The DFI AD70-SR Motherboard Review
More KT266A Lovin' In The House!

By, Jeff Bouton
December 6, 2001

Quality and Design
A Closer Look...

Upon first inspection, the initial impression that I had with the AD70-SR is that this is not a "jumper-less" motherboard.With the majority of motherboard manufacturers moving toward the jumper-less design, I was a bit surprised that DFI has chosen to go against the trend.This particular model has a total of 5 jumpers not counting the obvious jumper for clearing the CMOS.The setting that we came across is the ability to toggle the voltage of the USB 1 & 2 connectors between 5V and 5VSB.With 5VSB enabled, the USB ports remain live when the system goes into standby mode.


Once a USB device is activated, the system will awaken. One of the jumpers is located behind the USB connections and the other adjacent to the WOL connect near the battery.


Jumpers were also provided between the 2nd and 3rd PCI slots which enables 3.3VSB Standby for PCI.The default setting is "Enabled" which satisfies the PCI 2.2 specification.Between the 3rd & 4th PCI was another jumper to manually disable the RAID capability of the board. If for some reason you could not figure out how to turn it off in the BIOS, the jumper is there. Lastly, the final jumper next to the RAID connectors allows you to toggle the FSB between 100/133, the default setting being 100.


Located between the IDE and RAID IDE connections is a series of 5 dip-switches for adjusting the CPU multiplier from 5x-12.5x. DFI has also provided a case sticker with a chart explaining how to set the dip-switches appropriately so there is no need to go looking for you manual when you want to start overclocking your chip.


The AD70-SR comes with a total of 5 PCI slots with space available for another PCI or CNR slot, this model came with neither. The AGP slot is appropriately spaced as not to crowd the DIMMs, making for easy RAM upgrades. The AGP slot is also equipped with a latch that secures the video card in place. The ATX power connector is mounted in a manner that has the potential for interfering with proper airflow around the north bridge and CPU. This motherboard comes with a total of three fan headers. Ideally, we like to see a minimum of 4 fan headers on a motherboard these days.


The AD70-SR comes with on-board Promise RAID controller which can be located by a flashy sticker with "RAID" printed on it. Underneath that sticker is a Promise PDC20265R chip with the Fasttrak "Lite" BIOS. Normally we would go into further detail of the RAID BIOS, but there really isn't much to cover with the "Lite" BIOS. Simply connect your drives, select your system profile "Performance" for RAID 0 (Striping) and "Security" for RAID 1 (Mirroring) and basically you are on your way. Other options are available to select your machines primary role whether it be Desktop, Network Server or A/V/Editing.



Let us now move to the BIOS and see what ties it all together...



The BIOS
What Makes It All Work...

As with a large majority of motherboards on the market today, the DFI AD70-SR comes equipped with the popular Award BIOS v.6.00.  This version of the BIOS covers all of the standard items one would expect in a system, no big surprises here.  We found the options available adequate for normal use and sufficient for overclocking, but for those of you serious tweakers, you might be disappointed.

     

Then again, DFI isn't what I would call a high profile "flashy" motherboard manufacturer.  When I think of DFI, I think of good performance with a lot of stability.  One way to insure good stability is to offer some of the more important settings one would need to set their system up for optimal performance, but that is it.

     

The memory settings under DRAM Clock/Driving Control were sufficient for optimizing memory bandwidth and yet adjustable enough for attempting a stable over clock.  The Frequency/Voltage Control screen had the bare minimum with the ability to increase the CPU voltage in .25V increments up to 1.85V and the FSB in 1 megahertz increments up to 250.

  

Judging by the lack of more advanced BIOS adjustments found on other higher end motherboards, I was curious to see if it played a major role in overclocking this board.  So let us move on and see how high this board could go!
 

To The Benchmarks...