now... It seems as if there is quite a stir about the new round of
motherboards that have been released lately. The marketing focus and
design efforts of today's Motherboard Manufacturers have shifted to
embrace the needs of the serious "overclocker". Never
before have we had the features available to us like the ones on new
boards from the likes of Acer, Abit, MSI and Soyo. Software
selectable CPU settings in the BIOS are now commonplace features.
Also, many are adding the ability to tweak CPU voltages and PCI Bus
timings as well. Life keeps getting better and better doesn't it?
The following is a glimpse of one of these new breed of boards. The
Soyo SY-6BA+III has a wealth of new features and the obvious
benefits they bring with them. Let's break out the toys!!
Intel Pentium III processor 450/550 MHz
Intel Pentium® II processor (233-450 MHz)
Intel Celeron Processor (266-466 MHz)
100&66Mhz FSB(Front Side Bus)
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
PCI CLOCK The
PCI bus speed is automatically set between
33MHz and 41MHz regardless of FSB setting.
CPU CORE VOLTAGE
CPU Core voltage may be increased in increments of 2.5%, 5%, 7.5%,
Intel 82440BX two chip AGPset
4 x 168 pin SDRAM DIMM sockets Support up to 1GB
Provides ECC (Error Checking Correction) capability
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)
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
ULTRA DMA-33 IDE PORTS
Supports two independent channels for 4 IDE devices
Supports up to PIO mode 4 and Ultra DMA/33
2 PCI bus mastering ATA E-IDE ports
4 Layer PCB, 30.5cm x 19cm(12" x 7.5")
ATX form factor
Award PCI BIOS with green, ACPI, APM, plug and play, DMI functions
Supports multi-boot from E-IDE/SCSI/CD-ROM/FDD/LS120/ZIP
2 Mbit Flash ROM
STACK BACK-PANEL I/O CONNECTORS
PS/2 Mini-DIN mouse & keyboard ports
2 USB ports
2 D-Sub 9-pin male Serial ports 1 D-sub 25-pin
female printer port
I got a little moist when I saw all those Front Side Bus speed
settings... Didn't you? That's not all this little honey is packing.
also has two three pin fan headers right next to the CPU Slot (great
for the "dual fan big chill") and 1 at the front corner of
the board next to where you would mount a front intake fan on your
connectors are strategically placed to perfection. However, (perhaps
Soyo and others will finally take note!) get that darn ATX power
connector out from behind the CPU slot! This location for the power
connector is now almost a default for most . WHY??? PLEASE, just
scooch (technical term) it over a few more inches and flip it
horizontal so it is on the edge of the board next to the CPU slot
but not too close to the power supply. That's where we want it guys
and gals... OK? Capiche??? :-) (soap box mode off)
Another feature of this board that I love are the various
available PCI Bus speed settings that you can adjust in the BIOS to
go along with your FSB speeds.
You can relax the PCI bus speed when overclocking the CPU so that
your other periphs don't freak out. Finally, the BIOS
adjustable CPU core voltage settings are just what the Doctor of
for that extra bit of stability. No, you can't take it any higher
than 10% (2.2V) over CPU spec. but rarely are there any benefits to
going higher than that. We once had a P2-300 that liked 2.4V but it
was a little scary running at that voltage all day and we took it
down for sanity.
This board is built with the usual Soyo quality... Superb! So, you
folks want us to fire the rocket boosters huh? Oh yeah!! We couldn't
starters due to the additional FSB settings we were able to get the
trusty ol' P!!!-450 to new heights of overclocking. We achieved 567
MHz., (126MHz. X 4.5) something that we have never reached with this
CPU on any other board. The best we have done in the past was 558
MHz. (124MHz. X 4.5). This 126 MHz. setting was only available with
a PCI Bus speed setting of 31, which "underclocks" the PCI
bus by 2 MHz. A standard spec. PCI bus runs at 33 MHz. in a PC. I
was a little disappointed that Soyo didn't include a 41 MHz. bus
setting like they did on the 124 MHz. FSB setting. So we decided to
fire up a simple "Wintune" benchmark to see what gain if
any we had.
Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium3 -450 Overclocked to 558 and 567
MHz. SY-6BA+III Motherboard, 64MB of PC100 CAS2 RAM, IBM Deskstar
10GXP 10GB 7200 RPM EIDE UDMA Hard Drive, 3dfx Voodoo 3-3000 16MB
AGP Video Card, Toshiba SDM1202 3rd. Gen. 4.8X DVD/32X CDROM, Win
98, DirectX 6.1
numbers don't lie. There is a small gain in memory and CPU
performance at the expense of disk performance at the 567 MHz.
setting. Regardless, these are excellent numbers all around. The
MIPS and MFLOP numbers are fantastic! The SY-6BA+III blew through
these tests like Mario Andretti liquored up on nitrous! Let's move
on to something a little more challenging.
99 Scores at 558MHz. and 567MHz.
Once again, this
board is made of the good stuff. I am truly impressed by the general
performance of the SY-6BA+III. Here again, we see that the slight
boost in CPU speed but a decrease in PCI speed, is not the optimum
set up for this board. We were much happier at 558/41 and the
numbers prove why.
where I decided to throw a little more hot sauce on this puppy to
really get things cooking. Our current favorite in house board is
This board is a dual Slot 1 and has on board LVD SCSI from Adaptec.
We wanted to see if the SY-6BA+III could compete with the 649A and
possibly unseat it from the Hot Hardware "Sin-Bin"
Computer System. So, we put them head to head in a Winstone match
up! We configured both systems exactly the same with one P3 CPU in
the 649A. Yahoo! I think smell burning rubber here! :-)
99 Benchmarks at 558MHz. and 567 MHz.
I'll be.. !! The SY-6BA+III seems to have kicked some Shuttle booty
here! I wouldn't say it ran off with it but the 649A was beaten none
the less! Does this prompt us to make the change to the Soyo board?
No, it was too close to call in our book. The difference in speed
was imperceptible. We also can't live without the SCSI interface.
Most BX chipset based boards come in pretty close clock for clock.
The 649A is significantly more expensive however. If you want a sub
$200 board and don't need Dual CPUs or SCSI, the SY-6BA+III is a
great solution! Comparing these two boards on anything other than
CPU performance wouldn't be comparing "apples to apples".
Finally, here again, the 126/31 setting performance is consistent
with what was seen in the other tests. If Soyo just gives us that
126/41 setting, we would be rockin'! (hint hint!) :-)
post game show... (conclusion)
Once in a while
a product comes along that truly delights the customer and delivers
on most every expectation. We've felt this way about only a few
products here at Hot Hardware. The Voodoo 3-3000, Leadtek Winfast
S320II and Shuttle HOT-649A would be naming a few. The Soyo
SY-6BA+III, although not perfect, (nothing ever truly is) now joins
this illustrious rank with us!
We give the Soyo
SY-6B+III a Hot Hardware Temp-O-Meter Rating of...