Soyo's SY6BA+III

Soyo's SY6BA+III - Page 1


 Soyo's New SY-6BA+III

 The third time is a charm

Well 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!!

 SY-6BA+III Specifications

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)

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

The PCI bus speed is automatically set between
33MHz and 41MHz regardless of FSB setting.

CPU Core voltage may be increased in increments of 2.5%, 5%, 7.5%, and 10%.

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)

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

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

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

Whoa... 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. It 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 case. These 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 Speed ordered 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 wait either!

Well, for 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.


Our Test System

Full 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


The 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.


Winbench 99 Scores at 558MHz. and 567MHz.

Click it!

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.

Now, here's 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 the Shuttle HOT-649A. 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! :-)

Winstone 99 Benchmarks at 558MHz. and 567 MHz.

Click 'em!

Well 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!) :-)

The 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...

97 ! Moe Hotta - Moe Betta Baby!


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