DFI have come to market quite late with their flagship P45 motherboard, less than a month before the next generation of Intel CPUs are due to be launched and around 4 months after their hugely successful DK P45-T2RS (& Plus) models.
The UT P45-T2RS is a high end board with a newly redesigned PCB and a new kind of BIOS chip (more on that later). There are Volterra 8 phase digital PWMs and three 16x (physical) PCI-E 2 slots that can be run in a number of configurations (see below).
DFI's ABS technology is also present and as with all the UT series boards, there is some hefty on board cooling, although this appears to be very similar to the UT P35-T2R, but without the Transpiper.
So, as the other DFI P45 motherboards are breaking records, how will their top of the range product perform?...Read on to find out...
A Closer Look At The DFI UT P45-T2RS.
There's no doubt that the UT P45-T2RS is a fine looking motherboard, but DFI have taken a rather unusual step backwards with the cooling solution and have used the same kind of set up as their original UT P35-T2R. The main disadvantage with this kind of cooling is that if you want to add any kind of after market cooling to the North Bridge, you will have to remove the entire heatpipe assembly and then buy extra cooling for the PWM and South Bridge.
The entire board is decked out with high quality Japanese, solid capacitors and the PCB actually looks more black than previous models.
The observant among you will probably have noticed the apparent lack of BIOS chip - All previous LT and UT models have had a removable BIOS chip and this model is slightly different. Instead of the old postage stamp sized chip and cradle, we now have a tiny little clam shell design, which is just over 10mm square and it is located directly below the South Bridge heatsink, just to the right of the red and blue jumpers. Simply lift open the "shell" to reveal a tiny BIOS chip - marvellous! This same design will be implemented on the forthcoming X58 boards and will no doubt free up some valuable PCB real estate.
One thing that almost scuppered me today was that I had left the clam shell case open and I forgot about it - I was finishing off the photography and I flipped the board over and the BIOS chip was catapulted across the room, luckily, I saw it land, otherwise I would have been up the proverbial creek without a metaphorical paddling device.
To give an idea of the size, here's the BIOS chip sat on a UK .20p coin.
The North Bridge heatsink is a fairly large cast aluminium affair and has a slightly dirty look to it - I remember that the P35's heatsink was the same as this.
The South Bridge heatsink is quite large and relatively flat - There's not a huge amount of heat generated here, so this will be fine.
Also of note in this area are:
- 8x SATA II sockets
- 3x Dual USB 2
- 1x PATA
- LED/Power jumpers
- LED post code display
- EZ Clear switches (more on these later)
An overhead shot - You can see the new BIOS chip holder in it's closed position.
Next we have the rear I/O panel and nestled in between is the PWM heatsink which is machine cut from a single block of cast aluminium.
e already know that this PWM heatsink design works well and only really needs a bit of a breeze across it when under load.
- PS2 Keyboard
- PS2 Mouse
- PWM Heatsink
- 1x Firewire
- 6x USB 2
- Dual Gigabit Lan
Here we can see the other side of the PWM heatsink and we can also marvel at the uncluttered CPU socket area. As I always mention at this point, this is great if you are going to be using sub zero cooling as the low profile round the socket makes it easier to lay your insulation.
An overhead view of the CPU socket area and PWM heatsink
The now familiar green and yellow memory slots can support up to 16GB of RAM in the form of 4GB modules. There are a couple of heatsinks for the memory power circuitry at the top right and bottom centre of the picture and also a 24 pin ATX socket and a single PATA connector. There's not much else out of the ordinary here, but it's worth pointing out that the heatpipe coming from the North Bridge heatsink will obstruct one of the board's mounting holes.
There are three physical 16x PCI-E 2 slots, the top one runs at 16x, the second at 4x and the third can run at 2x. Alternatively, you could run the top two at 8x each for Crossfire and the bottom one at 2x for Physics if required. The entire switching process is automatic and is controlled by the six oblong IC's between the first two 16x PCI-E 2 slots (see the pic below).
We also have three PCI slots and a single 1x PCI-E 2 slots.
Another new feature on the UT is the on board power and reset switches - the previous kind were quite pointed and not very aesthetically pleasing. I'm happy to report that the new switches look and feel great....they remind me of something though....
The Test Set Up
The test set up is as follows:
- DFI UT P45-T2RS - Stock cooling on the North Bridge
- E8600 - Watercooled - Thermochill PA120.2, Laing DDC, D-Tek Fuzion Mk1
- Gainward 8800GT
- Western Digital Raptor 74GB
- Lian-Li 750/850w Silent Force PSUs
- When I built up the UT to start testing, I was getting an error code 88 when I powered on. There was also a smell of hot plastic and after some panicking, I realised that I had put the BIOS chip back in the wrong way round.
The tiny BIOS holder had become quite hot to the touch, so I let it cool down and refitted the chip the opposite way round and it fired up first time. Phew!
On further inspection, there is a tiny dot on the chip and a small notch of plastic cut out from the lower left hand side of the chip holder and if you match those up, you will be fine.
The rest of the set up went without a hitch and both XP and Vista x64 playing nicely with no problems.