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The name DFI may have only recently come to the forefront of the enthusiast sector but Diamond Flower Inc. is anything but a newcomer to the motherboard scene. This Taiwanese manufacturer has been churning out high value, no-frills boards aimed primarily at OEM customers since 1981. The name was little known and nowhere near as trendy as it has become of late, but those of us with experience of the earlier products recognised the stability and value for money they proffered.
The turnaround in DFI’s brand perception was spawned from the introduction of a single product line, a range of motherboards that captured the imagination of the more adventurous PC user in a way that the legions of adequately performing, low-priced DFI products before it never had. This range of boards sported garish colours that glowed under UV light, and came bundled with the kind of extras that make you stop and take notice, and best of all it had a name that conjured up fun, LANPARTY!
There are currently four LANPARTY series motherboards each featuring a different chipset, but the variety I’m testing today is the 865PE, which as you’ve no doubt gathered is based on the i865PE “Springdale” chipset from Intel.
Of course it takes more than a few fruity colours to make a great motherboard, and as soon as you notice the sheer size of the LANPARTY’s oversized box it becomes apparent that DFI has done things slightly differently.
Within the main outer box you’ll find five smaller boxes nestled neatly together. In one you’ll find a pair of UV reactive rounded cables, one floppy cable and one IDE cable.
Then there’s another box containing a FrontX port replicator. This is a useful, if slightly dated and bland looking way to add or replicate ports in any spare external 5.25in drive bay. Adding to its usefulness is the fact that there’s a four-LED module supplied which mirrors the operation of the four diagnostic LEDs on the motherboard itself.
Being modular in nature you can add, remove and reposition the FrontX modules to suit your needs but the it comes supplied with one IEEE1394 (FireWire) and two USB2.0 ports, microphone and headphone sockets and the diagnostic LED panel.
Moving on to the next box I uncovered one of the bigger surprises, a harness designed to make transporting you PC to and from the local LAN event a breeze. Christened “Transpo”, the harness is designed to accommodate a regular sized ATX case and comes with a sturdy shoulder strap and large, logo-bearing pouch with pockets to store all your essential bits and pieces.
If you’re not already impressed, you can add a LANPARTY sticker and case badge to the list too making for an extremely enticing package, particularly if you can fool yourself into believing you got it all for free, rather than facing the fact that you’ve actually paid for it all in the price of the motherboard. Even so, it still represents great value for money.
Once you’ve fought your way through the extras you eventually get to the motherboard itself. Take a moment to get past the bright tangerine and lime coloured UV reactive sockets and slots and what you’ll find is a fairly conventional and well laid out board with all the main components thoughtfully placed.
There’s a total of three fan headers on offer – although there are only two once you’ve plugged in your CPU fan. There’s also a bank of four diagnostic LEDs and two onboard momentary, push-button switches (EZ Touch) to let you start and reset your system even without your case switches connected.