Summary - Pentium 4 Wins Lots Of Attractiveness
Intel may like it or not, but i850 is slowly becoming obsolete. Today SiS has introduced a product that makes Pentium 4 more attractive than ever. The SiS645 also shows that all the claims 'Pentium 4 needs RDRAM' that I had contradicted so many times in the past are simply false. Pentium 4 doesn't even need the 3200 MB/s of memory bandwidth provided by dual-channel RDRAM, as long as the 2666 MB/s offered by SiS645 and DDR333 are able to score the same benchmark results. SiS645 is THE i850 alternative for significantly less money.
The fact that SiS doesn't have any legal battles with Intel over Pentium 4 bus licenses going right now, will ensure that many motherboard makers will soon provide SiS645 solutions instead of VIA Apollo P4X266 products, which carry the risk of getting them into legal problems.
SiS deserves to be greatly commended. The new SiS645 chipset was a pleasure to test, as it did not at all irritate with instabilities or incompatibilities. Who would have expected such a fast as well as solid product from a company that was expected to disappear or to be acquired by others very soon? Let's now hope that SiS will get the attention it deserves. The SiS645 chipset is good enough to attract a lot of interest on its own, but SiS should make sure to provide up-to-date drivers and BIOS, a clean compatibility list and everything else that it takes to regenerate confidence in the slightly faded image of Silicon Integrated Solutions. I wish SiS all the best of luck!
VIA won't welcome the introduction of SiS645 much. The battle with Intel is still going on and as long as this problem hasn't been straightened out, the big motherboard players won't start shipping platforms with P4X266. Now SiS introduced an even more attractive alternative. VIA will have to speed up this painful legal process as well as incorporate DDR333-support in its latest chipsets, so that it can strike back as soon as the legal battle is over.