For around two years, VIA has lead the enthusiast motherboard chipset market with virtually no competition. Both their Socket A (KT133/A) and Socket 478 (P4X266) chipsets were in a league of their own as far as performance was concerned. However, with the rather unsuccessful launch of their KT266 chipset, the door was left wide open for the lesser known manufacturers to come and steal some of the lime light.
At around this time, SiS, a Taiwan-based chipset manufacturer introduced their 735 chipset that not only outperformed the KT266 chipset, but was also priced much better. This came as a big surprise to many and now instead of being seen as a manufacturer of low-end integrated chipsets, SiS became a popular name amongst many hardware enthusiasts.
Shortly after the 735's release, SiS announced their 645 chipset that brought DDR333 memory to the Pentium 4. Like the 735, the SiS645 chipset was a big success and managed to perform very admirably against VIA's P4X266 chipset, not to mention being sold at a cheaper price. Once again, SiS turned the heads of many hardware enthusiasts and OEMs alike.
Recently, SiS announced the successor to their 645 chipset, the SiS645DX. This chipset barely differs from the original SiS645, however, it features a tweaked memory interface and adds support for 533MHz bus processors. This was quite a logical step for SiS as the new Pentium 4 processor with a 533MHz FSB is said to be released very shortly (the current Pentium 4 only features a 400MHz bus, or 100MHz "quad-pumped").
Taiwan-based motherboard manufacturer, DFI, have just announced the latest addition to their Pentium 4 motherboard range, the NS70-EL. This motherboard is based on the new SiS645DX chipset and we were lucky enough to obtain one of the only two boards in existence. DFI have been known for producing high performing, yet stable motherboards that are extremely well priced. Does this statement hold true with the NS70-EL? Read on to find out!