HARDWARE and SOFTWARE REVIEWS

First look - SiS730 chipset Mobo for the Socket A by PcChips M810LMR

Reviewed by Prof. Lau See Foo

Section 1 - Introduction

As our inaugural mobo review, we chose to review the underdog. Everyone has reviewed the ASUS, ABIT,  MSI & etc of the mobo world, but who is looking out for the up and coming . . . the  underdog?


The model number is very misleading. This mobo has nothing in common with the Intel 810 chipset. Wouldn't it be funny if Intel made chipsets for the AMD CPU?


This is a very highly integrated mobo, with everything on board. The advantage of a highly integrated mobo is obvious; lower power consumption, smaller case footprint, and the best of all is the lower system cost. With street prices estimated to be around US$100 (CDN$150), this ATX mobo should be quite successful.


SiS is late to the AMD arena but took a revolutionary approach to this chipset. Notice that there is only one chip, with no secondary Southbridge chip. Sis refers to it as the Super-Southbridge. Everything is included into the one chip. This makes for a uncluttered mobo. For more information on SiS730 chipsets, see http://www.sis.com.tw/products/slota/730sfea.htm


What is integrated into the mobo?

· ACPI compliant ATX platform, with OS support for Win9x / ME / Win2K and others

· Support for AMD T-bird (c type 133/266Mhz FSB), and T-bird b type / Duron (100/200Mhz FSB)

· 2 DIMM slots for PC100 / PC133 SDRAM (2 x 512Mb = 1Gb)

· AGP 2.0 Video, 3D 128bit, with maximum resolution of 1900 x 1200 with 16Million Colours. A maximum of 64Mb Page Frame (another way of saying shared memory). Support for DVD acceleration

· Bus Mastering IDE for 2 channels of ATA33/66/100

· PCI 32bit - 2 slots

· 1 AMR slot for AMR Modem (included)

· Audio by Directsound AC97 Codec, Full Duplex 18bit ADC / DAC

· Game / Midi Port

· Ethernet LAN supporting 10baseT / 100 baseTX, supporting WOL

· 2 x USB, on board with optional 2 more with a external USB module connected to the mobo

· 1 x Parallel Port and 1 x Serial COM port (Note: 2nd COM port connector is given up for the on board Video Connector)

· Hardware monitoring (very important as AMD CPUs run hot and CPU meltdown may happen if there is a malfunction with the heatsink or fan)

· Potential support for external AGP (AGP connector was not soldered in). In my opinion, PCchips should leave it in for the extreme gamer market. I am willing to pay the extra one dollar for that connector. (update--newer revisions includes AGP connector and support for various nVidia and Matrox chipsets. There is a list of recommended Video Card manufacturers and models)

What comes with the mobo?

· AMR Modem from PCTel included, supporting WOR

· Telco line cord

· Standard IDE and ATA66/100 Cable, FDD Cable

· Lots of bundled software, including Pc-Cillin Antivirus, SuperVoice, Corel Word Perfect and many others.

· ATX outlet plate is included, due to the slightly different LAN over the USB connector configuration


Section 2 - The build / test process

In keeping with the Budget Performance theme, I put this system together, using other budget performance products. This included the ThermalTake SuperOrb  Heatsink. To see more information on the ThermalTake SuperOrb, check out http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=542



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