DFI X48 UT-T3RS Motherboard

Motherboard Layout

Motherboard Layout
 
The motherboard itself is typical of DFI with the trademark UV reactive PCI slots. However that is not what dominates the board this time around. The gorgeous heatsink assembly from Thermalright is perhaps the most eye catching aspect of the board. A black PCB is now a prerequisite for enthusiast boards and the DFI is no different. On the back of the motherboard we see that it is relatively clear save for a heatsink! Yup thats right, a heatsink is actually on the back of the board. To be fair this heatsink is actually a backplate adding support for the MOSFET area but credit to DFI for adding a few fins even though I doubt the thermal properties of a PCB will aid heat dissipation! A nice idea nonetheless.
 
DFI X48-T3RS Mainboard DFI X48-T3RS Motherboard back
 
Starting from the top of the board, we see that the CPU socket area is relatively sparse which is good news for the extreme coolers out there. This is due to the Volterra 8 Phase digital PWM which claim to be up to twenty percent better than traditional PWM. Again, Thermalright take charge of cooling down the PWM area with a huge heatsink and also include a separate 'Flame Freezer' additional heatsink which we will cover later in more detail.
 
DFI X48-T3RS Digital PWM DFI X48-T3RS Socket & ram
 
The PWM heatsink is attached via a heatpipe to the Northbridge heatsink, which in turn is attached to the Southbridge as a single unit. The heatsinks themselves are Aluminium and are of typical Thermalright design being both great looking and perhaps more importantly functional. The NB/SB heatsinks are however a lot more 'chunky' than the PWM one with thick fin spikes that would be more akin to some sort of torture device rather than motherboard cooling! The fins are angled 45 degrees to increase the cooling area and are attached to the motherboard via a screw design rather than push-pins which ensure a very solid and tight fit as well as an even mount. Surprisingly DFI elected not to use backplates on these which, due to the screw-down version of fitment, could warp the board should excessive pressure be applied.
 
DFI X48-T3RS Northbridge Heatsink DFI X48-T3RS Southbridge Heatsink
 
The DFI offers a host of connectivity with 8 SATA ports, allowing a massive amount of storage should you feel the need. 6 of the ports (green) are Intel and the two Yellow ports belong to the JMicron. Personally I always found Intel to perform much better than the JMicron ports so would have preferred there to be Intel across the board but the addition of 2 JMicron ports does allow you to use a separate controller should you feel the need. It is a welcome option nonetheless. Towards the back of the board we find the I/O area where there is a gaping gap. This is where the Flame Freezer fits which may be why DFI have not included the amount of USB ports we have become accustomed to with high-end boards of late. The connectivity is all there though with 2 Gigabit LAN ports, 6 USB ports, a Firewire port and the traditional PS/2 mouse and keyboard sockets.
 
DFI X48-T3RS Sata Ports DFI X48-T3RS I/O area
 
The PCI slots are all UV lime green with right to left (top to bottom) PCIe 1x, PCIe 16x, PCI, PCIe 4x, PCI, PCIe 16. Obviously being an X48-based motherboard, Crossfire support is fully supported at its maximum bandwidth of 16+16 lanes. It should be noted that there is a mistake in the labelling in the manual regarding the PCIe slots positioning. In the manual it describes the centre slot as PCIe 16x where in fact it is 4x and it actually shows the bottom PCIe slot as 16x. The layout is near as damn perfect allowing the use of 2 dual slot GPU's while still allowing access to a single PCIe x1, the 4x PCIe slot (Raid/physics?) and PCI slot should you require them. The PCIe slots have 4-pin floppy cable headers which are not required unless you intend on running Crossfire. The manual does, however, suggest using them should you take advantage of Crossfire as it will supply more power to the board and grant a more stable system.
 
 DFI X48-T3RS PCI area DFI X48-T3RS PCIe Powah!
 
The Lanparty UT X48-TS3R requires a minimum of a 300W PSU (DFI recommend a 400W). Personally I think that unless you are running a very low spec system (which would negate buying a high-end motherboard!) then a PSU double that being recommended would be the wisest choice. 
 
The board's PSU socket areas are 24+8pin which is pretty much standard in today's market. Q-tec users should look elsewhere I'm afraid.
 
DFI X48-T3RS 24 PIN PSU requirement DFI X48-T3RS LED
 
Above right we see a very cluttered area. DFI have once again utilised the on-board switches we have become to know and love. The power and reset switches can operate individually (power/reset) or can operate together to clear the CMOS after a dodgy overclock. This does away with the need for a further CMOS clear switch freeing up space for other items, such as the Diagnostic LED. While useful (you will come to hate the 'C1' error!), it would have been nice of DFI to actually include in the manual what each error/readout is as there is nothing to be found in the manual. But with a quick search on DFI's excellent support forums most codes can be found with ease.
 
Moving along we see DFI still retain the use of a floppy and on-board speaker. It is nice to see the DFI also retain the removable BIOS chips which will no doubt help in restoring the motherboard to a workable state by an easy BIOS chip swap should it become corrupt. The board also has a variety of Jumpers which do everything from selecting the FSB of your CPU, to clearing the CMOS and even selecting the power requirements of your USB, of which there are an additional 3 headers but sadly no included bracket to make use of them.  
 
 
Motherboard Cooling
 
Being a DFI, it's pretty obvious that this board is aimed squarely at the overclocker. Overclocking inevitably leads to heat and DFI have taken this into consideration when designing the board and so drafted in the help of Thermalright. Starting with the PWM area I mentioned earlier, the 'Flame Freezer', which for all intents and purposes is an extension of the cooling assembly which extends out of the case. The fitments are pretty much self explanatory by the use of a coupling bracket held on by two screws but if you are in any doubt then DFI do supply a mini instruction booklet for your perusal.
 
Remember I mentioned the backplate? Well now you see why it is required as I'm sure you can imagine that knocking the flame freezer while fumbling around the back of the PC case for a USB slot could quite easily snap the PCB. The backplate therefore serves to strengthen that area.
 
DFI X48-T3RS Flame freezer fitment DFI X48-T3RS Flame Freezer
 
Perhaps the most ingenious thing about the whole heatpipe setup is the inclusion of an adaptable Northbridge. You can actually remove the Northbridge without the need to remove the whole heatpipe assembly. This is a great idea as you can add your own cooling to the Northbridge sink, be it water or air. The top is removed by the means of a clip very similar to AMD CPU coolers. Both surfaces are machined flat and have a dull finish but this shouldn't impact on the heat transfer of the blocks. Big thumbs up DFI!
 
DFI X48-T3RS NB modding DFI X48-T3RS Shiny?
 
Most folk would stop there as to be quite honest the removal of the whole heatpipe assembly is not required unless you wish to watercool each component individually. Here at OC3D we like to go that one step further and have done exactly that:
 
DFI X48-T3RS Screws DFI X48-T3RS Heatsink assembly
 
As all the heatsinks are screw down affairs, it was a time consuming process not made any easier by the fact only the Northbridge had screw heads. The nuts on the rear are also a pita to remove as they are 'sealed' with some gunk to prevent unwanted loosening. Once the heatpipe was removed we can see that surface contact on all of the components was near perfect with just the right amount of paste being used.
 
DFI X48-T3RS Contact DFI X48-T3RS PWM
DFI X48-T3RS X48 DFI X48-T3RS ICH9R
 
So the board is as near to perfect you are going to get and is probably the best cooled motherboard out on the market at this moment in time. Everything is in the right place and with the ultimate amount of configuration options available via jumpers and the diagnostic readouts by both the main LED and individual LED's situated around the motherboard. It is clear that this motherboard can certainly talk a good fight. Let's now take a look at the means by which we can activate some of those LED's with, what I expect to be, a ridiculously complex BIOS as per DFI tradition.
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Most Recent Comments

27-08-2008, 15:39:13

w3bbo
"A premium chipset paired with DFI's overclocking prowess - an enthusiasts wet dream? We put DFI's latest motherboard, the Lanparty X48-T3RS, through its paces to satisfy your loins."

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...203719426s.jpg

Read the full in-depth review HERE .

27-08-2008, 15:59:47

nepas
nice review mate as always.you sounded a bit unhappy with the fact that you dont get quick and dirty clocks with the DFI,I treat that as one of their trademarks if anything(the bios on a DFI can be a pretty scary place compared to others).Nice to see that it broke the record anyway

27-08-2008, 16:29:14

Rastalovich
Nearly bought this board ...

Today I received an Abit IX48 GT3, and have to modify a scythe ninja (trim 4 fins) in order to get past the skycraper of a nb cooler!

What is the deal with all these cokey coolers ? Why we want a wad of heatsink sticking out the back of the case ? Why we want big arse tower things ?

Just give us an oustanding board with decent cooling... most of the hardcored guys take them off anyways.

27-08-2008, 17:12:52

FarFarAway
I'm sorry Rast, that boards cooling is simply gorgeous. Unless you're watercooling you won't need to replace it.

Great review. As always, DFI's are nail-biting, scream-inducing overclocking nightmares but if you fiddle long enough they hit the spot big time

Quote:
Originally Posted by webbo
- EZ Clear switches don't ALWAYS clear CMOS.

- EZ Cear switches look basic in comparison to other boards.
Stretching the mediocre points a little I feel, I've not met an EZ Clear CMOS switch that works every time yet to be honest

27-08-2008, 17:51:16

w3bbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='nepas'
nice review mate as always.you sounded a bit unhappy with the fact that you dont get quick and dirty clocks with the DFI,I treat that as one of their trademarks if anything(the bios on a DFI can be a pretty scary place compared to others).Nice to see that it broke the record anyway
I had that X38 a couple of weeks before I sold it to you m8 and tbh that was pretty similar. I just felt that although the overclock was better than the rest the time it took to get even a half decent (3.6ghz) overclock took alot more effort than with other motherboards and taking into account the numerous (my fingers actually got sore pressing the EZ-Clear switches) BIOS resets it became a frustrating affair rather than a joyous one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
Nearly bought this board ...

Today I received an Abit IX48 GT3, and have to modify a scythe ninja (trim 4 fins) in order to get past the skycraper of a nb cooler!

What is the deal with all these cokey coolers ? Why we want a wad of heatsink sticking out the back of the case ? Why we want big arse tower things ?

Just give us an oustanding board with decent cooling... most of the hardcored guys take them off anyways.
It IS an outstanding board and it has THE best cooling setup on any board I have ever used, add a thermalright Ultra extreme and you have perhaps the best aircooled solution around - certainly the best looking!

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
Great review. As always, DFI's are nail-biting, scream-inducing overclocking nightmares but if you fiddle long enough they hit the spot big time

Stretching the mediocre points a little I feel, I've not met an EZ Clear CMOS switch that works every time yet to be honest
I guess it comes down to your point of view. Overclocking has never been so easy with other boards, maybe that takes some of the fun out of it or maybe it relieves the stress of endlessly rebooting, stress testing resetting BIOS etc.

Point taken over the switches, I was just peeved while writing the conclusion as I was stupidly running the chip at 3.9ghz( I'm always one to push things as far as possible lol) and had a BSOD when the conclusion was almost complete. The board then wouldn't reboot (again) without a jumper switch. Grrrrr

That said there's simply no doubting it's one hell of a clocker and providing you have the patience, as the review showed, the overclocking results can be astounding.

27-08-2008, 18:18:40

Ham
I wish more companies would adopt the digi PWM. the socket area is just so much cleaner.

Just cries out 'insulate me!'

Fantastic job as ever webbo!

27-08-2008, 20:01:50

Bungral
Wow... It's so flat and clean it reflects logos that aren't actually there

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...131911733l.jpg

28-08-2008, 03:17:09

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Bungral'
Wow... It's so flat and clean it reflects logos that aren't actually there

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...131911733l.jpg
Ahh damnit, looks like webbo forgot to remove the oc3d logo stuck to the lens of his camera for that shot.

28-08-2008, 04:56:53

Luigi
haha

Either that or DFI engraved it specially

28-08-2008, 09:28:47

Bungral
Ha that would be quite funny actually...

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Jim'
Ahh damnit, looks like webbo forgot to remove the oc3d logo stuck to the lens of his camera for that shot.

28-08-2008, 09:32:41

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Bungral'
Ha that would be quite funny actually...
Even funnier if the image was reversed and upsidedown

29-08-2008, 12:05:24

w3bbo
Stops the scumbags from stealling my 1337 photography skills
Reply
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