ATi’s chipset-based motherboards have been relying on third-party Southbridge solutions like those from ULi for the past two months where there was a shortage of ATi Southbridges. ATi addresses this issue with the official release of the SB600 & SB460 Southbridges. What benefits does it bring? Read on!
We’ve received news from a Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer that ATi has finally released the SB600 Southbridge, putting away fears of a shortage of ATi Southbridges. Until the SB400 era, ATi has always relied on ULi for southbridge solutions. ULi has all along maintained an identity of being a third-party solutions provider. ATi’s own Southbridges meanwhile often were behind the ULi offerings in terms of performance and stability. Many motherboard maufacturers therefore chose to adopt ULi Southbridges on their products. After nVIDIA bought over ULi, ULi officially stopped providing Southbridge solutions for ATi. This led to many motherboard manufacturers offering ATi chipset based motherboards to enter a frenzied state of worry. This was especially so for the highend ATi Xpress 3200 CrossFire products. It is no surprise that ATi Xpress 3200 CrossFire’s release was draggy and motherboards based on the ATi Xpress 3200 CrossFire took quite some time to hit the shelves.
Block diagram illustrating the features of the SB600
Comparison of the various features offered by ATi and ULi SB
ATi SB600 massively supersedes the last-generation SB450. Using 110nm TSMC production process，the Southbridge I/O uses the new A-Link Xpress II interface，supporting PCI-E x4 with bandwidths up to 2GB/s, using 5 OHCI and 1 EHCI Host controller. It offers up to 10 USB 2.0 ports. Storage-wise the SB600 continues to have 4 SATA2 ports, with added AHCI support. RAID 5 and RAID 10 have also been added to the existing RAID 1 and RAID 0 operating modes. The number of IDE ports have however been reduced to one. AC97 2.3 and HD Audio are both supported, with up to 192KHz 32Bit sampling to output 7.1 channel sound. The only caveat is that Ethernet has yet been added to it. ATi’s SB600 is not a pin-to-pin replacement for the last generation SB450. To facilitate the upgrade, ATi has also released the SB460 which is functionally the same as the SB450, to fill up the lowend market.
The SB600 on 110nm TSMC process.
According to ATi, Asus, DFI, ECS, EPOX, and MSI have already received the SB600 chipset, improving the stock-count for Xpress 3200 motherboards.
MSI’s K9A-Platnium Xpress 3200 CrossFire AM2 motherboard
Discuss more about SB600 and SB460 here!