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Gigabyte SINXP1394 (SiS655) Motherboard Review

By: Cameron Johnson | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Feb 25, 2003 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: Gigabyte




By now, with the name of SINXP1394, most people would have guessed that this board has Firewire support. Since the SiS963 Southbridge chipset supports a Firewire controller as standard, it would be a shame if it weren't utilized. Gigabyte has utilized this controller by the Realtek RTL8818 PHY interface controller on a daughter board. This daughter board plugs into a set of pins just above the PCI2 slot. This then enables the Firewire function of the board.


6-Phase Power



We first saw this technology applied to the SINXP1394s sister board, the 8INXP. This technology consists of a daughter board and an expansion slot. This expansion slot is located on the top of the board between the I/O ports and the CPU. This slot accommodates a riser board, which has a 3-phase power function onboard. When this card is inserted into the slot, the motherboard recognizes a 6-phase power system. Gigabyte provides an active cooling system on the extra three power connectors for maximum power efficiency. This has been added to support the upcoming 3.x GHz Pentium 4 CPUs.


Dual BIOS Technology



Like all of Gigabytes high-end motherboards, the SINXP1394 motherboard incorporates Dual BIOS technology. While most of us know what Dual BIOS is, for those who are first timers to this technology let me go into a bit of detail on this subject.


Dual BIOS works on the principle of two BIOS chips, one being the master BIOS, which can be read and written allowing for flash updates like a standard BIOS system. The second BIOS is a read only chip with a backup copy of the original shipping BIOS. Should your main BIOS either be incorrectly flashed, or infected by a virus, you can erase the main BIOS and re-flash it with the BIOS image on the backup chip. This gives servers and end users total security of the BIOS.




Overclocking options on this board are available for hardcore users, but due to the earliness of the samples, the BIOS we received did have a few limitations. Under the Frequency/Voltage Control menu are the options for your overclocking.


Your FSB can be changed from 100MHz up to 250MHz in 1MHz increments. Your VCore settings can be altered from 1.1v up to 1.775v for Northwood and from 1.3v up to 1.85v for Willamette. We did find the limit of 1.775v for Northwood constricting in overclocking. The only way to get 1.85v is to mod the CPU or to hope for a BIOS that supports 1.85v.


AGP Frequency can be set manually to the FSB. 60MHz up to 100MHz is supported. Changing the AGP frequency also alters the PCI frequency, so both are changed when the AGP is changed. You can lock them to 66/33 to keep the buses within specs.


DDR Frequency can be set from 100MHz up to 400MHz. You have eight divider options for best results. Depending of what FSB you run are the options for the dividers. The Dividers are shown in xxxMhz rather than a standard 4/5 etc like other SiS boards.


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