Although DFI's Micro ATX multimedia boards aren't LANParty products, expect some of the LANParty line's BIOS functionality to migrate over. DFI is actually working on a two-tiered approach to motherboard BIOSes. The company has plans to simplify the BIOS it preloads onto retail boards, removing some functionality and relaxing timings to ensure that boards work with a wide range of hardware right out of the box. All the overclocking and tweaking options we've come to expect will be offered in enthusiast-oriented BIOSes that will be available for download from DFI's web site. BIOS revisions tuned for specific hardware configurations may even be offered.
While downloading a new BIOS just to get tweaking and overclocking options might seem like a hassle, it shouldn't be a big deal. After all, enthusiasts often flash a board to the latest BIOS before they even begin to configure a system. Enthusiasts aren't the only ones using LANParty boards, either. The LANParty brand has resonated with gamers and less experience users who may find a list of memory timing or overclocking options daunting. When used improperly, those settings can also damage system components, so it's probably best to keep them in a BIOS that experts can download and install on their own.
Speaking of experts, DFI had its LANParty UT NF4 SLI-DR Expert on display. The board uses a plain old nForce4 SLI chipset, and was built with extreme overclocking in mind. Curiously, though, DFI isn't too keen on the new nForce4 SLI X16 chipset. Apart from extra PCI Express lanes, whose performance benefits are largely limited to SLI AA, and RAID 5, which suffers from painfully slow write performance, the X16 chipset doesn't offer much more than its predecessor. Instead of tackling the X16, DFI is working on another new nForce4 SLI design.
A CrossFire board based on ATI's RD580 is also in the works. This board will ditch ATI's south bridge in favor of a ULi solution, but DFI wouldn't comment further. We managed to surreptitiously snap a picture, though. That'll be our little secret.