- VIA 8363 Northbridge
- VIA 686A
- 100MHz DDR
- 1.5GB Max
- Soyo Voice
- Soyo Fan
- Voltage adjustment
- 1/5/1 AGP(4X)/PCI/ISA
- Onboard AC97
- Socket 462
- ATX Formfactor
the second board from Soyo we have had a look at this year. The 7VBA133
was an above average board that just didn't stand out enough for anyone
to take notice. Looking to build on that performance with their latest Socket
A design, Soyo went back to the drawing board and came knocking on our door
with the K7VTA.
the popular VIA KT133 chipset, the K7VTA does not introduce any new features
that other makers do not have on the market. This means Soyo will have to
make up in areas other than paper specifications to make this board a winner.
Upon popping open the
usual Soyo box you will be greeted by a modest looking 9"x12" PCB. Featuring
a 1/5/1 AGP/PCI/ISA configuration along with 3 DIMM slots, the K7VTA has nothing
special on its' KT133 based competitors. But take a quick look to the left
of the Socket and you will quickly realize that this is no average board.
The one distinguishing feature of this board is a bank of no less than 10
1500uf capacitors and one large 3300uf.
We were quite happy to
see that Soyo did not include an AMR connector on the board. The board is
not being targeted towards OEM's. AMR expansion cards are hard to find and
often turn out to be quite problematic. The included universal AGP slot is
backwards compatible with all AGP standards, a definite plus for those who
don't need a new video card as well. Finally, the one ISA slot is welcomed
by those of us who still have ISA expansion cards, again saving an unnecessary
Soyo took our complaints
about the 7VBA to heart and corrected nearly all of our concerns with the
new layout of the K7VTA. The memory can now be replaced without removing the
AGP card and the socket release lever no-longer interferes with larger heatsinks.
At the heart of the board
is VIA's 8363 North Bridge chip and the 686A South Bridge handles the IO duties.
Dual UDMA 66 connectors are provided to handle IDE duties.Four USB ports are
available for external expansion.
The Socket 462 is placed
mid-board along the top edge with 3 DIMM slots to the right. There is adequate
room around the socket for larger heatsinks. Our Global Win FOP38 has ~3/16"
clearance from the capacitors. Heatsinks with large bases like the Golden
Orb may still not have enough clearance.
As usual Soyo provides
onboard audio via a Sigmatel AC97 codec. It's certainly not for gamers, but
more than adequate for most other users. In our review of the Guillemot Maxi
Sound Muse we sat down and benchmarked
the performance of the Sigmatel codec and the results were very surprising.
The onboard Soyo codec actually beat the Guillemot card in every test, ranging
from 2-3X less CPU usage.