12 Socket 370 Motherboards using VIA's Apollo Pro 133A

Soyo SY-7VCA

Board Revision: ?

BIOS Version: 2AA3 (May 9, 2000)

After a quick look at the photo you will notice the unusual placement of the floppy connector. That's not very convenient, as the cable could make it difficult to use large PCI expansion cards. The DIMM sockets could have been placed some centimeters higher, as the lower locks need to be closed in order to use a long AGP card.

Just like MSI, the Soyo 7VCA comes with four diagnostic LEDs. I couldn't find any description, so I guess that their only function is to illuminate the inside of your case. I hope that the final version will include a better manual. The one, which was included with our sample, was certainly not too bad, but it's very short and only describes the most important steps during system setup.

Let's take a look at the hardware. Five PCI slots are present, whereas the last one is shared with an ISA slot. Soyo included the AMR directly between two PCI-Slots, basically wasting one PCI slot. Two fan headers are provided for system or CPU fans, and two line ins are available for audio connectivity of the AC97 sound system. In the lower left corner, you can find a header for two additional USB ports - but your will have to get the adapter cable yourself.

The complete CPU setup is done in Soyo's Combo Feature section in the Award BIOS. It allows to freely set FSB, multiplier and to raise the CPU voltage by 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9 or 10%. That's absolutely enough for overclocking and safe even for beginners.

The latest BIOS version 2AA3 adds the item 'SDRAM Bank Interleave', which also had a little impact on performance. This function requires at least a double-sided DIMM (a standard 128 MB SDRAM DIMM, for example), or two DIMMs, which are at least single sided. Talking about DIMMs you should know that this board supports ECC as well.

I finished my tests without any stability issues and got good performance results. This board did not make it to the very top, but the relation between price and performance seems to be quite good, particularly because Soyo includes a CD with Norton Anti Virus, Ghost and Virtual Drive.