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Chipset maker ULi Electronics, a member of the ALi group, that has been practically out of the PC core-logic business for a couple of years has plans to return to the business this year with strong product portfolio and a number of design wins.

Currently ULi Electronics offers its customers two rather up-to-date cost-effective chipsets for Intel Pentium 4 and AMD Athlon 64 platforms – M1683 and M1687. The parts provide AGP 8x, Parallel ATA-33/66/100, PCI, USB 2.0 and so on. Besides, the M1683 also sports single-channel DDR memory at up to 500MHz, 100MHz faster than PC3200 standard suggests. Even though the company has a number of design wins with its present offerings, it is pretty clear that the Taipei, Taiwan-based chipset designer needs products with more advanced features for successful market penetration.

Socket 939 Mainboard Based on ULi/ALi M1689 at CeBIT 2004. Please click to enlarge

There are more products to come later this year – M1689 and M1697 for AMD Athlon 64 processors as well as M1685, M1691 and M1672B for Intel Pentium 4 and Intel Pentium M chips. Both core-logic sets for AMD64 chips will be single-chip design, while higher-end solutions for Intel’s processors will get I/O controller with PCI Express x1 lanes and Azalia audio.

  • ALi M1685 North Bridge for the next-generation of Intel Pentium 4, Prescott and Pentium M processors in PGA or LGA packaging will be mass produced already in the second quarter of the year. ALi M1685 will support single-channel DDR and DDR2 SDRAM memory at 400, 533 and 667MHz. When coupled with M1566 I/O controller, the M1685+M1566 combination will provide 1 x16 PCI Express port for graphics and 2 x1 PCI Express slots for other add-in cards or some on-board peripherals, such as LAN controller and even 1 x4 PCI Express slot for bandwidth-hungry add-in cards.
  • ALi M1691 North Bridge is projected to come out in late 2004 and is expected to be considerably faster than the previously mentioned M1685. It will feature dual-channel DDR and DDR2 (DDR-II) memory and will also be compatible with future processors from Intel, such as Prescott and Pentium M (probably, the Dothan). The M1691 is anticipated to work with M1673 South Bridge that sports High-Definition (Azalia) audio as well as some other interesting peculiarities.
  • ALi M1689 is a single-chip core-logic for AMD64 described in details in late September 2003. The part sports AGP 8x, PCI, 2 ATA-33/66/100 channels, 2 Serial ATA-150 ports with RAID, 10/100Mb/s Ethernet, USB 2.0, AC’97 audio and so on. The M1689 will only be available in Summer.
  • ALi M1697 will be yet-another single-chip core-logic for AMD64 platform supporting very rich set of features, including 1 x16 PCI Express port, 4 x1 PCI Express ports, Gigabit Ethernet MAC, 4 Serial ATA-150 ports with RAID support, advanced audio and so on. The product is to be released in late 2004.
  • ALi M1672B is an entry-level North Bridge for Intel Pentium M and Intel Celeron processor supporting 400MHz PSB. The North Bridge sports integrated graphics CyberBlade XP core from Trident as well as single-channel PC1600 and PC2100 memory.

At CeBIT the firm is demonstrating numerous mainboards from well-known manufacturers, such as ASUSTeK Computer, Albatron, ASRock, ECS, EPoX, DFI, SOYO, QDI and Topstar, for AMD Athlon 64 and Intel Pentium 4 processors based on M1687 and M1683 chipsets respectively. All those mainboards are available now, but in somewhat limited quantities.


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