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The Asus CUSL2 ATX i815E Motherboard

Introduction

Unless you've been in a cave, you know that the i815 chipset has taken a firm hold and the previous Intel king, the over two year old 440BX chipset has fallen. Unless cranking AGP cards to 133% of their maximum ratings is your forte', Intel's latest native ATA100 offering holds many advantages over the venerable BX. For one, the USB ports are much more numerous (7 versus 2) and aren't slaved to a corresponding PCI slot. Whoohoo, floating USB ports!

Many companies eager to jump on the i815 bandwagon are producing their version and slowly flooding the market with S-370 compatibles. The Abit SE6 turned out to be a winner when remembering to flash to the latest BIOS and Asus' CUSL2 MB turns out to be great no matter what revision was used. Offered with onboard video and optional AC97 audio, my sample sported only the onboard video. The question to answer seems to be is the CUSL2 a worthy successor to the P3V4X? In a word, yep.

Factory Specifications
The Unit
  • Intel i815E chipset
  • IDE ATA100 capability
  • Socket-370 ATX design
  • AGP 4X, AGP ½ & PCI ¼ dividers
  • 1 AGP, 6 PCI, 0 ISA, 2 CNR slots
  • Onboard AC97 audio (optional)
  • 3 DIMM slots: 512MB max
  • 4 ATA100 IDE devices total, 3 USB headers (2 accessible)
  • Hardware monitoring: 3 temps & 3 fans
  • AD of K Price: $165 USD



http://www.asus.com.tw

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9/10 Rating

Description & Specifications

Finally, a MB with all the latest compatabilities. No more BX133 overclocking to diminish AGP video card life or cause that PCI bus to push your hard drive beyond stability. AGP 4X, ATA100, ¼ PCI divider, USB's out the wazoo, the SE6 leaves one wanting very little if anything.

In the summer of 1998, I dumped everything I had that was ISA for the newer PCI and AGP slots. I've never looked back and believe me, those PCI slots fill up with things like a modem, SCSI card, NIC card, and a sound card. Gee, not much room (or IRQ's) left. Six PCI slots, even if some are "slaved" is still a welcome feature, just make sure that finicky devices that require their own IRQ have one.

AGP 4X compatibility has been the subject of much controversy as many factors must come together in order to achieve full 4X operational status. First, the MB must support it; second, the video drivers must support it; and third, in the i815E's case, the Intel's latest .inf files must be used. For this MB test, all benchmarks were conducted in full AGP 4X mode. Nothing less than 100% stability was observed.

The bus speeds were different than other Soft Menu II selections: they are broken down into ratios like 133:133:33 and so forth. Once you get used to the system (which took about 5 minutes), figuring out how to efficiently tweak the BIOS is no sweat. All tests were run in the 140:140:35 mode which meant the PCI speed was at 35MHz or greater, the SDRAM was run at the FSB and the FSB was 4 times the PCI speed (at least 140MHz). For more info, please visit Asus' site and download the acrobat .pdf manual as it's very thorough.

The FSB ranges are below the FSB/MEM/PCI speeds. Scale the MEM and PCI speeds accordingly. For example, if under the 133:133:33 listing you choose 140 FSB that would calculate to 140:140:35, which is what was shown in the BIOS.

Bus Speeds (FSB/MEM/PCI)
66:100:33
100:100:33
133:100:33
133:133:33
66-97
100-132
133, 135-165,
133, 135-160,
   
167-200, 203,
166
   
205, 210, 216
 

 





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