Youíre not getting tech support, or a brand name. Youíre not getting a great Userís Manual, and youíre not getting a whole lot of extras. What you are getting, in effect, is just the Ďmeatí of the package, without a whole lot of anything else. But when you can have 90% of the performance, 90% of the features, and 90% of the stability for anywhere from half to two thirds the price, itís going to be hard for many users to justify spending double for big brands and fatty extras. In our recent conversations with DFI, this seems to be exactly where the company is headed. No frills, no brand name, just a fairly reasonable and high quality product for a fair price. Thatís something that we think will be quite attractive to a lot of users.
That said, there are, of course, some areas for improvement. In terms of accompanying features, DFIís user support system could possibly be better. The easiest way to do this would be a more detailed Userís Manual, with more settings and BIOS options documented. Mechanically, the board was fine, in our opinion, although DFI could potentially pay slightly more attention to the placement of some jumpers.
Price wise, things are looking very good for the AD70. The SC version (on-board sound with no RAID) can be purchased for under $90 at many on-line retailers. The SR version (no sound, with on-board RAID) can be purchased for under $100 at similar locations. Itís no exaggeration to say that other Ďhigher-endí KT266A boards are selling for literally 50% more. Granted, those are better boards in some ways. Youíll get a second USB riser, probably a better Manual, a bit more performance, and of course, the brand name. But if you donít want all that, why pay for it?
The AD70 is a good board. There are better ones out there, but theyíre only very slightly better, and cost anywhere from 30-50% more. You make the call.
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