Our Take

There are several questions that really need answering in our first look at the new ULi M1695/M1567 chipset. First and foremost, how does it compare to the excellent performance of the NVIDIA nForce4 chipset? Our brief testing here confirms that the ULi competes very well against NVIDIA, and is a performance drop-in to the NVIDIA performance levels. This is very good news for those shopping for Athlon 64 Socket 939 boards. ULi is a solid choice and competition means better buys for you. It will likely still be a month to 6 weeks before you will see retail M1695/M1567 boards for sale, but make no mistake that the ULi is a very good choice, featuring excellent performance.

Second, there is the unique question of ULi AGP on this PCIe board. How does it perform? We are glad to say that ULi AGP is the first AGP on any PCIe board that doesn't require compromises. Those of you who want to take your high-end AGP card to a new PCIe board will be ecstatic over the performance of your AGP video card on the ULi board. It will work extremely well, as will a future PCIe card or a PCI card or any other combination of these three. This is absolutely unique, and it makes the compromise solutions, which derive AGP from PCI with degraded performance, totally obsolete. You do not need to compromise AGP performance just to get a PCIe board with this ULi M1695/M1567 chipset.

Next, there is the question of where ULi may be positioned in the marketplace. This is a tough call because we have seen excellent chipsets, like those from SiS, that have been relegated to the bargain bin because no manufacturer will support them. ULi has a bit more promise that we might otherwise see with their new chipsets. First, there is the fact that ATI selected ULi as a development partner for their South Bridge chips on the new Crossfire platform. That alone carries tremendous weight in getting manufacturers to take the new ULi chipsets seriously.

There is also the fact that ULi has some very unique and flexible solutions among their new offerings. The ability to do x16 or 2 x8 with a BIOS switch and riser card will appeal to many. In fact, x16/2 x8, AGP and PCI could all be theoretically combined on the same board. With a soon-to-be-available South Bridge, ULi is also saying that they will support Dual x16 lanes for a Workstation/Server type solution at a mainstream price. That will certainly appeal to many looking at the video high end. There is also the ability to interface with AMD's PCI-X workstation chips in an even more amazing array of options. This flexibility should make ULi attractive to many manufacturers and to a wide range of buyers.

The new ULi M1695/M1567 chipset is both unique in its full-blown AGP support on a PCIe board and fully competitive in performance with the best Athlon 64 solutions currently available. PCIe performance could use a bit more tuning, but it is already competitive. If ULi can bring PCIe performance to the levels that they currently enjoy with AGP on this same board, this could well be the fastest Athlon 64 chipset that you can buy. We could wish for SATA 2 support and integrated Gigabit LAN, but even those are coming with the M1575 South Bridge slated for September/October production.

ULi did a great job with their new PCIe/AGP chipset. If you are in the market for a new Socket 939 board, then boards based on the ULi M1695/M1567 should definitely be on your shopping list. If you by chance plan to use AGP on your new PCIe board, then ULi M1695/M1567 is the only board that you should have on your shopping list. This AGP on PCIe really works, there are no compromises, and you will not be disappointed.

Gaming Performance
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  • stmok - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link

    Try that...Does that work?
    [url]http://www.ocworkbench.com/ocwbcgi/newspro/viewnew...[/url]
    Reply
  • stmok - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link


    Check it out...ASRock's 939Dual-SATA2
    [url]http://www.ocworkbench.com/ocwbcgi/newspro/viewnew...[/url

    Supports AGP, PCI-Express, and a CPU Upgrade feature (Supports Socket M2).
    Reply
  • Manzelle - Thursday, July 14, 2005 - link

    #39 - Ditto. Reply
  • saiku - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    aha, I can now stop thinking about what I'll get on Ebay for my 6800GT AGP card. Awesome ! Reply
  • karlreading - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    number 34 - ur so silly.
    i run a amd system and a p4 system. believe me, my pentium 4 is far less stable and BSOD's way more thsan my AMD system.
    so there!
    Karlos!
    Reply
  • Avalon - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    #34 - "Underdog CPU on underdog chipset manufactured by underdog mobo maker. This sounds like nice BSOD generator for me.
    Blank"

    Since when were Gigabyte and Abit underdog board makers? They've been around for a while. Anyway, Anand said he had no problems at all with his reference board, so why would you believe that just because the board would be in your hands that it would suddenly become unstable? Afraid it's the AMD? Think again. In fact, while you're doing that, enjoy your Prescott throttling and causing your computer to shut down. You must save tons of money on your electric bill in the winter.
    Reply
  • PhoneZ - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    #25 "I'd want to know what the drivers are like and no matter how good this chipset is, I doubt it's driver support will be as good as the nVidia."

    Have you seen how bad the nVidia nForce support has been?
    Checkout the nVidia mobo forum:
    http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?s=a549406b86b65...

    The Firewall has never worked, the nVRAID while versatile has numerous quirks (Randomly degraded arrays and lock ups with NCQ/TCQ enabled), the nForce3 has compatibility problems with nVidia video cards. Also with some new nForce4 boards the current driver version doesnt have audio support so your forced to use the realtek one on the CD, which sucks.

    The nForce 4 has been out for quite some time now, and the problems people are having seem to go un-addressed. I have and Nforce4 SLI board and they can be run stable but you have to disable features that are potential selling features of the chipset.
    Reply
  • Furen - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    wow val, stop fanning the flames ^^ Reply
  • val - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    Underdog CPU on underdog chipset manufactured by underdog mobo maker. This sounds like nice BSOD generator for me. Reply
  • Megatomic - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    Oh yeah, this is what I've been hoping for. With one of these boards I can go SD core or X2 and continue to use my 6800GT AGP8X card. Oh happy day! :D Reply

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