SiS 5600 Motherboards
The first board is equipped with the maximum amount of three DIMM sockets and four PCI slots. Two ISA slots have been placed on this board besides the controllers and other interfaces. The manufacturer decided to use the Award BIOS, which (still?) lets you adjust many settings regarding the memory and bus timings. On the one hand this makes it possible to coax the highest possible performance out of the hardware, on the other hand it's very easy to ruin the complete software installation if a certain setting is enabled which does not run properly. :(
The second board features the AGP 6326 graphics engine as well. It uses the AGP port, so there's no way to use another AGP card. That's why I used the on board graphics engine for the Winstone runs, so don't be surprised if the results are a bit slower.
Both SiS boards we got do not reach the same high memory and PCI bandwith as the other two candidates; but also the VIA boards are only slightly better. This becomes clear especially in the game benchmarks: The Asus P2B motherboard with the 440BX chipset is between 10 (Incoming 640x480) and 30% (Quake II, 640x480) faster than the SiS boards. With higher resolutions the importance shifts from the chipset and its bandwith to pure CPU power. A much faster CPU (500+ MHz) would be necessary to fathom the motherboard's limits.
It's only fair to mention that the BAT SiS motherboard does not yet support the required asynchronous AGP clock. Thus the AGP bus runs at 100 MHz which prevented the usage of the Millennium G200. Of course this is a performance advantage for this board. Nevertheless this isn't too important, since the performance difference between a PCI video card at 33 MHz bus and an AGP card at 66 MHz is also very small.
The memory compatibility test was not what I would call convincing: At 100 MHz the 256 MB Samsung modules did not work at, the 64 MB Toshiba modules (8ns, PC-100) only ran very instable even at the slowest memory timings. But our good old PC-66 memory from Samsung (10ns) was very reliable. LG Semicon's PC-100 DIMMs ran fine, the 32-chip PC-66 module as well. I made exact the same experiences with both boards.