ECS Elitegroup K7S5A in the test: The inexpensive SiS735 is good for it

ECS Elitegroup K7S5A in the test: The inexpensive SiS735 is good for it


After a whole series of mainboard tests, the only thing missing was actually a chipset to complete the overview of the current DDR RAM Socket A chipsets - The SiS 735. Things had become extremely quiet around the SiS company in recent years, successes from the old x486 times had long since faded, but the SiS735 could if you believe your reputation you will achieve the decisive breakthrough. In Germany only one board with this chip is currently available, the Elitegroup K7S5A and the numerous and highly frequented threads in our forum show how great the interest, but also the differences of opinion, are with this board. After all, the SiS735 has an excellent reputation. Even VIA showed and shows a lot of respect and it is not without reason that it has given its own KT266 revision 'A' up to date. Even rumors that VIA would sell the much more expensive KT266 for the price of the SiS735 in order not to lose too much market share are making the rounds. Whether the SiS735 in cooperationcan really convince with the design from Elitegroup despite a hardly beatable price, we want to clarify in this review. Our thanks go to the company Elitegroup, who made the K7S5A available for testing at short notice.

The chipset: SiS735

The chipset: SiS735 Analogous to the last reviews, the specification of the north and south bridge should actually follow at this point, but the SiS chip throws us a long way off at first glance. As the only chip for AMD's Socket A, all functions have been integrated into just one component. Not only a technical masterpiece, but also the price could be positively influenced by the falling material costs and the omitted conductor tracks should at least theoretically ensure better performance. However, the north and south bridges are still present internally, so that we can compare the differences again in two tables. A look at the list of features makes it clear, however, that SiS has basically combined the most common functions in the 735.

The Northbridge in comparison
Comparison point SiS735 AMD760 KT266 MAGiK 1 Chip designation - AMD761 VT8366 M1651 Supported CPUs (AMD) Duron/Athlon Duron/Athlon Duron/Athlon Duron/Athlon Socket Socket A Socket A Socket A Socket A CPU Front Side Bus 200/266 MHz 200/266 MHz 200/266MHz 200/266MHz Memory type DDR yes yes yes yes SDR yes - yes yes VC-SDRAM - - yes - RAM clock SDR 100/133MHz yes/yes - yes/yes yes/yes DDR 200/266MHz yes/yes yes/yes yes/yes yes/yes asynchronous Operation Yes No Yes Yes Maximum memory expansion1.5 GB 4 GB 4 GB 3 GB DIMM slots 3 (6 banks) 4 (8 banks) 4 (8 banks) 3 (6 banks) AGP 2x/4x Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Multi -Thread I/O Link Yes (1GB/s) - V-Link (266MB/s) -

As already indicated, the chip does not reveal any major surprises. Like KT266 and MAGiK 1, it supports DDR as well as SDRAM and can address memory and CPU with asynchronous clock rates. A small advantage for owners of a B-Athlon with 100Mhz FSB, as they can still address the memory with 133Mhz. Like all current chips, the 'buffered Ram' popular in the server sector is also supported, but only separately and not in mixed operation. With a maximum of 3 ram slots and 6 banks, the support is a little less than with VIAs KT266, but a higher number of slots is really not soldered on any board. The K7S5A only offers two of these. In the end, one feature catches the eye. SiS calls it the 'Multi-Thread I/O Link' in a nutshell. VIA had already tried with its so-called V-Link as part of the KT266 to bypass the bottleneck PCI bus, via which north and south bridges can communicate with only 133MB/s. The V-Link enabled a connection of 266MB/s, which was used exclusively for communication between the two chipset components. SiS goes one step further and enables a data throughput of gigantic 1GB via 'Multi-Thread I/O Link'.

On the next page: The Southbridge