Floppy drive cable
Four (4) UV Green S-ATA cables
Two (2) double S-ATA power connector adapters
Floppy disk with raid drivers
CD-Rom with drivers and Software
Quick start manual
Full manual including post code message explanation.
Small Thermalright "Flame Freezer" installation guide.
Click the thumbnail below for a more detailed look at the contents.
The manual has actually become a little thinner than before, with DFI omitting the extensive bios description which was present in all their manuals. I have some mixed feelings about this: on one hand the bios description was just that : a description of the different functions without saying what they were for, on the other hand the description came in handy sometimes when looking for something, or when trying to understand the meaning of some settings. Most of the time though the descriptions on all bios manuals are completely useless, as they don't give any insight in what the function exactly does and how it influences performance or overclockability. Better to leave it out, DFI must have thought...
Have a look at the Bernstein Audio module that comes with the board:
The Bernstein Audio Module sports a classic Realtek ALC885 solution, which is a bit of a shame as better solutions are available on some boards. It supports 8-channel audio with all the usual connectors. Nothing special here.
As you can see however, the Module does not fit into any slot on the motherboard by itself. Instead, it features a 12-pin connector in which the supplied cable fits, while the other end of the cable goes into the motherboard of course. The benefit of this solution is the fact that you can plug the audio module in whatever expansion slot of your case you like, depending on where and how many other expansion cards you've got plugged in. The cable could have been a little longer though, as the bottom-most expansion slot was not reachable even with a completely stretched cable.
A new cooling system
One of the fanciest aspects of the motherboard is the cooling system. For this solution DFI decided to work together with cooling specialist Thermalright, who designed an integrated cooling system for Northbridge, Southbridge and the PWM-area together. Have a look again at our board:
As you can see, Northbridge, Southbridge and the PWM area are all equipped with their own cooler. These coolers are interconnected with a heatpipe system, which ends in the area right next to back plate of the motherboard.
The fanciest cooler is the Northbridge cooler, which sports a "flame" design. What’s the best about this cooler is that it can be partially disassembled just by loosening two clips with a flat screwdriver. The top of the cooler (the flames if you like) come of and give room to a flat surface, on which another cooler, for example a water block, can be mounted. The X48 chipset very much likes to be kept cool for better performance, so to mount a water block on there does not seem like a bad idea at all. Overall though, I was very pleased with the performance of this cooling solution, at least up to chipset voltages of about 1.65 Volts.
The Southbridge cooler is a flat cooler out of necessity (to accommodate all the different kinds of expansion cards), but is still very nice looking. It is connected to the X48 chipset and beyond by a single heatpipe, which should suffice given the fact that the voltages of the ICH9R Southbridge are not as often increased beyond reasonable limits.
The real treat of the cooling solution is the last part of the cooling system though, which isn't visible on the previous picture. Have a look:
This last part consists out of a shiny nickel-chromed heatsink not unlike the recent memory and Northbridge coolers Thermalright designed the last couple of years. This is exactly the reason why a larger part of the back plate was kept open (see thumb below), as this piece does not (have to) fit inside your case, but outside of it When properly connected, the heatsink will hover right over the exhaust fans of your case, which sit next to the back plate. The idea is to have your own case fans blowing over the heatsink and cooling it down. I have to hand it to Thermalright and DFI together: this is a very innovative and elegant solution, which, best of all, works very well indeed. As I mentioned: up to a chipset voltage of 1.65Volts (standard = 1.2 Volts) I did not encounter any problems at all.
Have a look at the installed heatsink at the back of my PC70 case :
Let's look at the bios next ...>