Many have been looking forward to the arrival of the first ULi chipset retail motherboards since our review of the ULi Reference boards. In the first Reference board review and the updated second ULi Reference, we found uncompromised performance with both the PCIe and AGP 8X graphics slots. This is very good news for owners of high-end AGP 8X graphics cards, since for the first time they can buy a board that will run their AGP at full speed now, with provisions for a PCIe video card upgrade in the future. Since we have found no real performance difference in PCIe and AGP cards of the same type, the ULi M1695/M1567 chipset provides fresh new options for many end users.

ASRock, the value line manufactured by Asus, has a long history with the ALi chipsets that were the forerunner of the current ULi chipsets, so it came as no surprise when ASRock was first to retail with the 939Dual-Sata2. Frankly, we really hoped to see a ULi board from Abit or another enthusiast brand (rather than a "value" brand) built around the ULi chipset. Some of these are coming, according to sources at ULi, but the shipping ASRock 939Dual-Sata2 is starting to appear in markets around the world. As you will see in our closer look, the ASRock is much better than we expected, and it adds a couple of features for the future that weren't even on the ULi Reference boards.

Board Layout: ASRock 939Dual-Sata2
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  • touchmyichi - Friday, September 9, 2005 - link

    think i'll have any luck w/ an XP-120?
  • frodin - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    Wesley: Did you try checking/ replacing the BIOS backup battery? I have started experiencing coldboot/BIOS issues myself (and actually only when my flat is really cold(!)), and I am running everything @ stock with 2x 512mb Crucial Ballistix ram. Everest reads the battery voltage as 0.3v /this could of course be wrong), I'll try and replace the battery with another one that I know works in another board. I am running the 1.10 (stock) BIOS.
    Just a thought.
  • mindless1 - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Everest's report is unquestionably wrong, you'd lose all your bios settings long before the battery dropped so far as 0.3V
  • ceefka - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    Now if ULi can include SATA II, NCQ and Gb LAN and someone makes a board with that chipset including 1394b (on a TI controller), I'd buy it.
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    Would have liked to see some Battlefield 2 benchmarks, but I agree with the poster above saying that having 5 or 6 boards with the same chipset (and same results) is a bit redundant.

    - JaAG
  • Nighteye2 - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    Considering the cold boot issues increase with 4 DIMMs, could they be specific to the RAM? Could the board be more compatible with other brands of RAM?
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    The RAM used for testing is always specifed on our test setup page, and I also mentioned it several times in the article. It is our standard test memory, OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2, based on Samsung TCCD memory chips. Samsung TCCD is also available from many other Enthusiast memory companies like Corsair, Mushkin, G. Skill, Patriot, Geil, and many others.
  • Nighteye2 - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    I know and read that. It's just that I've had an experience with RAM incompatibility myself. The RAM worked fine on other boards, without errors, yet gave several errors on the board I was using. Switching the RAM to another brand made the board work perfectly.

    It's been a while ago, so that's why I can't mention specifics, but not all boards are fully compatible with all sticks of RAM. Does ASRock recommend using RAM from several vendors, and if so, is the OCZ RAM on that list?
  • OvErHeAtInG - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - link

    That's what I thought, it probably just doesn't like TCCD.
  • WeaselBlade - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    Anyone have any idea whether it will be possible to run an agp/pcie crossfire setup, using a PCIE master card and AGP slave?

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