You can’t look at a SiS chipset board these days without asking, “what is happening to SiS?” After the heady days of growth in the Intel market, SiS has grown strangely quiet. The phenomenal growth that started with the SiS 645 chipset and progressed through the SiS 645DX, SiS 648, and finally the dual-channel SiS 655 seems to have stopped. The forays into Athlon country with the 700 series chipsets (735/746/746FX) seem to have lost all their steam since nVidia began their takeover of the AMD market. Even the long-rumored 800FSB Dual-Channel SiS 655FX chipset for Pentium 4 has turned into an endless series of delay announcements while SiS market share continues to dwindle. It wasn’t long ago that SiS was poised to pass VIA as the top chipset maker in Taiwan, but now both SiS and VIA seem to have fallen on hard times. There are many questions, more rumors, and very few hard facts. We don’t have answers to these questions.

It was in this climate that we first began to hear of a new SiS 748 chipset for Athlon, but honestly, you had to strain to even hear rumors. The new SiS 748 chipset for Athlon is as difficult to find as the proverbial needle-in-a-haystack. The first 748 that we were aware of was produced by long-term SiS partner, iWill. But early reports on that board indicated almost none of the overclocking options that iWill had lavished on their earlier SiS Athlon motherboards. There were also reports of an Asrock version of the 748 at the very low end with almost no tweaking options. Asrock is the ASUS division that produces low-end value boards. It appeared that the 748 was already destined to be the “bargain-bargain” chipset of the Athlon world, slated below even the glut of KT600 boards that are being targeted at the “value” segment.

Then we began hearing about a 748 board that would be produced by DFI that was not a fancy LANParty board, yet had many of the tweaking and overclocking options which were missing from the SiS 748 boards that we had seen. We asked DFI if we could take a look at their SiS 748 board, called the DFI 748-AL, and DFI San Jose graciously had an engineering sample in our hands in just a couple of days. We were warned that this was a value board, and not in the same league as their LANParty series, but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. DFI is a major OEM manufacturer — they make many boards for other companies — and we had always found their mainstream boards solid and stable, if not the most exciting on the market.

As stated before, there is no inherent reason why a dual-channel chipset would be the performance leader on the AMD Athlon platform. Due to the limitations of the Athlon architecture, single-channel solutions should be able to compete effectively in most performance areas with the dual-channel nForce2 Ultra 400. Recently, the single-channel nForce2 400 has proven that this is more than just a theory. We’ve already seen that KT-600 is not likely the killer single-channel solution that we expected. So, could the SiS 748 be the solution that finally stands head-to-head with nForce2?

The interest in the DFI 748-AL was to try to answer this question. Does the SiS 748 chipset have any potential? Or will it be so out-performed and overshadowed by the nForce2 Ultra 400/400 and VIA KT600 juggernaut that it will die before it is even launched? We hope to be able to shed some light on those questions in this review.

SiS 748/963L Chipset


View All Comments

  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 4, 2003 - link

    enough with the athlon xp mobos lets see some athlon 64age that you where talkin about wesley. Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Wednesday, September 3, 2003 - link

    Anonymous User = afraid to show who he really is. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 2, 2003 - link

    Jeff7181 = Simpleton, limited comperhension skills. Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, September 1, 2003 - link

    The unusual thing is why the 748 has the 963 SB, since the upcoming 741 has the 964. That one has SATA. I would rather get that and use a video card.

    Well, either one can use either southbridge, but value or not, SOMEONE needs to stick SATA on a uATX board for the AMD platform.
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, August 31, 2003 - link

    Most Sis motherboards are aimed at the low end market and performance is often worse than in the reviews. For the guy who wants to use this for a htpc I would steer clear of these chipsets. Their performance is very poor when it comes to media encoding and video capture if you're thinking of adding tivo functionality to your htpc. Reply
  • Evan Lieb - Sunday, August 31, 2003 - link

    Anyone reading a review thinking that the boards included in the benchmark graphs are the best you can get haven't read that review in its entirety or other nForce2 reviews on AnandTech (or around the net period). We can't be faulted for what readers assume based on statements we’ve never made.

    Thanks for sharing your feedback with us Jeff.

    Take care,

  • Anonymous User - Sunday, August 31, 2003 - link

    Jeff7181, the conclusion that you imagine to have seen does not exist in that article. You seem to look more at the benchmark graphs than the actual text of the article. That's your problem. Reviewers can't expect everyone to make such mistakes. I'm sure that any critisism would be appreciated if it actually had something to do with the targeted article... Reply
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, August 31, 2003 - link

    Read this for another opinion. It is compared to other SiS 748 and NForce2 and KT600 boards. Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Saturday, August 30, 2003 - link

    Wesley, Evan... Sorry to be so rude in my post, but...

    The point of these reviews is to inform the reader correct? If that was an editorial (opinion) and not a review (informational) I wouldn't have a problem with it.
    But the way the article is written, it leads uninformed users to believe that the best motherboard on that chart is the best motherboard you can get. While that may be true, you don't show any proof.

    The review of the DFI 748-AL was great... but the product comparisons are VERY lacking. At least you could point out somewhere in the article that "the popular offerings from Asus and Epox and Abit perform similarly to the DFI nForce2 Ultra 400, but were omitted due to lack of resources." That would at least give the reader an idea of how beneficial it would be to upgrade from their current motherboard to one of these new "Ultra" ones.
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, August 30, 2003 - link

    #12 - Now corrected. Reply

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