SiS Back On Stage: The SiS730 Chipset for Duron and Athlon

Does Intel Have Reasons To Feel Threatened?

Home users are sometimes not aware of the fact that a large quota of all computer sales is used by businesses. Only one third of all PCs can be found in homes. If it was your job to order several dozen or even hundreds of computers for your company, you would start to do razor sharp price calculations.

So far there weren't a lot of chances to assemble a low-end Duron computer as cheap as a system based on Intel's Celeron. The reason is very simple. There wasn't any inexpensive chipset with integrated graphics available. That situation looks completely different if you want to build up an Intel-based 'value'-computer. Decision-makers could either pick the Intel 810 or 815 chipset, VIA's ProSavage PM133 or the ALi Aladdin TNT2. All of them include at least the graphics functions.

If you wanted to build a low-cost computer based on a Duron processor, you lately had the chance to use VIA's ProSavage KM133, which also comes with integrated graphics. Unfortunately, the ProSavage KM133 has only become available recently, and before buyers usually swapped to an Intel-based solution.

The SiS730 seems to be the perfect low-cost solution. Our tests have been very painless, showing pretty well that the chipset seems to be matured. There are many reasons why I would definitely prefer a Duron system to a Celeron system. The processor has always been able to offer a much better price/performance ratio. The Celeron is limited to 66 MHz (at 800 MHz it's 100 MHz at last) processor bus clock, while Duron runs at 100 MHz double-pumped. Finally the Duron can be teamed up with PC100 or PC133 SDRAM memory, while Celeron systems usually work with 66 MHz memory. In addition, there is no price difference between 66 MHz and 133 MHz SDRAM memory any more. The issue about memory speed is very important for chipsets with integrated graphics, as the graphics performance depends heavily on the data bandwidth between the graphics core and the main memory, which is in part used as graphics memory.