Today we bring you one of the first reviews of MSI's SiS 655 motherboard, dubbed the 655 Max (FISR version). The MSI 655 Max is based on SiS' latest Pentium 4 chipset, the SiS 655. The SiS 655 chipset has the exact same feature-set as the SiS 648, but with one major difference; a dual channel DDR memory architecture.
Though the SiS 655 chipset officially supports no higher than dual DDR333 memory, MSI decided to include an option for dual channel DDR400 functionality. With dual channel DDR400, there is a total peak bandwidth of 6.4GB/s available for the Pentium 4's consumption. However since the Pentium 4's FSB maxes out at a peak bandwidth of 4.2 GB/s (133MHz X 4 = 533MHz FSB), that has led some people to the, seemingly justified, conclusion that the extra peak bandwidth dual channel DDR400 offers is completely useless and could even decrease performance versus dual channel DDR266 (which offers exactly 4.2GB/s of peak bandwidth) due to latency penalties.
Still, MSI's 655 Max is one of the first motherboards capable of dual channel DDR400. That means that MSI's board will be one of several SiS 655 boards to beat Intel to the punch with dual channel DDR400 memory support. Intel's upcoming Springdale and Canterwood chipsets are also slated to support dual channel DDR400 however Intel's strategy is to bring these dual channel DDR400 chipsets to market when the Pentium 4's FSB can make the most use of it. Obviously, that would be while running at 800MHz FSB.
Read on to see how MSI's implementation of the SiS 655 chipset fares against the competition...