Soyo KT600 Dragon Ultra
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The Soyo board is one of the more unique motherboard layouts we have seen here in a while. The CPU socket does include the 4 mounting holes, which is good; but it also turned the CPU socket so that it requires the removal of DIMMs to install or remove the heatsink on the CPU. There are PCB guards around the socket as well.
The ATX power connector is crammed next to the north bridge between some capacitors in a bad spot, in my opinion. It forces the ATX power cable to go over the heatsink and also just makes installation a pain. Soyo did not include a 4-pin power connector in this case, either.
The DIMMs are somewhat close to the CPU socket, but what is most important is that they do not come into play with the AGP card. The downside to this is that the Soyo Dragon only has 5 PCI slots, but I think that is a minor discrepancy. The NB heatsink is of a medium quality and includes a fan, which can be replaced should it ever die on you.
The IDE channels are placed above the AGP line for easy installation. The AGP slot itself does not have a retention clip because Soyo is one of the very few motherboard manufacturers to support AGP Pro. The 5 PCI slots below it are a deep purple color, if you happen to care.
The bottom of the board has lot of features on it. The SATA channels are cramped together so you must squint to find out which channel number is which when installing the cables. Even the VT8237 south bridge has a small heatsink on it, though I haven’t noticed it producing a lot of heat to necessitate one. The headers for Firewire and USB have the borders around them that I prefer for easy installation as well.
Soyo and their Dragon series has never let me down with a feature set. They have the two SATA / RAID channels from the 8237 chipset as well as an additional two channels with RAID from the Silicon Image chipset. Firewire is included with a VIA chipset as well.
On the external connectors, Soyo has 4 USB 2.0 ports, a single Firewire port, which is a great idea in my book, and a Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet connection as well. The 6-channel audio is powered by a Cmedia chipset.
Soyo has gone an extra step when it comes to including useful items in the box for the user. First, they have 2 SATA cables and power adaptors as well as the audio header for 6-channel support and SPDIF input and output. A floppy and IDE cable are there for good measure.
The “Sigma-Box” that Soyo includes is similar to Chaintech’s offering of the “C-Box.” It fits in a 5.25” bay on your case, and allows you to have 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 Firewire ports, 3 different Flash memory readers, a diagnostic LED and a Clear CMOS button, all for easy access on the front of your case.
Here we see the general overclocking section for the Soyo BIOS. The CPU frequency could be set up to 511 MHz (!!!) though there was not a multiplier adjustment option. You could also change the PCI divider between /3, /4, /5 and /6. Voltages had a maximum of – CPU: 1.85v, DDR: 2.8v, AGP: 1.8v. It seems odd to have some options set so high for overclocking potential but then leave the voltages lagging behind.
Here are the Advanced settings where the majority of the memory configuration options come into play.
The Soyo board exhibited the same kind of memory issues that previous boards had, but not to the extent of the Abit or even Soltek. Soyo did a good job keeping stability high.