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Review: DFI NB80-EA Granite Bay

by Tarinder Sandhu on 29 November 2002, 00:00

Tags: DFI (TPE:2397)

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Introduction

DFI NB80-EA 'E7205 - GRANITE BAY' MOTHERBOARD

Currently all the rage amongst those looking to eek out the absolute maximum performance from their P4-powered PCs, Intel's dual-channel, DDR-based E7205 Northbridge is currently doing the reviewing rounds. With the promise of hither-to unseen levels of performance from good ol' DDR, coupled with the fact that it should scale well with increases in FSB, you can appreciate where the enthusiasts' enthusiasm is borne from.

It sounds good in principle. The P4 can use up to 4.26GB/s of memory bandwidth at 133FSB. With dual-channel DDR (in PC2100 format) able to satiate that bandwidth figure, performance, theoretically speaking, should be excellent. However, with the increased complexities involved in implementing dual-channel DDR, and the general vagaries of system memory, getting 4.26GB/s is more theoretical than realisable.

Factor in the expense of Intel's latest DDR chipset combination and you can see why some manufacturers have shied away from producing a motherboard based on the workstation-orientated Granite Bay platform. After all, you need to sell enough motherboards to make it a worthwhile financial exercise.

It may come as some surprise that a relative minnow in motherboard hierarchical terms has decided to stick their neck out and produce a fully fledged Granite Bay motherboard. DFI may not be a household name in the same vein as Asus or Gigabyte, but they've already launched their Granite Bay motherboard well before others have taken the plunge. Let's see just what it can do.