has been no shortage of motherboard variants on the market,
that support DDR SDRAM for the Pentium 4 architecture.
Now that Intel has "the gloves off" as well, with their DDR
version of the i845, it is open season for DDR SDRAM
standards to ramp in speed and available chipset offerings
from the likes of SiS, VIA and of course Intel themselves.
With rumblings of the DDR400 spec being nailed down by the
JEDEC committees and even word of a Dual Channel DDR SDRAM
chipset on Intel's roadmap, we thought it was high time to
pull the trigger on our last SiS645, DDR333 based
motherboard overview, this time from our old familiar
Integrated Systems, known as SiS in the chipset market,
was the first chipset supplier to bring to market a product
that had full support for the then upcoming DDR333 standard,
now known as "PC2700". There was one small fly in the
ointment however (well OK, maybe a large fly), lack of
DDR333 compliant DRAM in the market place, at the chip level
from the likes of
and other major semiconductor suppliers. So, the good
folks at SiS were sort of like "a man without a country".
That is to say, they had the platform nailed down, they just
didn't have official support for it. Actually, we
should applaud companies like SiS for helping to "drive"
DDR333 into the mainstream. There will soon be others
to follow like
P4X333 chipset. However, a major hurdle has now
been cleared, that being available PC2700/DDR333 memory,
like that which is now readily available from
Technologies, Micron's sister memory module company.
HotHardware re-take of the SiS645 chipset, we're pairing two
products together that were designed for each other,
in an effort to show you the proper system architecture that
was originally intended when SiS released the 645 chipset.
Abit's SD7-533 along with Crucial's new DDR PC7200 DRAM,
will give us a look into what the platform is capable of,
under the proper configuration with compliant components.
Let's dig right in.
SD7-533 - SiS645 Based Pentium 4 Motherboard
A little "plain
vanilla" for an Abit board
The first thing
that came to mind, when we first unwrapped the SD7-533, was
"yawn". Frankly, we've been a little spoiled as of
late with boards like the
Soyo P4S Dragon Ultra. Furthermore, Abit has no
one to blame but themselves for being one of the OEMs
starting the trend toward higher levels of integration in
the motherboard market, with lots of bells and whistles for
the power user. Sizing up this board, we were left a
little flat, with no on board Highpoint RAID or other "Abit
Engineering" features as we have seen in the past, on the
TH7II-RAID, for example. However, more of a "glass
is half full" mentality in this regard, will point you to
the fact that the SD7-533 retails on line for well under
$100. Compared to the aforementioned Soyo board, that
is at least a $50 discount that will stay in your pocket, if
you don't need the RAID and on board Ethernet functions of
the P4S Dragon Ultra.
Beyond that, you
get support for up to 2GB of PC2700 DDR memory and 3GB of
PC2100 and PC1600 DDR. Additionally, the on board
audio technology that Abit chose to run with on the SD7-533,
is the full featured C-Media 8738 chip. This chip
supports HRTF 3D Positional Audio effects, 6 channels of
analog output for Dolby 5.1 support, as well as EAX and
Direct Sound standards. Finally, there is the Winbond
83697 Health Monitoring chip on this board, that will give
you indications of fan speed, voltages, and system and CPU
Let's take a
gander at Crucial's PC2700 DDR DRAM.
A quick look at Crucial's DDR PC2700
sticks and system setup