by August 10, 2001 0 comments

Asus motherboards have always been feature-rich performers and the TUSL2-C is no exception. This board not only supports all existing PIII/Celeron processors in its Socket 370, but will also support the new PIII processors (Coppermine-T, Tualatin and PIII-S) that are due later this year. After the original Coppermine PIII/1.13 GHz turned out to be a failure and was called back, Intel is back with a new breed of PIIIs, code-named Tualatin with speeds of up to 1.13 GHz. Incidentally, Tualatin is named after a river near Intel’s Hillsboro facility, where this chip was designed and manufactured.

Asus TUSL2-C

$130 (yet to be released in India, price subject to change)
Features: Supports Tualatin, PIII, and Celeron processors and FSB of 66, 100, and 133 MHz, Intel 815EP BO chipset, six PCI and one CNR slot, 4x
AGP, three DIMMs with maximum capacity of 512 MB RAM, ATA/100 support, integrated sound
Pros: Great performance and features
Cons: None


Chipset will be required. Intel has already released a modified i815 chipset called i815EP B0 Stepping chipset, which supports the new Tualatin processors. The ASUS TUSL2-C is built around this chipset, and offers FSB choices of 66,100, or 133 MHz. It has a Socket 370, which can house all existing PIIIs and Celerons as well as the Tualatin. The board provides three DIMM slots, with a total capacity of 512 MB RAM. It also supports the latest ATA/100 data transfer mode. Add to that a 4x AGP Pro slot and it has all the makings of a mean machine. It also has six PCI slots and one CNR (Communication and Networking Riser) slot, the latter for network cards, audio cards, and modems. Integrated audio is an option, in the form of a C-Media Audio chip which offers six-channel audio support, enabling surround sound and 5.1 speaker configurations. Apart from this, it has the usual two PS/2, two serial, one parallel, and two USB ports. An additional USB header is present on the motherboard if you want to increase the number of USB ports. Another unique feature of this board is the Smart Card connector, which can be used to connect a smart card reader option kit to give your system added security.

Getting the motherboard up and running is no problem, since all the connectors are marked clearly and the ports color-coded. It provides DIP switches, if you want to manually adjust the FSB and clock multipliers, but can also be run in auto mode. So, you can just put in your processor and RAM and it will adjust itself automatically. To test the board we used a PIII/800 MHz, 128 MB RAM, Seagate Baracudda II 20 GB hard drive, and an Asus V7700 display card with 32 MB VRAM. We use Windows 98 SE as the OS. For comparison we used a Mercury KOB815EP FSX board, another new motherboard.

To test the board’s overall performance in running day-to-day business applications, we ran Business Winstone 2001. It got a score of 33.8, as compared to 32.7 of the Mercury. Next we ran Content Creation Winstone, which runs high-end and graphics application like Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Director. Here also it stayed ahead with a score of 32.2, compared to the 31.3 of the Mercury. To test its 3D performance, we ran 3D Winbench 2000. It got an overall frame rate of 92.5, ahead of the 91.1 of the Mercury. In gaming, the story was pretty much the same, with the Asus just ahead of the Mercury at all the resolutions we tested it at. Judging from these numbers it is obvious that the TUSL2-C is a high-performance board, for productivity work, high-end applications, and the latest games.

Cillin 2000, Cyberlink Power Player, PowerDVD and Video Live Mail along with it. Overall the Asus TUSL2-C leaves nothing more to be desired as far as features or performance is concerned. A perfect choice for those who need the best performance from their system.

Sachin Makhija at PCQ Labs

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