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SIS chipset? What are your experiences?

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First post, by PhilsComputerLab

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I only have a few SIS boards, but they all work great and are stable and also quite fast.

I don't hear / see / read much of retro builds with SIS chipset. It's mostly Intel, VIA, ALI, Nvidia...

Why is that? Are there simply less SIS products out there, or do people avoid them?

Has anyone noticed any issues like AGP issues or poor performance of various components?

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Reply 1 of 80, by BSA Starfire

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I built a SiS chipset socket 478 system for a friend a few months back, used a P4 2.53 GHz CPU, he wanted a fast 9x system, I used the on-board graphics and sound(sis 305), it worked a treat with Windows ME, all the drivers were available from the ASUS website. It also had the advantage of having a 3.3 volt AGP port, so later he can add a 3DFX Voodoo3 card if needed. It runs all the usual suspects like quake, quake2, 3, Unreal, UT, sub culture etc perfect on the on board GPU tho.

For myself, I run two SiS motherboards:
First is a ECS P5SD-AS VER 1.0a, that has a 5591/5595. It has 1MB cache and currently is the fastest result for Cyrix MII/IBM 6x86 in your VGA Database(entry 401), the on-board SiS 6326 has it's own RAM on the board and is connected via the AGP socket. I've always found the 6326 a chip that punches well above it weight. It also performs very nicely with PCI video cards, I am currently using a PCI Matrox Mystique 220 to complement the creative DXR2 DVD decoder card.

Secondly I have a ACER V75M, this one has a SiS 530 chipset, this board is from a IBM Aptiva system, it has a AMD K6-450MHz(currently entry 414 in your database), it's crazy fast for DOOM(as referenced here:"Super 7" SiS 530 chipset.), but most other things are happier on a external video card rather than the this time memory sharing 6326. My board has 512K cache.
I have just had come in today a PCCHIPS M590 that also uses SiS chipset, it came with a K6-III 400 MHz installed but according to all the internet info the board only runs a 90MHz FSB and thats debatable, so I will see how well it copes, I expect to put a Cyrix MII 333 in place instead at either 75MHz or 83 MHz FSB.

Best,
Chris

Last edited by BSA Starfire on 2016-03-19, 15:37. Edited 1 time in total.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 2 of 80, by BSA Starfire

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I also had perfectly good results with an Elitegroup(ECS) SiS 315E 64MB AGP card, it worked at least as well as a nVidia Geforce 2MX card in a fast Athlon machine, with VIA KT400Serious Sam 1 & 2 were fine. , but I had issues with P4 boards on intel 845 and later, they didn't post at all. There seemed to be an issue with voltage detection.
Back in the day I did have a XABRE card too, that was great for the time, but not found another to test recently. They seem to have all gone to the digital heaven.

best,
Chris

Last edited by BSA Starfire on 2016-03-19, 18:17. Edited 1 time in total.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 1MB, Conner CFA-170A.SB 1350B
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A, MS WSS audio
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66, 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA,Win 95,SB 16
Cyrix MII 333,128MB,SiS 6326 H0 rev,ESS 1869,Win ME

Reply 4 of 80, by Putas

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After Socket 7 era SiS chipsets were used rather rarely in retail products. I never fully understood why, because their offers always seemed like great value. Some said they were not providing motherboard manufacturers with support they expected. Boards were typically low cost, with bare-bones setup, thrown upon by some enthusiasts. Methods used to start own semiconductor manufacturing were questionable, and might have alienated certain companies in the business. They did not have a good brand and mistakes of Intel and VIA did not change that. And bad brands cannot sell high end products, because the fetish plays big role there. So the cream like 655TX is kinda hard to find. Compatibility with early AGP cards is not the best, but later ones I tried were fine even with feared fast writes. SiS chipsets rarely pioneered some fancy features, which perhaps helped the stability. When Intel was consolidating its platform, part of endorsement of SiS as second option was to lay back the performance- stay one step behind with bus frequencies and so on.

Reply 5 of 80, by Kisai

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PhilsComputerLab wrote:
I only have a few SIS boards, but they all work great and are stable and also quite fast. […]
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I only have a few SIS boards, but they all work great and are stable and also quite fast.

I don't hear / see / read much of retro builds with SIS chipset. It's mostly Intel, VIA, ALI, Nvidia...

Why is that? Are there simply less SIS products out there, or do people avoid them?

Has anyone noticed any issues like AGP issues or poor performance of various components?

Back in the day (of 486, Pentium and Pentium II's) most motherboard chipsets were rather equal until they started integrating parts on the motherboard.

SiS chipsets tended to be the "better" chipset, with VIA being the worst. nVidia bought ALi's chipsets, VIA bought S3.

In the socket 7 days, you wanted the Intel Aries chipset for 486's, Intel Triton II(430HX) for Pentium's or the 430TX (if you have SDRAM), and Intel 440BX on Pentium II/III (because it can take both 66Mhz and 100Mhz FSB chips and both EDO and SDRAM.)

If you were building a Cyrix 6x86/K6/K6-2/K6-III system, you wanted a board with a BIOS that supports it, If you can find one, seek out an Asus P5S-B (SiS chipset), also has both AT and ATX power, so you can use a current generation power supply if needed.

But otherwise I'd say beware the bad caps. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

Reply 6 of 80, by Skyscraper

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Kisai wrote:
Back in the day (of 486, Pentium and Pentium II's) most motherboard chipsets were rather equal until they started integrating pa […]
Show full quote
PhilsComputerLab wrote:
I only have a few SIS boards, but they all work great and are stable and also quite fast. […]
Show full quote

I only have a few SIS boards, but they all work great and are stable and also quite fast.

I don't hear / see / read much of retro builds with SIS chipset. It's mostly Intel, VIA, ALI, Nvidia...

Why is that? Are there simply less SIS products out there, or do people avoid them?

Has anyone noticed any issues like AGP issues or poor performance of various components?

Back in the day (of 486, Pentium and Pentium II's) most motherboard chipsets were rather equal until they started integrating parts on the motherboard.

SiS chipsets tended to be the "better" chipset, with VIA being the worst. nVidia bought ALi's chipsets, VIA bought S3.

In the socket 7 days, you wanted the Intel Aries chipset for 486's, Intel Triton II(430HX) for Pentium's or the 430TX (if you have SDRAM), and Intel 440BX on Pentium II/III (because it can take both 66Mhz and 100Mhz FSB chips and both EDO and SDRAM.)

If you were building a Cyrix 6x86/K6/K6-2/K6-III system, you wanted a board with a BIOS that supports it, If you can find one, seek out an Asus P5S-B (SiS chipset), also has both AT and ATX power, so you can use a current generation power supply if needed.

But otherwise I'd say beware the bad caps. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

I think you will find that there isnt much love for Intels 486 chipsets here on Vogons, SiS and UMC seems to be what most poeple find best. Otherwise I agree on most parts, there is a non Intel Socket-7 chipset that is the equal of Intel TX though but Im keeping the details to myself for now until I have found a more perfect motherboard to complete my testing because I dont want to compete for it on Ebay. 😁

New PC: i9 12900K @5GHz all cores @1.2v. MSI PRO Z690-A. 32GB DDR4 3600 CL14. 3070Ti.
Old PC: Dual Xeon X5690@4.6GHz, EVGA SR-2, 48GB DDR3R@2000MHz, Intel X25-M. GTX 980ti.
Older PC: K6-3+ 400@600MHz, PC-Chips M577, 256MB SDRAM, AWE64, Voodoo Banshee.

Reply 7 of 80, by ODwilly

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I have had nothing but great experiences with the SIS 645 chipset used in early socket 478 motherboards. My Soyo P4S Dragon motherboard may have given me years of headaches but now that it is all sorted out and stable the overall performance is just fantastic and is rock solid. With a 2.8/512/533 P4, 3gb of DDR266 and a 64mb TI-500 it gets anywhere from 8,350 points in 3Dmark 2001SE to 13,000 depending on the bios settings (still trying to refind that magic configuration for perfect speed) EDIT: I just want to add that the years of headaches were results of a bad Antec powersupply killing the primary CPU caps. It ran for a decade rock steady with bad caps and a bad PSU 😊

Main pc: Asus ROG 17. R9 5900HX, RTX 3070m, 16gb ddr4 3200, 1tb NVME.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 9 of 80, by matze79

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i have good experience with the Asus SP97-V Mainboard.
It even supports 83Mhz Speed. (Unsupported Jumpersettings)
It has SiS Chipset, only EDO Ram Slots and has no Problems accepting SIMMs with 64Mbyte.
So you can easily equip it with 4x64Mb 72Pin Slots, but don't use doubleheigh modules. Only Highdensity ones with less Ram Chips are working stable.
The Performance is not as good as the MVP3 but it works rockstable.

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Reply 10 of 80, by stuvize

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I have several motherboards with SIS chipsets but have only used one in a serious build the MSI 645 Ultra2 with the SIS 645 chipset as the name implies. Really nice board with a few quirks was running my V5550 in it till the thing finally quit been reduced to using V3 2000 PCI. The integrated USB controller is not that great in the 645 Ultra stable fine for peripherals but super slow slower than the controller on a i440BX motherboard. The board had no problem with the Adaptec USB 2.0 controller I dropped in it co-exists with the integrated SIS USB controller without any conflict.

The board isn't the best for Win9x mainly because I could not find UDMA drivers for the ATA controller great under ME 2000 or even XP though, currently running Win ME with the board. The SIS 645 is really fast ODwilly scores are amazing with the same CPU and 1.5GB DDR266 RAM timed at 2.2.2.7 CR1 and 512MB 7950GT graphics card I would score just over 16,000 in 3DMark01se. Currently I have 2.0Ghz/400/512 P4 running in it at 3GHz 600Mhz FSB and 512MB of DDR384 timed at 2.2.2.7 CR1 the crazy thing is that the CPU is doing that speed at stock voltage it must be a faster core binned to a slower speed I have tried many different CPUs in this motherboard none of the others overclocked very good.

Overall the 645 Ultra is very nice but has a bad reputation because of the SIS chipset which I don't think it deserves, took me over a month to feel confident spending $23 for the board because so many reviews and comments say to avoid SIS chipsets like the plague.

Reply 11 of 80, by Arctic

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My first SiS chipset was the 730S. It should be fun for you to figure out what works and what not. (No Kyro 2, No 3dfx AGP, etc.)
I hate it 😁

photo-200-a9cb606d.jpg

My favorite SiS chipset is the 650 for the Socket 478. I had one running with a P4 2.8GHz.
If you go to control panel you can open the IDE status window. It's fun to see it "working" while using the HDD.

Reply 12 of 80, by PhilsComputerLab

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I've got an Asus P4S533-VM with SIS 651 and universal AGP. I really like it, great for benchmarking AGP cards under Windows 98 or XP.

Initially I had a P4 3.06 in it, it worked great, but someone let me know that the CPU has HT and isn't supported. So I'm using a 2.8 GHz P4 now 😀

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Reply 14 of 80, by PhilsComputerLab

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Yea SIS chipset stuff is on my radar now 😀

Finding documentation on some boards can be a bit tricky, sometimes there is no clear indicator about 3.3V compatibility.

Some boards have LEDs that light up when you insert a 3.3V card.

What is the worst thing that can happen? I have read it could destroy you motherboard, has anyone actually had this happen? I got to find a cheap AGP 3.3V card for testing maybe...

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Reply 15 of 80, by Imperious

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There is some good information here Phil http://www.playtool.com/pages/agpcompat/agp.html
This list doesn't go beyond X1950 for Ati unfortunately but does cover up to 7800GS for Nvidia.
According to that information compatibility is more to do with the Chipset than the motherboard
Brand and model, but of course there will always be some exceptions due to some companies
not following the rules strictly.

I did try my 7800GS AGP in my KT7-RAID motherboard, but all I got was a shrieking sound at turn on.
Put the 9800XT back in there and all good. Iwouldn't even dream of putting my HD3850 in there, besides
I would need to use a power supply with a decent 12v rail even if it were possible.

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Reply 16 of 80, by PhilsComputerLab

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Yea I studied that site quite a bit, a wealth of information.

I did come across boards with compatible chipset, universal AGP slot, but the manual specifically mentions 1.5V card support only.

E.g. Shuttle MV43 with compatible VIA chipset and universal AGP slot states in the specifications:

Expansion Slots:
1 x AGP (v2.0) slot supports 4X mode
Important Note: AGP-slot supports only 1,5V-mode

Others do mention that they support both, some don't mention anything.

I guess I will find out soon, got a few boards incoming 😁

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Reply 17 of 80, by Imperious

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You are really only limiting Yourself as far as very early AGP cards are concerned. There are Riva 128's on there with a 1.5v slot. You can forget using cards like s3 trio's and
Savage 4 I think though, not sure why You would want to pair them up with a P4 if You did. Also looks like TNT 1 is also 3.3v only.

It does look like those Shuttle boards should have used a Universal 1.5v only socket though.

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Reply 18 of 80, by swaaye

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I had an interesting Sempron (754) notebook at work with the SiS 760GX chipset. That has the D3D8 Mirage 2 graphics. It was fine except the IGP was terrible. It's too slow for any kind of D3D7-8 gaming. It even has problems rendering the XP GUI in that there is flashing/tearing that occurs sometimes when scrolling for example. The Linux SIS driver author attributed this to a memory bandwidth issue of some sort with the IGP->CPU->RAM interface.

Otherwise it seems SIS was fine but I think they tended to underperform a bit in RAM and other IO performance. Their moment of fame was perhaps SiS 735 which had a brief time of being a top performer and got people excited with its single chip design and supposed advantages of that. The glitchy but cheap ECS K7S5A mobo.

Reply 19 of 80, by Kamerat

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My Asus A7S333 have some issues: With 1,5GB of RAM it works fine, but with 2GB it's super slow (any cacheable limit on the 745?). Disabeling the COM-ports makes Windows XP not to boot.

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