SiS540 Preview Pt. I
Intel i810 Chipset
Intel's i810E Chipset
Since I feel that it is necessary to pass on some of what I
have learned over the past month this review will be posted in three parts. Part One
is simply an introduction and overview of the actual chipset. Part Two will be
posted later this week and will be an in-depth look at the SiS 530's functionality and
performance as far as its super7 platform compliance and Part Three, posted soon after,
will demonstrate the SiS 530's incorporated 3D graphics controller performance.
Now For Something Completely Different
implementation of the Super7 initiative began users have been limited in the choices
available in chipsets to ALI's Aladdin V or VIA's MVP3 to attain stable performance at the
100MHz front side bus frequency. So, here at "The Super 7 Hardware Guide" we
were quite excited at the prospect of the release of a new chipset which could provide
support for the super7 platform, and even more excited when SiS announced that the new SiS
530/5595 chipset would incorporate a hardware 2D/3D graphics controller. We were even more
excited when the folks at SiS offered us a reference demo board that integrated the
chipset for review. Although in a somewhat primitive state and with somewhat primitive
drivers the board arrived with volumes of technical documentation (a good deal more
technical than my limited understanding could wrap my brain cells around.)
Consequently, I have had to learn a good deal more about chipsets and controllers than I
would have thought possible just a few months ago.
the SiS 530/5595 Chipset
The Super7 AGP/VGA chipset, SiS530/5595, is designed to
provide a high performance/cost effective solution for all current socket 7 CPUs.
The SiS530 - Host, PCI, 3D A.G.P. Video/Graphics & Memory Controller, integrates the
Host-to-PCI bridge, the PCI interface, the L2 cache controller, the DRAM controller, the
high performance hardware 2D/3D VGA controller, and the PCI IDE controller.
The 530's Host interface supports external CPU frequencies up to 133MHz as well as
Synchronous/Asynchronous DRAM clocking which can improve the system performance and allows
for DRAM compatibility issues. The L2 cache controller can support up to 2 MB of pipelined
burst SRAM, and the incorporated DRAM controller can support up to 1.5G of system memory
using up to three double-sided SDRAM DIMMs, and cacheable DRAM support for up to 256
The built-in fast PCI IDE controller supports ATA PIO/DMA, and the Ultra DMA33/66 function
that supports data transfer rates up to 66 MB/s. Which means that it will be compliant
with the newest and as yet unreleased hard disk drives which incorporate the new Ultra
ATA/66 interface. It provides two separate data paths for the IDE channels which improves
performance in multi-tasking environments.
The Advanced Graphics Port interface is internal so there is no need for an AGP slot, and
provides support for the 530's integrated hardware 3D VGA controller. The integrated VGA
controller displays outstanding 2D performance as well as excellent hardware support for
3D graphics applications. The integrated 3D Video/Graphics controller adopts the 64bit
100MHz host bus interface technology which helps to improve graphics performance. The
internal AGP interface results in a shared system memory architecture that can be flexibly
used with up to 8MB of SDRAM/SGRAM onboard frame buffer memory. This means that
incorporation of the SiS 530 chipset on the system board results in a truly cost
effective, high performance multimedia system.
System boards using the SiS 530 chipset provide the standard interface for CRT monitors,
but can also provide the Digital Flat Panel Port (DFP) for a standard interface between
the PC and digital flat panel monitors. This port allows a host computer to connect
directly to an external flat panel monitor without the need for analog-to-digital
conversion found in most flat panel monitors today. The SiS 530's integrated 3D VGA
controller also supports DVD hardware accelerator to improve DVD playback performance.
The SiS5595 PCI system I/O integrates the PCI-to-ISA bridge with DDMA, PC/PCI DMA and
Serial IRQ capabilities, the ACPI/Legacy PMU, the Data Acquisition Interface, the
Universal Serial Bus host/hub interface, and the ISA bus interface which contains the ISA
bus controller, the DMA controllers, the interrupt controllers, the Timers and Real Time
Clock (RTC). It also incorporates the Keyboard Controller and PS/2 mouse interface and
supports keyboard power on function for users that want to power on system by entering hot
key or password commands from the keyboard.
The built-in USB controller, which is fully compliant to OHCI standards (Open Host
Controller Interface), provides two USB ports capable of running full/low speed USB
The Data Acquisition Interface offers hardware monitoring and reporting of the
environmental condition of the PC. It can monitor up to 5 positive analog voltage inputs,
2 Fan speed inputs, and one temperature input. In addition, the SiS5595 also supports ACPI
function to meet Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) 1.0 specification for
the Windows 98 environment, it supports power-management timer, Power button, Real-time
clock alarm wake up, sleeping state, ACPI LED for sleeping and working state, LAN wake up,
Modem Ring wake up, and OnNow initiative function.