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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  • MADDIE - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    I purchased this board about two weeks ago, and have been happy ever since. I have not had any of the boot problems that anandtech had. When I get home I can check my BIOS version (that is, if anyone is interested) Reply
  • Pete84 - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    The new southbridge that ULi is going to release is supposedly a pin for pin replacement for the 1567, and as it'll have SATA-II and more advanced raid functions etc, IF I get a crossover board that'll be the one. Reply
  • Furen - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    I was under the impression that the new southbridge would be PCI-e only, though... Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    I'd say the AGP/PCIe is in the northbridge, not in the southbridge. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    The PCIe is in the Northbridge on ULi chipsets, but the AGP is a M1567 Southbridge feature. If you combine a different Southbridge with the M1695 Northbridge you will not have AGP. You may want to take a closer look at the ULi chipset diagrams we published at http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2471&am...">http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2471&am... Reply
  • Fam Money - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    This is the best review of a product I've wanted to purchse, you tested everything I needed you to. The only downside is it came out 22 hours after I bought the mobo.;)

    I feel a lot better now about getting this board and buying another gig of Patriot XBLs for it.

    Thanks for the review.
    Reply
  • Furen - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    I've read that this motherboard only allows 1.55v on 130nm chips, 1.45v on single-core 90nm and 1.35v on dual-core. This is probably to protect the CPU's VRMs but it should be pointed out. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    We did check that an X2 operated on the ASRock, but we did not check to see if the voltage adjustments shifted. I tried a 4800+ x2 again, which has a default voltage of 1.35V, and the voltage adjustments now top out at 1.40v. It appears the slding voltage adjustments set themselves to .05v more than the voltage specification. A wider range at the top would definitely be better fro many users.

    I will add this information to the review.
    Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    If they can fix their boot issues, this board is perfect for people like me who have a decent office computer (P4 2.0, 756 megs) and who would like to do a little gaming now, and more down the road. This board would allow me to take advantage of any great AGP deal that came along and add it to my current system, play some previous generation games, and then later keep my GPU and upgrade to a much desired A64 system when I have more time/money. Thanks ASRock Reply
  • Marlin1975 - Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - link

    Like I said. I have a asrock that has video problems and ram issues. I have talked to others with the same problem yet Asrock has done nothign and does not respond to anybody. So I would not buy it until you hear soemthing else or you will be like myself and other Asrock owners hopeing and waiting. Mind you the boards are cheap, but the basic stuff should still work Reply

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