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Company: Soyo
K7VTA PRO Motherboard
Street Price: ~ $150
Complete Motherboard Spec's: Soyo Spec's
Date Reviewed: February 27, 2001
Reviewed By: Jason

(click on image for close-up)


Soyo Entering The KT133A Arena:

Soyo has really been making a name for themselves lately in the overclocking market, and with the K7VTA PRO recently released, they now have a board supporting the VIA KT133A chipset. As the name implies, the K7VTA PRO is based on the "K7VTA" model motherboard which has been around for a while, but this board has the newer Northbridge chip officially supporting 133FSB.

This board has an AGP slot (supporting 4x), 5 PCI slots, and a single ISA slot. There are the traditional 3 DIMM slots that you find on every Socket-A motherboard. There are also two IDE channels supporting ATA/100 (VIA 686B Southbridge), and the floppy port. I must point out unlike ABIT, this board doesn't come in a RAID flavor with an onboard extra IDE controller (ABIT uses the Highpoint chip).

While you are looking at the picture above, note the location of the power headers for the CPU, they are on the far side of the memory slots. At first I thought this was a bad place for them because they were so far away (relative to other motherboards), but then I realized that they were put there to be out of the way if you used a larger heatsink, so there was a method to their madness. Another nice thing is the Northbridge fan uses a standard fan header instead of some manufacturers using a smaller style socket, so you can always mount a larger fan on there that uses the regular 3 pin molex connector.

A very nice feature on this motherboard is onboard sound. Many people opt to buy a sound card to get much nicer sound, but if you are not a die hard gamer (like my dad), the onboard sound can save you $50 or more and works just fine for your needs.

There is an extra USB header located on the front of the motherboard, however extra USB cables aren't included. I have found that you can find these at Egghead if you search for "F3U001", they run about $5.00 or so. The only USB devices I have are my Digital Camera & my netcam so the extra cables don't really matter to me, but some people have lots of USB devices, some people have none.

There is active cooling on the Northbridge chip, which is being held on via thermal tape, (and it was really stuck on there!), there are no holes around the chip so thermal tape / epoxy are your only choices if you want to go with an aftermarket option. But in all honesty, the cooling that is on there works just fine. I popped of the heatsink and you can see the closeup of the Northbridge chip to the left. Basically the same as the one on my ABIT board. Some people have been reporting there are Northbridge chips without the metal insert, but I haven't seen any pictures of them yet.

The Socket placement on the K7VTA PRO has been turned 90 degrees from how ABIT places theirs on the KT7 boards. There is MUCH more room around the socket on the Soyo board than the ABIT board. The Soyo board is much easier to get the first side of the clip on because there aren't capacitors crammed right next to the socket. There is also a ton of space to the left & right of the socket to allow any monster cooler you have, and you can fit the PEP66 with the 38CFM Delta fan on there with no problems whatsoever.


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