SOYO Mini DRAGON 651 Review - HotHardware

SOYO Mini DRAGON 651 Review

1 thumbs up

SOYO Mini DRAGON 651
A New Pentium 4 Small Form Factor PC In The Crowd

By: Chris Angelini
July 28th, 2003


SFF PCs are all the rage it seems and we're as much a fan of small form-factor systems as any, here at HotHardware.  My personal desktop system tucks away neatly under my desk.  I've also got a PC-based PVR system that could easily pass for an amplifier in a home theater rack.  I've spent quite a bit of time miniaturizing my tech appliances, and I don't mind dedicating time and money to make sure a job is finished correctly.  Therefore, I was particularly interested in SOYO's latest small form-factor concoction, the Mini Dragon 651.  As its name suggests, the Mini DRAGON centers on SiS' 651 chipset with integrated graphics.  "But there are already hordes of small form-factor systems on the market," you say.  "What makes SOYO's offering unique?" These are the questions we'll try to answer in the pages ahead.

Specifications of SOYO's Mini DRAGON
Compact and simple: a winning combination?

     
Primary and Secondary enclosures that constitute the Mini DRAGON
 

CPU:

  • Supports Socket 478 for Intel Pentium 4 with 400/533MHz front side bus

  • Supports Hyper-Threading technology

Chipset:

  • SiS 651 North Bridge

  • SiS 962 South Bridge

  • Unified Memory Architecture (for graphics memory)

  • Connected via bidirectional 16-bit bus for 533MB/s of bandwidth

Memory:

  • One 184-pin DIMM with support for DDR200/266/333

  • Single channel operation for up to 2.6GB per second of bandwidth

  • Up to 1GB of memory

Graphics Features:

  • Built-in 256-bit 3D engine

  • Integrated 2D engine

  • Integrated MPEG 1/2 decoder

  • One VGA output

Power Supply

  • External, 200W power supply

IDE:

  • Two channels for IDE - one inside the main unit and one inside the expansion unit, available through USB 2.0 connector.

LAN:

  • Integrated 10/100 Ethernet controller

Expansion:

  • One AGP 4x/2x expansion slot

  • One IEEE 1394 port

Audio:

  • Two channel audio output via AC'97 codec

Other :

  • Accommodates one 2.5" HDD in main unit

  • Secondary unit accommodates one 3.5" HDD and one CD/CD-RW drive

USB 2.0:

  • 6 USB 2.0 ports


It is interesting that SOYO opted for the SiS 651 chipset as a foundation for its Mini DRAGON.  Acceptable in its prime, the chipset has since been dated by Intel's 865G and SiS' own 661FX.  Quite simply, the Mini DRAGON seems to be the unfortunate victim of delays and as a result, it has been outdated even before release.  Nevertheless, the SiS 651 chipset has a few redeeming qualities.  The memory controller supports a single channel of 64-bit DDR333 memory, making it more affordable to upgrade than a modern dual-channel DDR400 monster.  Along the same lines, support for 400 and 533MHz front side bus Pentium 4 processors gives the Mini DRAGON a definite 3.06GHz ceiling. 

The chipset's integrated graphics core is certainly nothing to write home about.  It does provide acceptable 2D quality, but 3D performance is dismal at best.  Fortunately, a combination of IEEE 1394, USB 2.0, and integrated 10/100 Ethernet give the platform comprehensive connectivity, adding appeal as an Internet appliance or vehicle for multimedia playback.

Inside the Mini DRAGON 

Article Index:

Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment