SiS 645DX - Is This The Best Chipset For The P4?

Pentium 4: DDR333 - Competition For Rambus

The Intel Pentium 4 has a problem: the Rambus platform, based on the Intel 850 chipset, has not enjoyed widespread penetration of the market. Only a few manufacturers have a motherboard with this chipset in their portfolios. Rather, the Pentium 4, fitted with an 845 board and SDRAM, is sold as a complete system by the major chain stores.

It should be clear to everyone that the Pentium 4 cannot reach its maximum performance potential in such systems, unless the user is primarily concerned with pure Megahertz and Gigabyte figures - in which case, all other criteria don't count. Currently, the better equipped of the Intel PCs even have DDR SDRAM, so that more of the performance potential can be better utilized.

In order to offer an acceptable price/performance ratio, these PCs usually have slow DDR266 modules (with a 2.5 CAS latency), which also get in the way of optimal system performance. So, many enthusiasts go for the Rambus platform, whose memory performance makes use of the Pentium 4's full potential. A comprehensive test of various platforms with RDRAM can be found in the article Behind The Silicon Curtain: Exclusive Test Of The P4/2666 With 533 MHz Rambus .

Still, the message is clear: Rambus is dead, long live DDR - at least this was Intel's message at Intel Developer Forum 2002 two weeks ago in San Francisco. SiS offers an alternative chipset to this, based on DDR SDRAM with a 166 MHz memory clock (DDR333), which is meant to take on the Intel Rambus platform with full force.

The Tom's Hardware lab in Munich brings you an exclusive test of the SiS reference board with the 645DX chipset, which won't be officially launched until March 13, 2002, at the CeBIT.

The SiS 645DX chipset for Intel Pentium 4 and Socket 478.

As of now, this much can be said: with the 645DX, SiS has a fair chance to make its way onto many motherboards, even before the launch of the Intel 845E on May 21 and the Intel 850E at the end of April.