Soyo K7DRAGON vs The Gigabtye 7DXR - HotHardware

Soyo K7DRAGON vs The Gigabtye 7DXR

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Soyo's K7-DRAGON -vs- Gigabyte's 7DXR
The KT266 and AMD760 Square Off!

By, Marco Chiappetta
October 25, 2001

Athlon motherboards have come a long way since AMD's flagship CPU was first introduced.  Initially, some OEMs would not even produce boards for the Athlon because they feared it would damage their relationships with Intel.  Some of the brave OEMs that did produce motherboards for the Athlon, wouldn't brand the products with their logo, and even shipped some boards in plain white boxes in hopes that they would draw minimal attention.

Well, things have now come full circle.   The Athlon has arguably become the CPU of choice amongst the influential Enthusiast / Do-It-Yourself community, and many top tier OEMs are widely releasing powerful, full-featured motherboards to house AMD's speedy CPU...and they want everyone to know about it!  There are also competing chipsets available from companies like VIA, ALi, SiS and AMD.  Currently, the two most popular DDR capable chipsets for the Athlon are VIA's KT266 and AMD's own 760.  Today, we'll be taking a look at two boards, the Soyo K7-DRAGON based on the VIA KT266 and the Gigabyte 7DXR which is an AMD 761 / VIA 686B hybrid.  These two boards offer a host of extras, like RAID and on-board audio, but which one belongs in the rigs of the discriminating H.H. readers?  Let's find out...

Specifications / Features of the Soyo K7-DRAGON and Gigabyte 7DXR
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SOYO K7-DRAGON

DESCRIPTION:

  • 200/266MHz System Interface Speed AMD Socket-A based VIA KT266 ATX Motherboard

  • Supports AMD XP Processor

  • DDR SDRAM

  • RAID controller on board

  • Audio on board, with 6-chanel Hardware Audio

  • Graphic, Universal AGP Pro slot

  • Overclocking, setup FSB by 1MHz increment

  • Network, 10/100 Mbps Ethernet

PROCESSOR:

  • Supports AMD Socket-A type Processor

  • Including Duron & Athlon & XP CPUs

CHIPSET:

  • VIA KT-266(8366/8233) chipsets

  • Support 200/266 MHz FSB

SYSTEM MEMORY:

  • Three 184-pin DDR SDRAM 2.5V DIMM sockets Support up to 3GB

EXPANSION SLOTS:

  • Five 32-bit Bus Mastering PCI slots (V2.2 compliant)

  • One Universal AGP Pro slot (support 1x/2x/4x mode)

  • On Board Audio Subsystem

  • On board CMI 8738 Audio chip to provide 6 channels audio solution

  • Supports optical output & SPDIF output

  • On Board Ultra I/O CHIP

  • Two RS-232 Serial Ports (16550 UART compatible)

  • One Parallel Printer Port (SPP/EPP/ECP mode)

  • One FDD port (supports 3 mode, 1.2/1.44/2.88 MB FDD)

  • Provides IrDA port with optional cable for transceiver

  • Provides 6 USB ports (2 rear, 4 front)

  • Ultra DMA IDE Ports

  • Four independent channels for eight IDE devices (two for Raid)

  • Supports up to PIO mode 5 & UDMA 33/66/100

  • Two PCI bus mastering ATA E-IDE ports

  • Boot-Block Flash BIOS

  • Award PCI BIOS with ACPI function

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

  • 2M byte Flash ROM

  • Board Dimensions

  • Four Layer PCB, 30.5cm x 23cm(12" x 9.05")

  • ATX form factor

  • Enhanced PC Health Monitoring

  • On-board voltage monitors for +3.3, +5V, +12V, Vcore,(TBD)

  • CPU fan speed monitor (TBD)

  • CPU temperature monitoring through flexible thermal sensor (TBD)

DOUBLE STACK BACK-PANEL I/O CONNECTORS:

  • PS/2 Mini-DIN mouse & keyboard ports

  • 2 USB ports

  • One RJ45 connector

  • Two D-Sub 9-pin male serial port

  • One D-Sub 25-pin female printer port

  • Audio I/O: LINE-OUT x1, LINE-IN x1, MIC JACK x1

  • One Game port

  • FCC CLASS B AND CE EMI REGULATION COMPLIANT

  • PC 99 COMPLIANT

 GIGABYTE 7DXR

PROCESSOR:

  • Socket A for AMD Athlon? /Duron? 200/266MHz FSB processors

  • 95/100/103/105/110/115/133/..150* MHz FSB

  • Auto/1.5V/1.525V/1.55V...1.85V(15 scales / 0.025V per scale) CPU Voltage adjustable

  • Supports CPU multiplier 5.0/5.5/.../12.5

CHIPSET:

  • AMD 761? north bridge & VIA 686B south bridge

  • Creative CT-5880 sound chip & AC97 codec

  • Promise ATA100 w/ RAID chip

MEMORY:

  • Supports up to 3GB DDR SDRAM

  • 2.5V/2.7V/2.9V DDR Memory voltage adjustable

  • 3 DIMMs of 184-pin DDR sockets

  • Supports either PC1600/DDR200 or PC2100/DDR266

  • Supports 72bits ECC type DRAM integrity mode

SLOT:

  • 1 x AGP Pro slot with an extra power-in socket

  • 1.5V/1.6V/1.7V AGP Pro voltage adjustable

  • 5 x PCI slots support 33MHz & PCI 2.2 compliant

  • 1 x AMR (Audio Modem Riser) slot

I/O:

  • 2 x UDMA ATA100 IDE RAID connectors for RAID 0 and RAID 1

  • 2 x UDMA ATA 66/100 bus master IDE ports

  • 1 x FDD, 2 x COM, 1 x LPT, PS/2 Keyboard, PS/2 Mouse on board

  • 1 x joystick, 1 x line-in, 1 x line-out and 1 x MIC

  • 2 x USB ports on board, 2 x USB ports by cable

  • IrDA TX / RX header

POWER:

  • ATX power connector

  • Power-on by LAN, RTC, Modem & Switch

  • Power-off by Windows® 95/98/Me/2000/NT shut down & Switch

FORM FACTOR:

  • ATX form factor, 4 layers PCB ( 30.5*24.4 cm)

  • H/W MONITORING

  • Auto speed down and alarm when CPU overheat or fan failure (OS independent & driverless)

  • 4 cooling fan connectors

  • Stop CPU fan in suspend mode

  • System health status detect & report by BIOS

  • H/W detect & report Power-in voltage, CPU voltage and CMOS battery status

BIOS:

  • Dual AWARD BIOS, 2 x 2M bit flash ROM, enhanced ACPI feature for PC98/Win98/Win2000/WinMe compliance, Green, PnP, DMI, INT13 (>8.4GB)

  • IDE#1~#4, SCSI, LS120, ZIP & CD-ROM bootable

  • AC recovery ON/OFF control

  • Auto-detect & report system health status

  • Supports DualBIOS? & @BIOS?

  • Suspend-To-RAM (STR); Supports Wake-On-LAN

  • Supports USB KB/MS Wake up from S3

  • Provides 4 fan power connectors

  • Supports EasyTune III?

THE BUNDLES:

The Soyo K7-DRAGON is packaged with a plethora of goodies.  Included in the box you'll find three, yes, three 80-Wire UDMA/100 IDE cables, a floppy cable, an excellent user's manual, a drivers CD and even a small package of thermal paste.  Also present is the cabling and secondary bracket necessary to take advantage of the 6-Channel on-board sound.

The DRAGON also ships with a CD that contains some excellent bundled software.  Norton Ghost and Antivirus 2001, Adobe ActiveShare and Acrobat Reader, along with WinDVD 2000, VCom Autosave, eWalla and Imagemore are all on this CD.  Kudos to Soyo for including some very useful software with the K7-DRAGON.

The Gigabyte 7DXR has a more "standard" bundle consisting of a user's manual, two 80-Wire UDMA/100 IDE cables, a floppy cable and a CD with all of the necessary drivers to get the board up and running.

INSTALLATIONS:

Installation of both boards was very quick and painless.  The K7-DRAGON is jumperless, so it was just a matter of properly mounting the hardware and powering up the system.  The Gigabyte 7DXR, however, is slightly more complicated to install because the CPU configuration is done via on-board DIP switches.  Once those switches were set though, the 7DXR ran perfectly.
 

 

The BIOSes, Layouts and Quality 

 
 

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