Page 10 of 10
Conclusion and Thoughts
At first, I was excited to see the performance and potential of the LANParty UT nF3 250Gb. I heard so many good things about the board that I didn't expect to be disappointed. After spending time with the motherboard, I came to the conclusion that it's not for everyone. The board is a great board, considering the overclocking options are top notch with great voltage options. The overclocking headroom potential is great and reaches outstanding HTT speeds. The numerous memory tweaking options allow enthusiasts to fine tune the system performance for increased results. Unfortunately, I have a disagreement. The board only seems to be a great board for reviewing purposes. It's not very practical for a home-end consumer's system. Why? Well the motherboard has lackluster performance when all the memory options are set to AUTO. True that the performance can be raised to step back up to that of the competition, but that would take time and plenty of trial and error. Enthusiasts will need to mess with a lot of the memory options in order to gain back the lost performance. Let's face it, the entire community of extreme enthusiasts don't even add up to 5% of the entire computer user community. There are people out there who hardly understand the reasoning behind the usual CAS, TRCD, TRP, and TRAS latencies. You certainly can't expect them to go in the BIOS and start fiddling with things they don't understand. Not only that, with all that tweaking going on, enthusiasts will need high end memory, which can be quite costly. Currently, Winbond chips seem to be the only ones capable of handling extra adjustments other than the usual latencies we're used to. Many will argue that the tweaking is left for the enthusiasts who wish to squeeze out the very last drop of performance possible, but then just use A64 Tweaker. What I don't understand is, why should tweaking be needed just to perform on the same level as the competitors? Tweaking to gain extra performance is understandable, but tweaking to have the same performance is not. One last thing I didn't like was the DFI support. There are no new official BIOS's available. This requires enthusiasts to use beta BIOS's, which voids all kinds of warranties. This happened with their nForce2 motherboards. DFI needs to pick up that slack and provide users with decent official BIOS's, because not everyone is willing to try beta material.
The DFI LANParty UT nF3 250Gb seems to be a great board and I can understand why so many people like it. The overclocking potential and options are great, but that shouldn't be the deciding factor. Enthusiasts should consider the motherboard performance when making the purchase. This can be related to the analogy of Athlon64 CPUs vs. Intel CPUs. We all know that Athlon64 CPUs provide the best gaming performance, but many people still get suckered into Intel's high gigahertz processors. We all try to tell our friends that even if Intel's processor has higher gigahertz, that's not what it's all about. Well, the same is with this motherboard. The highest overclock HTT is not what it's all about. There is still performance to consider. Let's just hope that DFI doesn't continue this with their new nForce4 motherboards.
I was hesitant in slapping the LANParty UT nF3 250Gb with an award mainly because of the performance issue. While I do like a great overclocking board, I tend to focus on the performance more than anything, and I'm sure most of you guys feel the same. While the board performed flawlessly, the very thought of having to make adjustments simply to run at the same level of competitors was not very pleasing. If you do happen to know what you're doing and have the proper hardware, then it would be a fun and great board to tinker with and definitely THE board to get. For the majority of the users, and overclockers included, who have no idea what those timings are for, I'd recommend to stay away. You'll be better off getting another board and do some typical overclocking rather than scratching your head figuring out your next step to "regain" that performance loss.