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NewsForge: Review: Soyo K7VDRAGON motherboard

Aug 18, 2001, 13:01 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeff Field)
"I'm not really a fan of integrated boards -- either there's too much integration, such as with Tyan Thunder boards, or they have very basic features such as AC97 audio, which is one of the first things I turn off. I can't really recall any integrated board that ever fit all of my needs -- until now, that is. The Soyo K7VDRAGON has hit the integration sweet spot. The board features integrated digital audio, IDE-RAID, networking, and overclocking, not to mention a non-essential but stylish design with plenty of visual appeal. Check out the Dragon in action.

PCI expansion on the Dragon doesn't stand out from the crowd, featuring five PCI slots, the same configuration for newer Athlon-based boards. AGP capabilities are represented by the AGP Pro slot, allowing the motherboard to deliver all the power needed for AGP Pro. While not as fast as AGP, AGP Pro provides more electricity for power-hungry video boards. In addition to the two standard ATA 100 ports supported by the VIA KT266 chipset, a pair of additional ports powered by the Promise PDC20265R IDE/IDE-RAID controller allow up to eight IDE devices to be installed on the board at once. I imagine this should be plenty for most users.

As for external expansion, the Dragon has some standard connectors on the ATX IO panel -- two USB ports, two serial ports, one parallel port, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, and the connections for the integrated sound. In fact, the only unusual feature on the IO panel is the integrated NIC connector, located just above the USB ports. The board differs from some boards in a couple of other places, however. The Dragon supports a total of six USB ports, including the two on the IO panel, allowing you to make use of front-facing USB connectors popular in new computer systems, as well as add more USB ports in the back. This is a nice feature to have, as USB devices continue to replace older peripherals (this is coming from someone who still types on an IBM Model M). The other unusual external connection is the Digital Audio daughterboard, which has the extra outputs needed by the onboard sound."

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