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SOYO provided us with their KT880 motherboard. This board is not a beginner mother board, it is filled with numerous types of configurations and features. We are going to take a look at a few of these features and rate the performance with an AMD XP 2500+ CPU. Please be sure to understand that with the numerous configurations, it is impossible for Marns CDA to do an all out extensive feature set test. Thus, we are going to take a look at the important features and installation of this main board.
$113.00 Newegg price. Considering all the featuresm the cost for this motherboard is a very reasonable price.
Purchase link to Newegg.com
As I mentioned earlier, this motherboard is not recommended for a first time modder or PC builder. The install is complicated and you need to know your stuff. What I am going to focus on are the unique aspects of the install. You will need to read the product's manual to review the remaining information.
We are not going to get into the many different types of RAID setups or configurations. Just know that there are very few boards on the market at this price range that have the compatibility that SOYO has put into the KT880. It has a dual RAID system with either an IDE or Serial ATA interface. SOYO also provides 4 SATA cables and 2 IDE so they provide everything but the drives.
Enough about the RAID controllers, let's discuss the install. For the most part, the installation is pretty standard. Hook up the ATX power connector. Install the RAM and CPU. And put your IO cards in either the PCI or AGP slots. Note: you will need the SATA power connector and a minimum of a 350w PSU. I recommend at least a 400w.
Something different that I haven't observed on a motherboard in a while is the COM & Parallel Port. SOYO uses a ribbon cable system that was very common on the older K6 AMD CPU chip sets. The ports are mounted using a rear IO card slot.
The installation documentation is very well written and extensive. If you don't like reading, this is not the board for you. Everything you need to know about this board is well illustrated and noted in the manual.
This board also provides a lot of USB support. There are a few internal hook-ups, perfect for the experienced modder to install anything from Multi Port card readers to LCD displays.
As for the CPU, it's pretty standard, not much to tell. If you have ever installed a K7 Socket-A, then this is nothing new. Place the chip in the socket and make sure you have it facing the proper direction. The CPU should fall right into place and then you can close the mounting lever.
The Case switches and LED wiring is pretty standard as well. All the wire mounts are placed in the lower right corner, like most boards. Again, this is nothing new, but here is what it looks like:
When all is read and done, the install is a snap. There are a few tricks to get things running but the documentation covers everything well. From opening the box to start-up, installation took around an hour ( no RAID ).
SOYO does a fine job of adding style to the KT880. They accent the board with multi- colored plastics, which also double as indicators for installation and keeping order to the cable hook ups.
The over all look of this board is appealing. It is perfect for any person using window and lighting to show off their equipment.
Let us begin with the PCMark04 results. This board rated well, not the fastest I have seen, but the board performed very well. Here is a link to a comparison between the SOYO KT880 and the ASUS A7N8X. The performance difference between these boards is minuscule, so they perform roughly the same. Please make sure you understand this is based on IDE hard drives and results may vary depending on the setup. We did our best to keep the equipment as similar as possible. The SOYO board, however, has a few tricks that will make it perform much better then the ASUS. These are namely the dual raid controllers and the extra RAM slot.
Base results per PCMark04:
Main Test Results
Detailed Test Results
The on board Sound device (Realtek ALC850 AC97 channels audio CODEC) on this board is awesome. No need to get the Sound Blaster card in order to have Dolby 5.1 support. I was impressed with the extra CODEC software, the sound setup reminds me of the Creative software, but with a different front end. The sound itself, though only using 2.1, was awesome. I was currently used to SoundBlaster Live and the difference with the 2.1 speakers is quite miniscule.
The overall performance of this board is more then satisfactory. And if you are setting up either an SATA or an IDE RAID, I decently recommend this board for the Modding or Gaming enthusiast.
I have nothing derogative to say in regards to the quality of this product. The board construction is very solid. There are no visible flaws with any of the onboard components.
The packaging is adequate, very similar to is competitors, so not much to report.
As for the Extras, I have to say the amount of cabling provided is ample and nice. There is no need to go out and get the extra SATA cable or IDE. SOYO provides 4 SATA cables, 2 IDE's, a floppy and all the cables you need.
The Installation documentation as I mentioned earlier is phenomenal. They provide everything you need. It is not necessarily written for the novice PC builder but anyone with a little experience I am sure will do fine. Heck, you might even learn something you didn't know!
Drivers and software installation is pretty standard. Even though you must know your model, the driver install is not auto-sensing. The Mother board Probe software for when you are using Windows is very simple, it tells you what you need to know.
The ability for many types of possible configurations.
Extra cables are always good.
The sound is awesome.
The color scheme of the KT880 is visually appealing.
The installation for this board is not for everyone. This board is designed for an experienced PC builder.
Documentation, though well written, is designed for a veteran PC builder. It is not designed for your novice builder.
If you are a first time modder or builder this board may not be for you. But if you are a veteran, this is exactly what you are looking for. The multitude of configurations and setups make this one of the most versatile boards in its class. Marns is awarding the SOYO KT880 Dragon 2 Rev2.0 the Marns CDA "Blue Ribbon Seal of Approval". Job well done SOYO, congratulations!
Rating 5 & 1/2 out of 6 stars
Review Date 11/13/04
Reviewer pr101j (Paul)
Brazil Sales Office / RMA Center
Rua André Ampere 153 andar 17 sala 171/172
Brooklin Novo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Tel: 55 11 5103-3522
Fax: 55 11 5102-3522
Web Site: http://www.soyola.com
Email: Info@soyola.com (General Inquiries)
Email: Sales@soyola.com (Channel Sales)
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