Soyo SY-K7V Dragon VIA KT266 socket A DDR

Friday, October 12, 2001


Introduction

As a manufacturer, Soyo has long had a reputation for producing quality products; a fact that's made them quite popular with the general, computer-buying public. Still, they've never shown too much interest in meddling in the Overclocking arena in the past. That all seems set to change with the introduction of the SY-K7V Dragon, though. With it, Soyo seems intent on penetrating deep into territory that has long been ruled by a cadre of elite motherboard designers. And, not only are they gearing up to hit the scene with style, but also with force. The K7V Dragon is veritable piece of fiberglass dynamite, and we can readily attest to the fact that Soyo has applied all of their savoir-faire, and included a full bundle of Overclocking functions, with nothing left to be desired. The Soyo SY-K7V certainly seems well positioned to please a wide range of users, it not only includes a 6-channel out audio card with optical and SPDIF signal support, but also integrated network and RAID controllers.

So, with all of that goodness in mind, lets take a look at how it all pans out.

Hardware caracteristics Soyo SY-K7V Dragon
CPU
Supports AMD Socket-A type Processor
Including Duron & Athlon CPUs (1.5 GHz ready)
Chipset
VIA KT266 VT8366 + VT8233
Form factor
ATX - 30.5cm X 23cm
Expansion
5 PCI - 0 ISA - 0 CNR - 1 AGP Pro - 6 USB
Memory
3X 184-pin DIMM 3GB DDR SDRAM PC600 - PC2100
FSB
100MHz to 233MHz in steps of 1MHz
Vcore adj.
-0.1v to +0.250v in steps 0.025v
Vio adj.
NA
Audio chipset
C-Media CMI8738


Audio

The Soyo SY-K7V Dragon's audio circuits are based on the C-Media CMI8738 microprocessor. The CMI8738 comes with support for a 5.1 configuration, and includes 6 audio-out ports (which includes one base line).

The Soyo SY-K7V Dragon also comes complete with the ability to treat digital and SPDIF signals in & out using its gold, double-optic RCA ports.

From an audio standpoint, the C-Media CMI8738 has little to envy of other sound-chips - its already quite capable of supporting up to 32 polyphonic voices, EAX effects, and is compatible with Microsoft DirectSound 3D and Aureal A3D.

This is all considerably better than the integrated-audio capabilities typically included as part of the average VIA chipset - the Dragon's sound capabilities are simply excellent. Whether you're playing MP3s, audio CDs, or your favorite 3D games, the sound-quality of the C-Media chip will definitely leave users with a good impression. Its sound-quality alone is astonishing, and its environmental sound capabilities are simply incredible.



Configuration

For once, users won't need to play with jumpers before installation - the Soyo SY-K7V Dragon is a purely Jumperless board, with not a single on-board jumper relating to the CPU. The only two jumpers present, in fact, are used to reset the BIOS, and enable/disable the RAID controller respectively.

Configuration of the CPU can be accomplished from within the SY-K7V Dragon's "Soyo Combo Setup" BIOS menu.

One there, users will are able to set the FSB frequency to between 100MHz and 233MHz in steps of 1MHz.

Next is the ability to adjust the Vcore voltage, which can be set as indicated in the table above. Unfortunately, the Vio voltage cannot be altered.

The clock multiplier can be set to between 6X and 14X.

As you might expect, a number of memory timing options can also be set or changed from within the "Advanced Chipset Features" menu. These include the ability to set the independent memory bus to 100MHz, 133MHz, or SPD (Serial Presence Detect).

Finally, we'd like to make note of one feature that might interest users who aren't interested in using the RAID controller in RAID 0 or 1 mode. It is possible to deactivate the SY-K7V's RAID functions, and use the RAID chip as a conventional ATA100 controller. This feature allows users to have up to 8 drives connected to the Dragon simultaneously.

Index:

Next: Technical details.