Unfortunately, enthusiast-oriented motherboards are starting to look more and more alike as competitors copy each others' features and ideas. Doing something truly original with a motherboard has become a challenging task, but exceptionally good ideas and features really stand out nowadays as a result.
Can the SY-P4X400 DRAGON Ultra rise above the mass of commoditized motherboards, or is it buried beneath the deluge? Read on to find out.
The SY-P4X400 DRAGON Ultra isn't quite as packed with features as Abit's MAX line of motherboards, but it certainly has its share of integrated peripherals. Let's take a quick look at the spec sheet and see what's there.
|CPU support||Socket 478-based Intel Pentium 4 processors|
|North bridge||VIA VT8754|
|South bridge||VIA VT8235|
|PCI slots||5 32-bit/33MHz|
|AGP slots||2X/4X/8X AGP Pro (1.5V only)|
|Memory||3 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 3GB of DDR333/266/200 SDRAM
|Storage I/O||Floppy disk
2 channels ATA/133
2 channels ATA/133 IDE RAID 0,1,0+1
|Legacy ports||1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, Serial and Parallel ports|
2 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
4 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports via 3 1/2 drive bay expansion headers
C-Media CMI8738-MX 6-channel audio
standard audio jacks
S/PDIF input and output ports via PCI back plate expansion header
|Ethernet||RealTek RTL8100B 10/100 Ethernet|
|BIOS||Phoenix - AwardBIOS|
|Bus speeds||100-132MHz in 1MHz increments (for 100MHz FSB CPUs)
133-165MHz in 1MHz increments (for 133MHz FSB CPUs)
|Voltages||CPU: 1.10-1.850 in 0.025V increments
DRAM: 2.6-2.8V in 0.1V increments
AGP: 1.6-1.8V in 0.1V increments
|Monitoring||Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring|
We'll go over all of the specs in detail in the following pages, but I'll mention the board's lack of Firewire and Serial ATA ports here. Current motherboards are only offering "bridged ATA/133" compatibility with Serial ATA drives, and since Serial ATA has yet to have any impact on the market in terms of drive availability, I can forgive SOYO for not throwing a few Serial ATA ports onto the SY-P4X400 DRAGON Ultra. I do, however, wish the board was graced with Firewire, if only because DV camcorders continue to drop in price. Firewire would also let the SY-P4X400 DRAGON Ultra work with Apple's new PC-compatible iPods, if you're into that sort of thing.