DFI X58 T3H6 JR mATX Motherboard Page: 1
Introduction
 
DFI have long been known to produce some fantastic motherboards for the enthusiast and the Lanparty series are the ones that appeal the most. Most recently, I had the pleasure of reviewing the X58 based DFI T3EH8 Ultra which at the time was the best clocking X58 motherboard I had tested. Today, I have in front of me a micro version of this motherboard in the form of the DFI X58 T3H6 JR mATX.
 
X58 mATX form factors are thin on the ground at present and thus far I have only had the opportunity to sample the Asus Rampage II Gene, which was very impressive to say the least. Therefore today I will be putting the mATX board from DFI, aptly named Jr, through its paces to see how it compares to what is safe to say it's most direct competitor, the Asus Rampage II Gene.
 
The DFI T3H6 Jr is aimed at the enthusiast market and being from the Lanparty series, one would expect it's most suited to well, erm, LAN parties. Those who have experience of attending LANs will tell you, taking a large tower case to such an event is a chore and more and more gamers are now building portable sized PC's that can be easily transported from one venue to the next. I once made the mistake of taking along a (very) old tower case setup and getting it from the car to the gaming area at the LAN was a mammoth task, resulting in me being doubled up in pain for a good few weeks after wards due to a suspected slipped disc. Today though, with mATX Aluminium cases such as the 350b from Lian Li and a much lighter PC, back problems should be a thing of the past. More and more LAN attendees are choosing the mATX form factor over the standard ATX as the larger motherboards offer little over an mATX. Sure, due to the size limitations it's physically impossible to fit everything an ATX has to offer onto a mATX such as TRI-SLI but all the essentials that are needed for the ultimate gaming machine are there.
 
DFI have identified this niche in the market and building on the success of their P45 JR board they have released what appears to be a very capable, very well featured motherboard with their trademark vivid aesthetics that appeal to the gamers market. Let's hear what DFI have to say about their motherboard:
 
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 two 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
 
The following specification was taken directly from the DFI product page:
 
CPU
* LGA 1366 socket for Intel® Core™ 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 1800(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 MHz
* Triple-channel memory architecture
* Delivers up to 43.2GB/s bandwidth
* Supports non-ECC unbuffered DIMMs
* Supports up to 24GB system memory
* 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 
* 2 PCI Express (Gen 2) x16 slots - 2-way SLI or Quad CrossFireX configuration at x16/x16 transfer rate lanes
* 1 PCI Express x4 slot
* 1 PCI slot
BIOS 
* Award BIOS
* 8Mbit SPI flash memory
* CMOS Reloaded
Graphics 
* Multiple GPUs - 2 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
Serial ATA with RAID 
* 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
IDE 
* JMicron JMB368 PCI Express to PATA host controller
* Supports up to 2 UltraDMA 33/66/100Mbps IDE devices
 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 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 front audio connector
* 1 CD-in connector
* 1 IrDA connector
* 1 CIR connector
* 6 Serial ATA connectors
* 1 40-pin IDE connector
* 1 floppy connector
* 1 24-pin ATX power connector
* 1 8-pin 12V power connector
* 1 4-pin 5V/12V power connector (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 Keyboard/Mouse
* Wake-On-USB Keyboard/Mouse
* Wake-On-LAN
* 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, microATX form factor
* 24.5cm (9.64") x 24.5cm (9.64")
 
As you can see there is not a lot that has been left out of the DFI T3H6 Jr, infact this board, on the surface at least appears to have more features that many full size ATX motherboards.
 
Let's take a closer look at the motherboard itself...  


DFI X58 T3H6 JR mATX Motherboard Page: 2
Packaging & Appearance
 
The front of the box is akin to the Lanparty boxes of old with a cartoon figurine taking pride of place next to the motherboard title. Apart from the obligatory Intel emblems, DFI have applied three stickers that seem to be more of an after thought than anything else. These stickers inform us that the X58 T3H6 has smart connectors, an Auto Boost System, and perhaps most interestingly, that the Intel OC power off issue is fixed and as such, tweaking the FSB or memory ratio will not power off the motherboard by itself as before. The rear of the box goes on to describe some of the finer points of the motherboard such as EZ Clear (a method of resetting the CMOS without jumpers), SLI and Crossfire capability, all solid capacitors and 6 fan headers.
 
front box back box
 
Removing the outer sleeve we arrive at a plain white inner box which is screen printed with the Lanparty logo. Contained inside are a raft of accessories and booklets neatly separated by a cardboard layer which in turn is protecting the motherboard, itself packaged inside an anti static bag on top of a thin slice of foam for rear protection.
 
inner box box open
 
The accessory list is not the most expansive I have seen with just the bare essentials included to set you on your way. Two UV Green reactive SATA data and power cables, an IDE and floppy cable, 'Smart connectors', a dual and triple SLI bridge along with the obligatory I/O shield and motherboard manuals are included along with a driver/utility CD. I was impressed with the Auto Boost manual which was clearly laid out with colour photographs. Why this method of printing was not adopted for the main motherboard manual I do not know but it seems DFI have missed a trick excelling in one department but sticking to the standard grey-scale scheme in the other.
 
accessories book
 
sli back plate
 
The motherboard itself is typical of DFI offerings in that it's a black 6 layer PCB with a two tone colour scheme. Matching it's bigger brother, the ATX T3eH8 Ultra, the T3H6 has the same lime green and yellow slots which while appealing to some may deter others who are not fond of this colour scheme. There can be no doubting though that this is one striking board. Flipping the board over we see that the mainboard should not present any difficulties installing a CPU cooler backplate so long as it is an X configuration and not a square.
 
mainboard backboard
 
First impressions are that the CPU socket area is cluttered but on closer examination all the power regulation comes from the I/O side of the socket, leaving the space above the socket free from heat sinks. To the left of the socket, we see that the DFI T3H6 has a six phase power design along with all solid capacitors which should lengthen the life of the motherboard.
 
DFI have managed to cram 6 memory sockets onto the motherboard which are capable of supporting DDR3 1800(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 MHz and upto 24GB which will give an astonishing top line of 43.2GB/s bandwidth. This is a great achievement for a motherboard of this size and an ideal solution for those looking to take full advantage of the masses of bandwidth X58 affords.
 
CPU memory
 
Inevitably because of the mATX design, some areas needed to be sacrificed and the PCI area is the place that has taken the brunt of the shrinkage. DFI have however, still managed to squeeze two 16x PCIe slots in there along with a 4x slot and a standard PCI slot should you not want to take advantage of the motherboards SLI and Crossfire capabilities. If SLI/Xfire with double slot cards is your bag then no other slots will be available for expansion. Below the Southbridge area, we find the EZ switches which allow the CMOS to be cleared by pressing both switches in unison. In practise this worked fine but this feature wasn't used too much because the board seemed to recover well from excessive overclocking. An LED display shows the boot progress as well as any fault codes allowing you to determine where the fault is rather than having to decipher beep codes.Three External USB headers are also in place along with the motherboard headers which DFI have thoughtfully included a set of Smart Connectors for ease of use when installing the motherboard.
 
PCIe lower panel
 
There's only one option for your drive controller and this is the ICH10R as there are no other controllers on board such a JMicron etc. There are however 6 SATA ports which is ample for a motherboard of this size. Amazingly, DFI also include a floppy and legacy IDE port should you still be clinging on to this technology. The I/O area is a little sparse with just 6 USB ports, a single RJ45 LAN port, 7.1 audio courtesy of 6 3.5mm jacks controlled by the Realtec ALC889 High Definition audio CODEC. In addition to the jacks are an optical S/PDIF-out port and a coaxial RCA S/PDIF-out port. Last of all, DFI again give a nod to yesteryear with PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports.
 
SATA BIOS 1
 
How many times have you flashed a motherboards BIOS for it to corrupt itself meaning the whole motherboard needs to be RMA'd at considerable cost to you? With the DFI T3H6, the BIOS chip is removable, reducing in postage costs should the worst happen. The chip is protected by a clasping mechanism but is relatively easy to release should you need to.
 
bios1 bios 2
 
Rather than opt for a full heatpipe assembly, the NB and Mosfet coolers are separated from the Southbridge heatsink. Both the Northbridge and Southbridge coolers are aluminium which is a shame as copper is a better conductor of heat but the heatpipe connecting the Northbridge and the Mosfets is nickel plated copper ensuring heat is adequately wicked away from the most critical parts.
 
Northbridge southbridge
 
The Northbridge/Mosfet assembly is screwed down to the motherboard with retaining nuts which have some sort of glue/anti tamper material on them. I'd like to think that this glue is there to prevent the nuts from coming loose but I struggled to get the nuts free and with the threads also coated in the same gunk, re-using them would be nigh on impossible. This is very disappointing as it makes the heatsinks removal a tiresome and tricky affair which, if the screws were simply spring loaded,  the whole removal procedure would be so much easier.
 
mosfet nuts
 
Overall a very solid, smart looking motherboard. The colour scheme is becoming a little dated but if nothing else, it is a signature scheme of DFI and for that reason alone they can be forgiven. The Smart connectors are a good idea but nothing new, much the same as the LED indicators and the on board switches but all are welcome on enthusiasts boards.
 
Let's see if there are any surprises in the BIOS section...  


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BIOS Features
 
The boot screen of the DFI X58 T3H6 is a mirror of the front of the motherboard box. During this point you can enter the ABS feature by pressing F1 or enter the BIOS using the normal .del key. Once in the BIOS, the section we are most interested in and the section we will be concentrating on today is the Genie section. This is where all of the overclocking settings are found and perhaps the one part of a DFI motherboard that either makes or breaks it's appeal to others.
 
front page Genie
 
Initial impressions suggest that the BIOS is not as complex as ones in the past. However, looks can be deceiving as the Genie BIOS holds almost every overclocking option you could wish for. The front page of the Genie BIOS is basically a window to a host of further options, each with its own page. The CPU features section is straight forward enough with all the common selections available. The DRAM timing has more options than you can shake a stick at and while it's not as complex as other DFI BIOS options, all the major primary and sub timings are there which will allow you to get the most from your memory.
 
CPU Feature DRAM timing
 
Each option can be inputting directly, scrolled through via + / - keys or opened up into a sub menu via the enter key which will then display all available settings. Below we see that both the Channel and Bank Interleave options are available as part of the DRAM timings section.
 
timing interleave
 
Lowgap settings can also be tweaked which is a rarity among motherboards. This option allows the mapping of local video memory to the system memory address size. Think of it as the old AGP aperture size e.g if you have GTX280 SLI you must set this value to 2048 (1024x2), also consider other cards that carry ram such as X-FI cards which must also be added to this figure.
 
lowgap enter settings
 
Voltage settings are where the DFI T3H6 excels. Almost every on board component can be tweaked with some very extensive and quite honestly, over the top voltage options. Fancy putting 2 volts through your i7? No, OK then how about forcing 2.4v through your triple channel ram? All of the options are there to destroy your hardware so use extreme caution when setting your voltages with this motherboard. DFI do however, give a gentle reminder that you are in the 'danger zone' by changing the font colour to red should you begin to get carried away.
 
voltages vref
 
DDR reference voltages can be fine tuned using the bus VREF setting. This works via percentage so ensure you get your calculations correct. Voltage signal strengths can also be increased but the options are limited to either Normal or Strong.
 
QPI strength IOH
 
Should you get fed up with resetting the BIOS every time your overclock fails to POST, you can set the DFI T3H6 to boot up one of your pre-saved profiles. This is a great idea as you will no longer have to set all the mundane options up every time you need to clear the CMOS. DFI allow you to save up to four profiles to the 'bank' so for example you could have your base settings in one profile, mild overclock in another, 24/7 settings in another and suicide settings in another.
 
OC fail QPI freq
 
The base clock can be tweaked to a considerable 250 and while this might seem to be plenty for the Quads, I am a little concerned that the new dual cores that are on the horizon may be limited by this, if indeed 5GHz can be classed as being limited. Another cool feature of the BIOS is the Boot up base clock setting. This allows you to set the base clock for the PC to POST which will then change to your standard base clock upon POST. Ideal for those looking to get the absolute maximum without having the PC hang on POST.
 
bclk boot up
 
Both the DRAM and Uncore frequencies are adjusted by the means of multiplication 'dividers'. While these can be adjusted via the menu method, the + / - keys allow you to see the end figure saving you from doing the math yourself.
 
dram uncore
 
The CMOS reload section is where you create, back up and load your BIOS settings. You can also name your saved profile to give you a gentle reminder on what the settings actually are. Finally, we arrive at the PC Health status screen allowing you to tweak the fan speeds according to the temperature of the appropriate chip the fan controller is connected to. All the major voltage read outs are also displayed for your convenience (or indeed peace of mind!) along with the temperatures of each component tweaked.
 
cmos reload health
 
No stone is left unturned with the DFI BIOS. As usual the settings can be tweaked until your heart is content or you can adapt the quick and dirty approach by leaving most of the settings on AUTO - the choice is yours. That is the attraction of the DFI BIOS, it is suitable for both novice and expert alike, all the settings are there if you look for them. Most I would wager, will not, which is a shame because the wealth of options are there to be played with, just be careful with those voltages!
 
With the packaging, aesthetic and BIOS covered, it's time we moved on and take a look at how the system performs as I put the motherboard through it's paces...  


DFI X58 T3H6 JR mATX 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 X58 T3H6
Memory: 6GB Corsair DDR3 @ 8-8-8-24 1600Mhz
Graphics Card: NVidia GTX280
Power Supply: Gigabyte Odin 1200W
CPU Cooling: Stock Intel Cooling
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.
 
top ram side ram
 
Installation of the motherboard was relatively painless but a couple of points worthy of note, one good, one not so good. First the good news: Even though this is a mATX motherboard there is still enough room to fit an oversized CPU cooler. Now the bad: Fitting or removing memory modules will require the removal of the graphics card as the memory slot clips cannot be opened once a GPU is in place. Other than that, there was little I could fault with the baby DFI motherboard. All of the sockets are in the right place, around the leading edges of the motherboard and even with two dual slot GPU's in-situ, the reset and power buttons can still be activated.
 
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 todays 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.
 
 
 
Nobody could accuse the DFI T3H6 as being eco-friendly, consuming a fair amount of power at idle. The motherboard settles down when placed under load though which is a relief and it also consume less power than the Asus Rampage II Gene under both idle and load conditions. 1 - 0 to the DFI.
 
 
Overclocking

Here's a couple of the obligatory CPU-Z screenshots at stock:
 
cpu motherboard
 
memory 

Using a respectable Vcore of 1.40v set in the BIOS, the remainder of BIOS voltage settings were left in their stock state to ensure equality throughout the testing. Here's what I managed out of the DFI motherboard:
 
4.2 
 
An excellent result for the DFI T3H6 obtaining a 4.2GHZ overclock, surpassing many of the previous full size motherboards I have tested. I was a little disappointed that I could not break the 4.2Ghz barrier with this motherboard though as 4.2GHz was the first setting I tried (200x21 Turbo enabled). Anything over 200 Base Clock resulted in a non boot scenario. As a few other boards struggle to overcome this hurdle I suspect that the CPU is actually the limiting factor and not the motherboard. So much so that I would place a large bet that the newer D0 stepping CPU's could easily break this barrier on the DFI T3H6.
 
Vdrop was non existent, in fact the board slightly overvolted the CPU Vcore by 0.008v. Nothing major, but something you may want to consider when you increase the voltage to the CPU. Vdroop again was not apparent, with the board actually overvolting itself by 0.03v! While this will inevitably help with stability, overvolting the board when under load is certainly not a good idea, especially if you have set the voltage to you comfortable limit only to find it exceeds this voltage when under load conditions.
 
The DFI motherboard recovered well from non-boot scenarios when I did push things too far, loading back the previous bootable settings. This motherboard has a handy little feature which can be pre-configured to load whichever setting you wish from the CMOS 'bank' that stores up to four different configurations.
 
Returning the DFI X58 T3H6 and the CPU to their stock settings I then ran the standard suite of benchmarks and compared the boards performance to a number of other X58 motherboards. Let's see how it got on...    


DFI X58 T3H6 JR mATX 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
 
Sisoft Sandra and SuperPI showed little difference between all of the motherboards. Passmark however, showed a deficiency that I simply could not explain. The odd result was echoed in the 5 times I ran it which was even more baffling, hopefully this is just a blip on the DFI's radar which can be rectified in the following tests...


DFI X58 T3H6 JR mATX 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

Overall, the DFI performed very well but could not keep pace with it's main competitor the Asus Gene. However, considering the DFI costs upto £100 less than some of the other boards on test it is by no mean a poor showing.
Let's see how the motherboards perform in our Hard Drive benchmarks... 


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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

Again, we see there is not a lot to choose between all of the motherboards on test in this test considering all the motherboards are making use of the ICH10R controller. The DFI neither excelled or failed in the run of hard drive benchmarks settiling itself in to the middle of the pack for the majority of tests.

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


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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

Intel's core i7 is an encoders dream and as these results show you will not be disappointed with any of the motherboards on test. No motherboard out strips the others with all the motherboards performing on a par with one another throughout the testing.
Let's move on to our 3D benchmarks... 


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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

I was initially disappointed with the DFI in the synthetic 3D benchmarks as Cinebench showed the DFI to be lacking when all 8 cores were used to render the image. 3DMark05 placed the DFI at the bottom of the pile too. 3DMark 06 showed a little improvement but nothing spectacular. The DFI T3H6 however saved it's best performance till last, being the highest performing board in Futuremarks latest benchmark, Vantage.
 
Let's see how it gets on in our run of real world gaming... 


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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

Nothing really interesting can be said regarding the gaming benchmarks as the results echo what I have found over the past few pages. The DFI neither set's itself apart from the crowd nor does it dissappoint scoring average FPS throughout the testing of our three favoured games.
 
Let's take a look at it's overall performance... 


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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
The DFI started out well, topping the pile in both Hard drive scores and memories. However, it soon settled back into the middle of the pack for the remaining tests. This is perhaps the story of the DFI throughout todays testing with it scoring well in some tests but average in others. Overall, I would say the board falls in the 'above average' sector with regards to performance and while it is falls short of bettering the Asus Gene it is by no means a slouch.
 
Let's head over to the conclusion where I attempt to put today's testing into perspective... 


DFI X58 T3H6 JR mATX Motherboard Page: 12
Conclusion
 
The DFI T3H6 Jr mATX motherboard is clearly a great performer. Although mATX motherboards of old were targetted towards those looking to build a media PC, this motherboard would be wasted in such a setup. The T3H6 has it's eyes firmly set on those looking for performance in a small package and the DFI has certainly has performance by the bucket load.
 
Capable of keeping pace and at times bettering it's full size brethren, the baby DFI motherboard punches well above it's weight. It's packaged very well however, the accessories could be better and the colour scheme is wearing a little thin. I was disappointed in the way DFI secured the nuts to the screws using a waxy glue affair which was over the top and makes removal a pain. Despite this, a 4.2GHz overclock was obtained and that's a shining example of just how capable this motherboard really is.
 
I get the feeling I have only scratched the surface of its capabilities though having only had the motherboard for two weeks which believe me is not enough time to fully try out every setting in the BIOS which, as per usual DFI standards, is second to none. The Vdroop phenomena was simply not there when placing the mothebroard under load but perhaps more worrysome, the CPU voltage actually increased which is totally against Intels specification to aid with the possible voltage spikes encountered which could destroy your CPU! DFI it seems do not agree with this line of thinking.
 
Performance wise, the DFI T3H6 Jr falls short of beating the Asus Gene, it's most direct competitor and with both motherboards priced roughly the same, the decision on which is the better board is not one I would like to call. There is little doubting both motherboards can easily overclock your CPU to the max and both motherboards are attractive in their own unique way. The DFI board offers a better, more refined and extensive BIOS overall, whereas the Asus motherboard offeres better connectivity. Both motherboards are the perfect solution for LAN gamer hoping to slug it out with the best and both motherboards offer the end user almost everything a full size ATX board does bar the obvious ommisions due to its decrease in size.
 
If the DFI offers all the connectivity you need and if you don't crave the excessive frills the Asus Gene offers then I would go with it, simply because the motherboard feels more streamlined and aimed more directly at overclockers. However, the Asus motherboard offers a more bang per buck which may sway your decision in it's favour. Regardless, whichever board you choose, both will no doubt serve you well.
 
 
The Good
- Excellent performance
- BIOS options second to none.
- SLI/Crossfire compatability
 
The Mediocre
- Accessories could be better
- Limited connectivity
 
The Bad
- Screw glue is not the best idea in the world
 
  
 
Thanks to DFI for providing the T3H6 Jr for todays review. Please discuss in our forums