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Thursday, June 2, 2005
ULi introduces southbridge with SATA II support

ULi Electronics showcases its new M1575 southbridge supporting SATA II, at Computex in Taipei.

Currently the company has engineering samples of the southbridge, and the mass production is scheduled to begin in July or August.

The M1575 is manufactured on a 130nm process at United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC). Featuring PCIe connection to a northbridge, the southbridge is positioned as a choice for motherboards utilizing ATI?s northbridges. Other features include Ultra ATA/133, high-definition audio and RAID support; up to eight USB 2.0 ports and up to six PCI connections. However, except for SATA II support, the chip has just minor changes compared to its predecessor, the M1573, which moved into mass production at the end of last year.

According to ULi, two first-tier motherboard vendors, Asustek and Gigabyte, are now considering to design their products using the M1575. Industry sources said that Asustek motherboard would probably be named P5RD2-MVP.

Announced in February and scheduled that time for mass production around May, two new ULi?s northbridges for the AMD platform, the M1695 and M1697, are also being displayed at Computex. The M1695 will eventually move to mass production later this month while the single-chip solution M1697 is postponed until October, Tai said. Some second-tier motherboards such as Asrock, Chaintech and Jetway already have their M1695-based models showcased at Computex. The Asrock?s solution, K8Dual-1695, is more interesting than its analogues, Chaintech S1695-2 and Jetway A695DAS, because it supports upgrading the system with an AMD processor utilizing a socket different than Socket 930 through an add-on card provided by the vendor.

ULi claimed both of the M1695 and M1697 chips will support ATI?s CrossFire dual-card graphics technology through two PCIe x8 connections, but ATI rejected these claims for now. According to ATI, the technology is currently supported only by northbridges from the company itself since CrossFire drivers for other northbridges are not yet ready. However, ATI confirmed its intention to promote CrossFire as a sort of industry standard for dual-card graphics solutions. This actually means the company would like to see its solution supported by other chipset vendors.

Like the M1575, the M1695 and M1697 will also utilize a 130nm process at UMC. Tai noted that ULi did not much suffer from the recent fire at Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) since the chipset vendor places its packaging orders at two companies, ASE and Siliconwire Precision Industries (SPIL).

Complete Computex 2005 report is available at

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