has been making quite a name for themselves as of
Intel’s very popular BX chipset was prevalent,
Soyo arguably produced a few of the very best
Time goes by and new products enter the
market, so the
SY-6BA+IV and SY-6BA+III may not be on top
of everyone’s “buy” list anymore.
Intel’s successor to the BX chipset, the
i820, has met with limited success and a multitude
of “issues”, which has left board
manufacturers looking for a potent chipset to
deliver power to the mainstream.
The VIA Apollo Pro 133A seems to have been
universally accepted as the chipset to do just
that and the SY-6VCA is one of Soyo’s offerings
in this space.
The VIA Apollo 133A market is filled with
some heavy hitters right now. The Asus P3V4X
and the Tyan Trinity 400 are tough company.
Has Soyo delivered once again?
Let’s find out.
/ Features of the Soyo SY-6VCA
the best features but give us that
6th. PCI Slot!
FSB Slot 1 Based ATX Motherboard
the following processors: 133MHz FSB Pentium
III Processors 533+ MHz, 100MHz
FSB Pentium III Processors 450/500/550+ MHz,
100MHz FSB Pentium
II 350/400/450 MHz., 66MHz
FSB Pentium II 233/266/300/333 MHz, 66MHz
FSB Celeron Processors 266~300MHz., 66MHz
FSB Celeron Processors 300A~433 MHz with
integrated 128KB full speed L2 cache
694X Chipset - Supports 66/100/133 MHz FSB
168-pin SDRAM DIMM sockets support up to 1.5GB,
ECC (Error Checking Correction) capability
32-bit Bus Mastering PCI slots (V2.2
16-bit ISA slot
Universal AGP slot (support 1x/2x/4x mode)
Audio/Modem Riser Connector (Revision 1.0),
AC97 Codec on
board to provide software audio solution
RS-232 serial ports (16550 UART compatible),
printer port (SPP/EPP/ECP mode)
FDD port (Supports LS120, 3 mode,
1.2/1.44/2.88 MB FDD)
IrDA port with optional cable for transceiver
independent channels for four IDE devices,
Supports up to PIO
mode 4 and Ultra DMA 33/66
PCI BIOS with green, ACPI, APM, PnP, DMI,
functions and Year 2000 compliant
multiple-boot from E-IDE/ SCSI/ CD-ROM/ FDD/
Mbit Flash ROM - SOYO AI-BIOS
layer PCB, 30.5 cm x 20.0 cm, ATX form factor
chipset hardware monitoring functions
voltage monitors for CPU Vcore, VTT, +5v, +12V
fan speed control & monitor
CPU temperature monitoring through CPU on-die
Mini-DIN mouse & keyboard ports, Two
USB port, One
D-Sub 25-pin female printer port, two
I/O: LINE-Out x 1 , LINE-In x 1, MIC JACK x 1,
One game port
has been known for the quality of their products.
Once the box to the SY-6VCA was opened, we
noticed some very good things, along with a few
given the board a close look, scrutinizing all
traces, connectors and solder connections, we can
say that it screams of top-notch
craftsmanship. It is evident Soyo takes
pride in their products.
that had been missing from the first few VIA
boards to ship in the market, was a heat
sink over the chipset. Actually the Tyan
Trinity 400 still ships without one.
Soyo however, does include a heat sink for
the chipset and does so in better fashion than the
normal spring clip / no thermal compound
attaches the heatsink to the chip with thermal
epoxy, which is much more efficient than the
spring clip method when thermal compound isn’t
the same attention to detail given on the assembly
line was not given to the layout.
There are a few aspects of the layout that
we didn’t like.
The first thing is the slot configuration.
This is a very minor problem, as most won’t
be using the AMR slot. However, should the
AMR slot be used, access to the first PCI slot is
its position with the ISA slot would have been a
better choice as the board would keep all of it’s
functionality without having to sacrifice a more
desirable PCI slot.
to the large board pic, you’ll also notice
how close the AGP slot is to the first memory
the slot this close to the memory bank prevents
the use of RAM heatsinks on certain video cards
with RAM chips on the backside of the board.
There really is very little clearancein this area
gripe we have with the 6VCA is that there are only
2 fan headers.
For a board with the overclocking prowess
the 6VCA offers, including only 2 fan headers was
a bad move in our opinion.
I personally connect all fans (with the
exception of the CPU fan) directly to my power
supply, so this doesn’t aggravate me as much as
it would some others. Nonetheless, this is
another check in the “CONS” box.
potentially huge problem arose while installing
the PCI cards we require for testing.
Soyo’s placement of the BIOS chip is
BIOS chip is directly in front of the 2nd,
3rd and 4th PCI slots.
While inserting the cards we made contact
with the BIOS chip.
Removing the cards and applying pressure to
the chip to firmly seat it all the way down in its
socket alleviated the problem. However, with the
cards mounted there is less than a millimeter’s
clearance. A slightly out of spec card isn’t going to fit.
The last gripe we have
with this board is the placement of the voltage
Throughout testing we did not have to
utilize them, but they are placed so close to the
back of the Slot 1 connector that adjusting them
while a CPU is mounted would be very difficult.
is good news though!
Soyo is one of the few board makers that
include any sort of useful software bundle with
The 6VCA shipped with full versions of
Norton Anti-Virus, Norton Ghost (an AWESOME drive
imaging tool...if you’re not familiar with it,
check it out) and Norton Virtual Drive.
I haven’t played with Virtual
Drive. What it does is create a usable image
of CDs on a hard drive.
If you have the space available, you could
create disk images of your favorite games and not
have to insert the CDs before you play.
Something not everyone would use but there
are a few LAN Party freaks I know that might enjoy
not having to carry around their CDs anymore.
Including all this software is a definite
plus. Other board makers should take note.
paper “Quick Start” manual that ships with the
6VCA isn’t so hot, but a full manual is
available on the included setup CD which also
includes all the required VIA drivers and drivers
for the on-board audio.