Atomistic simulations show that organosilicates, used as low permittivity dielectric materials in advanced integrated circuits, can be made substantially stiffer than amorphous silica, while maintaining a lower mass density. The enhanced stiffness is achieved by incorporating organic cross-links to replace bridging oxygen atoms in the silica network. To elucidate the mechanism responsible for the enhanced stiffness, the conformational changes in the network upon hydrostatic and shear loading are examined. The structural and mechanical impact of terminal methyl groups is also assessed quantitatively and compared with continuous random network theory. © 2010 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.