$300 integrated PCs in sight

PC dealers look to SiS for respite

PC dealers, hard pressed by ever shrinking margins, are turning to integrated chip sets for succour, and in particular one produced by Taiwanese firm SiS.

The Duron, somewhat underemphasised by AMD as it wants to flog loads of Athlons, somewhat lacks cheap, cheerful and heavily integrated mobos, according to one reseller we were chatting to over the weekend.

AMD is targeting the Duron at the business end of the market, it appears.

But, our dealer said, there is now some light on the horizon and at the end of the tunnel as the well-worn cliches have it.

He claimed that PC Chips has produced a "decent and cheap" heavily integrated Socket A board, the M810LMR, based on a SiS chipset.

That includes onboard Ethernet, sound, embedded video using up to 64MB of system RAM, a modem on an AMR riser, UDMA100 IDE, one AGP and two PCI slots, and takes chips running at 200MHz and 266MHz system bus speeds using a Micro ATX design.

And no, he doesn't appear to have shares in PC Chips or SiS. Whole sale prices of the mobo are less than $80 and it is bundled with software, including Corel WordPerfect Suite 8, PCCillin, SuperVoice, 3Deep, Gamut, WinDVD, MediaRing Talk and Audio Rack.

He reckons that will let him build and flog a system, for example with a Duron 700, for less than $300 including just about everything apart from a monitor.

And does anyone really need systems faster than 700MHz, apart from small groups of specialised PC professionals or amateurs?

It's certainly about time SiS came out of the self-imposed purdah it has occupied for a couple of years.

Oh ye Desperate Dealers of Slender Margins, you can find the specs of the PC Chips mobo here, remembering of course the familar adage: "First roses, rose. Then thorns, thorns." ®

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