Soyo is one of the motherboard manufacturers that have been around for a while -- 15 years to be exact. While other manufacturers, such as AOpen and Abit, have been the cutting edge, Soyo has never been far behind. While Soyo's strength lies in the Asian market, in 1998 Soyo expanded to the Silicon Valley to permeate the American market.

Following AOpen's AX63 Pro, the SY-6VBA133 is the second board reviewed to boast the VIA Apollo Pro 133 chipset. A new chipset, added BIOS features and UDMA 66 support has been added to Soyo's previous design. We shall see if Soyo still is on the ball, keeping up with AOpen's excellence.

New Anand Tech Report Card Rating

Motherboard Specifications

CPU Interface
Apollo Pro 133
L2 Cache
N/A (on-chip)
Form Factor
Bus Speeds

66 / 75 / 78 / 81 / 83 / 90
95 / 100 / 105 / 110 / 112 / 113
115 / 117 / 118 / 120 / 122 / 124
126 / 133 / 135 / 137 / 138 / 140
142 / 144 / 150 / 155

Clock Multipliers
1.5x - 8.0x
Voltages Supported
2.5%, 5%, 7.5%, 10%
Memory Slots
4 168pin DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots
0 AMR Slots
1 AGP Slot
5 PCI Slots (4 Full Length)
2 ISA Slots (1 Shared / 1 Full Length)
Award 4.51

The Good

Click to enlarge

The SY-6VBA133 is almost identical to the Soyo SY-6BA+III except that the VIA Apollo Pro 133 chipset replaces the i440BX chipset. The traditional 5/2/1 (PCI/ISA/AGP) slot configuration remains. One of the advantages over the AOpen AX63 Pro is that Soyo provided 4 DIMM slots, which means that up to 1 GB of SDRAM can be added for the video or graphics editors out there.

The layout of the SY-6VBA133 is also virtually identical, with the ATX spec followed closely, for the most part. One of the advantages of the ATX specification is that the layout minimizes cable clutter. Soyo made an exception to the spec with the placement of the ATX power connector behind the Slot-1 connector. This forces the power cable to run over the CPU and memory slots, cluttering up the inside of the case. Unlike the AOpen, the floppy drive and the HDD connectors are located where they should be, right at the front of the board. The board is of average length, which means it should fit fine in any ATX case.

One way that Soyo did cut costs was by removing the third fan connector that exists on the SY-6BA+III. Of the two, one is located right next to the CPU slot, and one is at the left front of the board. Note that the one next to the CPU can be blocked by a large heatsink, as was the case with ours. There are ten 1000uF capacitors are located immediately around the CPU slot and other capacitors are placed sparsely all over the board. The popular green heatsink is embellished with the Soyo logo and is mounted via spring clips. A pre-installed fold down CPU retention mechanism comes on the board and will hold any Celeron, Pentium II, or Pentium III CPU. The Mobile South Bridge VT82C596B chip, which allows for UDMA 33/66 support on both IDE channels, is located in front of the PCI slots.

One of the best features of the SY-6VBA133 is the section of the BIOS termed "Soyo Combo Setup," where most of the important settings are found. Control over CPU ratio, AGP ratio, FSB, memory speed, core voltage, boot order, and hardware monitoring are all found in this section. FSB settings of 66 / 75 / 78 / 81 / 83 / 90 / 95 / 100 / 105 / 110 / 112 / 113 / 115 / 117 / 118 / 120 / 122 / 124 / 126 / 133 / 135 / 137 / 138 / 140 / 142 / 144 / 150 / 155MHz are all available; this is identical to the SY6BA+III except for the addition of the option of 81. By including so many different FSBs in small increments, this board offers incredible flexibility when trying to overclock a CPU to the best of its ability.

More Good
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