We found ourselves constantly changing a set of conditions and then testing them non-stop to figure out if what we thought would work actually did. Sometimes we saw tremendous improvements, and other times we witnessed erratic behavior from the board. The most difficult part of the performance tuning has been trying to figure out what happens when you change an obscure setting and how it interrelates with the rest of the BIOS tweaks. During our initial testing phase, we were presented with a beta BIOS build that opened up further memory options in the BIOS that allowed us to improve both overclocking stability and memory performance. It also changed our way of thinking about tuning the board. Although DFI ships an extensive user's manual, there is not a chart that specifies each BIOS setting and how it interrelates with other settings in the same group. This board requires you to get down in the mud with it and work for its performance potential. The potential is certainly there; it just requires a lot of effort on your part and for it you will be rewarded with an extremely stable and excellent performing motherboard.
The board's overall performance falls in the middle when compared to the venerable Intel 975X and the new hotshot (hot in more ways than one) NVIDIA 680i. This is not necessarily bad and not what we initially expected, but considering the performance of the original reference board, ATI (now AMD) has come a long way with it. We doubt they would have progressed this far without the assistance of DFI but we are glad to see another alternative chipset in the performance market for the Intel Core 2 Duo processors. The sheer flexibility of the memory controller and memory tuning options will allow you to tweak this board for your particular usage unlike any other board currently on the market. For once, we believe those of you who have purchased high-end memory will have a motherboard that can actually take advantage of it in several different ways, and at the same time users with lower end memory are still able to extract the best performance possible.