815 Boards: Asus CUSL2, Part One, Some Mixed Blessings

I asked. You told.

If your comments were generally positive, I’m putting them in the “good” section; if they weren’t, I’m putting them in the “bad.”

I’ve tried to keep as much detail as possible while editing because different people run into different problems.

Asus CUSL2 comments:

Editorial comments: You are a forgiving lot. 🙂 I’ve highlighted what I thought were details you should be aware that could possibly cause grief. One not mentioned is that
the CUSL2 only handles FCPGA, no Slot 1 815s yet to my knowledge.

From Nova Fire

So far my Asus CUSL2 is very solid. I am running a P3 700e at 980Mhz
(1.80V) which is a 140Mhz bus speed. And I had no need to run the RAM at
33Mhz less than the FSB, but I could if I needed too. My old and I do mean
old Board was a Asus P2B-LS, which was one hell of a stable motherboard, and
as far as I can tell this board is almost as good.

Although I do get an occasional lockup right at or after the RAM Check at
boot — which seems to be somewhat common from what I have read on message
boards. Also, my Logitech Optical USB mouse does not always seem to
initialize, so my mouse cursor in Windows after some (1 out of maybe 10-12)
boots will be stuck in the middle until my next reboot — another documented
issue I have read about on message boards.

Additionally the posted CPU temp is usually 15 degrees C lower than it should be, some people report the
issue in both their BIOS and PCProbe software, whereas some only see it in

Finally Vortex based sound cards have trouble being installed.
The MSDOS emulation, MIDI, and Game port devices will not show up, but there
is a fix for this by simply editing an inf file — so nothing serious. I
have faith that Asus can/will fix the other issues with BIOS updates.

Thanks for starting this survey.


From Yomama

Dear Ed, I truely enjoy the overclockers forum. What a wealth of information,
and a rather educated polite crowd too – keep it up.

I got my CUSL with a retail PIII700E from PCNUT on Thursday.

How’s it doing? In brief: it’s a fantastic board with a few flaws in the
details, most of which can be addressed with a BIOS upgrade.

Installation was very easy, one just has to use the ASUS disk, so that Windoze
can recognize the new 815 devices.

The board appears to be very stable thanks to a 1/2 AGP divider, and multiple
RAM settings.

Memory throughput is about 12% reduced over a BX board at 134MHz. Using Sandra
and Mushkin CAS2 PC133 RAM I measured 361/399 vs 420/450 on a BE6-2. OTOH I
had to use the slower memory timings of (7;9) rather than (5;7), the manual
mentions also a value of (6;8) which I would assume is faster, but it’s not in
the current BIOS.

The ATA/100 controller is being used in conjunction with an IBM GXP75 ATA/100
drive. Sandra claims that throughput went up from under 17,000 – with the
BE6-2 onboard controller – to over 21,000. Using HDTach I could not detect
such a significant performance improvement The BE6 rendered about 35,000
average, while the ASUS is at 36,000.

I am using an ASUS 6600 Deluxe GeForce card, which was able to cope with the
89MHz AGP bus on the BX board, except for some situations sometimes in Quake,
where it crashed. Well, I am not a gamer, and I did use standard drivers and
did not tweak that board. Playing Quake on the CUSL is evenly fast, but
appears to be much more stable, and the colors are also a bit better.

My PIII was initially doing 938@ 1.7V, using retail heatsink. It must have
crashed sometime over night, and it was extremely hot here, so I upped the
voltage another notch, and now it’s rock solid at 1.75V. (Somehow the board
seems to omit 133 MHz, as 938 is the (MBM) measured result).

I am letting the chip burn in for now, while I am waiting for an Alpha. There
should be something more to get from this chip…(he, he, he)

Now the nits:

The control part of the bios is a bit off – not by much, but selecting 1.65V
is measured as 1.7V on MBM. selecting 1.7V is measured as 1.73, and 1.75 is
sometimes 1.81, and at other times 1.78.
Given that voltage is crucial, the
controller should be more accurate – and no it’s not related to my power
supply, I am using an PC power and cooling 400W model, which is regulated
within 1%.

My biggest complaint is also related to the controllers. The BIOS/MBM CPU
temperature deviates by 15 to 20C. 14C at idle in a 26C room suggests a
peltier, but I have not installed one yet :o).

I can adjust the temp in MBM, but obviously I do not know whether the deviation
applies in a linear fashion or whether its exponential – in other words I can
adjust the temp for one value (e.g. idle), but then I still do not know what
the temp is under load. ASUS should address this very soon…

Finally the greenie heatsink on the chip-set HAS TO BE TREATED WITH HEATSINK
It gets extremely hot – may be hotter than the CPU heatsink. I
actully placed a small fan on top of it.

That’s it for negatives.

Now regarding the 815 chipset in general I think that given the not so stellar
reviews of early models (e.g ABIt SE6), and the fact that they are kind of
pricey and somewhat scarce, people have opted to wait for better adaptations
of that design.

All in all I would buy this board again – The board layout, components and
bios are all excellent. I am a longtime user of ABIT boards, but this board is
better manufactured than anything that I have seen from ABit. Moreover I will
buy from PCNUT again. Not only did they ship out the board late in the evening
of the same day, even though I only placed my order at after 5:30, and 3:30
was the cut-off, so it got here a day earlier. They also reduced shipping – I
guess because it’s local, and the products were in sealed boxes – a bit
expensive, but great service and reasonable shipping really do make up for


From Zippy

Mine is running my lil p3 500e @850mhz!!!! 170fsb!!!

No problems to report.

SBLive 1024 is taking the 44mhz PCI really well and so is my IBM 13.5g HDD 🙂


From Steve Turnipseed

Running 650e cB0 at 931 (143 FSB), with voltage at 1.70 without any issues.
Cooling with Cooler master DP5-6H51 HS/fan (air) and lots of case air
movement. Full loading of processor with temperature remaining below 40 C.

IBM Deskstar 15.3 GB 7200 ATA-100, 128MB PC-133, Voodoo 3 3000 PCI, usual
net card, sound card and winmodem.

Booting seems slower than BX boards. Restarting and shutdown are also
slower, possibly due the network or the 815E.

My preferences for o’clocking boards are in this order: P3V4X, BE6-II, BX
Master, CUBX then the CUSL2 (815E).

Next play toy this week will be with CUV4X and 650e cB0.

By the way, anyone want an Abit BX133 RAID? Board fair, but the 370 won’t
hold for 0 +1 (striping + mirroring).

Hope this info is what you are looking for.


From Bart Foreman

My previous board was an ASUS P3V4X, a very stable and forgiving board to say the least. I
play with Celeron II`s for the most part: 533As to be specific.
One of my 533As would run 896mhz (112FSB) stable and would run up to
944mhz, but very shaky. It would post at 1060mhz so I knew it would do
more with the right board.

So I decided to upgrade to the famed CUSL2. My first worry was no ISA
slots (bye bye good old hardware modem). With an extra PCI SupraMax
laying around, I figured give the wife a little upgrade so I switched
with her (atleast she was happy).

Finally got that figured out and had things
running smoothly, or so I thought. Found that the CUSL2 does not like my
D-link PCI network card (3min boot time ARGGGG!!!) In network
games, I freeze for about a minute at random intervals (sucks).

. . . this CPU will run at 1000mhz (125fsb) maybe a little
more if I could up the voltage beyond 1.8 volts. . . . If I had the CUSL2`s performance and stability with the
P3V4X board and most bios options I would be a very happy camper.
Otherwise I am very satisfied with the CUSL2.


From Michael Lewis

P3 850

6035 Alpha
128 Mb Mushkin Rev. 2
Matrox G400 Max
20.5 Gb IBM GXP 75
Toshiba 48x CDROM
3com 905b NIC
SB Alive!
Win98 SE

O/C’d to 1003 Mhz, 118 Mhz FSB, memory at 222 & 5,7. Most stable, trouble-free board I’ve worked with.

No IRQ sharing. Latest SB drivers necessary; must disable Creative SB 16 emulation & legacy USB in bios. This takes care of any shutdown problems.

Harddrive screams – over 80 mbs burst in HDTach.

Board is rev. 2, beta bios 1002.002. Bios reports erroneous CPU temps (about 15 celcius – I wish!). I use MBM and correct by adding 23 degrees.

Fong Kai 603 case seems to run very cool – so this gives me, at idle, 25 degrees on mb and 28 degrees on CPU. Full load -(hot day) 29 degrees and 39 degrees.

Previous setup was k7v, athlon 900 o/c to 1050. CUSL2 seems quicker in Windows, boots faster, shuts down faster, programs open quicker. Could be HD running at ATA100 vs ATA66. (Ed. note: Bootup/shutdown speed mostly a mobo function; speed of L2 cache more likely to be reason for speed differences).

IMHO p3 700 will be perfect chip, allowing memory to be overclocked – say fsb at 146 giving 1022 (for starters).


From Gery Lecker

I went and bought a CUSL2 mainly because my P3V4X (which I was pretty happy with) just did not get along with my SBLive no matter what I did.

I’m quite happy with the CUSL2 as well. Running a 700e@973 rock stable with a PEP66. The only regret is that I had to retire a USR 56k and stick in a Winmodem since there’s no ISA on the 815. Since all I do is fax with modems at this point anyways, I guess it’s no big deal.

The CUSL2 is yet another well designed and manufactured ASUS product. Easy to get up & running, and handles resource management well enough.

815’s a pretty good chipset as far as I’m concerned and will replace BX or Via694x for my pretested overclocked systems. Hopefully the price’ll go down to reasonable rates and also the CNR card’s be available soon.


From Dominic Roszak

I’m currently using the ASUS CUSL2 and I find it to be a very stable board.

Although I am not using the most highend parts, I can tell you that my Celery 566 runs stable at 935mhz (110 X 8.5) with 1.7v (18 degrees C running temp.) using an Alpha Heatsink with a 4500rpm 60mm fan.

I have 384mb PC100 SD-Ram mfg by Apacer, running at 2t/2t/2t. This is a rock-solid board, the first one to perform perfectly with my ATI Rage Fury Maxx. (I’ve used many boards before = Soyo 133 (via), Abit BE6-2, Asus P3C-2000, Asus P3V4X (via).

Of all of them, only the CUSL2 and the Abit BE6-2 (BX), worked to my satisfaction. I preferred the overclocking layout of the Abit BX Board BIOS, but the i815e layout does its job well. A welcome addition is the ability to set FSB/RAM/PCI bus frequencies.

The board is fine except for an incompatibility issue with Creative’s Live Ware 3.0 for the Sound Blaster Live! Family of Cards. (Ed. note: From an earlier comment, looks like a driver issue.)


From Jakob Langgaard

Have been running a preproduction CUSL2 for quite a while.

Been able to overclock PIII 600E to 900MHz and now running a PIII 733EB @ 166MHz FSB.

I had the initial BIOS 1.001 which had issues…… gone from there to 1.001a, 1.001.002, 1.001.006, 1002.001 to now finally 1002.002.
After flashing the BIOS the boards seems DEAD, but in order to “revive” it you have to remove all power,
(Green LED onboard = OFF), and remove the battery for 2 sec. and reseat it again, then it will work.

Stability is great, and even running GeForce cards have not YET proven to be a problem.

Running AGP x 4, Maxtor Diamondmax UATA100. Nice board, with a “build-in ASUS-chill” – at least that’s
what you think when you’re reading the CPU temp, often showing 9-20 degrees celcius below room temp,
with stock heatsink and fan.

Have tried to get the thing reliable @ 180MHz FSB, but will probably need to put a fan on the North bridge
and also a heatsink on the clockgen.


From Christopher Lam

I am using a CUSL2 with a PIII 700mhz. Previously, I was using a PIII 500 + P3V4X. The maximum I could hit with the P3V4X was 140 FSB stable, due to the clock generator overheating.

Afterwards, I got a CUSL2 with my PIII 500 and can easily hit 160mhz FSB @ 800mhz
even though it was only a cA2 stepping chip.

Then I got a PIII 700 mhz (cB0 stepping) which can easily hit 150mhz FSB@1050 mhz, but unstable with heavy loads at 1.75V
After pushing it to 1.85V, it became rock stable, but the m/b seems to be pushing the voltage a bit higher than it says, so when i set it to 1.85, it’s equal to 1.90V.


From Drew

Well I went out and got one got everything set up and tried to install
Windows 98 SE twice, but after the second boot i got the blue screen, then I
got one more after I selected close for the time zone.

Did that twice before I went online and tried to see what was doing it.

Found out a bios update fixed that, so I downloaded the 1002.002 bios.

I then reinstalled W98 SE
again, installed the INF files for the 815 chipset, rebooted and
installed all my other drivers.

Went into Device Manager and looked at the IRQs and they were all messed up.

I would keep getting a network card error. SO off i went and reformatted
Did the same thing, got the same error.

One more time, but this time I made sure I installed all the drivers for my cards first and then I installed the
815 INF files. Rebooted, looked into the Device manager and
saw everything was correct and running.

There are 2 devices that Windows can not detect 1 is listed as a pci
bridge while the other is an unknown device. Once the INF files are
installed W98 SE assigns IRQs to them and any mobo components first. Everything
else gets what’s left over, which causes problems.

If you install the inf drivers last, you get the neccesary components on the
correct IRQs first.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply