The size of the P4ISR PCB is smaller by 0.55Ē to the previously reviewed
DFI NB72 845 board. Fortunately being smaller in size doesnít mean itís
smaller in features. The P4ISR offers maximal expansion for an 845 solution;
six PCI slots, 1 CNR and three DIMM slots for memory expansion up to 3GB
of ram. In addition to the features you would expect from the 845 chipset,
the P4ISR features hardware RAID support via the Promise chip located at
the top of the fourth PCI slot. The Promise RAID controller only supports
a maximum of a 64KB stripe size. Soyo has another version of the P4ISR without
The main IDE connectors for the hard drives and the FDD connector for the
floppy are comfortably located at the top of the DIMM slots resulting in
cleaner PCB design. Soyo made a good move with their decision of the placement
of the IDE RAID connectors; they are placed horizontally behind the first
three PCI slots. Our previous 845 SDRAM review from DFI had the RAID slots
placed vertically which resulted in unpleasant experiences with the IDE
cables when large PCI cards were in use.
Soyo like several other manufacturers decided to take advantage of the implanted
AC'97 sound present on the ICH2. This particular codec is very similar to
the Sound-Blaster 16 card and should satisfy most users. However, if you
own a quality surround speaker set and are playing a lot of games featuring
multi channel support, you would be better off with a normal high-end audio
card such as the Creative Sound Blaster Live. †
Three fan connectors are available on the P4ISR. The CPU fan connector is
located between the processor socket and the first DIMM slot. The two others
are located at the bottom; the chasing fan connector is placed below the
first RAID connector and the system fan connector is located below the removable
bios chip. You can disable some of the onboard features via jumpers or dipswitch.
A dipswitch is available for enabling/disabling the onboard AC97 sound,
a jumper for enabling/disabling CNR MR Card- CODEC option and at last a
jumper is present to enable or disable the onboard RAID.
A design flaw we have found on the P4ISR is the interference between the
memory banks and the video card. This little issue has been noticed on several
of today motherboards and generally requires removing the video card in
order to upgrade the memory.