| about us | advertise | careers | links |

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Soyo K7VTA

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.

Hard to reach DIP switches
Click on image for DIP switch illustration.

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.

Proudly stated on the box is support for 4 USB connectors, but the required USB header for ports 3&4 is not included in the box.


The Setup