Our SiS735 chipset review back in June revealed that the single-chip solution is able to compete with strong competitors such as AMD's 760 chipset. As a matter of fact, the SiS 735 clearly beats both the Ali MaGiK-1 and VIA's KT266 chipset, and still outperforms the AMD760 in the majority of our benchmarks. Unfortunately, there have not been many motherboards available with the SiS735 chipset. Recently, things started to look up with several companies finally planning to ship SiS 735 motherboards. With the recent release of VIA's new KT266A chipset, the SiS 735 is no longer the fastest Athlon chipset (without having ever hit the market...). However, that won't change the fact that the SiS chipset is a great buy both in terms of performance and, of course, price. So far, the Elitegroup K7S5A is already available and Chaintech should be shipping the 7SID soon.
Who Is To Blame For The Delay?
The news that a low-cost chipset from SiS would in fact be able to outperform its competitors was met with surprise all over the world. VIA, Taiwan's number one chipset manufacturer, had particular cause for concern. There have been a lot of rumours why we had to wait so long for SiS 735 motherboards. Right after the release of the KT266A chipset, it looked as if VIA was putting the motherboard makers under pressure to prevent the release of SiS735 motherboards before their improved chipset would hit the market.
We probably won't ever find out if this was the real reason for the delay of SiS 735 motherboards, but regardless - SiS should have pushed their 735 as much as they could up till then, and they didn't. They could have brought more competition into the Athlon chipset market, and more importantly, SiS missed the unique chance at building momentum in the market; a chance which low-cost chipmakers so seldom have. As a result, I'm pretty sure that the SiS 735 will arrive in the market as a fast and attractively low-cost chipset, instead of as the top performer in the market.