DFI NFII Ultra Infinity - Page 4

..:: DFI NFII Ultra Infinity Layout Cont. ::..

Moving on down below the processor socket is the 3-phase power solution that will distribute proper amounts of electric current to embedded chips and other devices on the NFII Ultra Infinity. To the very right of the power circuitry sits the nForce2 Ultra 400 northbridge chip, passively cooled with an aluminum heatsink and a dab of thermal paste in-between to increase the heat transfer. The heatsink is also very easy to remove should you decide to replace it will a more elaborate cooling unit, but it was hardly warm when the motherboard was in operation.

It is very difficult to see, but if you look in-between the power circuitry and the northbridge heatsink, there is a red jumper assigned to control the default frequency of the processor FSB. You must leave the jumper cap on the jumper if your processor has a 266/333/400MHz default FSB. The additional 12v ATX power connector resides within the northbridge area of the NFII Ultra Infinity, located just above the left edge of the AGP slot. We wish that it could be located near the memory area, since some of the cheaper power supplies on the market have a short 12v cable which could make case cabling a bit messy.

As we make our way into the expansion slot area, there are a total of three chips on the NFII Ultra Infinity that will be used in conjunction with features found in the nForce2 MCP-T southbridge. The first chip, located in-between the middle portion of the AGP slot and above the first PCI slot, is the Agere FW803. It helps to control the three gray colored firewire headers that have been placed directly above the first PCI slot. We think another location for these headers would be more appropriate, so the required cables won't block airflow or get entangled with the fan on your video card. Additionally, if you are using an video card that has one of those massive GPU cooling solutions, you might not be able to use the firewire headers at all.

The rectangular ICS1893 chip tucked to the left edge of the AGP slot is the second of the three chips in this area, and it will aid the nForce2 MCP-T southbridge to provide up to a 10/100 ethernet connection for networking. The third chip is the Realtek ALC650 audio chip. This chip and all of the on-board audio connections are staggered to the very left of the remaining PCI slots, and the chip provides a CODEC for the integrated Nvidia SoundStorm.

There are also two red colored fan headers under the last PCI slot. I'm not sure why DFI has decided on placing fan headers in this location on the NFII Ultra Infinity, but it seems to be the norm lately with some of the other motherboards that have recently enter the MBReview testing labs. I'd like to see them in a more traditional area by the front panel header. A green standby power LED is also located under the last PCI slot, and it will stay lit as long as there is electric current from an outside source.