Well, we have tested out the Dual Channel chipsets and now taken a look at the single channel and what can we say? Well for one, Dual Channel, while giving the extra bandwidth to the CPU, helps get those extra PCMarks and FPS in the games. In actual point of fact, single channel DDR for the Pentium 4 is still a viable alternative for the masses who can't afford matched paired DIMMs, or afford the higher priced Dual Channel DDR.
Single channel has shown that it has evolved from its beginnings on the i845 platform to take up a position in the value to budget market, and with some very impressive scores.
Ali, while adding HyperTransport bus to the Pentium 4 processor, really didn't put anything new on the table. Though it is future ready for LGA775 and 1000+FSB, it simply doesn't have enough power in today's market to really be put to any great use. The Southbridge, while fast in its I/O link, lacks high quality AC'97, the additional USB 2.0 ports and also lacks Serial ATA support, which isn't a must have now, but by the time 1000+FSB hits, it will be. The main advantage of this chipset today is its compatibility with the MCP-S from nVidia, which does support Serial ATA and Gigabit Ethernet. This combination would make this chipset more attractive.
SiS has in the past, and still does today, produce good quality low cost alternatives, but at this point that's all the 648FX is; an alternative. Sure it does top over the Ali, but its current pairing with the 963UL Southbridge does limit some of the features you can get with this chipset, which includes Serial ATA. Though slower than Intel and VIA, it does earn a place if you are the SiS fan.
Intel's i848P is simply evolution on the i845 platform. Only the addition of the CSA bus gives it the impression it's from the i865 and i875 family, however, without any PAT or enhanced memory features, this chipset falls behind to 2nd place. One thing in Intel's favor is the inclusion of Serial ATA on the ICH5 series chipsets, which the i848P is mostly paired with.
The VIA PT800 is simply a work of art from VIA. Designed to be the ultimate in single channel DDR chipsets, it has taken out the top form today in 99% of our tests. Supporting Serial ATA and RAID as standard as well as support for future memory standards along with Hyper Threading, Prescott ready and not to mention VIA's first P4 chipset since the P4X series went under, the PT800 has been given our seal of approval and our Best Performance Award!
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