by October 12, 2002 0 comments

Apart from Intel, the two companies that make chipsets for the P4 processor are VIA and SiS. In spite of the excellent chipsets coming out of VIA, motherboard manufacturers have been slow on the uptake since VIA does not have a license for P4 chipsets from Intel. This has left SiS as the only company other than Intel whose chipsets are being marketed for the P4 processor by the majority of motherboard manufacturers. 

Just like SiS’ previous chipsets, the North and South Bridge are linked using their own MuTIOL (Multithreaded I/O Link) technology. MuTIOL, like Intel’s Hub Architecture and VIA’s V-Link, increases the bandwidth between these two chips. On this chipset, the bandwidth figure is 1 GB/s, compared to 266 MB/s for IHA and V-Link. This won’t make too much of a difference, since it is already next to impossible to saturate the bandwidth on older architectures. Coming to the chips themselves, the 963 south bridge used is quite similar to the older 962. Its feature set includes ATA/133 IDE controllers, support for six USB 2.0 ports, integrated Ethernet, AC97 audio and a 3-port FireWire controller. Only Nvidia’s nForce chipset comes close to having so many features, but it is produced only for Athlon processors. The 648 North Bridge now includes support for AGP 8x, and can run DDR 266/333. It also unofficially supports DDR400. Finally, it can run the latest P4 processors that use 533 MHz

MuTIOL technology, ATA/133, USB 2.0, FireWire, on-board Ethernet, AC97 audio, Firewire
Very feature rich, performance matches up to RDRAM based chipsets
reference board

We tested a reference motherboard provided to us by SiS. We supplied it with a P4 2.8 GHz, Samsung 7200 rpm SP4002H HDD, 256 MB DDR-333 and a GeForce2 GTS. Comparison was done with the actual P4 2.8 GHz review in which an Asus P4T533-C motherboard was used with PC800 RDRAM, all other components being the same. The results were quite surprising to say the least. SiS, with the 648 chipset, took a lead over the other system in performance. This motherboard was able to
perform better in almost all benchmarks and was left behind only slightly in DivX encoding. Overall, as can be gathered from the table below, an excellent show of competence by

The Bottom Line: When the SiS 648 does become available in the market, it will make an attractive alternative to the currently available chipsets if SiS continues its tradition of competitive pricing.

Creation 640*480*16
QuakeIII Arena
3DMark Serious Sam
93.3 323.3 5212 91.6 119
SiS 648 95.6 329.1 5238 92 123

Anuj Jain at PCQ Labs

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