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Transcends TSASL3 i815E Motherboard
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Date: Dec 15, 2001
Section:Motherboards
Author: HH Editor
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Transcends TSASL3 i815E Motherboard - Page 1

Transcends TS-ASL3 - i815E Motherboard
Straight Shooting Socket 370 Performance

By Dave "Davo" Altavilla
12/5/00


It seems like the folks at Transcend only came into the PC Motherboard scene within the last year or so.  However, they have been in business making Memory Modules and Motherboards since 1988.  Perhaps the reason they seem so new to us this year at HotHardware, is because their product offering has been rounding out nicely as of recent.

On our first pass with a Transcend product, we showed you one of their VIA based offerings.  This is a HotHardware look at Transcend's efforts with Intel's very popular new mainstream chipset, the i815E.  Transcend's VIA based boards seem like fairly solid merchandise.  However, as i815 boards go, how does the Transcend TS-ASL3 stand up?  All this and more in the pages to follow.

Specifications Of The ASL3
The complete i815E package


         

Processor

  • Support Intel Celeron FC-PGA 533A+ MHz (66MHz FSB)

  • Support Intel Pentium III FC-PGA 500~1000 MHz   (100MHz FSB)

  • Support Intel Pentium III FC-PGA 533~1000 MHz   (133MHz FSB)

Chipset

  • Intel 815E (82815+82801BA) with ICH2

System Bus :

  • 66~166MHz adjustable by BIOS

  • FSB 66/100/133 MHz guaranteed

System Memory

  • 3 x 168-pin  DIMM sockets support up to 512MB  SDRAM at 100MHz and 133MHz

Graphics/Audio

  • Intel Embedded VGA on board

  • Built-in AC97 CODEC

On board IDE

  • 2 x Bus Master, support up to 4 devices

  • Supports DMA mode 2, PIO mode 3/4 and Ultra DMA 33/66/100

Expansion Slots

  • 5 x PCI slots (32-bit Bus master with PCI v2.2 compliant)

  • 1 x CNR (Communicate Network Riser) Slot

  • 1 x AGP (1x/2x/4x) Slot

Board Dimensions

  • Four layers, 8.5" x12" (21.5 cm x 30.5 cm)

  • ATX form factor

ACPI BIOS

  • Award PnP 4Mb with ACPI support (Intel FWH)
  • Supports multiple-boot from E-IDE / SCSI /CD- ROM / FDD / LS120 / ZIP/1 x FDD port ( 3 mode, 1.2/1.44/2.88MB)
  • Boot-up Virus Warning
  • PnP BIOS in 2Mbit Flash EEPROM)
  • Green features


 

I/O Port (PC99 Color Compliant)

  • 1 x FDD port(3mode,1.2/1.44/2.88MB FDD, LS120 )
  • 1 x PS/2 Mini-Din keyboard port (6-pin)
  • 1 x Parallel printer port (25-pin, SPP/EPP/ECP)
  • 2 x RS-232 Serial (9-pin, 16550 UART compatible
  • 4 x USB Ports
  • Game/MIDI connector
  • 1 x Audio Line-out jack
  • 1 x Audio MIC-in jack
  • 1 x IrDA port (10-pin)
Boot-Block Flash BIOS ( Intel 82802AB, FWH)
  • Award PCI BIOS with green, ACPI, APM, plug and play, DMI functions (Default )
  • Supports multiple-boot from E-IDE / SCSI /CD-ROM / FDD / LS120 / ZIP, and Year 2000 complaint
  • 4 M bit Flash Memory
System Hardware Monitor
  • Voltage/Temperature/Fan monitoring
  • on board voltage monitors for CPU core, +3.3V, +/- 5V, +/- 12V, VTT, 5VSB, VRTC
  • 3 x fan status monitors with F/W programmable fan speed
  • CPU overheat alarm
Other Features
  • Keyboard power on (hotkey/password)
  • Power on by alarm
  • Modem ring on
  • Software power off control.PC99 Compliant
  • Boot-up Virus warning
  • Wake-on-LAN
  • Suspend to RAM (STR)
  • Power failure resume
  • CPU Core voltage Adjustable up to 10% buffer (Optional)

 


 

 


 


The list of features and capabilities with this board is comprised of the latest enhancements and add-ons that the i815E chipset brings to the table.  For one, we really like seeing 6 PCI slots.  The CNR slot is conveniently cornered at the end of the line, sharing an available bay with the 6th PCI slot.  There are also the standard on board audio (via an AC97 Codec) and graphics (courtesy of the not-so thrilling i752 graphics core embedded in the chipset), ATA100 EIDE Interfaces and Health Monitoring.  Again nothing out of the ordinary here but then again the ASL3 doesn't miss a trick on features either.  (click images for full view)

   

The ATX Power Connector (above left) is located in the most perfect position it could be in.  With the placement of this bulky connector on the edge of the board, one is left with the option of tucking the ATX Power Cable away and out of the airflow around the CPU cooler.  Finally, the Winbond Health Monitoring Chip, seen in the above shot on the right, provides a detailed analysis of the vital signs of your CPU, Voltages and Cooling Fan functions. 


Setup, Installation, BIOS Settings and Over-Clocking

 
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Transcends TSASL3 i815E Motherboard - Page 2

Transcends TS-ASL3 - i815E Motherboard
Straight Shooting Socket 370 Performance

By Dave "Davo" Altavilla
12/5/00

 

Installation and Setup With The ASL3
Make sure you get revision 1.04 or later of this board.


The ASL3 was a very forgiving board with respect to setup and installation.  In addition, Transcend does a nice job of packing in a few extra goodies to make sure you have whatever you need to complete your system with respect to their product.

Our cable pack included both Serial and USB Port header/cable assemblies, in addition to the connectors already mounted on the board.  This is a nice touch versus many of the boards we get these days with just EIDE and Floppy cables.

During power up there were no pitfalls to report with the exception of one minor issue with an older revision of this board and it's BIOS.

CPU Setup

SDRAM Timing

CPU Voltage Adjust

Health Monitoring

The first version of the ASL3 that we received was rev. 1.03.  We had trouble setting the CPU voltage in the BIOS (bottom left) and it was not affecting this setting whatsoever.  We contacted Transcend and were quickly sent revision 1.04 of the board.  We are happy to report, that this rev. worked flawlessly with respect to any of the BIOS settings including CPU Voltage adjustments.  If you are going to purchase this board, just make sure the dealer gives you revision 1.04 or later.

The rest of the BIOS options are top notch.  For 133MHz. FSB processors, you can set front side bus speeds from 133 to 166MHz. in 1MHz. increments.

The board has a series of jumpers you can set for specific front side bus speeds supported by your processor.  For 100MHz. FSB processors you'll get options from 100 to 132MHz. in 1MHz. increments.  Although jumpers are usually not a welcomed feature, this arrangement is very convenient none the less.  Since most folks running today's "Coppermine" CPUs are already utilizing a 133MHz. FSB, the range of speed options available in the BIOS are more than adequate.  Which brings us to our next segment.

Overclocking With The ASL3
Ready for the challenge, rock solid stability

With a wide range of FSB options available to us in the BIOS, we were poised to overclock to our heart's content.  In addition, the jumper settings you noted above, adjust the "range" of the voltage adjustments in the BIOS.  There are three settings available, "low, medium and high".  The default setting is medium and with this, we were able to set the voltage up to as much as .4V over spec.  This is more than enough for anybody, at least in our book. With only .1V over spec, we took our 933MHz. Pentium III up a few notches with excellent stability.

1.03GHz.(147MHz. X 7)  is a nice boost up from 933.  With our fairly hefty Global Win Cooler from PCNut, we were able to keep things stable at this speed without the need for anything exotic or expensive cooling the CPU.  For us, the ASL3 was an impressive "over-clocker".

Benchmarks - Sandra and Business Winstone

 
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Transcends TSASL3 i815E Motherboard - Page 3

Transcends TS-ASL3 - i815E Motherboard
Straight Shooting Socket 370 Performance

By Dave "Davo" Altavilla
12/5/00

  
Content Creation Winstone 2001 taxes the system more with applications like Adobe Photoshop 5.5, Macromedia Director 8.0 and Sonic Foundry Sound Forge.  Let's see how the ASL3 does under the strain.

Head-to-Head Content Creation Winstone Performance Tests
Versus the Abit SA6R and the MSI MS-6337, Transcend's ASL3 does not disappoint

 

The marks are even closer on this playing field with all contenders coming in at almost virtually the same level.  In fact, the variance shown here is within this specific test's margin of error.

 

Let's finish the job with a quick Quake 3 frame rate score at low resolution.

We see pretty much the same story here as was expected.  With less than a 2% difference in frame rate.  At higher resolutions the performance was identical.

 

So, with the performance of the ASL3 on par with most leading i815E boards, we are left with the question, on what basis do we judge the total package?

 

 

With most top quality i815E boards from major name manufacturers, performance in the field is within about 5% of each other.  As a result, we are compelled to pass judgment based almost soley on features, stability, quality, overclocking capabilities and cost.  We have seen the ASL3 listing at about $130 with some on line vendors (Fry's carries them fairly regularly, for those of you that need to inspect your PC gear personally first) and so on this level versus others at $150+, it is an excellent buy.  Furthermore, stability with this board is second to none that we have tested thus far and there have been many.

Finally, this full featured i815E board also has a bit of "maverick" under the hood with its ample FSB selections and voltage tweaks.  It clearly will overclock your processor, should you choose to do so, along with the best of the field.  There were no real drawbacks with this board with the minor exception that you need to make sure you obtain revision 1.04 or later, of the design.

 

We'll give the Transcend TS -ASL3 a Heat Meter Rating of....

 

Got a beef?  Or do you often ask yourself, "where's the beef"?
Find out in the Hot Hardware Conference Room Today!

 

 
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Transcends TSASL3 i815E Motherboard - Page 4
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