Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review :: Layout/Features

04-27-2004 · Category: Motherboards

By Doc Overclock
Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2
† Voltage and Physical support for previous generation of AGP
‡ Not just pin headers onboard
Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review
Board Revision1.0
BIOS Version6.0PG
Default Clock Speed (MHz)3191.9
North BridgeIntel 875P
South BridgeICH5R
Number of PCI slots5
Memory typeDDR333/400
Number of memory slots4
Maximum Memory (GB)4
Universal AGP support †No
AGP Pro SupportNo
Number of Physical USB 1.1 ports ‡0
Number of Physical USB 2.0 ports ‡4
Active Cooling on ChipsetNo
Adjustable AGP VoltageYes
Adjustable Memory VoltageYes
Southbridge UDMA 133 SupportHighPoint
IDE or RAID Controller other than SouthbridgeALI M5381
Auto speed-down/shutdown on fan failureNo
Auto speed-down/shutdown on heat alarmNo
On-board SoundCMI 8738 5.1 Channel Audio AC'97 CODEC
On-board LANIntel 82540EM Gigabit Ethernet controller

The Dragon 2 (Black Label) is the 2nd generation i875 chipset board from SOYO, the 1st edition we reviewed about six months ago and was a very solid product for the desktop market earning an Editor's Choice Award. This board comes with an even better features package and offers the user a variety of performance choices not available on their first edition. Based around the Intel i875 chipset and offering new SATA features, 2-channels are VIA the Intel ICH5R (Mode 0) and the other two from the ALI M5281 Serial ATA RAID chip, which provides RAID support in MODES 0, 1, 0+1 There are also dual-channel PATA ATA133 RAID functions provided by the HighPoint chipset supporting RAID MODES 0, 1, 0+1. The PCB is black (Hence the Black Label nomenclature) and is laid out fairly well with the exception of the power supply connector locations, which are too far apart.

Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review
Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review
Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review

Support for the entire line of ZIF socket 478 CPU's can be found on the Dragon 2 including the new 3.4GHz Prescott, and the board has enough space around the socket to accommodate the larger cooling solutions favored by most enthusiasts who overclock. The three fan power headers on the board are conveniently located to the right of the ZIF socket for easy hookup and the chassis fan header is located at the bottom of the board for connecting your front case intake fan. The memory DIMM slots are hard to work with as the area is so close and tight that getting the memory into the proper position is a bit tedious. The AGP slot has the standard pull tab design for securing your VGA card and is very hard to access when using channel 1 of the memory banks. This can be quite the problem when working in the confines of your enclosure.

Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review
Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review
Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review

Gigabit LAN is a cool feature that is provided by the Intel CSA offering 10/100/1000mbps transfer rates and will auto detect your LAN environment and appropriately set itself to that speed. Sound is provided by the CMI 8738 chipset and is actually one of my least favorite of on-board AC97 audio solutions as it sounds a bit tinny and metallic for my tastes. It does however provide an SPDIF interface connector for the best digital sound and offers six-channel 5.1 surround sound functions. There is support for up to eight USB 2.0 connectors, with four being located on the board rear I/O panel and an additional four connect via a cable that plugs into headers located on the board and take up one PCI slot. No fan on the North Bridge chipset leaves a bit to be desired, but is really not that big of an issue to the common user. The board includes a breakaway box that offers multiple memory card readers and an additional IEEE1394 connector in addition to the two located on the rear I/O for connecting digital cameras or camcorders. If you want a complete list of features take a look ,here, but I've covered what is relevant and now its time to see how well the board performs. It sure looks good though!

Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review
Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review


  • SY-P4I875P DRAGON 2 v1.0 Motherboard
  • Sigma Box featuring 9-in-1 USB 2.0 flash memory reader/writer, 1 front IEEE 1394, SPDIF audio connector
  • 4 * Serial ATA cables
  • 3 * HDD cables
  • 1 * FDD cable
  • User Manual
  • I/O back plate
  • Thermal paste
  • CD Driver
  • Bonus 8-in1 CD Pack (2003 Edition)
Motherboard: Soyo P4I875P Dragon 2 v1 Review