We wanted to give the
SY-K7ADA as much "breathing room" as possible, so
we commissioned the good folks at
some high quality PC2100 DDR RAM...
They came through with
a 128MB single-sided CAS 2.5 stick that performed
very well. We were actually able to run this
particular module at CAS 2 without a problem.
For those of you not familiar with the benefits of
DDR, or it's naming scheme, we'll cover it for you
quickly. PC2100 RAM is a 133MHz part, with a
theoretical peak of 2.1GB/Sec bandwidth...hence
the 2100 moniker. The higher bandwidth is achieved
by sending / receiving data on both the rising
and falling peaks of a clock cycle. Here's a
simple diagram to show what this means:
The blue line
visible at the top of the curve designates when
standard SDRAM can send / receive data, while the
green lines illustrate where DDR can send / receive.
In the same clock cycle, twice as much information
is moved, resulting in a theoretical doubling of
performance. Get it? Got it? Good. :)
We also wanted to be
sure and keep our T-Bird nice and chilly to
eliminate to possibility of heat causing a crash
or lock-up throughout testing. Our friends
Heatsink Factory delivered with a GlobalWin
WBK3B...take a look at this thing...
An 8K RPM fan, with
enough aluminum and fins to cool down any
|Installation, Quality and
"some" work involved
Installation of the K7ADA was, as with all ATX
motherboards, a snap. Mount it, plug it in
and you're ready to roll. Physical
inspection shows that the general construction of
the board is very clean and of very high quality.
If you take the time to look through some of the
photos, you'll see that Soyo silk-screens a ton of
information on the board virtually eliminating the
need to look at the manual when you first set this
board up. We were, however, disappointed
with some of the decision made with regards to the
The power supply
connector is located behind the external case
connectors below the CPU. With the power
connector in this location, the cables to our PSU
were draped directly over our CPU, hindering
airflow. We would definitely have liked to
see the power connector placed at the top of the
board, out of the way of all components. You'll
notice in the second picture that the BIOS EPROM
is mounted directly in front of three PCI slots.
Most of the time this would not be a problem, but
the chip was so high, it would rub against cards
when we inserted them into the slots. We had
to firmly press EPROM down into it's socket to insure
that PCI cards using the slots directly in front
of the EPROM would seat correctly.
We were pleased to see
Soyo provide active cooling on the Northbridge,
but didn't like the fact that it used one of the
headers available on the board, leaving only 2
open for a CPU and case fan.
However, location of the drive
and case connectors is excellent, placed far to
the edge of the board, not obscuring any other
components. Notice the clean silk-screen
showing where each of the case connectors should
be. If you've ever swapped out a motherboard
and didn't have that information handy, you know
how much of a blessing it is to have it available
right in front of you.
Located "under" the
last PCI slot we were pleased to find connectors
allowing for 4 additional USB ports. This
would be great if Soyo opted to provide the extra
connectors necessary to utilize these ports, but
they didn't. When we mentioned something was
missing in from the bundle on page 1...this was
As we continue our
travels around the Soyo SY-K7ADA, we're brought to
the CPU socket, where we again find a mixed bag.
Around the socket,
you'll see an array of very large capacitors, used
to filter the current to the CPU. As we've
mentioned in many previous reviews, having a
clean, even flow of current supplied to the CPU is
paramount to a stable system. We're happy to
mention that the K7ADA is definitely a stable
piece of hardware. With the boards first
BIOS revision and using early ALi chipset drivers,
we did not experience a single crash. In the
middle picture, take notice of the four holes
which can be used for direct heatsink mounting.
If you're case is equipped for direct mounting and
you've got a compatible CPU cooler, your good to
go. However, all is not rosy...
The spacing of those
large caps surrounding the CPU is poor. We
BARELY managed to mount our WBK38. We had to
slightly bend the capacitor to the rear of the
Socket to get the cooler mounted, and it still
touched the capacitor when laying flat.
BIOS, Overclocking and Quake 3