One major factor that sets motherboards apart are the key features that they encompass. As the rise of overclocking and performance computing continues to grow steadily, features such as soft jumpers and onboard RAID have become extremely popular.
If you’re looking to purchase a motherboard with overclocking and performance in mind than this board should be on your list. Based on Intel’s Slot-1 BX chipset, the SY-6BA+100 is designed for Intel’s Pentium II/III and Celeron Slot-1 based processors. Capable of 66, 100, and now 133 MHz bus speeds, the board is aimed at working with both old and new Pentium III processors. There is, however, a limitation to the board’s 133 MHz front-side bus support that lies in Intel’s BX chipset’s inability to handle the 133 MHz FSB natively. When running an Intel CPU with a native 133 MHz FSB setting, the AGP port will become overclocked. While not so much a problem there is a slight chance that some older video cards could cause computer stalls.
Moving back to the board, it’s designed around the standard ATX specification and features a four-layer PCB measuring in at 30.5cm (12″) long and 19cm (7.5″) wide. One AGP slot combines with 5 PCI and 2 ISA slots to provide enough room for all your add-on cards. Each PCI slot features bus-mastering while running at the standard 33 MHz and also features Soyo’s BIOS control that keeps them humming between 33 and 41 MHz under overclocked environments. This helps ensure system stability by not pushing the PCI clock higher than your add-on cards can handle as a result of overclocking.
Memory support of up to 1 GB is provided via 4 x 168 pin SDRAM DIMM slots with ECC capability. The rear of the board displays its double-stacked back panel that features the standard PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports along with two USB ports, two 9-pin male serial ports, and one 25-pin female printer port. Three fan power connectors allow you to add an extra fan or two where you please, for those of you who love the sound of 5000 RPM fans spinning away.
The main difference between the SY-6BA+100, and its sibling the SY-6BA+IV, is the transition from supporting ATA-66 to supporting the new ATA-100 hard drive interface specification combined with RAID support. So, what does this mean for you? It means improved performance when using ATA-100 capable hard drives, and two additional IDE ports for connecting to a total of 8 IDE devices.
Soyo implemented ATA-100 support through High Point’s HP370 controller chip. With built-in support for IDE RAID 0, 1 & 0+1, it extends its performance and feature capability.
Layout wise, the board is a winner overall. Some hardcore overclockers with massive CPU fan/heatsink combos may end up blocking the first memory DIMM slot, but that still leaves three for the taking. Also, the placement of the motherboard power connector requires that the motherboard power cable run over and behind the processor, which clutters things up a bit — otherwise, a very well designed motherboard.