Soyo's K7ADA ALi DDR Socket A Mobo! - HotHardware

Soyo's K7ADA ALi DDR Socket A Mobo!

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Soyo's K7ADA ALi DDR Socket A Mobo...
With some Crucial PC2100 RAM and a WBK38 thrown in!

By Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
April 18, 2001

  

It seems that regardless of which PC component we speak of today the subject of bandwidth, and more specifically memory bandwidth, seems to take center stage. Recent discussions in the video card arena have really brought the importance of alleviating the memory bandwidth bottleneck to the top of many enthusiasts' minds. Video cards are not the only parts where performance gains can be realized by increasing available bandwidth though.

In the never-ending quest to bolster the overall performance of systems based on their CPUs both major players, AMD and Intel, have embraced newer...potentially "faster"...memory technologies. Intel's current flagship setup, a Pentium 4 coupled with expensive RDRAM, shows huge memory performance gains. AMD has gone a different route though, and are promoting chipsets that utilize much less expensive DDR SDRAM. AMD's own DDR enabled 760 chipset was the first to hit the streets, and even at this relatively "immature" stage is showing an approximate 10-20% increase in available bandwidth. With a little "maturity", and the influx of true CAS2 PC2100 RAM there is potential for even greater gains. Unfortunately, the AMD 760 chipset isn't widely available (and probably won't ever be), opening the door for third parties like VIA Technologies and Acer Laboratories (ALi) to become the dominant manufacturer of DDR chipsets. VIA already has DDR enabled chipsets available for the Pentium III and Athlon and will soon have one available for the Pentium 4. Their Athlon part (the KT266) has hit a few speed bumps along the road of acceptance though, which has allowed ALi's ALiMAGiK 1 to garner a lion's share of press.

The board we've got in the HotHardware Labs today, the Soyo SY-K7ADA, is based on the ALiMAGiK 1. Soyo is no stranger to the "Performance" motherboard market, having offered excellent products based on virtually every major chipset to be introduced in the last few years. Their SY-6BA+100 was among the best BX based motherboards, and was universally praised in virtually every review. Is the SY-K7ADA Soyo's next winner? Let's find out...


Click to Enlarge
 

Specifications / Features of the Soyo K7ADA
It's ALi's Turn...

DESCRIPTION
  • AMD Socket-A Based ALi ALiMAGiK1 ATX Motherboard
    PROCESSOR
  • Single AMD Socket-A type Processor Including Duron and Althon

CHIPSET

  • ALi ALiMAGiK1(1647/1535D+) chipsets Support 200/266 MHz FSB

SYSTEM MEMORY

  • Three 184-pin DDR SDRAM 2.5V DIMM sockets support up to 3GB
  • Support PC1600/PC2100 DDR SDRAM

EXPANSION SLOTS

  • Five 32-bit Bus Mastering PCI slots (v2.2 compliant)
  • One Universal AGP slots (support 1x/2x/4x mode)

BUILT-IN CHIPSET SUPER I/O

  • Two RS-232 serial ports (16550 UART compatible)
  • One Parallel printer port (SPP/EPP/ECP mode)
  • One FDD port (Supports LS120, 3 mode, 1.2/1.44/2.88MB FDD)
  • Provides IrDA port with optional cable for transceiver
  • Six USB ports (2 rear and 4 front)

TWO ULTRA DMA-33/66/100 IDE PORTS

  • Two independent channels for four IDE devices
  • Supports up to PIO mode 5 and Ultra DMA 33/66/100
  • Two PCI bus mastering ATA E-IDE ports

BOARD DIMENSIONS

  • Four layers, 30.5 cm x 19 cm (12" x 7.48")
  • ATX form factor
ON BOARD AUDIO SUBSYSTEM
  • AC97 Codec on board to provide software audio solution
BOOT-BLOCK FLASH BIOS
  • Award PCI BIOS with ACPI function
  • Supports multiple-boot from E-IDE / SCSI / CD-ROM / FDD / LS120 / ZIP
  • 2 Mbit Flash ROM

ENHANCED PC HEALTH MONITORING

  • On-board voltage monitors for CPU Vcore, VTT, +5v, +12V, and VBAT
  • CPU fan speed monitor
  • CPU temperature monitoring through flexible thermal sensor

DOUBLE STACK BACK-PANEL I/O CONNECTORS

  • PS/2 Mini-DIN mouse & keyboard ports
  • Two USB ports (2 rear and 2 front)
  • One D-Sub 25-pin female printer port
  • Two serial port
  • Audio I/O: LINE-Out x1 , LINE-In x1, MIC JACK x1
  • One game port

PC99 ACPI COMPLIANT

  • Advanced Management Capabilities
  • Software power off control
  • Power-on by keyboard
  • Power-on by Alarm
  • Modem Ring On

CPU FSB

  • Core voltage could be adjusted via DIP switch
  • Multiplier could be adjusted via DIP switch
  • Supports on-board Hardware Monitoring
  • Includes Hardware Health Utility
  • Supports WOL (Wake On LAN)
  • Suspend To RAM
  • Suspend To Disk

We grabbed this image directly from ALi's site...

The specifications and feature list seems very complete...and so is the bundle, with one notable exception we'll get to a little later...

              

Included in the box with the SY-K7ADA, you'll find a basic users manual, a CD containing all the necessary drivers for the chipset and on-board sound, the usual package of cables and surprisingly, a small bag of thermal paste!  It was great to see this simple addition; with motherboards based on the same chipsets usually being so similar, small items like this may sway your decision from one product to another.
 

The RAM, Setup, Installation and Quality

 

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