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Mega 12-way Intel 925 and 915 Motherboard Roundup

By: Cameron Johnson | Socket LGA 775 in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 30, 2004 4:00 am

Tyan Tomcat S5130


- Package and Contents



It has been a while since we have had anything from Tyan, simply because they are more server orientated than anything else but server and workstation market is something that is still good to explore even though we don't focus on it much here at TweakTown.


Tyan sent us their Tomcat S5130 motherboard. With Tyan being more server orientated than most, we weren't expecting any super special products added to the package which would interested the enthusiast or overclocker. Tyan has kept it simple with your user manual that covers the entire range of I925X and I915X motherboards from Tyan (as they only differ in added features), IO/ plate, four SATA data and 2x2 SATA power cables, IDE data cable, Firewire PCI expansion cable and USB PCI expansion cable.


- The Motherboard



Layout wise, Tyan bases their motherboards more on the server/workstation requirements, which aren't as strict as the demands of hardcore users. Although having said that, the motherboard does fair quite well with only a couple of gripes. The 24 pin ATX power connector is placed behind the DDR-2 DIMM sockets along with the single IDE connector, keeping them well out of the way. Like the other motherboards, you don't need to use a 24 pin EPS12V PSU, as it will work with a 20 pin ATX power, however, if you plan to use high powered PCI Express graphics cards like X800's and 6800's you will need the 24pin power supply, as the added 4 pins are used to power the PCI-E x16 slot.


You will notice this motherboard has an 8 pin EPS12V socket rather than the normal 4pin socket located between the I/O ports and the Northbridge heatsink. This also isn't a full requirement, the 4 pin connector is designed to work with this, which Tyan discloses in the manual. The placement of this connector could have been better, as the added wires for the 8 pin connection will be more of a pain then the 4 pin version.


Expansion wise, Tyan uses one PCI Express x16 slot, four PCI Legacy slots and two PCI Express x1 slots which are perfectly balanced for current and future requirements. Tyan puts its PCI Express x1 slots at the bottom of the motherboard rather than between the PCI-E x16 and PCI legacy ports. To aid in identifying the Dual Channel banks for the DDR-2 memory, Tyan has colour coded the DDR-2 slots, Black for Channel A and Blue for Channel B - just another feature that saves looking through the manual.



Tyan has chosen the I925X Express MCH and the ICH6R Southbridge. Tyan is aiming this at high-end workstations and mid-end enthusiasts. The i925X MCH gives 128bit DDR-2 memory interface supporting a maximum of DDR-2 533 modules, up to a total of 4GB. ICH6R gives the S5130 its four Serial ATA ports with NCQ or Native Command Queuing, which will help workstations with future drives, Intel High Definition Audio, which is more for the enthusiasts, two PCI Express x1 lanes and of course the USB 2.0 interface.


Tyan has gone the quiet PC approach with an extremely large blue Tyan logo passive heatsink on the Northbridge and an old style 440BX sized heatsink on the Southbridge. Tyan manages to get the best overall passive temperature rating over the rest of the passively cooled motherboards.



For the digital user, the VIA VT6307 two port PCI Firewire controller chip is added to give you a total of two Firewire A ports (400mbps max). This can go hand in hand for the digital workstation and for the enthusiast for external storage interface.



Being based for a workstation and enthusiast style product, Tyan hasn't skimped on the Gigabit Ethernet controller. The Broadcom NetXtreme PCI-E controller chip gives a single 10/100/100mbps Ethernet port, allowing bottleneck free Giga-LAN.


- Overclocking


Tyan aren't well known for overclocking features - in fact, this was the first I heard of it, but to our surprise, Tyan has included enough to get you going on the road to overclocking.


Under the Frequency/Voltage control menu in the Award BIOS, Tyan has access to FSB, CPU voltage, DRAM voltage and chipset voltage. FSB settings are from 200MHz up to 330MHz in 1MHz increments. During test we managed only 219MHz stable before our SATA and PCI-E decided to pack it in. This isn't bad considering there isn't much in the way of chipset voltage selections.


CPU voltage is also limited in selection, but not in how high you can go. You can select 0.12v, 0.25v or 0.37v over the default. This gives a max of 1.675v on Prescott and 1.875 on Northwood cores.


DRAM voltage was the most surprising. You can go from 1.8v which is the default of the DDR-2 modules all the way up to 2.5v in 0.1v increments, this is by far the best voltage rang we have seen for DDR-2 modules so far.


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