DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 1
Introduction
 
Having already reviewed the flagship Lanparty T3eH8 X58 motherboard and the stripped down but no less power full mATX variant, we have today the T3eH6. This model sits in between the two prior motherboards in that it's a full size ATX motherboard with a few less features than the T3eH8. Whether you actually need the additional features the T3eH8 offers only you can decide and hopefully, today's review will make that decision all the more easier.
 
DFI (Diamond Flower International) have been a motherboard manufacturer that overclockers have adored for nearly a decade now so it should come as no surprise that the motherboard we have for review today is yet again part of the Lanparty range, catering for overclockers and enthusiasts alike. With it's brash but now somewhat familiar colour scheme, the Lanparty series of mainboards feature an  industry leading BIOS with some of the most extreme and complex settings that have benchmarkers foaming at the mouth.
 
Lanparty boards tend to come in three guises, the UT, LT, JR, BI and DK versions. Today's sample falls into the latter category and will be the focus for today's review. Let's hear what DFI had to say about their latest product:
 
The first CPU with a built-in memory controller of Intel, Core i7, running with X58 chipset of completely new configuration, will further improve performance of personal computers. X58 motherboard unveiled by LANParty this time also embodies the design philosophy of "performance first" and will bring supreme efficacy to players with top specification and material. It has 6 memory DIMMs, which support unprecedented 3-channel memory and can significantly expand the memory bandwidth; and also three PCI Express 2.0 slots, which, for the first time, simultaneously support Nvidia SLI and ATI CrossFireX and can considerably improve the 3D processing capability of the system.
 
 
Specification
 
CPU
* LGA 1366 socket for Intel® CoreTM i7 processors
* Intel® QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) technology - point-to-point interface that connects to X58; providing a dynamically scalable interconnect for increased bandwidth, lower latency and stability
* Integrated Memory Controller (IMC) supports 3 channels of DDR3
* Intel Hyper-Threading Technology delivers 8-threaded performance
* 6-phase digital PWM provides stable voltage to the CPU
 Chipset
* Intel® chipset - Northbridge: Intel® X58 Express chipset - Southbridge: Intel® ICH10R
 QPI
* System bus - 4.8GT/s to 6.4GT/s
 System Memory
* Six 240-pin DDR3 DIMM sockets
* DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600(O.C.) MHz DIMMs
* Triple-channel memory architecture
* Supports up to 24GB system memory
* Delivers up to 43.2GB/s bandwidth
* Unbuffered x8/x16, non-ECC and ECC, up to 4Gb DDR3 devices
Windows® 32-bit operating system is unable to accurately detect more than 4GB system memory. Therefore, if you are using this operating system, we strongly recommend that you install a less than 3GB system memory.
 Expansion Slots
* 3 PCI Express (Gen 2) x16 slots - 2-way SLI or Quad CrossFireX configuration at x16/x16/x4 transfer rate lanes
* 1 PCI Express x4 slot
* 2 PCI slots
 BIOS
* Award BIOS
* 8Mbit SPI flash memory
* CMOS Reloaded
 Graphics
* Multiple GPUs - 3 graphics cards in 2-way SLI or Quad CrossFireX configuration
 Audio
* Realtek ALC889 High Definition audio CODEC
* 8-channel audio output
* 108dB Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) playback (DAC) quality and 104dB SNR recording (ADC) quality
 LAN
* Marvell 88E8053 PCIE Gigabit LAN controller with Teaming technology
* Fully compliant to IEEE 802.3 (10BASE-T), 802.3u (100BASE-TX) and 802.3ab (1000BASE-T) standards
 Storage
* Intel ICH10R chip - Intel Matrix Storage technology - Supports up to 6 SATA devices - SATA speed up to 3Gb/s - RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1 and RAID 5
* JMicron JMB363 PCI Express to SATA and PATA host controller - Supports up to 2 UltraDMA 100Mbps IDE devices - Supports 2 SATA devices - SATA speed up to 3Gb/s - RAID 0 and RAID 1
 IEEE 1394
* VIA VT6308P
* Supports two 100/200/400 Mb/sec IEEE 1394a ports
 Rear Panel I/O
* 1 mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
* 1 mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
* 1 optical S/PDIF-out port
* 1 coaxial RCA S/PDIF-out port
* 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
* 1 IEEE 1394 port
* 1 RJ45 LAN port
* Center/subwoofer, rear R/L and side R/L jacks
* Line-in, line-out (front R/L) and mic-in jacks
 Internal I/O
* 3 connectors for 6 additional external USB 2.0 ports
* 1 connector for an external COM port
* 1 connector for an external IEEE 1394 port
* 1 front audio connector
* 1 CD-in connector
* 1 IrDA connector and 1 CIR connector
* 8 Serial ATA connectors
* 1 40-pin IDE connector and 1 floppy connector
* 1 24-pin ATX power connector
* 1 8-pin 12V power connector
* 2 4-pin 5V/12V power connectors (FDD type)
* 1 front panel connector
* 6 fan connectors
* 1 download flash BIOS connector
* 1 diagnostic LED
* EZ touch switches (power switch and reset switch)
 Power Management
* ACPI and OS Directed Power Management
* ACPI STR (Suspend to RAM) function
* Wake-On-PS/2 / Wake-On-USB Keyboard/Mouse
* Wake-On-LAN and Wake-On-Ring
* RTC timer to power-on the system
* AC power failure recovery
 Hardware Monitor
* Monitors CPU/system/Northbridge temperature and overheat alarm
* Monitors Vcore/Vdimm/Vnb/VCC5/12V/V5sb/Vbat voltages
* Monitors the speed of the cooling fans
* CPU Overheat Protection function monitors CPU temperature and fan during system boot-up - automatic shutdown upon system overheat
 PCB
* 6 layers, ATX form factor;
* 24.5cm (9.64") x 30.5cm (
 
Having 3x PCIe slots, you would be mistaken to think that all 3 slots support the full bandwidth of PCIe 2.0 specification. While both the green slots do indeed support SLI with 16 lanes on each, the yellow slot is unfortunately is locked to 4x which may hinder performance with the latest graphics cards. The board also supports CrossfireX should ATI be you flavour.  On the outset that appears to be the only major difference separating this board from it's bigger brother but as we shall see, there is a little more fat trimmed from the T3eH6 to make it a viable option.
 
Let's take a look at the packaging and appearance...


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 2
Packaging & Appearance
 
The exterior packaging is very attractive with the main title being holographic in appearance surrounded by a red smoke effect. DFI definitely seem to have 'grown up' and have now stepped away from the cartoon style designs we are familiar with instead being more 'adult' in approach. Along with the Auto Boost emblem, two additional stickers on the front of the box also state that the OC power off issue is resolved with this product and that DFI now include 'smart connectors' to allow easy fitment of motherboard headers. The rear of the box goes into much greater detail and along with Crossfire/SLI features, all solid capacitor design, 6 fan headers and On-board power/reset switches, the T3eH6 also has a debug LED, Genie BIOS and ABS+CMOS reloaded features.
 
outer box box back
 
Removing the inner box from the outer sleeve, we are greeted with a plain white cardboard box with a silver Lanparty emblem atop. While nothing extra ordinary, little touches like this go some way to making a product stand out from the crowd. The included accessories are nothing remarkable, being the standard DFI UV reactive green cabling, driver disk and flexible SLI/Crossfire bridges included. Two manuals are included, the motherboard manual and the Auto Boost Manual. While the motherboard manual is a standard affair with confusing layouts, diagrams and poor instruction as found with most other motherboards, the Auto boost manual is in contrast well laid out, excellent pictures and documented very well in plain English. I would definitely like to see this design incorporated into the main motherboard manual as it is much easier to follow but perhaps more expensive to produce.
 
box accessories
 
At first glance the mainboard looks very similar to the T3eH8 motherboard we have reviewed earlier however there are a few key differences such as this board is regulated by analogue power delivery rather than digital. The cooling design is also slightly different from the flagship board in that it is not as complex (and thereby probably not as good). This has allowed DFI to cut the costs down considerably and allowed followers of DFI to buy their favourite brand without the need to remortgage the house! The rear of the motherboard is nothing to different from the flagship product but as per previous designs, still has the anti-tamper glue on the screws which makes removing the NB and Mosfet cooling tricky. I would prefer to see spring loaded screws used instead of the glue as this should prevent the screws from unscrewing by accident but make the cooling replacement that much less troublesome. Adding to the problem is the number of SMD's near the screws which can easily break off with one slip of nose pliers needed to hold the nut in place.
 
board front board back
 
The CPU socket area is a slightly more cluttered than the T3eH8 due to the fact that the T3eH6 has analogue PWM as opposed to digital. Yeah that's right, analogue. DFI market the PWM as digital when in fact they are really analogue but can be controlled by the SM bus where previously the analogue design did not allow this. The T3eH6 operates on 6+2+2 phase modulation (CPU, VTT, Memory) which can be reduced to 2+2+2 when in an idle state thanks to DFI's power saving features.
 
The colour scheme of the motherboard is typical DFI Green and Yellow affair with the PCI, SATA, PATA and memory slots all co-ordinated together on a black PCB backdrop. This design is certainly eye catching but I would have preferred a different scheme to differentiate this motherboard to others found in the Lanparty range. Previously DK boards were adorned with orange and yellow slots which was very attractive but DFI seem reluctant to carry this colour scheme over to the X58 range for some reason (cost?).
 
cpu socket memory
 
The PCI area is very well laid out and affords the user the possibility of running TRI-SLI or CrossfireX. The two full length PCIe slots are both PCIe 2.0 standard and operate with 16 lanes each. However the middle yellow PCIe slot is locked to 4x transfer rate and while this may deter some, a PCIe 2.0 4x slot is not a lot different from a PCIe 1.1 16x slot so it's only cards such as the 4870x2 and GTX295 that require such mammoth bandwidth at present and as such are likely the only cards that would be affected by any great margin. That aside I do like the way in which DFI have configured this area. Having the fastest slots the furthest apart should allow for good airflow as opposed to competitors solutions who have the slots next to each other. A further 4x PCIe slot sits below the uppermost 16x slot with standard PCI slots placed adjacent to the lowest PCIe 16x slot. 
 
The T3eH6 features a Marvel 8053 LAN chip which DFI claim can increase Network speeds by upto 15%. Below this chip is the Debug LED that can display 33 different codes which is invaluable when troubleshooting, be it an overclocking oversight or worse, a hardware fault. Interestingly, DFI provide 3 additional internal USB headers internally while no bracket is included to take advantage of this solution. Both Floppy and IDE ports are still catered for with this board and upto 8 SATA devices can be used. Sadly, as with all DFI motherboards, cables that are of the latching type do not work very well with this socket type as they do not 'lock' into place.
 
PCIe SATA
 
The Northbridge cooling is interesting as the fins are designed such that as much surface area is cooled at once. Perhaps the best part about the Northbridge is the ingenious design DFI have implemented - it can be removed! Those who wish to add there own waterblock or indeed fancy some extreme LN2 cooling can simply remove the northbridge heatsink without having to removed the whole heatpipe assembly. Just two screws hold the aluminium finned heatsink to the baseplate which itself is attached to sintered heatpipes allowing much greater heat transfer than standard heatpipes.
Similarly, the Southbridge is also finned but is not attached to the heatpipe assembly nor is it screwed to the motherboard, rather it is attached via the use of 'old skool' push-pins.
 
NB SB
 
The I/O backplate area is a fairly average affair offering a single LAN port, 6x USB 2.0 ports, P/S2 Mouse and keyboard ports. Audio is provided with 6 x 3.5mm jacks, Toslink optical output creating 7.1 surround courtesy of the Realtec ALC889 chip. Rounding off the I/O area is the little red jumper which is used to give the CMOS a full reset as opposed to using the power and reset buttons simultaneously. With the board out of the case this jumper can be useful however with the I/O shield in place, replacing this red jumper with one of the provided bigger black jumpers allows better handling. Despite this and while it is a welcome feature, most motherboard manufacturers use a much easier to use design in the form of a button as fiddling around the back of your case in the dark is not very easily done with a jumper.
 
contact I/O
 
All things considered, the DFI T3eH6 DK X58 motherboard is a very well presented board that has many of the features it's bigger brother has. The cooling, while not as extravagant appears to be effective enough to keep the temperatures in check and while DFI have opted for a hybrid analogue PWM design, the 6+2+2 phase power circuitry should be such that the motherboard performs to a high standard.
 
Let's take a look at the DFI's BIOS which no doubt is one of the main attractions of owning a DFI motherboard...


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 3
BIOS Features
 
Like most motherboards of today, the BIOS is for all intents and purposes separated into two sections. One for setting all the normal things like boot options, integrated peripherals etc and the other, the overclocking section. In the DFI's case this is the 'Genie BIOS'.
 
The Genie BIOS is set out such that all of the overclocking option are all found in one section rather than being spread out over the whole BIOS. The CPU feature is one area which is not normally found in the overclocking sections of other board but DFI have placed it here as they are aware the effects settings such as C1E/EIST can have on a stable overclock.
 
Genie CPU Features
 
The BIOS is navigated by the use of the arrow and TAB keys and each option brings up a separate window by pressing the ENTER key. Additionally, most settings can be accessed by the + and - keys. Sadly, unlike some BIOS's I have played with, the DFI BIOS does not allow the direct input of values.
 
Memory rank interleave
 
The memory options in the Genie BIOS are vast with options such as channel and rank interleave along with memory LowGap being options that will be unfamiliar to most. Of course, a plethora of timing options are also available allowing you to get the very best from your memory modules.
 
lowgap timings
 
A variety of Pulse Width Modulation settings can be adjusted to different frequencies via a percentile calculation. The most dangerous section in any BIOS is the voltage area and the DFI BIOS should could with a serious health warning as the vast array of options and silicon cooking values are extreme to say the least. If extreme overclocking is to your tastes then DFI provide all of the voltages any serious overclocker will ever need.
 
pwm voltages
 
A unique feature of the DFI Genie BIOS is the ability for it to reload a prior saved CMOS setting. Up to four configurations can be saved in the CMOS reload section and then these saved settings can be set to be reloaded should an over ambitious overclock be attempted (and failed). This is a great little feature that saves a lot of time and effort as anyone who has had countless CMOS rests will tell you - it's no fun entering the options time and time again.
 
CMOS reload QPI
 
The CPU Base clock options come in two fold for the T3eH6. Primarily you set the base clock as with any other skt 1366 motherboard but in addition to that the T3eH6 also allows the user to set the boot up base clock speed. This allows you to set a low clockspeed upon POST which the motherboard then increases upon windows bootup. Many times have I found that a clockspeed that is good enough for windows operation will not pass POST initialisation tests. This method eradicates this irritation.
 
bclk boot up
 
A minor irritation of mine is the way DFI calculate the memory dividers. Instead of actually doing the calculation for you in the menu, DFI just show the equation such as Base Clock x 12. While this is hardly degree level mathematics, it is less than ideal for those wanting to input a quick value. Pressing + or - shows the end value rather than the calculation if you do not want to navigate via the window method which is some reprise I guess. Much the same is to be had with setting QPI and Uncore values.
 
dram uncore
 
I have always been impressed with the PC Health section of a DFI BIOS and I am happy to report that the T3eH6 is as thorough as previous versions. Three of the six fan headers can be controlled via temperature being < or > a given value with temperature readouts of all the important areas being displayed below the voltages set in the BIOS and the outputs from the PSU respectively.
 
system reload
 
As per norm, the DFI BIOS is a BIOS that other manufacturers can only dream of producing. One thing is for certain, DFI certainly know about overclocking and what the overclocking enthusiast requires from a BIOS. While at first glance the silly amount of options may appear daunting to someone who is not familiar with overclocking, the layout is very good and most basic options are self explanatory. I could level criticism to the fact that many of the more complex settings offer little or no explanation either by the Item Help window or the motherboard manual but this is true of nearly all motherboard manufacturers sadly. That said, the DFI BIOS is almost perfection.
 
Let's see if I can put some of these settings to good use as I attempt to overclock OC3D's test CPU...


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 4
Test Setup
 
To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration used in this review can be seen below: 
 
Processor: Intel Core i7 920 (2.66Ghz)
Motherboard: DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58
Memory: 6GB Corsair DDR3 @ 8-8-8-24 1600Mhz
Graphics Card: NVidia GTX280
Power Supply: Gigabyte Odin 1200W
CPU Cooling: OCZ Gladiator
Hard Disk: Hitachi Deskstar 7K160 7200rpm 80GB
Graphics Drivers: Geforce 180.60 CUDA
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1
 
During the testing of the setup above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used before the benchmarking began, with a full defrag of the hard drive once all the drivers and software were installed, preventing any possible performance issues due to leftover drivers from the previous motherboard installations. For the 3DMark and gaming tests a single card configuration was used.
 
 clearence display

 
As you can see there were no clearance issues with our test air cooler, the OCZ Gladiator, with sufficient spacing around the sockets and memory area. The LED debug tool was a very welcome addition which is not normally found on motherboards in this price bracket. However, the RED debug LED would match better if it were green or perhaps yellow. Although the picture above shows it to be orange in appearance, rest assured the real colour is bright red which contrasts with the overall colour scheme of the motherboard.
 
To guarantee a broad range of results to best evaluate the motherboards performance, the following benchmark utilities were used:
 
Synthetic CPU Test
• Sisoft Sandra 2009
• PassMark CPU test
• SuperPI 1m, 8m, 32m

Memory Test
• Sisoft Sandra 2009
• Everest 4.60

File Compression & Encoding
• Sisoft Sandra 2009
• 7-Zip File Compression
• River Past ViMark

Disk I/O Performance
• HDTach 3.0.4.0
• Sisoft Sandra 2009

3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• 3DMark 05
• 3DMark 06
• 3DMark Vantage

3D Games

• Crysis
• Far Cry 2
• Call of Duty 4
Overall System Performance
• PCMark Vantage
 
 
Power Consumption

Power consumption is an aspect often forgotten when it comes to enthusiast motherboards but in today's climate, with rising utility bills special consideration needs to be taken when choosing you components as over a period of time, one components can prove to be much more expensive than another over its lifetime. Power consumption was measured at the socket using a plug-in mains power and energy monitor. Idle readings were taken after 5 minutes in Windows. Load readings were taken during a run of 3DMark Vantage.
 
 
 
 
Even with the DFI's energy saving features disabled, it put in a great performance scoring among the best motherboards on test in both idle and load scenarios.This is thanks in part to the digital phase switching from 6 to 2 phase during idle conditions ensuring the T3eH6 is among the most environmentally motherboards I have tested to date.
 
 
Overclocking

Here's a couple of the obligatory CPU-Z screenshots at stock:
 
cpu memory
 
mainboard
 
Overclocking the DFI T3eH6 was trickier than I first imagined as even though the BIOS was very complex, most of the options can be set to AUTO. While you might think AUTO is a good thing, in the DFI's case it was not always the case. The mainboard certainly set things automatically but unfortunately the settings simply did not work. Manually setting the Base Clock (201), CPU VID (1.4v) and adjusting the memory dividers to within specification is usually all our test CPU requires. However, a few other tweaks needed to be performed such as setting the VTT to 1.32v and manually setting the QPI to 4.800 GT/s. These settings usually adjust automatically depending on the prior values you input but without manually setting these values, the motherboard simply refused to boot. This isn't a really big issue for anyone who is fully conversant with overclocking but it's certainly something to consider for anyone looking for a hassle free motherboard.
 
4220  
The extra effort involved with the BIOS resulted in the mainboard pushing out test i7 920 past the usual 200 base clock albeit by just one notch. This allowed a clockspeed of 4220MHz (Turbo enabled) which is slightly above average compared to all of our previous overclocking results on other X58 chipsets. The clockspeed I feel, is more of a CPU limitation that the motherboard as I am certain that given one of the later revision 'D0' CPU's, this motherboard could easily clock higher.
 
One point worthy of mention is that this board overvolts massively. Setting 1.4v in the BIOS resulted in a readout of 1.456, a huge 0.056v more than required. At first I thought this may be to counteract and Vdrop/droop but there was no such 'droopage' either on boot or under extreme load. This may have just been our sample but if not, it certainly needs to be rectified otherwise I can see a lot of CPU's being fried if people are unaware of the overvolting problem.
 
Returning the DFI to stock values you will note that DFI actually stick to the correct clockspeed of 2.66GHz (133x20) whereas the majority of motherboards we have tested previously seem to add that little extra MHz even in stock format. So instead of the board running at say 2666MHz the DFI will be running the way Intel intended. It's always nice to see a motherboard manufacturer sticking to the correct values rather than attempting to gain an advantage in the benchmarks by sending out 'pre overclocked' samples that some sites don't seem to pick up on. Well done DFI, your honesty is exemplary.
 
Let's see how it got on in our suite of benchmarks...  


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 5
 
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.
 
 

 


SuperPI is the benchmark of choice for many overclockers. It's lightweight to download and can give a quick indication on how good a system is at number crunching. Once again, testing was performed a total of 5 times, with an average being calculated from the middle three results.
 
 
 
 

 


PassMark is a popular benchmarking suite which test all aspect of PC hardware.The CPU test examines Mathematical operations, compression, encryption, SSE, 3DNow! instructions and more. Each CPU test was performed a total of 5 times, with an average being calculated from the middle three results.
 
 
Results Analysis
 
 The T3eH6 scored on par with the previous motherboard I have tested and while Passmark showed the T3eH6 to be slightly down on CPU power, consideration has to be given to the fact that the mainboard is running ever so slightly slower that the others (2.660 as opposed to 2.666+).
 
Let's see if the DFI can prove itself in our memory benchmarks... 


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 6


SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.

 
 
 


Everest is in many ways similar to Sisoft Sandra. Focusing mainly on software and hardware information reporting, Everest also comes with a benchmark utility suitable for testing the read, write and latency performance of the memory subsystem. Each of these benchmarks were performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average calculated from the remaining three.
 
 
 
 
Results Analysis
 
Again, we see the DFI DK settling into the middle of the pack, neither excelling in any benchmark nor losing out to the competition. Perhaps it's worst performance came in the run of Everest Latency tests where it came second last only to the MSI X58 albeit by 700th's of a nanosecond which in real terms will not be noticeable anyway.
 
Let's see how the boards perform in our Hard Drive benchmarks... 


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 7
 
HDTach is a free hard disk benchmarking program from SimpliSoftware. This benchmark is not only capable of producing results on hard disk access times but also CPU usage required during disk access. The "Long bench" was run a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being omitted and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.
 
 
 
 
 
 
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.
 
 

 
Results Analysis
 
Yet again, the DFI could not separate itself from it's competitors. It's best result of the day came in the Sandra Read speed, finishing in Pole position however in the same test, HDTach showed it to be the worst performer.

Let's see how the motherboard performs with our multimedia benchmark suite...


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 8


SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.
 
 
 

 
 
ViMark is the latest addition to the OC3D motherboard testing process and a relatively new benchmarking application in general. Designed to take the inaccuracies and guesswork out of measuring the time taken to encode video files, ViMark produces easily comparable and consistent results for encoding raw video into Windows Media, Quicktime and Gif formats. As always, a total of 5 benchmark runs were performed with the highest and lowest scores removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 scores.
 
 
 

 
 
7-Zip is an open source Winzip-style file compression utility that has the ability to compress and decompress many file formats including its own .7z compression scheme. 7-Zip also comes complete with its own benchmarking utility for gauging the compression and decompression speed of the system that it is installed on.
  
 

 
Results Observations
 
Multimedia encoding and compressing is something the i7 series of CPU excel at and as the results above show, no motherboard can show any significant gain or loss at the hands of another. All of the boards on test have performed well within the margins of error of each other and the DFI is no different.

Let's move on to our 3D Benchmarks...


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 9
 
 
Cinebench 10 is a benchmarking tool based on the powerful 3D software Cinema 4D. The suite uses complex renders to gauge the performance of the entire PC system in both single-core and multi-core modes. Testing was performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being omitted and an average created from the remaining 3 results.
 
 
 

 
 
3DMark is a popular synthetic gaming benchmark used by many gamers and overclockers to gauge the performance of their PC's. All 3DMark runs were performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results. Also included are the CrossfireX results to give an indication of how 8x PCIe lanes perform.
 
 
 
 
 
Results Analysis

 
Scoring in the middle of the pack is something the DFI seems to do well in. It neither beats the competition to a pulp with it's results nor does it sacrifice performance for looks. Over the many benchmarks we have run today it is clear the DFI is a capable performer so how will it fair in our run of gaming benchmark?
 
Let's find out...


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 10
 
Crysis is without doubt one of the most visually stunning and hardware-challenging games to date. By using CrysisBench - a tool developed independently of Crysis - we performed a total of 5 timedemo benchmarks using a GPU-intensive pre-recorded demo. To ensure the most accurate results, the highest and lowest benchmark scores were then removed and an average calculated from the remaining three.
 
 


 
Call of Duty 4 is a stunning DirectX 9.0c based game that really looks awesome and has a very full feature set. With lots of advanced lighting, smoke and water effects, the game has excellent explosions along with fast game play. Using the in-built Call Of Duty features, a 10-minute long game play demo was recorded and replayed on each of the GPU's using the /timedemo command a total of 5 times. The highest and lowest FPS results were then removed, with an average being calculated from the remaining 3 results.
 
 
 


Ubisoft has developed a new engine specifically for Far Cry 2, called Dunia, meaning "world", "earth" or "living" in Parsi. The engine takes advantage of multi-core processors as well as multiple processors and supports DirectX 9 as well as DirectX 10. Running the Far Cry 2 benchmark tool the test was run 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being omitted and the average calculated from the remaining 3.
 
 
Results Analysis
 
No surprises here either with the DFI settling into it's usual discreet 'middle of the pack' position.
 
Let's take a look at it's overall performance with a run of PCMark Vantage 64bit... 


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 11


PCMark Vantage is the latest benchmarking suite from Futuremark. Differing significantly from their 3DMark suites, PCMark performs a series of benchmarks designed to recreate and benchmark scenarios of a PC being used for everyday tasks. Vantage has a Vista only requirement as it actually relies on several different components from the OS in order to run correctly.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Results Analysis
 
In contrast to the benchmarks I have run today, it appears that Futuremark like the DFI T3eH6 placing it among the top of the motherboards on test in the majority of suites run. Productivity especially showed a fantastic results, placing the DK board in first position.
 
Let's head over to the conclusion where I attempt to put today's testing into perspective... 


DFI Lanparty T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard Page: 12
Conclusion
 
DFI have proved yet again what it takes to make a motherboard appealing to the niche market of overclockers. While it may not be the best performer at stock, this board only comes alive if you intend to overclock.
 
The DK variant of Lanparty motherboards usually signifies that this is a trimmed down version of the flagship models. However, without looking at the specification you really would not know it. Sure Digital PWM is nice to have but if the end result is the same who cares? The T3eH6 almost reached the T3eH8's overclocking prowess, missing the mark by a measly 20 MHz and while that 20MHz may mean the difference between a world record or not, the average overclocker can live with that I'm sure.
 
This board is not aimed at the extreme end of the market, DFI have afforded their flagship models for that purpose. Rather the T3eH6 is targeted towards those who want the best, but on a budget. The DK is certainly not cheap, costing £216 from Novatech, but it is certainly cheaper than the flagship boards which cost in excess of £300. While there are also cheaper motherboards on the Market the DFI aims to provide the best possible motherboard without cutting too many corners. Sure, the DK is missing a few features but if you are not intending to run 10 SATA ports, desire useless gadgetry or indeed yearn for the absolute pinnacle in motherboard cooling then the T3eH6 DK will fit the bill very nicely indeed.
 
It has an industry leading BIOS which is perhaps the jewel in the crown. The Genie BIOS has evolved over the years from customer feedback and technical know how to afford the end user every conceivable option possible. Today's there is little on the market save for another DFI motherboard that can come close to providing such a solution. If spending hours in the BIOS is not your bag then fear not because DFI also provide an Autoboost system which automatically overclocks the CPU and memory to pre-determined levels.
 
In short, what DFI have done is release a motherboard which offers wider market appeal. It really doesn't matter if you are some crazy overclocker with little regard for component safety or an average Joe looking to spend his hard earned cash on a stable mainboard. The DFI T3eH6 caters for all tastes and pockets and while it isn't the highest performing motherboard in any particular area, it doesn't have any tangible downfalls either. As such it is a very solid, all round performer that deserves OC3D recommendation.
 
The Good
- Class leading BIOS
- Excellent overclocking
- Ideal for those who like to tweak
- Removable NB heatsink
 
The Mediocre
- Colour scheme is overused
- On board switches look dated
- Rear CMOS reset switch preferred
 
The Bad
- Retention glue on motherboard screws
- SATA ports don't allow latching of cables
 
 
Thanks to DFI for providing the T3eH6 DK X58 Motherboard for review. Discuss in our forums.