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Soyo's SY6VBA133
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Date: Dec 15, 2001
Section:Motherboards
Author: HH Editor
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Soyo's SY6VBA133 - Page 1
 

The Soyo's SY-6VBA-133

The motherboard market is beginning to heat up with a surge of new technology based on new chipsets from various vendors like Intel, AMD, SIS and VIA. Soyo has typically been one of the early entries into new technologies as they come to market. With the anticipation of the new i820 chipset based motherboards, VIA set out to fill the hole in that Intel was leaving in their product offering by pushing back the i820's original release date. The Soyo SY-6VBA-133 is a new motherboard designed around the VIA Apollo Pro 133 chipset. It supports many of the features of the forthcoming i820 boards only it is available now. These features include a DMA66 EIDE controller, PC133 compliance in the chipset itself, and AGP2X. The Apollo Pro133 "A" version of the chipset has AGP4X on board. This board is based on the plain revision not the "A". Here is the run down on the rest of the particulars.


PROCESSOR SUPPORT

  • Intel Pentium III processor 450 - 733 MHz
  • Intel PentiumĀ® II processor (233-500 MHz)
  • Intel Celeron Processor (266-466 MHz)
  • 133, 100&66Mhz FSB(Front Side Bus)


FRONT SIDE BUS OPTIONS

  • Available FSB options of: 66/ 75/ 81/ 83/ 90/ 95/ 100/ 105/ 110/ 112/ 113/ 115/ 117/ 118/ 120/ 122/ 124/ 126/ 133/ 135/ 137/ 138/ 140/ 142/ 144/ 150/ 155MHz

     

AUTO PCI CLOCK

  • The PCI bus speed is automatically set between 30MHz and 41MHz regardless of FSB setting.
  • ADJUSTABLE CPU CORE VOLTAGE
  • CPU Core voltage may be increased in increments of 2.5%, 5%, 7.5%, and 10%.

 


CHIPSET

  • VIA Apollo PRO133 two chip AGPset
  • SYSTEM MEMORY
  • 4 x 168 pin SDRAM DIMM sockets Support up to 1.5GB
  • Supports PC133/PC100 Sdrams
  • Provides ECC (Error Checking Correction) capability

 


EXPANSION SLOTS

  • 5 x 32 bit Bus Mastering PCI slots (v2.1 compliant)
  • 2 x 16 bit ISA slots (One PCI/ISA Shared slot)
  • 1 x 32 bit AGP slot (v1.0 compliant)
  • ON BOARD ULTRA I/O CHIP
  • ITE 8671F-A chip
  • 2 RS-232 Serial Ports (16550 UART compatible)
  • 1 Parallel Printer Port (SPP/EPP/ECP mode)
  • 1 FDD port (supports LS120, 3 mode, 1.2/1.44/2.88 MB FDD)
  • Provides IrDA port with optional cable for transceiver
  • TWO ULTRA DMA66/33 IDE PORTS
  • Supports two independent channels for 4 IDE devices
  • Supports up to PIO mode 4 and Ultra DMA66/33
  • 2 PCI bus mastering ATA E-IDE ports

 


That's right boys and girls, this is the usual goodness we have come to expect from Soyo. 30 selectable Front Side Bus Frequencies, Adjustable CPU Voltage, and 4 DIMM Slots. In addition, "Auto PCI Clock" sets your PCI bus speeds to between 30 and 41MHz., which should keep your older PCI 2.1 compliant only cards, a little happier since the FSB clock will be independent of the PCI clock.

Finally, the board also supports an AGP 1/2 divider option in the BIOS which will allow you to overclock the FSB and drop the AGP bus down to one half the frequency of the FSB. Again, this should provide greater flexibility in overclocking while not pushing your AGP based graphics card beyond its reasonable limits.
     

Installation, Setup and Overclocking

Installation and setup with the SY-6VBA-133 was a pleasure. Win98SE recognized the new chipset with ease and setup its default drivers for the EIDE controller, PCI and AGP Bridges. We then installed the new VIA chipset drivers which Soyo supplies on a CDROM along with a few other goodies including their "Hardware Doctor" PC Health Monitoring utility. The new VIA drivers were updated versions of the AGP and EIDE drivers that are in WIN98SE. These should provide better performance.

Speaking of the software end of things, Soyo throw in a nice bundle of Symantec Utilities with the board including Virtual Drive (CD ROM Cloning on you hard drive), Ghost (HD copying software) and Anti-Virus. Nice touch Soyo. This is not a demo package either, these are full releases. I will say that the manual that comes with this board is a little spars. What information that is there is well written and illustrated but features of the board were left undocumented and we would have preferred more detail.

Overclocking with this new VIA based board was as easy to do as any BX based Soyo board. The BIOS has all the same features with a nice addition of controlling the clock of your SDRAM too! You can select SDRAM clocked to the FSB or the FSB minus the PCI clock (133-33=100 for example) or FSB plus the PCI clock (100+33=133 for example). We didn't play too much with this but it should provide nice flexibility with respect to the type of SDRAM you run. If you only have PC100 RAM and want to run a 133MHz. FSB, you can still achieve your goal. Just set the BIOS to 133 FSB and the DRAM option to FSB minus PCI clock. You'll then be running your RAM at 100MHz.and your processor at a 133MHz. clock times its multiplier. Another nice touch.

Finally, our P3-533B handled 620MHz. very easily with excellent stability on this board. We set the CPU down to 533 and 600 for the benchmarks. Oh yes, you were interested in benchmarks weren't you?

 
 
     

SY-6VBA-133 Testing and Benchmarks -->>

 
     
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Soyo's SY6VBA133 - Page 2
 

The Soyo's SY-6VBA-133

 

As we noted earlier, we had the SY-6VBA-133 fired up in no time so we proceeded to crank up the benchamarks!

Our Test System

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium III 533B (supplied by Outside Loop Computers), Soyo SY-6VBA-133 Motherboard, 128MB PC133 HSDRAM from EMS, WD Expert AC418000 7200 RPM ATA66 Hard Drive, Gigabyte GA660Plus TNT2 Ultra w/ 32MB, Shuttle 56X CDROM, Win 98SE, DirectX 7, NVidia Detonator Reference Drivers Version 3.53


     
Once again, the SY-6VBA-133 handled an overclock of our P3-533B to a top end of 620MHz. (155X4). This was the top end bus speed for the board. If we had a few more notches higher with the FSB, something tells me we could have done even more. The system was totally stable throughout. Just for good measure and reality sake, we did our tests at 533MHz.(133MHz. x 4) and 600MHz. (150MHz. X 4). Your processor may get different results but the SY-6VBA-133 is a good base to overclock from. 
 

SiSoft's Sandra 99 - Soyo SY-6VBA-133 - 600MHz.

 

SiSoft's Sandra 99 - Soyo SY-6BA+IV - 600MHz.

Just for comparison, we threw in a Sandra benchmark of the latest Soyo BX board with the exact same set up. As you can see, the VIA chipset lags slightly in overall compute performance (MIPS). The FPU numbers are very close. Regardless, this type of difference in either spec is probably imperceptible to a user in "real world" applications.

Here are the default speed Sandra numbers at 133MHz. FSB.

SiSoft's Sandra 99 - Soyo SY-6VBA-133 - 533MHz.

     

 


Ziff Davis Winbench99

We set up the Soyo SY-6BA+IV again for comparison. Again, as far as the CPU numbers go, things are pretty much neck and neck. Where the VIA Apollo PRO133 chipset lags a little, is disk performance. We think this may be due to the fact that the VIA EIDE Bus Master Drivers are still a little young. Perhaps the gap will close a little as time moves on and VIA releases new revisions.

 

 


(updated 11/24/99 - 11:50PM)


OK then, we know what you folks are thinking. That was good coverage on the CPU and Disk Performance side of things but what about AGP 4X?! Recently we learned from one of our astute readers that the VIA Apollo PRO133 chipset does not in fact support AGP4X. Only the Apollo Pro133A rev. of the chipset supports this. It looks as if the SY-6VBA-133 that we tested was designed with the first rev of the chip not the "A"
rev. As a result, the board we tested supposedly is not capable of AGP4X. We'll confirm this with Soyo and post another update.

There IS a setting in the BIOS that says "2X AGP Enable". You can enable or disable it. However, the manual doesn't tell you anything about this BIOS option. We asked Soyo for a response to our question on this as well. We hope to hear back from them shortly. We will also post an update on this as soon as we get further information. Our assumption is that this switch enables AGP 2X or disables it down to 1X mode. What we have for you now is a Quake3 Arena Demo benchmark with the "2X AGP" settings disabled and enabled.

These results are for one resolution, 1024X768 at 32bit color and textures. We also set the texture size bar to the default high quality setting and then to the max setting. We used Quake3 version 1.08 for our tests. Also, remember to check our system specs just to refresh yourself on the other components

     

We'll kick ourselves if Soyo tells us that the 2X AGP setting is something different. :-) However, as you can see, the 2X AGP setting does seem to give a slight boost in performance. That boost is lessened at the higher resolution texture setting. What can we conclude with respect to AGP 4X in this case? As we noted before, unfortunately not much. We'll just have to wait and see if the VIA PRO133A gives a "real-world" boost with its AGP4X.

 


Wrap-up

The SY-VBA-133 is indicative of standard Soyo product. It is a quality piece of workmanship with excellent stability and a good well rounded set of features. The VIA chipset it is based on is a competitive system solution that does have room for improvement with its maturity. Additionally, the "SDRAM Plus or Minus PCI Clock" setting in the BIOS should give added flexibility for those looking to run 133MHz. FSB CPUs with PC100 memory. Thus, consumers will not be forced to shell out the extra money on new PC133 memory if they are looking to save a few dollars. We would have liked more detailed documentation with this board. However, all told, this is solid new technology from Soyo which should serve you well for aggressive overclocking and the like. For many folks, the AGP and Memory bus manipulation features of this board may be the only way to achieve certain higher end fringes of overclocking.

We give the Soyo SY-6VBA-133 a Hot Hardware Temp-O-Meter rating of....

85 - Hot VIA Apollo Pro133 Injected!

-Davo

 


Temp-O-Meter scores are rated on a number of key metrics including performance, stability, ease of installation, compatibility, feature set, "overclockability" and component quality. A perfect score is 100
     
 


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