by August 10, 2001 0 comments

As the name suggests, the KOB 815ep FSX from Mercury is based on Intel’s 815EP chipset. The i815EP does not have onboard graphics and provides only an AGP 4x port, where you can add the graphics card of your choice. This chipset offers support for ATA/100–the latest standard for data transfer in ATA hard drives, AC97 six-channel audio, and four USB ports.

The motherboard comes with six PCI and one CNR slot that make expandability a breeze

Mercury KOB 815ep FSX
Price: Rs 4500 + tax
Features: Intel 815 EP chipset, supports PIII/Celeron/C3 processors, 66/100/133 MHz
FSB, three DIMMS for a maximum of 512 MB RAM, integrated audio, 4x AGP, six PCI and one CNR slot, ATA/100 support
Pros: Good performance, good expandability options, attractive price tag
Cons: None
Contact: Kobian India.
Tel: 080-2257300, 2380734
Fax: 2257303. A 402
Queens Corner Apartment,
3, Queens Road,
Bangalore 560001.


The board is laid out on an ATX form factor. It has a Socket 370 interface, which can take in a Celeron, a PIII, or the C3 processor from Via. The board supports an FSB of 66, 100, and 133 MHz, and will adjust itself according to the processor used. It also has the ability to run in jumperless mode, so you don’t have to worry about clock multipliers and jumpers. You can however make changes manually (for over-clocking, under-clocking etc) by using the five jumpers, but this is not recommended for novices. With six PCI slots, a 4x AGP, and a CNR (Communication and Network Riser) slot, you don’t have to worry about expansion either. The CNR slot is for adding new-generation network cards, modems, sound cards, etc, which are now available in India. Its three DIMM slots let you have up to 512 MB of RAM.

Getting the motherboard up and running was pretty straightforward, with all the connectors clearly marked, and the ports (two PS/2, two USB, two serial, one parallel) color-coded. It comes with two IDE cables, which you can use for your hard drives or CD-drives. To check out its performance, we used a PIII/800 MHz, 128 MB RAM, an Asus V7700 display card with 32 MB VRAM, and a Seagate Barracuda II hard drive on Windows 98 SE. For comparison, we used the Asus TUSL2-C (See page 143 in this issue), based on the i815EP B0 chipset. We first ran Business Winstone 2001, which runs a few commonly used productivity applications like MS Office, Netscape Navigator and Norton AntiVirus and comes out with an overall score that reflects how well these applications ran on the system. The Mercury got a score or 32.7, compared to 33.8 of the Asus, a difference of just 3 percent. The next test was Content Creation Winstone 2001, a benchmark that runs graphics and high-end applications like Director, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver. Here too, with a score of 31.3, the Mercury was just a feather behind the 32.2 achieved by the Asus. We then switched our attention to 3D performance and ran 3D Winbench 2000. The Mercury got an overall frame rate of 91.1 fps, compared to 92.5 of the TUSL2-C, which are both very good scores. Finally in gaming, we ran QuakeIII Arena on both the boards and measured the overall frame rates at different resolutions. The story here was also pretty much similar.

Performance wise, although the board never managed to get past the mighty Asus, the margins were very small. Another thing in favor of the Mercury is its attractive price of Rs 4,500, which makes it a good choice for any user.

Sachin Makhija at PCQ Labs

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