There's No Stopping Them: SiS Beats AMD & Co

Single-Chip Technology: SiS 735 And SiS 635, Continued

Chipset SiS 635 VIA Apollo Pro 266 Intel 815E
Launch May 2001 October 2000 June 2000
Processor Platform Socket 370 Slot 1, Socket 370 Socket 370
CPUs supported Intel Celeron I/II, Intel Pentium II/III, VIA Cyrix III Intel Celeron I/II, Intel Pentium II/III, VIA Cyrix III Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium III
Frequency Range 233 bis 1250 MHz 233 bis 1250 MHz 266 bis 1500 MHz
Multiprocessor Support no no yes
Northbridge (Package) SiS 635 VIA VT8633 (BGA) Intel 82815 (BGA)
Southbridge (Package) - VIA VT8233 (BGA) Intel 82801 BA (BGA)
Front Side Bus Clock 66/100/133 MHz 66/100/133 MHz 66/100/133 MHz
Memory Clock 66/100/133 MHz DDR 66/100/133 MHz DDR 66/100/133 MHz
asynchronous Memory Clock yes yes yes
33 MHz PCI at 133 MHz FSB yes yes yes
FSB Overclocking* no yes bis 166 MHz
max. # DIMM or RIMM Slots 3 DDR-DIMMs / 3 SDRAM-DIMMs 4 DDR-DIMMs / 2 SDRAM-DIMMs 3
max. Memory 1536 MB 4096 MB 512 MB
DDR SDRAM Support yes yes no
VC SDRAM Support no yes no
RIMM Support (Rambus) no no no
Dual Rambus Support no no no
Ultra-DMA/33/66/100 yes/yes/yes yes/yes/yes yes/yes/yes
Max. # USB Ports 6 6 4
Max. # PCI Slots 5 6 6
# IRQs for PCI 4 5 6
Integrated Graphics Core no no yes
Onboard Graphics Chip no no Intel 752
Video Memory no no max. 16 MB
AGP Slot yes yes yes
AGP 1x / 2x / 4x yes / yes / yes yes / yes / yes yes / yes / yes
ACPI Features yes yes yes
* depends on clock generator

Comparison of all the important chipsets for the socket 370 platform.

Good marketing strategists know the recipe for success in the end-user market: If you want to be successful, don't touch integrated graphics solutions. Nobody needs this function. So, outside of the OEM business, this sort of feature is taboo. Unless, of course, you give the board an extra AGP interface so you can switch off the on-board graphics when you need to. SiS seems to have learned its lesson well, as neither of the new chipsets has integrated graphics.

Some motherboard manufacturers have already jumped aboard the SiS bandwagon. Currently, Asus (CUS266), Elitegroup (P6S5MT and P6S5AT), Jetway (635CS) and PC Chips (M700) use the SiS 635 chipset. Chaintech is the first manufacturer to bring the SiS 735 onto the market, with its 7SID. Other firms will follow.

For Intel - And AMD CPUs: Reference Boards From SiS

The two reference boards from SiS formed the basis for our test, one was equipped with the 635-chipset for the Intel platform and the other with the 735 chipset for the AMD platform. Most motherboard manufacturers will be working on these reference designs in the coming weeks and launching their own boards in the market. Notable features on both SiS boards are the three FireWire connections (IEEE 1394). For this, a controller chip from Texas Instruments has been used only on the SiS 735 board.

Both boards are factory-equipped with three FireWire interfaces (IEEE 1394).

SiS 735 For AMD Athlon/Duron

A look at our comparison table makes it clear that the SiS 735 chipset is almost indistinguishable from the competition in terms of the functions it offers. The SiS reference board represents a mid-range board, equipped with almost all the important features.

Reference board with the SiS 735 chipset.

On the socket 462 board SiS has installed only DIMM slots for DDR-SDRAM memory modules. The 735 chipset will, however, work with conventional SDRAM memory if required.

Function scheme for the SiS 735 chipset.

Some of the transistors for the system controller have been positioned on the upper and lower surfaces of the board.

The layout of two transistors in the three-phase controller is striking: They are on the underside of the board. The other functions read as follows: the chipset permits a total of six USB connections and three DIMM slots. The test board has 3 integrated PCI slots and 1 ACR, and hardly anyone will be eager to use the latter. The use of the AC'97 sound codec, which costs less than 40 cents per module in production, is also a money-saving feature.

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