This motherboard is one of the ‘new breed’ of Socket 370 motherboards. Socket 370 was originally introduced as a ‘low-end’ solution allowing only a 66MHz FSB, with integrated video and/or audio. Today, Socket 370 is seen as the connector for future Intel processors, including upcoming Pentium IIIs. The 100MHz capable i440ZX chipset allows manufacturers to build motherboards to satisfy the most serious upgrader, including gamers and overclockers, with FSB speeds at 133MHz and beyond.
We spent several days performing circuit level tests to verify the integrity of the various timing signals, as well as trying numerous settings with various Celeron processors. The motherboard performed flawlessly in all tests, and crashed only when we pushed it to unreasonable limits (more a problem with the processors than the motherboard).
Disclaimer: All discussions regarding overclocking are for informational and entertainment value only. Overclocking is not recommended by us, and should not be performed on a ‘production’ system running critical applications. We assume no responsibility for any damage to your components or data due to the use or misuse of the information provided here
Unlike most Socket 370 motherboards, the SY-7IZB+ is an AT form factor board, making it a great choice for the user converting from the most popular Socket 7 setups. The 4 PCI and 3 ISA slots will allow most users to be able to use their ‘legacy’ cards. This board is an excellent choice for upgraders, because it does not include any built-in video or audio, providing maximum flexibility for configuring a system.
Soyo has also provided both an AT and ATX power connector for even more flexibility. The board has only two jumpers – one to select the ‘base’ FSB speed, and the other for clearing the CMOS.
Cool and/or Unique Features
Soyo has followed many other manufacturers catering to overclockers by putting the FSB selection in the BIOS. By including a jumper on the board to choose between a ‘base’ FSB of 66MHz or 100MHz, they have allowed for an amazing set of FSB speeds. At the 66MHz jumper setting, the BIOS will allow 66, 75 and 83MHz options, all with 1/2 PCI divisors. With the 100MHz jumper setting, options for 100, 103, 105, 110, 112, 115, 120, 124, 133, 140 and 150MHz are possible! The 133MHz option has two settings – one with a 1/3 PCI divisor and the other with a 1/4 divisor. Avid overclockers will find many hours of enjoyment playing with these selections. One small issue for the overclocking crowd is the lack of voltage selection. This will restrict the ability to overclock processors for those who want to squeeze the last MHz from their processor.
All connectors and jumpers are well positioned to be relatively easily accessed, even when the board is installed. There could be issues with ‘tall’ DIMM modules, as they will sit directly underneath the drive bays of most mini- and mid-tower cases. At least two of the three ISA slots will accept full-length cards, with the third depending largely upon the size of the CPU fan.
Compatibility & Stability
Though the motherboard has numerous FSB settings, chances of utilizing those above 110MHz is unlikely. We tested with a Celeron 300A, 333 and 400 (all boxed retail units). The 300A was the most impressive, by running without a hitch at 110MHz FSB (36MHz PCI), for a processor speed of 495MHz. The Celeron 333 would POST at 500MHz, but only was able to complete a Winstone run once in 5 tries. Most often it would lock up within minutes. The 400MHz would simply not boot at 100MHz or beyond. We elected to not try the 75 or 83MHz settings due to PCI bus speed considerations, but many users will find these settings perfectly acceptable for their use.
Using our P.H.D. card from Ultra-X, we ran through over 100 iterations of all tests, plus several Winstone 99 runs. We found literally no failures on any of the runs, which test the signal integrity and operation of the DMA channels, memory bus, interrupt controllers, etc. at the circuit level. This level of performance is found only on the motherboards from the top quality manufacturers, which Soyo has proven themselves to be.
Documentation & Accessories
The manual contains 4 chapters, and is available only in machine readable format (on the CD). The first chapter provides the specs and features. Chapter 2 gives detailed instructions on installing the hardware into each socket, including the processor, memory, PCI and ISA slots, cable connectors, etc. For most experience upgraders, this will not be particularly useful, but those who have only performed one or two upgrades will find the level of detail very comforting. The third chapter gives all BIOS settings, however as with all motherboard manuals the descriptions are terse and not much help for those who don’t already know the proper settings. The last chapter provides information on installing the supplied drivers.
Because the manual is available only on the CD, Soyo has included their standard ‘Quick Reference’ guide with all the necessary info to get the motherboard configured and running. A package with IDE, floppy, parallel and serial port cables is also included, as is, of course, the software CD
While this is only the second Socket 370 motherboard we have looked at, it is quite impressive in features and apparent stability. As with any new motherboard, it is impossible to determine how it will stand up in the field, however we have no problem giving this a very high recommendation. With Soyo’s excellent track record for quality, performance and reliability chances are this will be one of the most popular of the current Socket 370 offerings.
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