DFI 748-AL: Basic Features

 Motherboard Specifications
CPU Interface Socket-462
Chipset SiS 748 North Bridge
SiS 963L South Bridge
Bus Speeds up to 232MHz (in 1MHz increments)
Core Voltages Supported up to 1.850V (in 0.025V increments)
AGP Voltages Supported up to 1.8V (in 0.1V increments)
DRAM Voltages Supported up to 2.8V (in 0.1V increments)
Chipset Voltage 1.8V to 2.1V in 0.1V increments
CPU Multiplier Ratios 5X to 21X
Memory Slots 3 x 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots 1 AGP 8X Slot
5 PCI Slots
Onboard IDE RAID Standard ATA 133/100/66
Supporting up to 4 IDE devices
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394 6 USB 2.0 ports supported by 964L
No FireWire
Onboard LAN SiS 900 10/100 LAN
Onboard Audio AC'97 2.2 compliant 5.1 codec
Onboard Serial ATA None
BIOS Revision Evaluation BIOS (8/08/2003)

The DFI 748-AL is a good example of how much has been added to motherboard features in the last few years. With on-board 10/100 LAN, 5.1 channel audio, 6 USB 2.0 ports, ATA133 IDE support, and 8X AGP, the 748-AL would have been considered loaded just a short time ago. Now, compared to the feature-rich boards in the market, it is considered a standard or value board. Nothing you really need is absent from the 748 unless you need firewire, and that can be added with an add-on card.

Since our test board was an Engineering Sample, we cannot be sure exactly what accessories will ship with the release 748-AL, but we would suspect you will receive IDE cables, floppy cable, a CD with drivers, possibly a USB bracket, and not much else. You shouldn’t expect more than basics with a board designed to sell for a value price.

The DFI is anything but a value board in the tweaking and overclocking options. The ranges DFI has provided are the best we have seen on any announced SiS 748 motherboard. It is also the only 748 to provide CPU multiplier selection in BIOS — an important feature for many AMD users.



DFI has included an AC’97 compliant 6-channel audio on the 748-AL. Specifications on the website show a Realtek codec used, but our Engineering Sample was equipped with the cMedia codec used on the LANParty series. Both the Realtek and cMedia are AC’97 complaint, so either would meet specifications. There is also a connector for an optional SPDIF bracket.



On-board LAN is provided by SiS 900 Ethernet code in the 963L southbridge. The SiS 900 is a 10/100 Ethernet connection.



DFI has included 2 USB 2.0 ports on the I/O panel with headers for 4 additional USB 2 ports on the motherboard, for a total of 6 USB 2.0 ports provided by the 748/963L chipset. With SiS, VIA, and nVidia all providing extensive USB 2.0 support in their latest chipsets, this has become a standard feature.



The 748-AL uses the standard ATX ports configuration and can be used with the standard plates that come with ATX cases. This includes PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one 10/100 LAN port, two serial ports, one parallel port, game port, and Mic In, Line In, and Line Out, which are controlled by the onboard sound. There are no Firewire ports.

Sis has been a pioneer in high-speed links between north and south bridges, and we find the 1GB Mutiol connection used on the 748-AL. Hyperstreaming, which was discussed in our look at the 748 chipset, is also a feature of the 748/963L chipset. Both are features designed to improve speed of the motherboard.
SiS 748/963L Chipset DFI 748-AL: Board Layout
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  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 04, 2003 - link

    enough with the athlon xp mobos lets see some athlon 64age that you where talkin about wesley. Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - link

    Anonymous User = afraid to show who he really is. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - link

    Jeff7181 = Simpleton, limited comperhension skills. Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, September 01, 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.
    Reply
  • 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,

    Evan
    Reply
  • 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 http://www.ocworkbench.com/2003/dfi/748al/748al-1.... 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.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, August 30, 2003 - link

    #12 - Now corrected. Reply

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