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Gigabyte does SiS - 655TX hits the shelves for Pentium 4 - Features Continued

We have another Gigabyte motherboard on the test bench today in the form of the 8S655TX Ultra. It is based on the new SiS 655TX chipset for the Pentium 4 including Prescott. We compare against Intel 875P and VIA PT880.

By: | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Apr 30, 2004 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 6.0%Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Features of the 8S655TX Ultra Continued


- Chipsets



The 655TX chipset is the latest instalment from SiS as we mentioned in the introduction. Based on the SiS 655FX architecture, the 655TX adds a new version of its Hyper Streaming Engine creatively called Advanced Hyper Streaming. This technology is supposed to work on reducing latencies between all the busses that interconnect to the Northbridge. Apart from official Prescott approval the hardware specs for the 655TX are identical to the 655FX.


The 964 Southbridge is used to give this motherboard support for Native Serial ATA 150 with RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD. Along with 8 USB 2.0 ports, AC'97 2.3 and built in 10/100 Ethernet, this Southbridge uses the same MuTILO 1G link that has proven to be the most fastest interconnect avalible today with a lot more headroom for data transfers than Intel, ALI or VIA.



Firewire has now become one of the most common standards for high-speed communications between DV cameras and external HDD drives. Preferred over USB 2.0 due to its hardware controlled data service rather than taxing the CPU like USB 2.0 does. Gigabyte has chosen the Texas Instruments 1394 Firewire controller chipset to give a total of three Firewire ports.



To add to the already impressive array of storage solutions the 8S655TX Ultra already includes, Gigabyte has thought of us who don't all have new Serial ATA drives for RAID arrays but have current IDE RAID arrays. The ITE GigaRAID controller chip is included to provide two IDE RAID ports supporting a maximum of four IDE drives.



Since SiS (as well as VIA and Ali) don't have native Gigabit Ethernet controllers, and with Gigabit Ethernet controllers now becoming standard, Gigabyte has decided not to handicap this motherboard. The Realtek RTL8110S-32 PCI Gigabit Ethernet controller is included to give you all the Ethernet power you will need.


- Overclocking


For this motherboard Gigabyte has let itself down with some rather poor voltage selection limits. While buses are quite flexible, you won't get far without that extra bit of juice that is lacking in the 8S655TX Ultra.


For the overclocking options are located under the Frequency/Voltage Control menu you have FSB Select, DRAM Ratio, AGP/PCI/SATA Lock, DRAM Overvolt, CPU Overvolt and AGP Overvolt.


FSB selections are from 100MHz up to 300MHz in 1MHz increments - indeed a very fine range for you to choose from. AGP/PCI/SATA can be locked to their defaults of 66/33/100 to prevent any of the AGP, PCI or SATA devices being the limiting overclocking factor.


When you hit the voltages this is where you are let down. DRAM voltage can only be adjusted +1v over standard. Meaning 2.6v maximum for DRAM, this is rather disappointing as the motherboard has so much more potential. AGP voltage is also very limited to just +2v over default. CPU voltage is once again another let down with a maximum of 1.7v - which is ok for Prescott but for Northwood, 1.75v or 1.85v are preferred for a good overclock.


In all we have a very disappointing overclocking outlook.




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