Big Business: 18 P4 boards In Price / Performance Face-Off

Soyo P4I875 Dragon 2 Platinum Edition

Board Revision: -

BIOS Version: 4AA2 (July 14, 2003)

When the parcel service delivered the Soyo board, we thought there had been a mistake. We received a Platinum Edition 875 chipset, in a box big enough for a German Black Forest Gateau. But no, there was no mistake: Soyo was being especially generous. Called the P4I875 Dragon 2, it includes everything you would expect from a beast with such a name.

The basic configuration is reasonable enough. Five PCI slots, AGP 8, 4+4 USB 2.0 ports, four DIMM slots (which the chipset can run in Dual DDR400), a PCI sound system based on the C-Media 8738, and a Gigabit-capable network controller from Intel (82547EI).

The competition rolls over dead when it comes to connectivity. The ICH5 offers two Serial ATA ports with RAID (82801ER). It doesn't stop there, because Soyo has also fitted a second SATA RAID controller (Sil3112) to the P4I875 Dragon 2. And Ultra ATA/133 is not forgotten, courtesy of a HighPoint HPT372. A total of 12 drives could be fitted to a machine based on this board.

Is there more? It goes without saying that Soyo supplies all the necessary cables. Also included is a 5.25" case-mounted module fitted with a Flash card reader, two USB ports, and two FireWire ports.

There is no doubt that the Soyo board is one of the most attractive motherboards on the market. It is also the most expensive by a wide margin. By way of comparison, the money spent on a P4I875 Dragon 2 could buy between two and four of the other boards in this review. Either 95% of PC users spend too little money on their computer hardware, or this is the wrong board for this group test. By our reckoning, it's the latter.

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