Is NVIDIA using ULi to pressure ATI?

Written by Tim Smalley

March 29, 2006 // 12:52 p.m.

Tags: #am2 #sb450 #sb600 #southbridge #uli

Companies: #amd #ati #nvidia

The motherboard industry is anticipating that NVIDIA will terminate sales of its ULi southbridges at some point during the next couple of months, as NVIDIA is already starting to slow shipments of the chips to motherboard makers.

Many of ATI's current CrossFire motherboards are using the ULi southbridge, as Taiwan motherboard makers feel that it is a better solution than ATI's SB450 for a number of reasons.

The main reasons being the poor I/O performance and a lack of native SATA II (300MB/s) support - this got ATI some bad press, understandably motherboard makers didn't want the same bad press.

In fact, some motherboard makers have already delayed their RD580 implementations until SB600 shows up shortly after AMD's socket AM2 launch.

We spoke to one second-tier mobo manufactuer who's socket 939 RD580 board was set for launch very soon, but ULi M1575 availability problems have halted the progress of that.

In retrospect, the board may never see the light of day because - according to the manufacturer - ATI's own SB450 inventory isn't large enough to cater for anyone other than ATI's first-tier partners. Second-tier partners look likely to have to wait until SB600 arrives in healthy quantities before they will be able to launch their own RD580 implementations on socket AM2, as both ULi M1575 and M1573 southbridges seem to be suffering from severe shortages.

Were you looking forward to some of the upcoming (and now highly unlikely) socket 939 RD580 boards from second-tier manufactuers? Do you think NVIDIA is using ULi to put pressure on ATI's motherboard sales? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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