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Gigabyte 8SIML SIS650 Motherboard

Review Date: 14th June 2002
Reviewed By: Michael "Hughesey" Hughes
Product: Gigabyte 8SIML SIS650 Motherboard
Rating: 95%
Manufacturer: Gigabyte
Supplier: N/A

Features Up Close

Click to enlarge.

From the image above, we can see that this board is of Micro ATX (uATX) Form Factor. The main benefit of such a small motherboard is that it can fit into a smaller case, such as the AOPEN uATX series. Such small cases are Ideal for LAN boxes (easy portability) and for Home Entertainment PC's where a full tower just wouldnt suit.

The expansion slots on the board are in the form of 1 * AGP, 3 * PCI and 1 * CNR. This is the typical expansion layout for uATX boards as it allows both graphics and other expandability as well as the OEM favourite, the CNR slot. Also take note of the fact that the AGP slot DOES NOT support AGP Pro video cards. This shouldnt be a large problem within the OEM sector, and I dont know many gamers that have an AGP Pro card, but still, if you have an AGP pro card, then this motherboard isnt for you.

This board uses the SIS650 Northbridge, coupled with the SIS961 Southbridge. This combination allows for features such as onboard 10/100 Realtek LAN, onboard AC97 sound, and the SIS650 integrated graphics controller. It also officially supports DDR266 RAM, as well as the usual AGP4x and ATA100 IDE.

CPU Socket
As we can see above, the P4 socket is rather crowded by the capacitors along the left hand side. So crowded infact, that we could not fit the custom mounting bracket on that comes with the Below-0 Panther (which is wider than the stock mounting bracket) onto the board. This means that cooling wise, users of this board are limited to coolers that fit onto the stock mounting bracket (although this isnt a major problem since there are MANY coolers out there which fit).

Rear Ports
The read I/O headers on this board are plentyful. We can see the standard PS2 mouse and keyboard connectors on the left, followed by the onboard LAN connector and the USB ports. Next are the parallel/serial ports, closely followed by the onboard VGA port. Finally comes the onboard sound/game connectors. Looking at these connectors, what else could you possibly need in a simple OEM system?

Onboard Video
The interated graphics controller on this chipset may be a pain to some, but it is a lifesaver to others. The graphics adaptor is built into the SIS650 chipset and offers home/office users with all the graphics performance they need. As you will see in the benchmarks on the upcoming pages, the gaming performance of this onboard video adaptor isnt too shabby either, and could quite easily satisfy a MILD gamer. If of course onboard video is not your thing, theres always the AGP slot :).

Onboard LAN
The board comes with the Realtek RTL8100L 10/100 lan adaptor onboard. This onboard LAN adaptor provides virtually identical performance to the RTL8139A chipset found on most "cheap" network cards, with almost no CPU overhead. Unless you need the performance of an Intel/3COM adaptor, the onboard LAN should suit most users fine.

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