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Battle of the SiS 648 Budgets - MSI vs. Gigabyte vs. ECS - Gigabyte Features

The Pentium 4 processor line has been with us for sometime now and has matured into quite the profitable making product for Intel after its rather shaky inception. Now we have the Top 3 chipset manufacturers creating chipset solutions for the processor. One which has begun to stand out in the crown is SiS with their solid 648 chipset. Today Cameron "Sov" Johnson presents us with a roundup of three budget motherboards based on this very chipset from MSI, Gigabyte and ECS!

| Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Nov 9, 2002 5:00 am

Features of the Gigabyte GA-8SG667

 

Package and Contents

 

 

Gigabyte have decided for their new Titan range of motherboards that new packaging and graphics are essential to tell the boards apart, as well as make them more appealing to the eye on the shelves. Looks are pretty well in abundance with this box...When you open the box you are confronted with a basic package. You get your board, IDE and FDD cables in a pack, stickers to place inside the case for reference of the motherboard, case badge decal and USB 2.0 expansion cables as well as your user manual and setup diagram and drivers CD.

 

For a company known for its feature packed boards and accessories, this one is pretty plain, Jane.

 

Layout

 

 

Layouts wise, the 8SG667 follows a similar layout pattern as Gigabyte's value end motherboard have done in the past. A 1/5/0 (AGP/PCI/Riser) expansion layout is used to give you connectivity to PCI and AGP devices. For a board that is supposed to be value end, it is interesting to see that a CNR or ACR slot being left out.

 

Being based on the SiS 648 chipset, it gives this board AGP 8x graphics support. Gigabyte have colour coded the AGP slot purple for AGP 8x slots for their future boards. This means than only AGP 4x and 8x card can go in this board, as older 3.3v operation are no longer supported. This is not Gigabyte's fault but a limitation of the AGP 3.0 specification.

 

Chipset - 648 Master

 

 

As previously stated, the 8SG667 is based on the new SiS 648 chipset. This chipset has proven to us here at TweakTown to be a very reliable chipset and a power house when it comes to delivering performance and features for the Pentium 4. Using the 648 Northbridge, you receive the benefits from a 400/533Mhz supporting FSB system, support for official DDR-333 and 266 operations as well as dividers for 400Mhz operations. While theses aren't "officially" supported by SiS, options to run memory at this speed are included in the BIOS. Teamed up with the new 963 Southbridge, you get USB 2.0 support, AC'97 rev 2.2 for six channel sound, LAN and Firewire all built in. Though LAN and Firewire are standard on the SiS chipset, Gigabyte have elected to avoid using these standards. For a board that is budget based, we can excuse the lack of Firewire, on the other hand though, LAN is an integral part of everyday computing these days.

 

No Dual BIOS or LAN

 

 

As stated before, LAN is not included on this board, yet there are a solder point for the Realtek 10/100 LAN controller chip, why it would be there but not included due to budget reasons is a mystery. Another missing feature is the Dual BIOS setup. This was mad famous by Gigabyte and has just about been included in all their motherboards to date. Why it would be left out now is another mystery as it provides flawless backup of the system BIOS.

 

Overclocking

 

Overclocking on this board is almost non-existent. Only DRAM tweaks and FSB settings can be changed. Unless you voltage mod your P4 processor, you are stuck at defaults.

 

Further Reading: Read and find more Motherboards content at our Motherboards reviews, guides and articles index page.

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