The Asus CUSL2 ATX i815E Motherboard
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!
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,
- Intel i815E
- IDE ATA100
- AGP 4X, AGP
½ & PCI ¼ dividers
- 1 AGP, 6
PCI, 0 ISA, 2 CNR slots
- Onboard AC97
- 3 DIMM slots:
- 4 ATA100
IDE devices total, 3 USB headers (2 accessible)
monitoring: 3 temps & 3 fans
of K Price: $165 USD
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.