Soyo SY6VCA Slot 1 VIA Apollo Pro 133A

Soyo SY6VCA Slot 1 VIA Apollo Pro 133A - Page 2

Soyo's SY-6VCA Slot 1 Motherboard
Is there a new Sheriff in town?

By, Marco ?BigWop? Chiappetta
June 16, 2000

Installation / Setup With The SY-6VCA
Straight up

As expected with all ATX motherboards, physical installation was a no-brainer.  Mounting and powering up the board was completely problem free.  Should you have the right hardware (screws, stand-offs?Etc.) physical installation is painless.

Windows requires some special attention when installing a VIA Apollo 133a based board though.  The proper UltraDMA and AGP drivers are not native to Windows 98, so you?ll have to install VIA?s 4-in-One driver to gain all the benefits this chipset offers.  There are newer drivers available on VIA?s website than the one?s included on the CD, we recommend using them as performance and compatibility have increased incrementally with each release.


Our Test System
All decked out

Intel PIII 933 (at 933mhz & 980mhz), 256mb Mushkin 2-2-2 PC133 ram, 3dfx Voodoo5 5500, IBM 22GXP HD, Plextor UltraPlex 40max, Windows 98SE, DirectX 7.0a and VIA 4-in-1 v4.22


This is the first review of a VIA based board we?ve done using our shiny new PIII 933, so we don?t have a standard of which to hold the 6VCA?s numbers against. However, when you see the scores you?ll agree they are top-notch. 

The 6VCA really shines once you start tweaking for performance.  The Soyo AI-BIOS (Award based) is excellent, offering 32 selectable FSBs and PCI clock speeds between 66mhz and 155mhz.  There is also one feature we have not seen before called ?Bank Interleaving? which when activated, gives a huge boost in memory throughput.  It dramatically improves timing characteristics between the banks of SDRAM memory you have installed.

We ran SiSoft Sandra 2000 to test the 6VCA?s performance.

Intel PIII @ 933MHz CPU Bench.                   Intel PIII @ 980MHz CPU Bench.

As you can see, the 6VCA gives this processor "room to breath".  The 6VCA also takes what has been know as a finicky chip to overclock all the way up to 980mhz (140mhz FSB) without a problem.


Intel PIII @ 933mhz Drive Bench.               Intel PIII @ 980MHz. Drive Bench

Great scores for this drive but we really have to get a quicker drive for testing.


Now before I show you the SiSoft memory scores, I want to illustrate what kind of difference the Bank Interleave option in the BIOS makes.  This score was posted with Bank Interleaving disabled at the processor's default 933mhz.

PIII @ 933 Memory Scores No Bank Interleave

Those are the kind of numbers being posted before the Apollo 133A matured. Take a look at a what a little tweaking in the BIOS can do.

Intel PIII @ 933MHz Memory Bench.          Intel PIII @ 980MHz Memory Bench.

The days of complaining about the memory performance of the VIA Apollo 133A are over.  The high score we achieved with standard PC133 RAM is almost as high as what the PC800 RDRAM scored in Davo's review of the i820 based Soyo SY-6ICA!  There was a 37mhz difference in clockspeed (in the 6VCA's favor), but nonetheless, this further shows there is no reason to spend 5 times as much money on RDRAM.


We also ran ZD Winbench 99 while overclocked.  Winbench runs a variety of test designed to duplicate real world performance.

ZD Winbench Performance


The Winbench numbers were excellent, as expected with the kind of power we had!


Overclocking The SY-6VCA

Stability throughout all of our testing was excellent, a testament to the quality of this board when you realize that we were approaching the 1GHz. mark.  Even at a 140mhz FSB with 980mhz of horsepower pushing it, the 6VCA never hiccupped.  The ability to tweak the CPU core voltage could really help you get to the next level.  Soyo definitely makes a board with the overclocker in mind.


As beautiful as it was to see benchmark scores that high, the downfalls of the layout prevent me from proclaiming the Soyo SY-6VCA King of the Apollo 133A boards.  Our expectations were very high and the performance, stability, features and compatibility were all there.  We would whole-heartedly recommended the 6VCA to power users and novices alike as the problems with the layout are overshadowed by its stellar performance. Despite a few minor aesthetic problems, this board is an excellent performer.


The SY-6VCA from Soyo earns a Hot Hardware Heat Meter Rating of....

Speak your peace in the Hot Hardware Conference Room!

   To Hot Hardware !


Tags:  VIA, slot, poll, apollo, VC, VCA, pro, AP

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