Martin Luther King Junior had once said "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope" and in the event of DFI's NF4 Ultra Infinity, we had never lost hope nor did we leave this motherboard testing disappointed. In fact, the NF4 Ultra Infinity is certainly one of the better budget Socket 939 motherboards to ever come along. One of the sticklers with budget motherboards is that they often lack superb overclocking abilities; however, the capabilities are certainly astonishing with the Infinity product. Using an Athlon 64 3000+ there was no hard times pushing the FSB up to 267MHz and running completely stable at 1:1. In addition, alternate processors we had tested also faired well being able to run at 285MHz with the stock multiplier. Certainly many of the overclocking abilities for the Infinity series have been adopted from the infamous LAN Party line-up. In addition to the direct overclocking, the memory tweaking abilities in the BIOS are certainly incredible and cheers go out to DFI's engineering department. In addition, the performance level of the DFI nForce4 Ultra Infinity was certainly worth applauding with its results for being a relatively cheap motherboard. Being compared directly against the similarly priced ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 and Albatron K8SLI, the DFI product had outperformed its competition in a majority of our tests. Furthermore, the DFI Infinity has its foot in the door with proper LM_Sensors detection thanks to the ITE Super I/O controller. However, some of these values were reporting inaccurate numbers and the DFI Linux compatibility wasn't complete due to the integrated audio not being properly recognized with Fedora Core 4. Moving onto recapping the physical appearance and layout of the motherboard, its PCB color is a stale yellow/brown leading to an OEM-style appearance, and could certainly be considered a lemon compared against the UV sensitive LAN Party nForce4 series. The motherboard also boasts an active cooling solution atop the NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra Chipset; however, the fan in operation is utterly loud. We had no real problems with the LAN Party series and its active cooling; however, the noise with the Infinity series could certainly be improved upon. The motherboard is also skinnier than other standard ATX solutions, which does lead to somewhat of a crammed area; however, the layout is not nearly as bad as the Albatron K8SLI, which is even thinner. The layout of all of the components as a whole with the NF4 Ultra Infinity was very satisfactory when working with the motherboard. One of the shortfalls with the motherboard design was the lack of 3-pin fan headers. On the motherboard were three 3-pin fan headers, however, two of them were reserved for the Chipset and CPU fans, making only one extra fan header available. One benefit to the motherboard, however, is that it uses reliable Nichicon capacitors from Japan. Yet another area signifying the motherboard's inexpensive price are the accessories included with the retail packaging. With the DFI LAN Party series, a great deal of extra parts were included, however, the Infinity series is dimmed to including the minimal components necessary. Presently the DFI NF4 Ultra Infinity is selling for approximately $100 USD, which is quite a conservative price. Overall, the nForce4 Infinity product is a solid motherboard that certainly packs a performance and overclocking punch, however, it does possess its share of a few minor flaws, which is not too bad for being a cheap AMD Socket 939 solution.
Discuss this article in our forums, IRC channel, or email the author. You can also follow our content via RSS and on social networks like Facebook, Identi.ca, and Twitter (@Phoronix and @MichaelLarabel). Subscribe to Phoronix Premium to view our content without advertisements, view entire articles on a single page, and experience other benefits.
Phoronix Product Rating: 8 / 10