SiS 648 Chipset Debuts

The SiS 648 Chipset Debuts - Page 2

The SiS 648 Chipset Debuts
A Comprehensive Look at a Pre-Production Shuttle AS45GT/R

By, Marco Chiappetta
August 12, 2002



The Shuttle AS45GT/R is equipped with a very complete version of Phoenix / Award's v.6.0 BIOS.  This board has a slew of integrated features, and all of them can be enabled or disabled from within the BIOS.  The BIOS seemed to be missing a few memory performance tweaking options.  With the revision we looked at, users are only able to manually adjust CAS latency, Command Rate and have a "System Performance" option that can be set to Normal, Turbo or Ultra levels.

The BIOS did have an abundance of overclocking options though.  From within the "Frequency / Voltage Control" section, users can adjust the Front Side Bus (FSB) frequency between 100MHz and 200MHz, in 1MHz increments.  The processor's core voltage can be set up to a whopping 2.4v in .025v increments.  The I/O voltage can be raised in .1v increments and the DDR voltage can be set to anything between 2.55v and 2.75v, in .05v increments.  There are also a few FSB:Memory ratios available (2:3, 3:5 and 4:5) which allow users to run their memory asynchronously with their processor.  The AS45GT/R has official support for DDR200 (100MHz.), DDR266 (133MHz) and DDR333 (166MHz) memory speeds, and unofficial support for DDR 400 (200MHz) memory..

Layout and Build Quality
Top Notch Board



As we began inspecting the Shuttle AS45GT/R, we uncovered quite a few interesting features, but first we'll take a look at some of the more familiar items.  The external connectors on the AS45GT/R's back panel look like any other board that includes integrated Ethernet and Audio.  Something we found interesting was that although the SiS963 Southbridge has Ethernet and Audio capabilities built-in, Shuttle chose to use components from Realtek for LAN and Audio duties.  The 10/100 Ethernet port located just above the USB ports is controlled by a Realtek 8801, while the Audio is handled by an ALC650.  The AS45GT/R is equipped with 5 PCI slots, and 1 AGP slot, which should be more than adequate for most users, especially considering all of the integrated features that are already included.


The board supports a maximum of 3GB of RAM courtesy of three DIMM slots, which thankfully are located far enough away from the AGP slot to allow insertion or extraction of DIMMs, without having to remove the video card (It is a REALLY tight fit though!).  The standard ATA/133 capable and floppy connectors are located just behind the DIMM slots, mounted parallel to the edge of the board.  At the lower, right corner, you can see the additional two ATA/133 RAID connectors powered by the HPT/372 controller.  Pay close attention to this photo though.  Mounted right next to the IDE RAID connecters you can see the Serial ATA jacks.  Serial ATA will more than likely be replacing EIDE in the not so distant future.  Serial ATA has a peak transfer rate of 150MBs, uses much smaller cables and should have better data integrity.  We won't really know how well Serial ATA performs until we get our hands on some drives though.  Visible at the top of that same picture is another feature worth pointing out.  The AS45GT/R has two small, momentary switches for turning on the power and resetting the system.  These switches make testing out the board much easier, without having to go through the hassle of connecting the case wiring prior to powering up the system.  There is ample room around the Socket 478 to fit virtually all coolers currently available.  You can also see one of the three 3-Pin fan headers available.


The ATX, 12V and accessory power connectors are located in an excellent position, in a cluster at the corner of the board.  We especially liked finding all of these connectors located so closely together, it makes neatly wiring a case much easier.  Their location was also very good, out of the way of the Socket 478 and other components.  Something else we found interesting was that Shuttle passively cools the Northbridge AND Southbridge.  Normally only the Northbridge has some type of heatsink mounted to it, but Shuttle chose to "cool" the Southbridge as well.  Throughout testing, neither heatsink got especially warm to the touch, so heat shouldn't be an issue at all with the SiS648 chipset.

Overclocking & Some Numbers


Tags:  Chipset, Chip, chips, SIS, IPS, IP, BU

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