iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






DFI 648FX-ALE (SiS648FX) Mainboard

The chipsets from SiS are usually used for budget-level boards, and this model is no exception. Its scarce functionality, minimal accessory pack and no overclocking support are made up for by its low price.

The layout is not ideal, but its size is smaller than standard. The audio-ins are right in front of the PCI, and the memory modules have too many connectors around. It's not a problem to reach the only jumper when the board is already installed. Its description is provided on the PCB. Voltage supplied to the memory slots is indicated with the red LED. The 3-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 11 capacitors of 1500 uF. There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (1x1000 uF and several less capacious ones) and of the memory (2x1000 uF). 

The FireWire PHY controller (Agere FW803) and its connectors (for 3 ports) are provided space for, but not installed. The FireWire is supported in another board version based on the same PCB - DFI 648FX-AL. This board uses the SiS963 south bridge with the MAC controller of this interface. The board measures 305x205 mm (narrow ATX, 7 fastening screws, the front edge can hang loose). System monitoring is supported by Winbond W83697HF chip (no monitoring in BIOS!). It controls:

  • processor, battery voltages, +3.3, +5, +12 V, and +5 V Standby 
  • rotation speed of 2 fans; 
  • temperatures of the processor (built-in sensor) and the board (built-in sensor). 

Ports & connectors onboard

  • CPU socket (Socket 478); 
  • 3 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM (the board maker guarantees the support for 3 DDR400 modules, though the chipset maker is more cautious - 3 DDR200/266/333, but 2 DDR400 modules); 
  • AGP slot (with a retention clip); 
  • 5 PCI slots (32bit, 33MHz); 
  • Standard power supply connectors (ATX, 4pin for 12V); 
  • FDD; 
  • 2 IDE (Parallel ATA) - on chipset; 
  • 2 Connectors for brackets of 2 USB 2.0 ports; 
  • Connector for a standard IR module;
  • Wake-On-LAN connector;
  • Connectors for a bracket with additional audio-outs and S/PDIF;
  • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive; 
  • 2 connectors for fans (both with rotation control).

Rear panel (left to right, units)

  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard;
  • 2 USB (2.0) and RJ-45 (Fast Ethernet);
  • 1 LPT, 2 COM;
  • Game port and 3 audio ports (Mic-In, Line-In, Front).

This back panel is standard, no special I/O shield is needed. 

Accessory pack

  • Package of the standard design;
  • Documentation: user manual in 5 languages;
  • Cables: 1 ATA66/100/133 and FDD;
  • CD with:
    • drivers;
    • user manual in PDF;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • Winbond Hardware Doctor (monitoring utility);
    • McAfee VirusScan Online (anti-virus packet);
    • DirectX 8.0, 8.1 and 9.0.

Integrated controllers

  • audio controller based on the C-Media CMI9739A AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, S/PDIF connector provided; 
  • network controller based on the chipset and Realtek RTL8201BL PHY controller, 10/100 Mbit/s  Base-T (Fast Ethernet) supported.


jumpers and switches Jumper to clear the CMOS  
BIOS based Phoenix AwardBIOS 6.00PG Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, RAS Precharge Time, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Active Time, ADDR/CMD Rate
Setup of memory frequency + By SPD, CPU:DRAM = 3:2, 6:5, 1:1
Setup of AGP bus -  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup -  
PCI IRQ manual assignment -  
FSB frequency setup + 100-232 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio + x8-x50
CPU voltage control -  
DIMM voltage control -  
NB voltage control -  
AGP voltage control -  

We used the BIOS of 03.09.2003 as the latest available version. 

Test results:


Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com)

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