Aside from NVIDIA, there isn’t really much competition that VIA faces in the Socket-A chipset market. With NVIDIA shipping very small quantities of their chipsets, things are very quiet on the Athlon front, but why? ALi has made a few failed attempts at the desktop chipset business recently but VIA’s most capable competitor, SiS, is hard at work in a different part of the market.

SiS is the only 3rd party manufacturer other than ATI to have an official license from Intel to produce chipsets for the Pentium 4 platform. Although VIA engineered a perfectly fine chipset without obtaining this seal of approval, they are having a very hard time selling their P4X series of chipsets because of the chipset’s questionable legality. With ATI focusing mostly on the mobile side of the market, SiS is left to produce all of the more cost effective Pentium 4 chipsets.

It should be no surprise to anyone that SiS spends the vast majority of their time keeping their Pentium 4 line fresh as they have an effective exclusive on the 3rd party desktop Pentium 4 chipset market. In the past nine months SiS has released no less than five Pentium 4 chipsets, including today’s release of the SiS 648.

The 648 chipset continues SiS’ Pentium 4 line by updating the 645DX chipset to support AGP 8X along with a new South Bridge. The improvements to the technology are minimal but seeing as how we haven’t taken a look at a SiS P4 chipset since the original 645 we thought we’d give the 648 a once-over to see how things have changed.

648 North Bridge - A Mild Improvement

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