SiS540 Review
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Introduction
SiS' highly integrated single chip core logic, SiS540, offers an exceptional price/performance solution for the super7 system in both desktop and mobile platforms. Integrating within the core logic itself a variety of popular and necessary PCI devices; including a performance hardware 128-bit 2D/3D GUI engine, H/W DVD solution, AC'97 H/W Audio, AC'97 S/W Modem, Fast Ethernet functionality for SOHO networking and a USB controller with four ports, the SiS540 provides a system-on-a-chip. In addition the SiS540 appears functionally adaptable to a variety cost effective mainboard platform types.
The sample sent to me for testing was an over-sized mock-up mainboard designed more to show the functionality of this amazing new system on a chip and definitely not built for speed. You'll no doubt wonder at the appearance of what looks to be an AGP slot on the board. It isn't what it appears to be but rather doubles as a means to set the amount of local memory for the onboard VGA adopting "Share System Memory" Architecture which can flexibly utilize the frame buffer size up to 64MB, or can be used with a plug-in video bridge card (DFP) to support the NTSC/PAL Video Output, Digital LCD Monitor and Secondary CRT Monitor. SiS' Ultra-AGP technology allows the 128-bit GUI engine to use either local frame buffer memory plus shared system memory or shared system memory alone for graphics memory bandwidth up tp 2GB/sec. I was sent an 8MB frame buffer plug-in for testing as well as a digital flat panel/TV-out/dual monitor interface card. The 8MB local frame buffer combines with an equal amount of shared system memory for a total 16MB of video memory and SiS540's Ultra-AGP technology supports AGP 1X, 2X and 4X data transfers with full sideband addressing. Bear in mind that the drivers for this chip are still somewhat immature.

This new chip literally integrates all peripheral controllers /accelerators /interfaces. For instance, SiS540 provides a total communication solution including 10/100Mb Fast Ethernet for Office requirement and 1Mb HomePNA for Home Networking, offers an AC'97 compliant digital audio engine with 3D-hardware accelerator, on-chip sample rate converter, and wavetable along with a separate modem DMA controller. The memory interface supports both PC100 as well as PC133 SDRAM and can even support Virtual Channel memory -if you happen to find some. SiS540 also provides a host interface for Low Pin Count (LPC) operating at 33 MHz clock which is the same as PCI clock on the host, and dual USB host controller with four USB ports that deliver additional connectivity at a 2 x 12Mb bandwidth. SiS540's built-in fast PCI IDE controller provides separate data paths for two IDE channels and supports the ATA PIO/DMA, and the Ultra DMA33/66 function that supports data transfer rates up to 66 MB/s. In addition, SiS540 also provides the functions for Suspend to DRAM, ACPI, RTC and PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse interface.

SiS540 Features - A Quick Overview

 

Setup and Performance

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