Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review :: Features and Layout

06-30-2004 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0
† Voltage and Physical support for previous generation of AGP
‡ Not just pin headers onboard
Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review
Board RevisionP4IPE-AA1
BIOS Version80009 3/30/2004
Default Clock Speed (MHz)3192.0
North Bridge865PE
South BridgeICH5
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 SupportNo
IDE or RAID Controller other than SouthbridgeNo
Auto speed-down/shutdown on fan failureNo
Auto speed-down/shutdown on heat alarmNo
On-board SoundC-Media CMI9761A
On-board LANRealtek 8139 10/100 LAN

The Dragon 2 V1.0 board utilizes the i865PE chipset from Intel for the North Bridge. This chipset supports all currently available Socket 478 Pentium 4 CPUs. The list includes the newest Prescott 3.4E and 3.4EE Extreme Edition CPUs. The documentation for the motherboard indicates that the Dragon 2 V1.0 board supports CPUs with FSB (Front Side Bus) of 400, 533 and 800 MHz. The board comes with 4 DIMM slots that support up to 4 GB of unbuffered non-ECC DDR memory. One thing that would have been nice to see from Soyo would have been color-coding of the memory slots like many manufacturers do to indicate that dual-channel support needs to be implemented by using slots 1+3, 2+4 or 1+2+3+4. The positioning of the memory slots makes taking out the memory from slot 1 impossible without removing the AGP card first on any medium length card (such as the 9700 Pro we use in our test system). Longer cards such as a GEFORCE FX 6800 may block 2 memory slots from removal.

Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review Northbridge


Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review Memory Sockets

Memory Sockets

Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review AGP Slot

AGP Slot

Internal devices are supported by 2 SATA connectors, 2 PATA connectors and 1 Floppy disk drive connector. The Intel ICH5 South Bridge provides RAID 0 support (stripping) for the SATA hdds. One thing missing from the package is a power connector for the SATA HDDs. While the PSU (Power Supply Unit) that I use on the test station has a power connector for SATA drives built-in, most do not. You can attach up to 4 PATA devices and 2 SATA HDDs at one time on the ports.

Expansion options are fairly standard for a i865 board. Five 32-bit PCI slots, 1 CNR slot and an AGP 3.0 compliant slot make up the available slots. I'm not sure how useful a CNR slot these days with the inclusion of on-board LAN and sound, but it is there. The AGP 3.0 slot takes any 1.5V AGP4x/8x video card, which makes up the vast majority found today.

Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review SATA


Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review PCI Slots

PCI Slots

Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review Power Connector

Power Connector

The layout of the board is ok except for a couple of issues. The main ATX connector is positioned directly above the floppy drive connector. This is not the optimal location, which is located at the back of the board where the 12V power connector is located. When putting this motherboard in a case I had to move the floppy cable aside a bit. One thing that I like is that there is plenty of space around the CPU retention bracket giving good airflow.

The back panel input/output block is fairly representative of most motherboards today. The i/o consists of a PS/2 mouse and keyboard connector, COM1, Parallel printer port connector, 4 USB 2.0 ports with support on the chipset for 8 such devices with two headers for cables (that are not included), a RJ45 jack for the onboard Realtek 10/100 Mbps LAN and 3 audio jacks for the onboard sound. I really wish motherboard manufacturers would include the extra cable for more USB ports. I use a USB mouse, keyboard, joystick, and external hard drive at any given time and if I need another USB port I would need a cable or a hub.

Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review Back Panel I/0

Back Panel I/0

A C-Media CMI976A CODEC provides on-board sound. This chip provides up to 5.1 surround sound support and supports the major audio engines like Xear3d, D3D Sound, EAX 2.0 , and Aureal 3D version 1.0. I prefer the onboard sound on Intel's motherboards with the ADI SoundMax CODEC or the discrete sound found on a Creative Labs Audigy 2 ZS sound card. The integrated sound, however, is sufficient for most users and is a value added bonus.

Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review C-Media Tab 1

C-Media Tab 1

Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review C-Media Tab 2

C-Media Tab 2

Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review C-Media Tab 3

C-Media Tab 3

Soyo SY-P4I865PE Plus Dragon 2 V1.0 Review C-Media Tab 4

C-Media Tab 4

The board comes with a bit of a mediocre package in my humble opinion. The missing power connector for a SATA drive jumps right out at you, especially since a cable for a SATA HDD is provided with the package. One 80-pin IDE cable is included along with a FDD cable. As the motherboard comes with 2 PATA connectors, I wish Soyo had included 2 IDE cables. Many motherboard manufacturers don't include two cables. The other included items are the back panel plate, a Drivers CD, a Quick Start Installation Guide and the Bonus Pack CD.