Onboard sound! I am not a fan of onboard sound, especially since I
already have a nice soundcard. There could be some use for it somewhere,
especially in large installations in which many computers have to be
built, and having "free" sound is attractive. With this on board
sound card you get a joystick port, line out, line in, and microphone in
jacks. In addition there are two Soundblaster type audio ports built into
the motherboard. They are used primarily for CD-ROM drives, and are
placed on either side of the AMR slot.
You get a
parallel port (printer), two serial ports (serial mouse or external modem), and
finally two PS/2 ports (for your keyboard and mouse.) Two USB ports
are available externally, with the option of adding two more ports with an
add-on card. Soyo does not provide this card, which is
unfortunate for me, because I've run out of USB ports to use!
have a few comments on the physical appearence and layout the motherboard.
First off, there is only one 3-pin power
connector in the CPU area. This is unfortunate for users using dual
fans (Alpha P3125S etc.) There is an additional 3-pin power connector for a chassis
fan at the bottom of the motherboard. The AGP port is placed a bit too
close to the DIMM sockets, as the clips usually get into contact with the rear of the
AGP card when I try to add or remove DIMMs. The Northbridge BGA chip is
cooled by the dreaded cheap green heatsink, attached with some thermal tape.
Even so, using the thermal tape is quite step up from the usual, clip on design
that does not utilise any kind of thermal interface material.
The 6VCA uses a series of high quality
resistors and capacitors to add stability, and overall strikes me as a quality
focussed motherboard. The ATX power connector is placed behind the DIMM
sockets. The rest of the onboard connectors are sensibly placed, and
standard fare, so there's no real need to comment on them.
Ah this is where all the excitement is isn't?
Well, getting performance for free is always exciting. Overclocking
with the Soyo 6VCA is a bit more complex than others. While you
can adjust the FSB frequency within the BIOS, voltage tweaks can only be done
on the motherboard via a set of jumpers. You can adjust the Vcore in three
levels, the first allows for a 2.5% increase in voltage, the other two levels
allow for 5 and 7.5% increases. For overclocking, I decided to use an
OEM Intel Pentium III 700E FCPGA. I slapped it into an Asus FCPGA adapter
card, and used my trusty Alpha FC-PAL35 to cool it. I ignored the motherboard
jumpers for Vcore adjustments, and I used the Asus adapter's jumpers to
set my voltages instead.