Soyo – SY-6VZA review

Socket 370 (Celeron) motherboard
Photo of Soyo – SY-6VZA
£85 + VAT

As Intel’s Celeron processor chips change shape, so must the motherboards that house them. This is Soyo’s board for the new 370-pin chip range; it’s an ATX board with a PGA 370 processor socket. That’s not remarkable in itself, of course, but the SY-6VZA does have one particularly unusual feature. It is based on the VIA Apollo Pro chipset, rather than the seemingly-ubiquitous Intel 440BX AGP chipset that is favoured – for price, performance or other reasons – by the majority of desktop PC motherboard manufacturers.

Being an ATX board, there are solidly-mounted rear connectors for audio, serial, parallel, and PS/2 devices, along with a pair of USB connectors. Three DIMM memory slots are available, with a potential maximum memory count of 768MB – more than enough for most users, really. There are also two PCI EIDE channels supporting UltraDMA/33 access, along with a single floppy drive channel, while the board’s functions are managed by an Award Bios. The board is supplied with one EIDE cable and one floppy cable, as well as a CD containing various drivers and documentation. For those in a hurry, a printed Quick Start Guide is also supplied.

If this board has a failing it’s potentially in the number of expansion slots available. There’s one for AGP graphics cards, naturally, but only three PCI and one shared PCI/ISA slot are present. For people wanting to make use of the board’s built-in ESS 3D sound controller, that’s probably sufficient, but if you add a PCI sound card, SCSI adapter and modem, there’s not a great deal of expansion potential left. What is likely to appeal to end-users, however, is the over-clocking option, which Soyo even describes (but does not recommend) in the manual. Bus speeds up to 133MHz are available, with the usual clock multipliers available from the Bios.

Company: Soyo

Contact: 01274 664110


Verdict
Aside from the possible lack of expansion slots in some configurations, this is a good motherboard. It's pretty easy to install, has sound built in, and will appeal to knowledgeable end-users wanting to experiment with the new range of Celeron chips. The VIA chipset helps the board to perform well, and the over-clocking features are an anorak's dream come true. Burn, Celeron, burn...