Soyo's SY7VMA PM133 Socket 370 Motherboard

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Soyo's SY-7VMA - PM133 Socket 370 Motherboard
The i815 should be nervous...

By, Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
12/7/00

Competition.  It seams like that is one of the first words to come to mind when discussing the current PC hardware scene.  When you think of video, the competition between 3dfx and nVidia always comes up. Think of processors and immediately an Intel versus AMD debate breaks out.  Well folks, the bickering is about to get worse! It seems like we may have another topic to discuss, motherboard chipsets. 

For years, Intel was the dominant force in the chipset arena.  AMD and Intel also had a much better relationship; in fact AMD actually manufactured some 286s for Intel.  To put things very simply (and keep this intro short) :-), because of this relationship there was very little need for an array of motherboard chipsets and competition was limited to the very high or low-end.  Processors from Intel, AMD and Cyrix all worked properly with chipsets manufactured by Intel.  Over time though, the relationships between Intel and the others deteriorated.  AMD began manufacturing the Athlon CPUs, which are obviously compatible with x86 instructions, but were not simply clones of the Intel architecture.  This spawned a much greater need for competitive chipsets in the huge mainstream market and the need for motherboards compatible with AMD's new Slot / Socket form factors.  AMD themselves even began manufacturing their own chipsets. Another company though, VIA Technologies, saw a huge opportunity.  Although they've been around for quite a while, only recently have they been making waves and eating into Intel's market share.  VIA began manufacturing chipsets with more features and comparable performance to Intel's parts, but at a lower price point.  They also have become the preferred chipset manufacturer for Athlon motherboards. 

The VIA Apollo 133 and Apollo 133A were marketed directly at current Intel 440BX owners looking to upgrade, or new mainstream buyers.  Many people were compelled by the newer features of the Apollos and began using VIA based motherboards with their Intel processors.  Now that VIA has proven they can compete in the mainstream market, they are targeting Intel's current mainstream chipset the i815.  The new VIA PM133 chipset is squarely targeted at the i815, offering similar (sometimes better) performance and features, but again at a lower price point. 

Soyo has taken the PM133 chipset and implemented it on their new SY-7MA motherboard. This board sports some nice features at an affordable price.  Let's jump right in and find out what this puppy is made of...
 
 
Specifications Of The 7VMA
Lots of good stuff.


CLICK TO ENLARGE
 

SY-7VMA
  • 66/100/133MHz FSB Socket 370 Based ATX Motherboard

Processor

  • FC-PGA 370 Pentium III Processors 533+ MHz with 100/133MHz FSB
  • Socket 370 for Celeron Processors 300A~500+MHz with 66MHz FSB

Chipset

  • VIA PM133 + 686B Chipset
  • Supports 66/100/133 MHz FSB

System Memory

  • Three 168-pin SDRAM DIMM sockets support up to 1.5GB
  • Support PC-100/PC-133 SDRAM/VCM SDRAM
  • Provides ECC (Error Checking Correction) capability

Expansion Slots

  • Five 32-bit Bus Mastering PCI slots (V2.2 compliant)
  • One 16-bit ISA slot
  • One Universal AGP slot (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, 1.2/1.44/2.88 MB FDD 
  • Provides IrDA port with optional cable for transceiver
  • Two Ultra DMA 33/ 66/100 IDE ports
  • Two independent channels for four IDE devices
  • Supports up to PIO mode 4 and Ultra DMA 33/66/100 
  • Two PCI bus mastering ATA E-IDE ports
  • Boot-Block Flash BIOS
  • Award PCI BIOS with green, ACPI, APM, PnP, DMI, functions and Year 2000 compliant 
  • Supports multiple-boot from E-IDE/ SCSI/ CD-ROM/ FDD/ LS120/ ZIP 
  • 2 Mbit Flash ROM
  • Chipset Embedded S3 Savage4 AGP

On Board Audio Subsystem

  • AC97 Codec on board to provide software audio solution

Board Dimensions

  • Four layers, 30.5 cm x 20.0 cm (12" x 7.9")
  • ATX form factor

Enhanced PC Health Monitoring

  • Voice Doctor 
  • On-board voltage monitors for CPU Vcore, VTT, +5v, +12V and VBAT 
  • CPU fan speed control & monitor
  • Precision CPU temperature monitoring through CPU on-die thermal diode
  • Battery Low detection 
  • Double Stack Back-Panel I/O Connectors
  • PS/2 Mini-DIN mouse & keyboard ports
  • Two USB ports 
  • One D-Sub 25-pin female printer port
  • One serial port 
  • Audio I/O: LINE-Outx1 , LINE-Inx1, MIC JACK x1
  • One game port 
  • VGA port
  • FCC Class B and CE EMI Regulation Compliant
  • PC98 ACPI Compliant

SOYO AI-BIOS

  • Supports up to 32 selectable sets of system and PCI clock speeds inside the BIOS directly
  • Supports on-board Hardware Monitoring and includes Hardware Health Utility
  • CPU core voltage is adjustable
  • Supports WOL (Wake On LAN)
  • Advanced Management Capabilities
  • Software power off control
  • Power-on by keyboard
  • Power-on by Alarm
  • Modem Ring On
  • Power Failure Resume Function
  • USB Keyboard Wakeup
  • Suspend To RAM
  • Suspend To Disk

The Soyo SY-7VMA has a very complete specification list.  The newer 686B south-bridge is used in conjunction with the PM133 so UDMA/100 hard drive transfers are now native.

There are a couple of features whose names are exclusive to Soyo, AI-BIOS and Voice Doctor.  I say only the names are exclusive because similar features are available from competitors.  Nevertheless, they are welcome features.  The AI-BIOS implements a few basic changes that basically make it harder to hose your BIOS when flashing.  The Voice Doctor feature is very simple, but also very useful.  More on this to come?

Setup, Installation, BIOS Settings and Over-Clocking

 

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