ATIâ€™s CrossFire technology has been tempting and teasing us for a long time now. We finally got to see it working in a system here but in X850 guise it proved troublesome and ATI probably found itself wishing it had just hung on for X1800.
But X1800 XT is now here and DFI is the first to release a retail CrossFire motherboard. The one remaining piece of the puzzle will be X1800 CrossFire master cards, but two out of three ainâ€™t bad.
DFI has a proven reputation for quality motherboards. The DFI Lanparty UT nF4 SLI-D was the first motherboard in the LanParty UT series we tested and the RDX200 CF-DR is similar in many ways. The UT RDX200 CF-DR is not a high-end, heavily featured motherboard, but what it offers is still quite impressive.
In terms of looks the RDX200 CD-DR is similar to the nF4 SLI-D, there are some major differences, most of them chipset based but there are several design difference when you look closer. First of all the CPU socket and memory modules have been moved and rather interestingly the CPU socket is at the front of the board with the memory slots at the rear. Iâ€™m not sure why this has been done, as it makes little sense over a normal layout, but itâ€™s not the first time DFI has produced a motherboard with an unusual design.
DFI has added double spacing for the graphics card this time around, so the x1 PCI Express slot can be used even with a double width graphics card cooler. Things are quite cramped on the board and besides the two x16 slots â€“ operating at x8 in CrossFire mode â€“ and the single x1 PCI Express slot there are only a further three PCI slots of which one is rendered unusable in CrossFire mode with dual slot cards.
There might be a concern if you want to use passively cooled graphics cards with the top slot, since there isnâ€™t a lot of space between it and the memory modules. Another concern is the floppy style power connector just above the slot, as this has to be connected in CrossFire mode. Again, there isnâ€™t room to connect this if you use a graphics card which has a heatsink on the back.
The northbridge cooler is located between the two x16 PCI Express slots and DFI claims that the fan is magnetically levitated to reduce noise. To be honest, it was impossible to say how noisy it was as the two X850 XT cards that were used to test the board with drowned out any other sound. A passive heatsink is fitted to the southbridge and this never got hot to the touch.