Impressions & Conclusions

UPDATE: 11:35AM EST – Apr 12. 2006.
I’ve just been told that NVIDIA has implemented SLI patch protection which will effectively kill SLI on M1697 chipset motherboards. I’m in the process of confirming this and gathering more details. Please stay tuned!

UPDATE: 12:05PM EST – Apr 12. 2006.
Reports around the web are confusing and conflicting. One report in particular states that v81.98 and later drivers are incapable of running SLI on M1697 chipsets, but the article we have published here on PCPer is proof that it is possible still. I will do some additional testing and report back.

UPDATE: 7:10AM EST – Apr 13. 2006.
I have completed testing of Forceware drivers v82.66, v83.60, and v84.21 and all of these drivers will disable SLI on the M1697 chipset, hence SLI on the EP-9U1697 GLI as well. The only current driver I have had success with is v81.98 which I used for this article. For more information on how I got SLI to work on this motherboard, please see page 17.

I have been told by a reputable community source that a patch that will re-enable SLI on later drivers. So for those of you with series 7000 NVIDIA cards can rest easier.I have been told by a very reputable community source that a patch that will re-enable SLI on later drivers. So for those of you with series 7000 NVIDIA cards can rest easier.

After loading the updated BIOS provided by EPoX, my experience with the EP-9U1697 was very smooth. Where it counts, the EP-9U1697 is very impressive – the board performed on equal footing against the competing nForce 4 SLI motherboard in every benchmark. Even more impressive are the SLI gains – while single video card performance was slower than the nForce 4, in SLI the EP-9U1697 GLI matched the nForce 4 and even beat it slightly in Quake 4.

We’re not sure how much longer NVIDIA is going allow the ULI M1697 to run in SLI, but right now the M1697 is proving to be a great SLI alternative. Even if NVIDIA yanks SLI from the M1697 chipset, Pandora’s Box has been opened and the community has access to the ULI “patch” in which to build custom drivers from.

On the EP-9U1697 GLI we achieved a record in overclockability with a 357 MHz bus speed at a 6x CPU multiplier and 600 MHz HT. However, the ability to overclock well is hamstrung by the disappointing results in memory overclocking. Managing just 215 MHz memory overclock (far from the 230MHz the memory is capable of) we were stuck with using a higher than ideal CPU multiplier. Other reviewers managed to get higher memory overclocks, so I’m pretty sure it’s something to do with my configuration.

EPoX EP-9U1697 GLI Motherboard Review - SLI Killer? - Motherboards 66

The value you get out of this motherboard will make money-wise consumers very happy since the EP-9U1697 will likely cost $10-20 cheaper than comparable nForce 4 SLI equipped AMD board. I think the EP-9U1697 GLI is one of the best value SLI solutions out there beating even the Socket 754 SLI option (like the EP-8NPA we reviewed).

Because of the SLI capability, great overclocking potential, and price, the EP-9U1697 GLI merits a Gold award. For the price and performance, it’s hard to be disappointed.

EPoX EP-9U1697 GLI Motherboard Review - SLI Killer? - Motherboards 67

Be sure to use our price checking engine to find the best prices on Epox motherboards, and anything else you may want to buy!

The EP-9U1697 GLI will be available from your favourite EPoX retailer in April 2006.

Related Articles

« PreviousNext »