DFI Infinity NF2 Ultra

The DFI Infinity NF2 Ultra is a motherboard packed with a lot of enthusiast features. For those of you who don’t like the DFI LanParty’s looks, the Infinity will fit the bill as it carries nearly all the same features without all the excess.

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Click to enlarge.

Quick Specs

DFI Infinity NFII Ultra

Northbridge

nForce Ultra 400

Southbridge

nForce MCP-T

FSB

400MHz

Memory

DDR 400

Memory Slots

3

Memory Capacity

3GB

HDD

4x SATA, 2x ATA133

Audio

nVIDIA SoundStorm

Analog Audio Connectivity

(5) Front, Rear, Line-in, Mic, Subwoofer

Digital Audio Connectivity

Coax SPDIF-out
Coax SPDIF-in

Network

nVIDIA MAC 10/100

USB 2.0

6 ports

Firewire IEEE1394

3 ports

Contents & Packaging

  • 1x 18″ Floppy Cable
  • 1x 18″ IDE cable
  • 2x 18″ SATA cable
  • SATA “Y” power cable adapter
  • 1x Firewire bracket (single 6-pin port)
  • User Manual
  • RAID Manual
  • SATA configuration diskette
  • Mainboard utility CD (package was missing this)

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The only item to note is the User Manual. The manual is more of a reference as it only contains diagrams of the motherboard and locations of different headers and jumpers. There isn’t any information on BIOS settings, troubleshooting, or installation. A better manual is located on the CD, assuming you have a working computer to view it on.

Motherboard Design & Layout

For the most part, the layout of the Infinity NF2 Ultra is usable, but the biggest problem however is the socket area.

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Heatsinks get a little close to these capacitors.
Be careful not to break them during installation.

Looking at the socket area, we can see that the capacitors there can pose a problem for larger heatsinks. The Thermalright AX7 barely fits into the socket and there’s not much clearance after it’s installed. There have been a few incidents from forum members where they’ve knocked off these capacitors while installing their heatsink. Please be cautious as warranty will not cover physical damage.

Another problem with the socket is its location. Because it’s so close to the top edge of the motherboard, larger heatsink fans may not fit when installed in a case. This is more applicable to smaller ATX cases about 16-17″ tall. There are four mounting holes for compatible heatsinks and waterblocks.

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Crooked Zif socket on the Infinity NF2 Ultra.

A quirk about this Inifnity board (and on the LanParty board) is that the Zif socket is not flush with the PCB/board (see image above). This didn’t affect me using this motherboard what-so-ever, but there are reports that this causes uneven heatsink mating to the CPU which can potentially be fatal for your processor. Neither the Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe or the EPoX 8RDA3+ have this problem.

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CPU fan and ATX power headers are poor bedmates.

The ATX power connector is located about 1″ away from the socket towards the front of the motherboard. This is a better location in terms of airflow the big ATX cable doesn’t pass over the CPU’s fan. However, the CPU’s fan header is also located next to the ATX connector which means you have to remove that before uninstalling the ATX cable.

The Northbridge and Southbridge both have passive heatsinks for better cooling. Those of you overclocking will probably want to put on a fan or replace the coolers.

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AGP card and 12V power are a bit close.

The PCI and AGP slots could have been better laid out with respect to important motherboard components. The first is that the 12V connector is too close to the AGP slot which may complicate the use of larger VGA coolers. Secondly, the CMOS reset jumper is too close and directly inline with the first PCI slot. So if you install a larger PCI card, you risk blocking it off (see image below). Finally, there are fan and firewire headers next to PCI slots which make accessing them difficult if cards are installed.

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This PCI card blocks access to the CMOS reset jumper.

Unlike the NF2 LanParty Ultra B, there is no onboard power and reset switch, and no diagnostic LEDs. Some of you can live without these features, though I would have liked to see at least the diagnostic LEDs standard.

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The backpanel has all the necessary connections for LAN, 5.1 speakers, digital output, 4 USB 2.0 devices, and your legacy devices. The only feature that makes this unique from other boards is that it also has a coax SPDIF input so you can listen to a digital audio source on your computer.

Motherboard Features

If there’s a motto that DFI followed in designing the features of the Infinity NF2 Ultra it would be “we’re one better”. Everything on the board seems to be just one factor more than its competitors. Take SATA for example. the Infinity comes with 4 SATA connections instead of the typical 2 connections on other motherboards. On top of that, it is controlled with a Silicon Image Sil3114 controller that is capable of RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 0+1. With four SATA connections, you are sure to have the highest flexibility for expandibility and configuration.

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Firewire is no exception. There are 3 firewire connections instead of the typical one or two. There is also SPDIF-in in addition to the regular SPDIF-out. However, the Inifnity sticks with the industry standard of offering 6 USB connections.

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CMOS Reloaded.

Another unique feature of the DFI Infinity NF2 Ultra is the CMOS Reloaded feature. This allows you to save up to four different BIOS settings and restore them at any time. For a general user the only time this would be handy is if you clear the CMOS and you want to restore your previous settings (assuming you saved it). But the real potential is in the hands of the overclocker as you can switch easily between different configurations easily and quickly. 

To round out the features, the nVIDIA MCP-T southbridge offers a 10/100MB LAN connection and SoundStorm.

BIOS Features

The DFI Infinity NF2 Ultra is loaded with lots of overclocking features and most of this appears in the form of memory settings.

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For the AGP subsystem, there are voltage adjustments from 1.5V to 1.8V and frequency up to 100MHz. The CPU settings support multipliers up to 22x and voltage controls of 2.0V. DFI also included a chipset voltage adjustment which is helpful for those of you looking to squeeze out those extra performance points.

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In addition to the overclocking settings, there is a wake-up alarm, on-boot health status and CMOS reloaded (explained earlier).

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Support and Warranty

Support and warranty is something that DFI can improve on. In the package I received, there was no information on troubleshooting, support contact information, or warranty. I’m guessing that people who need support will access the Internet, but if their only computer is in pieces, then where are they going to turn? Granted this board is marketed for expert users, there will be users out there who will need the help.

Warranty information is curiously absent from both the DFI website and in documentation. Doing a search at the site and digging through contact and support information does not yield anything. I did however find the warranty and RMA information by using Google but I suspect this to be old and outdated information. After digging in our DFI forum, I found that DFI warranty comes in the form of vendor warranty. This means that it will vary on coverage and duration depending on where you buy. Also warranty may cost extra.

DFI does have a fair amount of articles in their knowledge base and is the best of all the companies reviewed today. They do not have a forum however, do you would need to use a forum like our’s to get answers outside of what is documented.

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