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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  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    Dang! I just bought an AGP mainboard! LOL! Well, I probably saved $100 and money was a concern for me.

    Glad to see this come out still, hats off to ULI :)

    Wish it had come out 6 months or more ago, I think that would have been more timely, but better late than never, heh.
    Reply
  • nserra - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    #Wesley Fink
    Repeating....
    I noted that the speed of the AGP is very good, but vs the older 1689 is it equal, higher or is the 1689 even higher. Can you do some 939A8X-M test just to check?
    Also your explanation to #20 is confusing (at least to me), isn’t HT (200x5) = 1000HT speed and the chipset can do 400 (2,3,4X400) ?


    #28 I think Uli chipsets as been always one of the faster with hard disk transfers (a lot faster), the older don’t this I don’t know, also I don’t know the CPU % hit.
    Reply
  • QV - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    This looks like an interesting board. When I found out that K8T890 doesn't support dual-core, I figured my next machine would be nF4, but this looks good enough that by the time I build my next machine (which will probably be months away, for money reasons), I may very well use a board based on this chipset.

    Also, speaking of dual AGP/PCI-E solutions, can't the VIA PT880 Pro do the same? I know it's for a different platform, but it doesn't seem to be a hack like some boards seem to use, and ASRock makes one or two boards based on it. What's the story there? Can the PT880 Pro really also do the triple graphics interface, and platform differences aside, how does it stack up against the M1695?
    Reply
  • L3p3rM355i4h - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    Interesting. Hopefully it doesn't go the way of the KT890. Reply
  • MarkHark - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    Does anybody know if this ULI south bridge supports NCQ and how its hard drive I/O performance compares to Nforce4 and SIS? Reply
  • smn198 - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    #25 If I was after AGP with the possibility to upgrade to PCIe without changing motherboard then yes I would be interested but I doubt that this feature will interest OEMs. The cost of a full motherboard will be pushed up once features such as SATA2 and Gbit LAN are added. The possibility of two full x16 PCIe slots is the most interesting thing to me as it could add a bit of future proofing.

    I would be interested if it had been out a few months and I wasn't going to be an early adopter. 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. Good luck to them though! We need another high-end chipset maker for AMD.
    Reply
  • Zebo - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    Abit and Gigabyte both have full-blown boards in the works.
    ----------------
    Well that certainly makes things interesting.. Thanks again.. And I take back my comment about DOA like SIS 75x seems to be:)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    #25 - Competitive and much cheaper also works - with the unique AGP on PCIe to get your attention. Reply
  • smn198 - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link

    #15 - I agree but also, they don't need to show that they are as competitive as the nForce4, they need to be better. Reply
  • fishy - Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - link


    Exciting news to me:

    _I still have an 'ol Asus/ Ali motherboard
    running, and it has been "very good to me" :)

    _I'm still looking for a AMD 64 motherboard
    (bought an NF4 board a few months ago
    and got rid of it really fast, too many
    problems)

    Asus, get on this fast, please!
    Reply

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