Skip to main content

Intel's Strike Force: 19 DDR-Motherboards With 845 Chipset and DDR-Support

Soyo P4 Fire Dragon

Board Revision: ?

BIOS Version: 1.0

The first thing that you'll notice about Soyo's P4 Fire Dragon is the huge box. This manufacturer takes a completely different route, and has the board packaged American style. Inside the box is quite a lot of hardware: 6 PCI slots, AGP 4x, 2 DIMM sockets, a total of 5 fan headers, monitoring features, 100 Mbit network controller from Intel, FireWire controller from Texas Instruments, an IDE RAID controller from HighPoint (HPT372) and last but not least, a PCI sound chip from C-Media, plus a Slot Cover with one each, digital line in and out.

Also, this motherboard offers excellent features for overclocking. FSB speed can be adjusted between 100 and 150 MHz (single MHz increments), and you can modify the CPU core voltage between 1.1 and 1.85 V. There are also some options to run the AGP and the main memory at increased voltage.

Still, there are some issues that we found: the IDE RAID controller could not be completely disabled. Also, you cannot assign interrupts manually, which is sometimes the only way to get older PCI cards running.

As you can see, the feature list is quite long. Performance level is also excellent, which has the advantage of slight overclocking: the test CPU ran at 2220 MHz instead of 2200 MHz.

The huge box contains three 80-pin IDE cables, a floppy cable, an ATX cover, a manual, a driver CD and a chip card, plus the corresponding reading device required for Soyo's security system. The computer boots only if the chip card is inserted.

Soyo obviously has a motherboard with one of the best feature sets ever. That, combined with its great overclocking features and high performance makes it the third board that we recommend in this test.