18 Eylül 2007 Salı

Asus CUSL2-C Intel 815EP socket 370

The release of a new Asus motherboard is usually quite an event around here. In fact, we were quite overjoyed when the chance finally came to test the newest member of the CUSL2 line of logic-boards, the Asus CUSL2-C. Revision "C" of this little family sets itself apart from its fellows by implementing the Intel 815EP chipset, thus divesting itself of internal video circuitry. What's more, the CUSL2-C does not include integrated sound support - though Asus does offer it as an option. In fact, Asus' CUSL2-C has been thoroughly stripped of all extraneous features, thus rendering it a pure & unblemished state of being that is oft' favored by old hands in the Overclocking world.So, let's say we skip all this, and head on in to the analysis itself.
Hardware setup CUSL2-C
CPU Intel Coppermine FC-PGA socket 370
Chipset Intel¨ 82815EP Memory Controller Hub, Intel¨ 82801BA Enhanced I/O Controller Hub 2, Intel¨ 82802AB Firmware Hub
Form factor ATX - 30.5cm X 20.8cm
Expansion 6 PCI - 0 ISA - 1 CNR - 1 AGP - 4 USB
Memory 3X 168-pin DIMM SDRAM 512Mb PC100 - PC133
FSB 66Mhz to 166Mhz in 1Hz increments
Vcore adj. Ajustable entre - 1.10vdc et +1.850vdc en pas de 0.025vdc.
Vio adj. 3.3v, 3.4v, 3.6v
Audio chipset (optionnel) compatible AC"97

The features
As we mentioned earlier, the i752 graphics card that had been an integrated component into the i815 and i815E chipsets is noticeably absent in the i815EP. This reflects the i815EP's new status as an economy chipset solution, while nevertheless maintaining the performance of its 815 fore bearers like support for ATA100 drives for instance. As a result, the i815EP is well positioned to satisfy the needs of the majority of computer users, who typically install a video-card of their own choosing.
Configuration of the CUSL2-C is accomplished entirely from within the BIOS, though an array of Dip switches is also provided, which can be used to change certain board settings. For example, by positioning jumper JEN to 1-2, SW1 becomes accessible and permits the FSB to be set between 66MHz and 160MHz. Setting JEN to 2-3, on the other hand, sets the board to Jumperfree mode, and at which point the FSB can be set from within the BIOS to a frequency ranging from 66MHz to 166MHz in 1MHz steps. A Vio jumper is also available, which allows the CPU's Vio voltage to be set to either 3.3v, 3.4v, or 3.6v. All other alterations are performed from the BIOS. The "Advanced" menu, for instance, permits users to set different FSB:SDRAM:PCI bus ratios. A second option allows users to adjust the FSB frequency while providing an indication of the corresponding PCI, and SDRAM settings. Quite handy, we must say. This option would probably prove very useful to those lucky individuals who happen to own memory capable of exceeding 133MHz, as well as those owning PC150 memory or better.
All adjustments related to memory timing can be performed from within the "Chip Configuration" submenu within the parent "Advanced" menu. From here, it's possible to even set the main memory system to address data in a normal, or aggressive fashion.
Of course, the CUSL2-C also includes the option to change the processor's Vcore voltage - a longtime favorite of Overclockers everywhere. Available settings range from 1.10v to 1.85v, in steps of 0,025v.
One thing to note, though, is that the BIOS system used by the Asus CUSL2-C is very different from that of the vast majority of other motherboards, and may throw off users who are inexperienced with Asus boards. If you happen to be one of those users, you may do yourself well to take some time to familiarize yourself with the CUSL2-C BIOS before jumping in head-first.
Finally, one last word has to be given concerning the manual assignment of IRQs: Not only is it provided with the CUSL2-C, but so is IRQ exclusion! Thus, with the CUSL2-C, it's not only possible to reserve a particular IRQ for a particular PCI slot, but also possible to explicitly prevent the system from sharing the said IRQ with another device.

Technical details
Some space has been cleared around the CPU socket, but not enough to allow for the installation of larger heatsinks.The memory slots are located far enough from the AGP port that there is no risk of the memory retention bars coming into contact with the graphics card.Nineteen 1500Mfs capacitors have been placed around the CPU socket. The CPU retention bar is made of metal, so there is no risk of it breaking.Three fan connectors are included.Hardware monitoring is controlled by an AS99127F circuit.A thermal sensor connector has been included.Assignment, and manual exclusion of IRQs is provided.Holding the "Insert" key at start-up will "roll-back" the BIOS to the last batch of valid settings.

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