DFI Lanparty LT X38-T2R Motherboard
Board Layout & Features
Board Layout & Features
One of the largest factors for consideration when purchasing a new motherboard is its layout. While most manufacturers make their best efforts to ensure that their board can house a dual card setup along with a large CPU cooler and sticks of RAM in every slot, components such as capacitors and heatpipe coolers can easily obstruct the installation of your chosen hardware. With this in mind, let's inspect the X38-T2R for any common blunders.
As we've come to expect from DFI's Lanparty series, the board features some extremely striking UV reactive expansion slots and connectors. While most of the previous Lanparty boards have featured a combination of Orange/Yellow, the X38-T2R is equipped with an even more striking green theme.
Clearance around the CPU socket area is exceptional, with DFI ditching the chunky mosfets and capacitors in favour of a more expensive digital PWM. While this will mostly be useful to water cooling enthusiasts who often encounter problems fitting the latest waterblocks on their motherboards, the flatness of the area around the socket is also idea for sub-zero cooling enthusiasts who need to insulate the board against condensation.
Similary, the Northbridge area is also reasonably devoid of intrusive components, allowing for the easy installation of 3rd party cooling products.
Stock cooling on the board is essentially passive, with finned heatsinks being placed on the Mosfets and Southbridge. As we've already seen over the previous page, the Northbridge features a much more elaborate cooler that can either be run passively or with a 60mm fan. During our testing of the board we increased the Northbridge voltage up to 1.55v in order to reach the maximum FSB of the board. However, at this setting active cooling was definitely required in order to stabilise the board.
Interestingly, DFI have chosen to locate the first PCI-E x16 slot at the very top of the board. This can pose problems attempting to insert memory modules with the graphics card already installed, as the memory clips cannot be fully retracted. While this certainly won't be a problem that many of us will encounter, my regular changing of memory modules during the testing of this board was slightly obstructed by this layout decision.
Despite a fair amount of real estate being taken up by the large aluminium mosfet cooler at the back of the board, DFI have managed to squeeze in a total of six USB ports, two Network ports, one Firewire port and two PS/2 ports into the I/O area. This brings the X38-T2R in line with a large majority of the other motherboards we've tested recently and certainly should provide more than enough connectivity for the average user.
The "benchers" among us will be pleased to hear that the DFI have placed power and reset switches at the bottom of the motherboard making extremely easy to operate outside of a PC case. While on the subject of the power and reset switches, it is also worth mentioning that the CMOS can easily be cleared on the X38-T2R by simply pressing both of these switches simultaneously for around 4 seconds.
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