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I want a DRAGON, but where can I find a cheap Socket-A Athlon?

 
 
andrew.gullans@gmail.com
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      01-30-2006, 10:09 AM
The Soyo Dragon line has reviewed well, and I've wanted one of those
boards since I first heard about them. Unfortunatly, the latest Dragon
mainboard is Socket-A, and it looks like everyone else has already
bought up all the old Socket-A Athlons from tigerdirect and newegg (or
at least all the ones that support 400MHz memory). For example, I've
seen a Socket-A 3000+ going for $100 more than a Socket-939 3000+.
Where can I score a cheap Socket-A CPU?

And, of course, will SOYO be reviving the DRAGON motherboard line with
a Socket 939 or 940 model?

 
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MHz Tweaker
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      02-02-2006, 03:46 PM
On 30 Jan 2006 02:09:36 -0800, (E-Mail Removed) wrote:

>The Soyo Dragon line has reviewed well, and I've wanted one of those
>boards since I first heard about them. Unfortunatly, the latest Dragon
>mainboard is Socket-A, and it looks like everyone else has already
>bought up all the old Socket-A Athlons from tigerdirect and newegg (or
>at least all the ones that support 400MHz memory). For example, I've
>seen a Socket-A 3000+ going for $100 more than a Socket-939 3000+.
>Where can I score a cheap Socket-A CPU?
>
>And, of course, will SOYO be reviving the DRAGON motherboard line with
>a Socket 939 or 940 model?



Hmmm.... where to start. I can't speak for ALL the Soyo Dragon
boards, but I can give you my experience with the KT880 Dragon 2. It's
a Socket A (462) board that semi-supports Dual channel DDR. It has a
pair of dual channel sockets but the chipset only reads from 1 module
at a time so it's not really dual channel. This board seems to have
every conceivable option a person could wish for. It has 4 SATA
connectors, 4 IDE connectors (8 drives), 8 USB 2.0 ports, Firewire, 8
channel sound, Gigabit Lan.

Now here's the bad news: while this board was very stable for me, even
overclocked, it had some major flaws I just could not live with.

Number 1. The BIOS will not retain overclock settings and most other
settings when powered down cold. When I would go and change the
overclock settings, it would disable most on-board items like LAN,
Sound, USB, Firewire.

Number 2. The board does not come with the extra connectors for the
other USB 2 or Firewire ports. I don't know where to find them
although I'm sure they are available somewhere. I ended up buying a
Firewire-USB 2 combo card to route to my front panel I/O hub.

Number 3. Spent hours banging my head trying to figure out why the
machine would not come on only to figure out that the Fan On Control
(FOC) was not compatible with my CPU fan. FOC had to be disabled in
the BIOS. This put a bad taste in my mouth for this board from the
start.

Number 4. I just was not satisfied with the performance overall. I
used to have a Shuttle AK35-GTR with and Athlon XP 2400+ that seemed
much faster than this Dragon board with the Sempron 2500+ 256k chip
combo. Hard disk performance in particular seemed sluggish. I was
using a Raptor 10k for boot and several 200,250 and 300 gig drives for
storage. My video was ATI 9800XT 256meg.


The board would overclock OK. I ran some Kingston value ram 512x2 and
overclocked the 333FSB Sempron to 400. So the Sempron went from about
1750MHz to about 2100MHz and rated something like a 2800 to 3000+. I
bought this board from my local Tiger Direct Store here in N.C. in
December and used it for a little over a month. I never turn my
machine off so the constant BIOS reseting was not too much of an
issue. I had to have a replacement RIGHT Then and got the Dragon2 for
about $55 and the Sempron for about $85 at the Tiger store but it was
instore only and not forsale online.

I replaced the board last week with an Epox 9NDA3+ and Athlon 64 3200+
(Venice Core) chip. Man what an improvement!!!!!! I don't know if you
have some sentimental attachement to the Soyo socket A board or what
but I would recommend you stay FAR AWAY FROM IT! There seem to be no
fixes for these problems in sight. I sent 2 emails to Soyo in December
and did not even get a response to either of them after 40 days.

I would recommend you either go with a socket 754 or preferably a 939
chip. I cannot stress how much better my 939 board/chip is over the
old Soyo socket A board. I bought the 9NDA3+ board at newegg last
week for $96 and the processor+fan for about $165. I like the Epox.
This is my first Epox board and am very impressed with it so far. I
read many articles to find a board for my old ATI 9800xt AGP card. It
has the NForce 3 Ultra chipset and overclocks the FSB like a demon.
We're talking up in the 275 to 310FSB range. I still have the Kingston
value ram but it runs out of steam at about 220MHz. I have 1gig
(512x2) of Mushkin XP4400 coming in today or tomorrow so I can run the
RAM at 1:1.

Bottom line: you are right, a lot of the really good Socket A chips
are gone, like the Barton's and mobile chips. The one's that are left
can either only be found on E-bay, are very expensive or both. Save
your $$$ and go 939. Get a A64-3200+ or A64-3700 chip or if you have
the extra bucks go for the Opteron 148.

later

MHz
 
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