The Not so Good
There are a few concerns
we had with the board layout. First is the placement of the ATX power connector
and the rear chassis fan header. The ATX connector is placed on the left side
of the board between the socket and the external com headers. This forces
the power cable to travel overtop of the HSF and places it directly in front
of the rear case fan. The second problem is the placement of the rear case
fan header. Both the CPU and rear case headers are in the very upper right-hand
corner of the PCB. This is no problem for the CPU fan as the distance is less
than 3". Therefore the case fan leads must travel over 9". We spoke with Soyo
about the odd placement. Their reasoning is that most case fans connect directly
to the powersupply, but this is definitely not the case. That also begs the
question - "Why are there two CPU fan headers on a single processor board?".
Some might welcome the dual headers if they are running large HSF units, but
we haven't seen many of those.
Our final complaint of
the board layout is the placement of the CPU multiplier DIP switches. Placed
directly above the IDE connectors, they are nearly impossible to reach in
mid and some full tower cases. This requires you to remove both IDE cables
to access the switches. For overclockers, this can prove to be a major inconvenience,
requiring some time and some cursing to change the multiplier. By comparison,
some competitors boards now allow multiplier changing through the BIOS, ie
ABIT's Softmenu III.
Click on image for DIP
As the trend
continues towards cost cutting, the one thing that has suffered most is the
enclosed manual. The only hard "manual" included in the box is the Quick Start
Guide, which should not even qualify as such. It barely covers the essentials
required to get the board up and running. In our view the printed manual should
cover all aspects of installation, configuration, and troubleshooting. By
putting the full manual on the driver CD the usefulness for installation and
configuration problems is greatly reduced. We can't really blame Soyo alone
for this, as the whole industry is heading in this direction, but this is
not up to par.
on the box is support for 4 USB connectors, but the required USB header for
ports 3&4 is not included in the box.