The ICFX3200 is an event not just because it's the first—and thus far only—motherboard based on the RD600, but also because it's DFI's only high-end LANParty board for Core 2 processors. DFI has quickly established itself as a favorite among enthusiasts, and many have been waiting with great anticipation to see what motherboard whiz Oskar Wu can cook up for a Core 2-compatible LANParty.
Has DFI's combination of seemingly contradictory ingredients—an AMD chipset with an Intel socket—produced a motherboard with mouth-watering potential? Keep reading to find out.
AMD's RD600 is easily the most interesting attribute of the ICFX3200, but the chipset itself is a little short on bells and whistles. The RD600 doesn't even have enough PCI Express lanes to supply CrossFire configurations with a full 16 lanes of bandwidth to each card. Instead, it must resort to a dual-x8 configuration—a trick Intel's 975X chipset has been pulling off for some time now.
As one might expect from a Core 2-compatible chipset, the RD600 supports quad-pumped front-side bus speeds up to 1066MHz and dual-channel DDR2 memory up to 800MHz. AMD is, of course, well known for the memory controllers it's integrated into Athlon 64 processors, but the RD600's memory controller is an ATI design.
|CPU support||LGA775-based Celeron, Pentium 4/D, Core 2 processors|
|North bridge||AMD RD600|
|South bridge||AMD SB600|
|Interconnect||PCI Express x4 (2GB/s)|
|Expansion slots||3 PCI Express x16|
3 32-bit/33MHz PCI
|Memory||4 240-pin DIMM sockets|
Maximum of 8GB of DDR2-533/667/800 SDRAM
|Storage I/O||Floppy disk|
2 channels ATA/133
4 channels Serial ATA with RAID 0, 1, 0+1 support
4 channels Serial ATA with RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 support via Promise PDC40719
|Audio||8-channel HD audio via SB600 and Realtek ALC885 codec|
|Ports||1 PS/2 keyboard|
1 PS/2 mouse
6 USB 2.0 with headers for 4 more
1 1394a Firewire via VIA VT6307 with headers for 1 more
1 RJ45 10/100/1000 via Marvell 88E8052
1 RJ45 10/100/1000 via Marvell 88E8053
1 analog front out
1 analog bass/center out
1 analog rear out
1 analog surround out
1 analog line in
1 analog mic in
1 coaxial digital S/PDIF output
1 coaxial digital S/PDIF input
|Bus speeds||FSB: 0-511MHz in 1MHz increments|
DRAM: 133-658MHz in 3MHz increments
NB PCIe: 100-200MHz in 1MHz increments
|Bus multipliers||CPU: 6x-10x (Core 2 Duo E6600)|
|Voltages||CPU: 0.44375-1.6V in 0.00625V increments|
CPU special: 100-121.25% in 0.05-0.1% increments
CPU VTT: 1.21-1.59V in 0.01-0.03V increments
DRAM: 1.5-3.01V in 0.01-0.02V increments
NB Core: 1.3-2.18V in 0.06V increments
NB PLL 1.8: 1.83-2.51V in 0.08-0.1V increments
NB PLL 1.2: 1.21-1.46V in 0.08-0.09V increments
NB PCIe: 1.22-1.6V in 0.11-0.13V increments
NB Convert: 1.81-2.39V in 0.08V increments
SB Core: 1.23-1.59V in 0.11-0.14V increments
Clockgen: 2.92, 3.4V
|Monitoring||Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring|
|Fan speed control||CPU, system, north bridge|
Follow the four-lane PCI Express link from the RD600 down to the chipset's south bridge component and you'll find the SB600, a chip we've seen in everything from high-end CrossFire Express 3200 chipsets for Socket AM2 to AMD's latest 690G integrated graphics chipset for budget Micro ATX boards. The SB600 is a little light in the features department, sporting only four Serial ATA ports and lacking RAID 5. DFI makes up the difference by including an auxiliary storage controller from Promise that brings an additional four SATA ports to the table along with support for parity-powered RAID arrays. However, the Promise chip is tied to the PCI bus, so it will have to share limited bandwidth with other devices.
Fortunately, the Promise chip won't have to share bandwidth with the board's dual Gigabit Ethernet controllers. DFI calls upon a pair of Marvell chips to supply GigE connectivity, and both use PCI Express interfaces. In fact, the GigE chips hook directly into the RD600 north bridge, so network traffic won't even consume chipset interconnect bandwidth.
The rest of the LANParty's spec sheet fills out as one might expect, with VIA providing a Firewire chip and Realtek handling audio codec duties. You won't find a more ubiquitous tag team of onboard peripherals; if only VIA had a mascot, it could do a buddy movie with the Realtek crab.