Soyo's P4I Fire Dragon & P4S Dragon Ultra P4 i845D and

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Soyo's P4I Fire Dragon & P4S Dragon Ultra P4 i845D and SiS645 Boards - Page 2

Soyo's P4I Fire Dragon & P4S Dragon Ultra
SiS 645 and i845D Compete - Soyo Style

By, Dave Altavilla
February 18, 2002

 
The P4I Fire Dragon, as the name suggests, has the additional functionality of Dual Fire Wire ports.  As you will see in the shot below, the P4I Fire Dragon's drive bay break out box, also has a Fire Wire port in it for easy access to this feature.

   

   

 

 

Interestingly enough, the designers at Soyo set out to pay tribute to the United States, utilizing a red PCB with blue PCI slots and white EIDE connectors.  They also included an American flag image with the Soyo logo, on the i845D chipset heat sink.  The retail box itself has the words "United We Stand" on it, with the American flag in the background.  Soyo's tribute to the US on this product, symbolizes their sincerity in support of the United States, in our recovery from the tragedy of the World Trade Centers on 9/11/2001.  In addition, we are told that for every Limited Edition Fire Dragon board that is sold, Soyo will donate $5 to the Red Cross for the disaster relief fund.  Now that's what we here at HotHardware call a "class act". 
 
All told, the feature list of the P4I Fire Dragon is simply amazing.  It is easily the most well equipped motherboard we have ever seen in the HotHardware Labs.  Let's move on to the setup.

Installation / Setup With The P4S Dragon Ultra and The P4I Fire Dragon
Not exactly smooth sailing

First, we'll give you a quick look at what the BIOS options are like for each of these DDR powered monsters from Soyo.

P4S Dragon Ultra BIOS Setup:

CPU FSB

CPU/DRAM Ratio

DRAM Timing

 
CPU Voltage

 
DDR Voltage

 
AGP Voltage

P4I Fire Dragon BIOS Setup:

CPU FSB

System Perf.

DRAM Timing

 
CPU Voltage

 
DDR Voltage

 
AGP Voltage

As you can see, the only real meaningful difference between the two BIOSes, is that the P4S Dragon Ultra "officially" supports DDR333 and you'll get additional CPU FSB / DRAM Timing Ratio settings.  As a result, you can dial in a number of different CPU FSB/DRAM clock settings that give you significantly more flexibility, when over-clocking for example.  The P4I Fire Dragon allows you to set the memory timing to DDR200 or DDR266.  This essentially sets the board up to the FSB+33 MHz. or just synchronized with the FSB at 100MHz, in the case of the DDR200 setting.  So when you over-clock at the DDR266 setting, you are adding MHz to an already 266MHz memory bus and the same goes for the DDR200 setting.

Both the P4S Dragon Ultra and the P4I Fire Dragon have superb BIOS features.  As you can see, you can also set the CPU, DDR DRAM and AGP Voltage individually in the BIOS.  There was a fairly notable "fly in the ointment" with both of these boards however.  In both cases, the current BIOS revisions had problems setting the CPU voltage and often times either wouldn't boot or had to be hard reset to get the voltage settings to take affect.  Additionally, any setting for the P4I Fire Dragon, above 1.7V caused the board to completely power down and when powered up again, it completely cleared the CMOS.  In any event, these quirks were more of a nuisance than anything else and didn't stop us from testing and over-clocking the boards.  However, we are extremely hopeful that Soyo will work on refining the BIOS for each of these boards and provide the ever important fixes that they truly need.

Speaking of overclocking, let's show you what these boards are really made of.

Over-clocking and SiSoftware Sandra Tests

 

Tags:  Fire, dragon, Ultra, P4, 4S, ULT, AG, 4i, and

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