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by Tarinder Sandhu on 1 November 2002, 00:00

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), VIA Technologies (TPE:2388), Soyo

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If I asked you to think of a motherboard manufacturer from a British perspective, who's name would grace your lips first ?. It may be Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, ABIT, EPoX, or ECS, but I'd wager that SOYO would not be high on your list.

It seems as if SOYO, of late, have attempted to differentiate themselves in the crowded motherboard arena by loading their premium DRAGON motherboards with more extras than you can shake the proverbial stick at. Add to that a distinctive look and more accessories than Elton John has wigs, and you get the idea that you're not just buying a motherboard, you're buying what can almost amount to a work of art.

To add a little more spice into the mix, SOYO have decided that another incarnation of the DRAGON motherboard is due. What's surprising, however, is that they've chosen to go down the Pentium 4 route not with an Intel or SiS-based chipset but with VIA's often maligned P4X400 providing the basic circuitry.

VIA, although a dominant force in AMD's realm, never mirrored their success for Intel's flagship processors. The lack of a suitable production license, amongst other things, complicated matters to an extent where leading first-tier motherboard manufacturers shied away from producing VIA-based P4 'boards. VIA have tried hard to establish themselves with a succession of P4 chipsets, each offering a little more than its predecessor.

With 8x AGP support and USB2.0 being standard specification on the P4X400, together with SOYO's value-adding features and immaculate presentation, the P4X400-powered DRAGON should be something of potent threat. Let's see just how well it fulfills its considerable promise as I take you on the review bus once more.