Today ULi announced it is expanding its reach in thelow-end market with the release of its PCI-Express single-chip M1697 core logic. The M1697 provides full support for Socket 754, 939, 940 and M2 processors and comes loaded with all the features you would expect from a modern AMD chipset. Several weeks ago we divulged ULi's internal roadmap with details on the M1697 chipset, but to reiterate the specifications:

  • Two PCIe x1 lanes
  • One PCIe x16 lane that can be reconfigured into two PCIe x8 lanes for dual graphics.
  • USB 2.0/1.1 PHYs
  • Four SATA or eSATA 3.0Gbps interfaces
  • 10/100 integrated Ethernet PHY
  • 7.1 HD Audio / AC'97 Audio
  • TPM 1.2

The new M1697 supports integrated 7.1-channel High Definition (HD) Audio, SATA/eSATA 3.0Gbps (NCQ supported) and TPM (trusted platform module) technology. Looking at the features, the only thing really missing that may be of interest to enthusiasts are two true x16 lane, GbE and more aggressive hardware RAID support. On the other hand, ULi is hoping the single chip packaging will actually help bring the cost of the chipset down, similar to the way NVIDIA's single chip northbridge did. However, during our chat with Asus a few weeks ago, we asked them whether or not there was a significant cost difference between a single-chip chipset or one that uses two and Asus said that there wasn't a cost difference. That being said, representives from ULi are confident in their new chipset and have the backing from industry heavy-hitters to prove it.

By bringing advanced technologies into one single chip, manufacturers are presented with a solution that enables them to built motherboards with high-end level of quality and features at a very competitive price point, said Alex Kuo, President of ULi.

The M1697 breaks the barriers in performance, scalability, features, and cost, greatly positioning ULi to become a preeminent supplier of AMD64 - based platforms.

ULi's new M1697 will be featured in motherboards from ABIT, Albatron, ASRock, ASUSTeK, DFI, EPoX, Giga-Byte, Jetway, and MSI by the end of Q1 2006. We have working samples of M1697 based motherboards on the way to our labs so stay tuned for more coverage.



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  • vailr - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - link

    Any updates on motherboards using the ULi M1697 chipset?
    It's been 6 weeks now, and nothing released for retail sale, AFAIK.
  • lsman - Friday, December 09, 2005 - link

    M1695 + M1697 (similar to nforce Professional 2200 + 2050)

    will any maker have those?
  • Slaimus - Friday, December 09, 2005 - link

    Seeing how this is ULi, who has no presence in the server/workstation market, there is no chance. Reply
  • Cygni - Saturday, December 10, 2005 - link

    I think he wasnt talking about the server/workstation market at all, but rather the ability to connect a south bridge with additional PCI-Ex lanes. The M1577 unfortunatly only seems to support an additional 2 PCI-Ec lanes... meaning the max number would only go up 2 per south bridge added. If there was a version that support an extra 16, that would be perfect, and the solution would come out very similar to the Nvidia SLI 16x chipsets... as well as gaining 8 more USB, 2 more IDE, 4 more SATAII etc.

    This doesnt look like its an option for ULi without designing a new south bridge, but it is something they should think about. The 1697 is already likely to have the best PCI-Ex performance as is... and boosting that with full 16x SLI would cement it as far and away the enthusiast choice. Something I dont think ULi/Ali has had since the very early Super 7 days.
  • blckgrffn - Friday, December 09, 2005 - link

    Gigabit! I want it! I love it! I want some more of it!

    Hopefully the nicer mobo's with this chipset will include one of the PCIe variety :)

    Yes, I do have gigabit ethernet in my home, and yes, all my other PC's have Gbe, and yes, the speed is used and appreciated.

  • DigitalDivine - Thursday, December 08, 2005 - link

    If there can be boards that would retail at $50 (and less) and if the heatsink for this is passively cooled, ULI might just have itself a winner. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, December 08, 2005 - link

    They'll have to compete on cost. Nothing there that makes it any better than an Nforce4, except HD audio support. Reply
  • Cygni - Thursday, December 08, 2005 - link

    Did you miss the review of the M1695 chipset currently shipping? Guess ya did. Let me sum it up for you:

    The ULi m1695 is FASTER in GAMES than the Nforce4 (Link: http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2524&am...">http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2524&am.... The ULi 1695 also includes FULL AGP support. And SLI/Crossfire support, to boot.

    If that list of board partners comes through, and the M1697 behaves anything like the M1695 (it should, its esentially the same chipset), you could easily see the highest performing S939 boards on the market... especially considering the only board in the states with the M1695 is a value ASRock upgrade series board, and it woops all other boards in gaming. I can barely imagine what the chipset can do when given a serious performance once over.

    Put simply, as it stands, i would say the ULi M1695 is the best performing chipset for S939. M1697 appears to continue that.
  • bupkus - Thursday, December 08, 2005 - link

    With the pricing of pci-e video cards continuing to drop the window of opportunity for AGP based A64 systems is closing fast. Reply
  • bupkus - Thursday, December 08, 2005 - link

    Hmmm... they support both, don't they. My bad. Reply

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