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

THE K7-DRAGON BIOS:

The K7-DRAGON is a jumperless board, so within the BIOS there are settings to control virtually all aspects of the board...

                   

                  

                  

All of the regulars out there will surely recognize the very common AWARD BIOS powering the K7-DRAGON.  All of the most wanted "tweaking" and overclocking options are available, with one exception...there is no way to adjust the VIO voltage.  Of most interest to all the enthusiasts will be the "Soyo Combo Menu" (middle, far right).  The Combo feature is similar to Abit's Softmenu.  This is where you'll find all of the overclocking options.  Changing your multiplier, FSB or VCore voltage is only a matter of pressing a few keys.  Users can also adjust memory timings to increase performance, or accommodate different RAM types.

Layout and Quality
This Ain't Your Momma's Mobo...

THE DRAGON'S LAYOUT:

We definitely had a good "out-of-box" experience when we opened the package to our K7-DRAGON an began it's physical inspection...

             

Initially, we were happy to see that Soyo chose to include active cooling for the Northbridge, but when we removed the heatsink / fan combo, we were disappointed to find that no thermal interface material was used.  We won't hold too much against Soyo for this though, because enough Thermal Paste is included with the DRAGON to cover the Northbridge and a CPU.  Also visible above is the "new" 8233 VIA Southbridge.

             

The K7-DRAGON also ships with the best on-board sound solution we have used to date.  A C-Media 8738 6-Channel sound chip with analog and digital I/O ports is standard.  The sound quality was excellent using the on-board sound, on par with soundcards like the Sound Blaster Live!, but not quite on the level of the Audigy or Hercules Game Theater XP.  One of the "cooler" aspects of the DRAGON is clearly visible in many of these pictures, the Purple PCI slots!  The Purple slots and Black PCB make this board an excellent choice if you have a windowed case, or like to show off your hardware.  We prefer a 6 PCI slot configuration, but considering the K7-DRAGON already has built-in RAID, a sound card and a 10/100 NIC, 5 PCI slots should be plenty.  The DRAGON is equipped with an AGP Pro slot as well.  We consider this a plus, even though there are very few graphics cards available that utilize this type of slot.

             

If you take a close look at the external case connectors, you'll see another of the K7-DRAGON's extras, the on-board 10/100 NIC.  On-Board sound...on-board NIC...throw in a nice video card, and you've got the makings of an excellent LAN box!  The case connectors are clearly labeled and well placed at the corner of the board.  The rest of the headers for the extra USB connectors, IR interface and Smart Card reader are also well labeled and place along the bottom edge of the board.  Unfortunately, Soyo didn't include any of the necessary hardware to take advantage of these extra headers.

            

The IDE, Floppy and RAID connectors are located along the edge of the board.  This is our favorite configuration, as it makes it much easier to keep your cabling neat.  Around the Socket you'll see the large capacitors used to filter the current to the CPU, which is necessary for stable operation.  Behind the capacitors you'll find the ATX power connector out of the way of any critical components.

Overall, we were very pleased with the K7-DRAGON's layout, it is obvious that Soyo put much thought into this board's design...

Let's See What Gigabyte is up to...

 

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