Soyo Dragon2 KT880 Motherboard - HotHardware

Soyo Dragon2 KT880 Motherboard

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While the AMD Athlon XP still remains popular, it is no longer the sought after enthusiast part it once was. This isn't because the Athlon XP is a poor performer, but rather it's because a new era of AMD processors are now in the limelight.  Regardless, there are still plenty of reasons to consider a system based on the Athlon XP processor, with the most logical being affordability.  Building or buying such a computer, will not put a big dent in your wallet and it will provide more than ample performance for most of today's software titles.

Apparently VIA was thinking along those lines when they developed their latest chipset for the Athlon XP family of processors, the VIA KT880.  Today in the HotHardware labs we take a look at the latest motherboard from Soyo that incorporates the VIA KT880 chipset, the Soyo Dragon2 KT880.  The feature set has the enthusiast stamp of approval as it offers Gigabit LAN, SATA and PATA RAID, and a slew of other useful goodies.  But a few questions still loom.  Will the KT880 chipset have what it takes to compete with the extremely popular nForce2 Ultra chipset?  Will motherboards using this chipset, be as affordable and reliable as the ones we've seen in the NVIDIA camp?  Let's try to answer those questions...

SOYO Dragon2 KT880 Motherboard
Specifications

CPU
Athlon XP: 1800+ - 3200+, Duron 1.3GHz - 1.8GHz

 

Chipset
VIA KT880 Northbridge

VIA VT8237 Southbridge
 

Front Side Bus

400/333/266/200 MHz


Memory
Dual Channel Mode DDR400/333/266

4 x DDR DIMM, Max 4GB

 

IDE

UDMA 66/100/133

4 Channels Parallel ATA IDE Ports

Supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD

4 Channels Serial ATA IDE Ports

Supports RAID 0, 1, JBOD

Supports up to PIO mode 5 & Ultra DMA 66/100/133


Audio
On board C-Media CMI9780 AC97 8 Channel CODEC

Supports SPDIF input/output

 

LAN

Integrated VIA VT6122 Gigabit LAN Controller


IEEE 1394
Integrated VIA VT6307 Controller

Supports up to 2 ports

 

USB 2.0

Integrated 8 USB 2.0 ports (4xrear, 4xpin-header)


Slots
1 x AGP Pro

5 x PCI

1 x LPT
 

Storage & Back Panel I/O

1 x Floppy Drive Connector (1.2/1.44/2.88MB FDD)
1 x LPT Printer Port (SPP/EPP/ECP Mode)
Provides IrDA Ports w/ optional cable for transceiver

1 x PS/2 Keyboard

1 x PS/2 Mouse

1 x VGA Port

1 x COM Port

1 x D-Sub 25-pin female printer port
1 x LAN Port

4 x USB 2.0/1.1 Ports

Audio I/O: 1 x Line-Out, 1 x Line-In (share SPDIF in), 1 x Mic Jack, 1 x Center/Bass (share SPDIF out, 1 x Rear, 1 x Side Surround

On Board Connectors

1 x Front Audio

6 x 3-pin fan headers

1 x COM2

1 x Game Connector

2 x IEEE 1394

4 x USB 2.0/1.1

 

BIOS Feature

AMI PCI BIOS with ACPI Function

Supports multiple boot from E-IDE / SCSI / CD-ROM / FDD / LS120 / ZIP

4MB Flash ROM

 

Health Monitoring

On board voltage monitors VCore, +3.3V, +5V, +12V

CPU Fan and CHA Fan speed monitor

CPU temperature and CHA temperature monitor

CPU temperature overheats protection

 

Accessories

4 x SATA cables

2 x E-IDE cables

1 x FDD cable

1 x Rear I/O Shield

1 x Rear LPT port

1 x Rear COM port

1 x Soyo Case Badge

1 x Packet Thermal Paste

1 x CD-ROM driver disc

1 x User Manual

 

Software

Panda Anti-Virus

Pro Magic Utility

Image IT Utility

Data Processing Utility

 

Features

Supports Serial ATA RAID 0, 1, JBOD

Supports Parallel ATA RAID 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD

Supports High-speed USB 2.0 ports

Supports Dual Channel DDR

Provides high quality 8 Channel Audio

Supports Giga-LAN Ethernet Function

Supports overclocking setting via BIOS Setup

CPU core voltage, DIMM & AGP Pro voltage could be adjusted via BIOS Setup

Soyo ABR (Anti-Burn Regulator): CPU Overheat Protection, system will automatically shutdown when CPU Overheat

Suspend to RAM, Suspend to Disk

Supports IEEE 1394

WOL (Wake on LAN) function

 

Form Factor

Four layers, 30.5 cm x 24.5 cm

ATX Form Factor

 


 

 

The VIA KT880 chipset is very impressive when compared to other chipsets in its class.  It is very feature-rich, and the Soyo Dragon2 motherboard envelopes all aspects of the VIA KT880 chipset, and then some.  While some may think the Dragon2 is just a fancy name, it carries plenty of meaning.  Dragon2 is actually and acronym for: 

Dual Channel DDR400/333

RAID Function on IDE and SATA

A Crisp 8-channel hardware audio solution with all digital SPDIF input-output connector

G Extreme 8X AGP Pro graphics support

Overclocking features on CPU, Memory & AGP

N Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 High Speed Internet Access ready

2 Next generation Dual DDR, Dual High Speed I/O (USB & Firewire)

Now let's get a closer look at this Soyo Dragon 2 and see how all of these features were incorporated into this motherboard.

 

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