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Hardware

SOYO 5EHM, 5EMA/5EMA+, and 5EMA Pro Boards

Introduction

SOYO is one of the better name-brand Super7 motherboards. If you can find them on the net, they are a great value and use the excellent VIA chipsets. These boards have been around for a couple of years and remain excellent platforms for heavy-duty, 24/7 operation. I'm not entirely sure if the nomenclature of the 5EMA family represents anything but minor board revisions. The amount of L2 cache on all the boards does vary, e.g. the 5EHM/5 has 512k L2 cache instead of 1MB.

Integrated Hardware

The 5EHM (and its ATX counterpart, the 5EMA) has no integrated sound or video hardware but has 3 PCI (5 on the 5EMA) and 3 ISA slots. Both boards support AGP and IDE busmastering using extremely stable VIA drivers. These are rock-stable boards for users who do not want or need integrated video or audio.

I was given to understand from the TigerDirect.com catalog that the 5EMA Pro supports UDMA-66, though the only product for sale was the 5EMA+ model.

Identification

The boards are clearly marked with the version and the SOYO USA web site is an excellent resource.

Comments and Experiences

Both boards are rock-steady. The build quality of SOYO boards is exceptional. The placement of the components on the 5EHM blocks full-length ISA cards like the SoundBlasters. In addition, the battery and BIOS chip prevent most PCI cards from seating properly. This is silly considering that this is a board that requires the installation of several cards just to make a workable system.

Evidently, SOYO has consolidated its distributors in the USA yet Computer Parts Only remains a reliable supplier of these boards. If you're looking for building a completely non-Intel system, this is the board to use. Some earlier boards use ETEQ chipsets but, as it turns out, these are the same as the VIA chipsets since VIA bought ETEQ.

URLs

SOYO USA: http://www.soyousa.com

Computer Parts Only: http://cponly.com/

Disclaimer

This information is constantly being updated. Please check back often or contribute your own comments at the contact link at the bottom of this page.