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DFI NB70-SC Motherboard Review

DFI NB70-SC Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: With the rather plain brown PCB, the NB70-SC looks quite drab in the face of the red and black coloured boards we have been seeing so much of these days.
 77% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: DFI Jan 22 2002   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > DFI NB70-SC

DFI NB70-SC Motherboard Review

Large OEM's and computer retailers hailed the original i845 chipset as a savor to the Pentium 4. Finally, a chipset that allowed SDRAM compatibility and broke the shackles of expensive RDRAM. Little did they know that pairing a Pentium 4 with SDRAM would severely hamper the performance as much as 30%!

Now with P4 DDR chipsets coming from every corner, from Intel's own i845-D to SiS's 645 and VIA's unlicensed P4X266, users no longer have to put up with lousy performance to save some money. Today we'll be looking at DFI's NB70-SC motherboard based on the i845-D chipset.

With the rather plain brown PCB, the NB70-SC looks quite drab in the face of the red and black coloured boards we have been seeing so much of these days. But heck, it is a motherboard and not a car! Standard equipment is two DIMM slots for a maximum of 2GB PC1600/PC2100 DDR RAM, one 4x AGP, five PCI's and one CNR slot so the system is pretty expandable. The NB70 also has onboard audio care of the VIA's AC'97 codec which isn't the very best, but it will be fine with most generic computer speakers.

You know it is funny to see how trends work out. If you look at AMD based motherboards most of them have IDE RAID included (or optional). In fact, it's basically a standard feature. However, on the Intel side most motherboards still don't seem to have that.... at least that is the way it seems sometimes, but keep in mind, this is coming from a AMD user!

DFI NB70-SC Motherboard
Ships with the following:
  • IDE ATA33 Cable
  • IDE ATA66/100 Cable
  • FDD Cable
  • USB bracket
  • Driver CD-ROM

The Chipset: i845-D

i845-D MCH 82801 ICH2

The i845-D is the exact same chipset as the the original i845, however DDR was "disabled" for legal reasons. Only until recently was Intel allowed have it's own chipset use DDR because of licensing agreements with Rambus Inc.

Officially though, Intel says it's the new stepping that allows DDR capability. As you can see, the i845-D uses flip chip technology too. It looks a lot like a Pentium III and uses its own special type of passive cooling heatsink with thermal interface material to boot.

The 82801 ICH2 (I/O Controller Hub 2) has been around for quite some time now, debuting when the i810E and i815E chipsets came out approx. 1-1/2 years ago.

That's an eternity in computer time, but that also means it is proven, and realistically peripheral technology hasn't progressed that far yet. I expect the days of this southbridge are numbered, as the 64bit PCI slots are just around the corner. The NB70 has Ultra100 hard drive support for up to four IDE devices. It also has four USB 1.1 ports - two on the board and two on a riser card.

DDRAM Memory and IDE Connectors

The NB70-SC only has two DIMM slots, however it's not really the fault of DFI, rather Intel's own regulations state that motherboards with the i845-D should only have two DIMM slots. The larger guys have easier times with these things though.

The IDE connectors are in the ideal location, next to the DIMM slots, not getting in way of anything else, however, the floppy connector is in one of the worst possible areas in my personal opinion, at the very bottom of the NB70. While this is more of a pet peeve than anything else, for users with large cases like the HX08 it will be noticeable. Users with mid tower ATX cases won't notice any problems.

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Contents of Article: DFI NB70-SC
 Pg 1.  — DFI NB70-SC Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Socket and Heatsink Mounts
 Pg 3.  Overall System Benchmarks
 Pg 4.  3DMark2001, QIII Benchmarks, Conclusions

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