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SY-5EMA



Article was last modified in October, 1998.

soyo.gif (5968 bytes)
SY-5EMA

MODEL
SY-5EMA
DESCRIPTION
100MHz Super 7™ AGP ATX MAINBOARD
CHIPSET
ETEQ 82C6638/6629 AGP Chipset (MVP3 rev. CE)
I/O chip : SMC 37C669
EXPANDABILITY
1 x 32 bit AGP slot
5 x 32 bit Bus Mastering PCI slots
2 x 16 bit ISA slots (One shareable PCI/ISA slot)
SECONDARY CACHE
Write-Back cache controller
1MB Pipeline Burst SRAM on board
SYSTEM MEMORY
2 x 168 pin DIMM memory slots
2 x 72 pin SIMM memory slots
Supports 8/16/32/64/128/256MB 168 pin modules
Supports 4/8/16/32/64MB 72 pin modules
Supports up to 512MB EDO and SDRAM
I/O ON BOARD
1 FDD port (supports LS120, 3mode, 1.2/1.44/2.88 FDD)
2 RS-232 Serial Ports (16550 UART compatible)
1 Parallel Printer Port (SPP/EPP/ECP mode)
2 PCI Bus Mastering ATA E-IDE Ports, Supports LS120/ZIP
2 USB Ports, PS/2 Mouse Port, IrDA Port
BOARD SIZE
4 Layer PCB, 30.5cm x 19cm(12" x 7.5"), ATX form factor
OTHER FEATURES
Super 7™ Platform
Supports 66/68.8/75/83/95/100/112 MHz CPU bus frequency
Supports CPU core voltage (2.0v ~3.5v) in 0.1v increments
PC97 ACPI compliant
Ultra DMA 33 or ATA E-IDE interface
Wake on LAN header
DMI ( Desktop Management Interface ) utility



Soyo's first Super-7 motherboard - the 5EHM - was (and still is) one of the best AT Super-7 boards available. Support for the 112MHz bus speed, easy-to-use dip-switches, a full megabyte of L2 cache, and many other great features set it apart from the many other AT Super-7 boards available. However, the biggest downfall of the 5EHM was it's very small size, and only 3 PCI slots (3 PCI, 3 ISA, 1 AGP). The board only allowed for one full-length PCI slot, which meant no dual Voodoo-II's... luckily, the 5EMA picks up right where the 5EHM left off...

The Good

The 5EMA, unlike the 5EHM, is an ATX board - which means that all five PCI slots on it can house full-length PCI cards. The 5EMA also features 2 ISA slots (1 shared), 1 AGP, and 2 DIMM and 2 SIMM slots. Five PCI slots leaves plenty of room for future upgrading.

The 5EMA also features revision CE of the MVP3 chipset (actually, it's ETEQ equivilent). The biggest problem with revisions of the MVP3 chipset before CE was that they weren't very compatible with video cards based on Intel's i740 chip. Whether Intel did this on purpose or not to hurt the Super 7 market is unknown. Luckily,  revision CE of the MVP3 chipset solves all incompatibility problems with i740-based cards.5ema.jpg (52350 bytes)

The 5EMA supports a wide variety of bus speeds (66/68.8/75/83/95/100/112 MHz) which makes it very good for overclocking. Because of the 95MHz bus speed, the 5EMA "officially" supports the K6-2 333MHz, which requires a bus speed of 95MHz. Although it is not quite as stable as on the 5EHM, the 112MHz FSB setting is still present on the 5EMA, and is great for overclocking. The reason for the decreased stability of the 112MHz bus speed on the 5EMA (vs. the 5EHM), is because the 5EMA features rev. CE of the MVP3 chipset, which is not quite as stable @ 112MHz.   The 112MHz FSB allows for easy overclocking of the K6-2 and other Socket-7 CPU's, and will improve performance quite a bit (note: while running the board at 112MHz FSB, the PCI bus and AGP bus are also being overclocked - along with the RAM and the actual chipset.   There are many PCI peripherals, and even more AGP devices that do not like to be overclocked. Take this into consideration when overclocking, and purchasing add-on cards to go along with the 5EMA).

Like it's brother the 5EHM (and unlike most other Super 7 boards), the 5EMA uses simple little dip-switches, located beside the SIMM sockets, to change the bus frequency, and clock multiplier.  This is another feature that makes it very easy to overclock with the 5EMA, and allows the user to try many different settings without constantly pulling off and on jumpers.

Another capability that this board has is the "Smart Detect" of the CPU Voltage. When the "Smart Detect CPU Voltage" jumper is capped, the board will automatically configure the voltage to meet your CPUs requirements. This, in combination with the easy-to-use dip-switches, makes the Soyo 5EMA a great board for beginners. Overclockers however, will most likely not use this feature, since overclocked CPUs will normally require higher voltages to work at higher speeds.

The 5EMA, like most other MVP3-based boards supports voltages from 2.0v to 3.5v in 0.1v increments (great for overclocking). All of the voltage settings are located in the online manual on the CD-ROM, and are clearly documented. Also, like other MVP3-based boards, the 5EMA allows the user to run the RAM at the AGP frequency (66MHz) while still running the rest of the system at 100MHz FSB.  This allows users to save money, by sticking with their current RAM instead of upgrading to PC100 SDRAM.

The board also features a full megabyte of L2 cache, which allows it to cache up to 256MB of RAM.

The Bad

Like I said above, the 112MHz bus speed is not quite as stable as it is on the 5EHM, but is still quite useable. The 124/133 MHz bus speeds are not present on the 5EMA, but they're not present on many other Super 7 boards anyway.

Also, if you want to be picky, the DIP switches could have been placed in a better position. They sit right between the AGP slot and the SIMM/DIMM slots, so if you're using an AGP video card, it may be a bit of a hassle to access them.

Conclusion

As I said above, the 5EMA picks up right where the 5EHM left off. This board leaves room for plenty of upgrading, has a low price, and comes with plenty of features that will satisfy any just about any computer user.


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