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SiS samples integrated Athlon 400MHz FSB chipset

Ageing DirectX graphics

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Chipset

SiS today unwrapped its latest 400MHz frontside bus chipset for AMD's Athlon XP, an integrated product based on the company's Real 256E graphics engine.

The chipset, the SiS741, supports 400MHz DDR SDRAM, along with 266MHz and 333MHz memory. It offers an external AGP 8x graphics bus, but internally its graphics engine connects to main memory across SiS' Ultra AGP II bus, which boosts the throughput to 3.2GBps on a 400MHz DDR system, well above AGP 8x's 2.1GBps bandwidth. The chipset can support screen resolutions of up to 1600 x 1200.

SiS calls the Real 256E a "high performance graphic engine" that "totally redefines the top-of-the-line graphic standard of the integrated chipsets". However, we note that it also points out that the engine is only compatible with DirectX 7 - two generations behind the current version - so we're not sure that the SiS741's graphics really can be said to be top of the line.

The SiS741's SiS964 South Bridge provides dual-channel ATA-133 and two Serial ATA channels. The SiS964 also supports Multiple RAID modes, including RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD. It also offers eight USB2.0 ports, full 5.1 channel surround sound, 56Kbps modem and 10/100Mbps Ethernet.

The SiS741 is currently being offering in sample quantities, with mass production to commence later this month. SiS expects mobos based on the chipset to ship in volume in September. ®

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