Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) recently confirmed that its SiS756 northbridge has already moved into mass production and motherboards using the chip will be available in the first quarter.
The company officially announced this northbridge chip in the middle of March and it recently passed PCI-SIG PCI Express (PCIe) compatibility certification.
The SiS756 supports the Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Athlon64, Athlon64 FX, Opteron and Sempron processors and offers a PCIe x16 interface for discrete graphics. In combination with the SiS965 southbridge, the solution comes with an integrated SATA 1.0 controller (with RAID functions), Ultra ATA/133 controller (2 channels), PCIe x1 bridge (250MB/s bandwidth in each direction), USB 2.0/1.1 host controller (up to 8 ports), Gigabit Ethernet MAC controller, AC'97 audio interface and V.90 modem support.
The SiS 756 is promised to be pin-to-pin compatible with the forthcoming SiS761. This chip includes integrated graphics and is scheduled for mass production in the first half of next year.
The SiS756 and SiS965 are linked through the proprietary SiS MuTIOL interface, with bandwidth of 1 GB/s. According to Nelson Lee, director of product marketing division in SiS's technical marketing department, the company has no plans to phase out this interface in favor of other non-proprietary bus technologies (like HyperTransport and PCIe). In fact, the company is already developing the next generation of MuTIOL and hopes to bring the technology up to a bandwidth of 2 GB/s next year, said Lee.
At the time of the announcement in March, SiS expected mass production of the SiS756 chip would begin in June and some sources expected SiS756-based motherboards would hit the market soon after that.
Some motherboard vendors have already confirmed that they are developing models based on the SiS756. But none of them were able to say when these products would begin shipping. Asustek is now readying one board, the P5SD1, targeting the retail channel. In the future, according to the company, there is also a chance for ?deluxe?and ?cost-down? versions to appear, but it will depend on market reaction.
Representatives at Micro-Star International (MSI) said they're working closely with SiS on the SiS756 and developing a motherboard project with the chipset. The company targets their SiS-based products at the channel market, but it doesn't expect the SiS756-based solution to come out very soon.
In the case of Asustek, the differentiation between SiS756-based boards and other products for the AMD K8 platform will be both pricing and features, the company said. MSI sees the SiS and VIA chipsets for the AMD platform mostly competing in the value and mainstream market segments, while Nvidia has taken a leading role in the perfomance segment. ATI, as a newcomer, has a lot of catching up to do.
Neither Asustek or MSI provided any expectations about pricing for their SiS756-based motherboards. ECS is also confirmed as one of the supporters of the SiS chipset, but without details at the moment.
Gigabyte Technology pointed out that the company currently has no plans to design any products with the SiS756.