Soyo's SYCK8 Dragon Plus Motherboard

Soyo's SYCK8 Dragon Plus Motherboard - Page 1


Soyo's SY-CK8 Dragon Plus Motherboard
A New Enthusiast Board for the Athlon 64

By: Jeff Bouton
January 29, 2004

If all goes as planned for AMD, 2004 will be the year of the Athlon 64.  They gave us a taste of their new product line in the last quarter of 2003, with a limited supply of Athlon 64 and Opteron processors hitting store shelves.  The performance of their new line was impressive, although limited supplies resulted in high retail costs, keeping some users from make the change.  Once 2004 hit, AMD started moving forward by increasing production and adding two new models to the Athlon 64 product line, namely the Athlon 64 3000+ and 3400+, thereby making a number of options available. 

While the benefits to 64-bit computing are hampered by the lack of a common 64-bit OS, and 64-Bit applications to take advantage of the added capabilities, the performance of these processors running 32-Bit applications have proven to be quite competitive.  When we pit the Athlon 64 versus the best Intel has to offer, the Athlon 64 performed exceptionally well.  This leaves us with a processor that offers solid performance now, with room to grow when 64-bit Windows is released later this year.

When it comes to the chipsets driving the Athlon 64, VIA and NVIDIA are the major players, with VIA enjoying success with the K8T800.  But users should not discount NVIDIA?s nForce3 150, whose single chip design is both efficient and powerful.  Back in October of 2003 we had a look at several K8T800 boards compared to an nForce3 150, and the nForce3 was a front runner in a good portion of the tests.

The latest nForce3 150 motherboard comes to us by way of Soyo and their SY-CK8 Dragon Plus.  Let?s take a look at the product specifications and see what the SY-CK8 Dragon Plus has to offer.

Features of the Soyo SY-CK8 Dragon Plus
Features and Functionality

Click to Enlarge

AMD Socket-754 Athlon 64 Processor

Chipset Description
nVidia nForce 3 150 chipset
Supports 400/800 MHz FSB

Graphics Info
AGP slot supporting up to 8X AGP

Form Factor

Memory Type

Memory Description
Three 184-pin DDR 2.5V DIMM sockets support up to 2GB (DDR 266/333/400)
PC3200/PC2700/PC2100/PC1600 non-ECC, unbuffered DDR SDRAM memory
Click here for memory speed/CPU FSB compatibility information

Expansion Slots
Six 32-bit Bus Mastering PCI slots (V2.2 compliant)
One Universal 8X AGP slot (supports 8x/4x modes)

IDE Type
UDMA 66/100/133

IDE Description
3 independent channels for six IDE devices
2 channels Serial ATA IDE ports with RAID capability
Supports RAID 0, 1
Supports up to PIO mode 5 & Ultra DMA 100/133
Three PCI bus mastering ATA E-IDE ports

Audio Description
On board CMI 9739 AC97 Codec provides 6 channels audio solution

IO Port Description
PS/2 Mini-DIN mouse & keyboard ports
Two RS-232 serial ports (16550 UART compatible)
One parallel printer port (SPP/EPP/ECP mode)
Audio I/O: LINE-OUT (1), LINE-IN (1), MIC JACK (1)
One FDD port (supports 3 modes, 1.2/1.44/2.88MB FDD)
Provides FIR with optional cable for transceiver
Provides 6 USB 2.0 ports (4* rear, 2 pin headers)
One embedded RJ45 LAN connector (10/100)
IO Connection Description
PS/2 Mini-DIN mouse & keyboard ports
Two USB 2.0 ports
One embedded RJ45 LAN connector (10/100)
Two D-Sub 9-pin male serial ports
One D-Sub 25-pin female printer port
Audio I/O: LINE-OUT x 1, LINE-IN x 1, MIC JACK x 1

BIOS Description
Award PCI BIOS with ACPI function
Supports multiple-boot from E-IDE / SCSI / CD-ROM / FDD / LS120 / ZIP
2 Mbyte Flash ROM
Health Monitoring Description
On board voltage monitors
CPU fan speed monitor
CPU temperature monitoring through thermal sensor
CPU temperature overheating protection
Dimension Description
Four layers, 30.5 cm x 24.5 cm (12" x 9.6")
ATX form factor

nForce 3 150 chipset embedded RAID function, provides serial ATA with RAID 0,1 function
Anti Burn Regulator to prevent system from overheating CPU core voltage, FSB & multiplier adjustable via BIOS
Serial ATA
Adjustable DIMM voltage
Adjustable AGP Voltage
Sharing Options
Supports High-speed USB 2.0 ports
Supports Smart Card Reader Connector
Supports Wake On LAN (WOL) function to simplify network management
Suspend to RAM, Suspend to Disk
Overclocking Capability: CPU, DIMM, and AGP Voltage adjustable, CPU Bus, and AGP Frequency adjustable.

Package Content
Bonus 8-in-1 CD
Norton Anti-Virus 2003
Ghost 2003
Personal Firewall 2003
Acrobat eBook Reader
Acrobat Reader
One (1) 34-pin FDD cable
One (1) 80-pin HDD cable
One (1) S-ATA cable
Thermal paste
I/O back plate
Quick Startup Guide
Product Categories

The Bundle:

The SY-CK8 boasts a healthy feature set and a bundle that covers all of the essentials.  The retail package includes the standard components for getting the system up and running smoothly.  A simple Quick Start Guide is the only printed material to accompany the board and manages to cover most of the bases, although a BIOS section was completely missing.  A Drivers CD is provided which includes essential Chipset, Video and LAN drivers, although it is always best to download the latest available from the manufacturer?s website just before installing a new piece of hardware. 

Click to Enlarge

Soyo also includes a Bonus 8-in-1 CD which includes copies of Norton Antivirus 2003, Ghost 2003 and Personal Firewall 2003 to name a few.  The package included a single Floppy Disk Cable, 80-pin IDE cable and S-ATA cable for connecting any combination of drives to the motherboard, although we would have preferred to see an additional SATA and/or IDE cable.  Lastly, a custom I/O shield is provided to ensure the motherboards external connectors are easily accessible from the rear of the case.


The Board and The BIOS


Tags:  Motherboard, dragon, K8, board, AG, AR, K

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