Overall I was satisfied
with the layout of the previously reviewed P4ISR.
While the board was based on a totally different chipset it doesnt change
the fact that a mainboard design should remain rich and clean, especially
for Soyo whose main market is high end.
The P4S Dragon Ultra spots
6 purple colored PCI slots, Soyo decided they wanted something unique and
different and I must say purple worked out quite well. The P4S also features
an AGP PRO slot.
Three DIMM slots supporting
DDR333/DDR266 and DDR200 are available for memory expansion. Maximum supported
memory is 3GB using un-buffered, double sided DIMM DDR266 or 200 modules.
Support for DDR333 requires the use of no more than two un-buffered DDR333
The IDE RAID connectors
and the FDD connector are placed horizontally below the PCI slots 3, 4 and
5; this could result in unpleasant experiences if you will be using larger
PCI cards. Soyo made a good move with their decision of the placement of the
main IDE connectors; they are placed vertically between the PCI slots 1 and
2 in order to avoid any interference with the PCI cards and IDE cables.
P4S Dragon Ultra features RAID support via the more advanced Highpoint HPT372
Ultra ATA133 IDE RAID controller supporting RAID 0+1 functions in addition
to the standard RAID 0 and 1 used on the Promise RAID controller featured
on the previously reviewed SOYO P4ISR and DFI NB72-SR mainboards.
A total of five FAN connectors
are available on the P4S Dragon Ultra. Two chassis cooling connectors are
present at the bottom of the board, one just lower the Highpoint RAID controller
and the other one just two inches further on the left. The third chassis connector
is located just above the AGP PRO slot and is used to power the heatsink/fan
combo on the SIS645 chip. The two other connectors are CPU fan connections
and are vertically placed about an inch and a half to the left of the SIS
Something that I liked
about the P4S Dragon Ultra is its use of the C-Media CMI8738 audio chip offering
support for a 6 channel audio setup. While you can always use the rear audio
connectors of the I/O panel for your standard two channel audio setup, Soyo
bundled an external audio module featuring all the necessary digital audio
inputs and outputs to fully support a 6 channel environment. The audio module
features four digital connections; one optical and one spdif input as well
as an optical and spdif output. A center and rear left/right output jacks
are present to take advantage of the 6 channel feature. The P4S also features
an integrated Ethernet adapter featured on the SIS 961 chip; the RJ45 connector
is placed beside the two USB ports on the I/O back panel. A NEC USB 2.0 Controller
is present onboard.
A design flaw we have found on the P4S Dragon 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.