SiS 655FX Chipset - HotHardware

SiS 655FX Chipset

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Intoducing the SiS655FX Chipset
An Overview of Functionality and Performance

By: Jeff Bouton
October 2, 2003

The SiS655FX Reference Motherboard
Not What You Would Expect

While we are not formerly evaluating the motherboard, that we used for testing, since it isn't a retail product, we thought we'd give you a glimpse of the reference model as well as some BIOS shots.  The motherboard is purely an engineering sample, with only two PCI slots and limited features.  In the end however, looks and layout are not the issue at hand, performance is.

When speaking about performance, the most important issue that we came across was the inability to run our memory at aggressive timings.  With this model, we went into the BIOS an found quick pick combinations of timing settings ranging from "Safe" to "Fast+++" to "Manual" which allows for user specific settings.  Unfortunately, we had some stability issues with the reference board, with timings set any higher than "Fast" (2.5,3,3,7,2).  The Kingston HyperX Memory we used, is rated at 2, 3, 3, 6 all the way up to 433MHz, so that couldn't have been the problem.  This is a major issue with the board we tested, but it may not be representative of commercially released motherboards bearing the SiS655FX. 

Let's get started...
 

HotHardware Test Systems
Intel All The Way


SIS 655FX Reference Motherboard

DFI Infinity Intel 865PE Motherboard

eVGA GeForce4 Ti4600 128MB

Pentium 4-B 2.4GHz

512MB Kingston HyperX PC3500 DDR-RAM

Western Digital 30GB ATA-100 7200RPM Hard Drive

Creative 52X C-DROM

Windows XP Pro SP-1

DirectX 9.0b

Detonator 45.23

SiS Reference Drivers

Intel Chipset Drivers

 

SiSoft Sandra MAX3!

To get things started, we loaded SiSoft Sandra MAX3! and ran several of the more popular modules, comparing the results to the reference Intel 865PE chipset.  First we ran the CPU, Multimedia, and Memory tests followed by Cache and File system tests. 

With the CPU tests, the SiS655FX was slightly more aggressive, maintaining a slim edge with both Dhrystone and Whetstone tests.  With the Multimedia Module however, the tests were a little more balanced with the 655FX taking a minor lead in Integer tests while the Intel 865PE maintained the lead in Floating Point tests.
 

CPU @ 2.4GHz.
SiS 655FX
Multimedia
SiS 655FX
Memory
SiS 655FX

 

CPU
Intel 865PE
Multimedia
Intel 865PE
Memory
Intel 865PE

 

 

Memory performance was a different picture altogether, most likely a result of the timing issues we mentioned earlier.  In the integer test the margins were quite close, however, floating tests were in favor of the Intel 865PE by close to 100 points.  When we step down to the cache performance test, both system's returned virtually identical results, with the curves being a carbon copy of the other.
 

Cache
SiS 655FX

 
Hard Drive
SiS 655FX
Cache
Intel 865PE

 
Hard Drive
Intel 865PE

 

One of the main claims to fame of the SiS655FX was enhanced hard drive performance thanks to Hyperstreaming.  At first glance this was not immediately evident when looking at the main score, however, when we look at the benchmark breakdown, the details become more clear.  In this test we used the same physical drive in each test machine and yet the differences were sizeable.  When you compare the Buffered Read results, the SiS655FX posted 947MB/s compared to 79MB/s with the i865PE.  The Random Read posted a 3MB advantage with the SiS655FX and the Buffered Write test were as lopsided and the Buffered Read test, with the SiS 655FX turning out 1272MB/s vs 76MB/s with the Intel system.  However, this indeed could have been an anomaly with the Sandra hard drive test, so we urge you not to over analyze these measurements.  The remainder of the benchmark breakdown bounced back and forth between the two on average of a couple of MB/s either way. 

 

While we find synthetic benchmarks to be a quick and dirty way to assess various hardware components, in the end it all comes down to performance in the real world.  Time and again we've seen hardware look amazing on paper and fall flat in the benchmarking arena.  With the SiS655FX showing much promise thus far, we found ourselves hoping that it wouldn't let us down.  Let's take a look.

 

 

Time For Futuremark's Finest

 

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