Tyan Tomcat i7221A
Written by Michael Larabel in Motherboards on 20 July 2005. Page 2 of 7. Add A Comment

Board Layout:

Starting this board examination we have a look at the 24-pin and 8-pin power connectors, for EPS12V compatibility. However, the quick reference guide states that the Tomcat i7221A is backward compatible with the standard ATX 20-pin and 4-pin power connectors. This compatibility isn't anything uncommon; it’s just that with past Tyan motherboards such as the Tomcat i915 S510, if you wanted to use the 20 and 4-pin connectors you would also need to attach a molex connector to the motherboard. Anyhow, it’s nice to have the ability to use a 24 and 8-pin power supply or 20 and 4-pin setup. Immediately below the power connectors, which are located right along the top edge of the PCB, are the four DIMM slots. These system memory slots are rated for up to 4GB un-buffered of DDR333/400 ECC/non-ECC.

The next item of interest we have is the actual LGA775 (Socket T) CPU socket. For improved thermal efficiency, the socket is located towards the front of the motherboard. In most instances this change won't cause any problems but depending upon your system chassis you may experience some obstructions depending upon the size of the CPU heatsink. Beneath the CPU socket, are the Intel PXH-V and ICH-6R chips that are covered each by a small passive heatsink. Centered around the Intel PXH-V are a group of three 3-pin fan connectors and one 4-pin fan connector. Of course, the 4-pin fan connector is for the LGA775 CPU heatsink for PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) support while the three remaining connectors are for system cooling. Unfortunately, we personally would rather see these fan connectors spaced a bit apart, as the only other fan connector found on this motherboard is at the top rear corner of the motherboard. If these connectors were to be evenly spaced apart, it could leave to easier cable management when constructing the system; nevertheless, we had no troubles reaching any of the onboard fan connectors. Also located in the near vicinity of the fan connectors are the front panel connectors and SMDC header. Separating the Intel PXH-V and Intel ICH-6R is the port 80 code LED display, BIOS chip, BIOS battery, and the onboard speaker.

In the bottom right hand corner of the motherboard, are the four SATA ports and a single IDE connector. These four SATA ports are provided by the ICH-6R Southbridge, and due to its "R" status, it’s compliant with RAID 0, 1. The IDE connector is also provided by the ICH-6R and is simply legacy ATA100. Also located in this area are the two USB2.0 headers. Unfortunately, there is no Firewire support on the motherboard. Providing the Super I/O support on the Tyan Tomcat i7221A, is the SMSC DME1737-NR. This chip also provides temperature sensing, quiet auto fan, and glue logic.

The next set of items to catch our attention is the three onboard LAN controllers. The Tyan Tomcat i7221A utilizes two Gigabit adapters and one 10/100 NIC. Providing the 10/100/1000 support are two Broadcom BCM5721KFB controllers. This Broadcom Gigabit adapter is identical to the one found on Tyan's Tomcat K8E motherboard. The third 10/100 network interface on this motherboard is the Intel 82551QM controller. The expansion slots utilized on the motherboard are one PCI-X 64-bit 133/100/66MHz slot, one 32-bit 33MHz PCI 2.3 slot, and two PCI Express x1 connectors. In addition, this motherboard supports Tyan's proprietary 200-pin SO-DIMM TARO connector. The Tyan TARO connector provides storage expansion capabilities for SATA and SCSI RAID through using their unique SO-DIMM connector cards.

The next prominent feature on this motherboard is the Intel E7221 "Copper River" Chipset. Assisting in cooling of this chip is an elongated passive heatsink. The fifth and final fan connector can be found in the upper left hand corner of the motherboard. At the rear of the motherboard, are the PS/2 connectors for a keyboard and mouse, two USB2.0 connectors, one COM port, one VGA port, and three LAN connectors. The onboard VGA support is 8-bit VGA DAC that is embedded in the MCH.

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