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Heir To The BX: 18 Pentium III Motherboards Using The 815 Chipset

DFI CS35-EC

Board Revision: 2
BIOS Version: July 12, 2000

The CS35-EC is a MircoATX motherboard. Nevertheless, it is not worth less than its competitors, as it comes with the ICH2 chip. Thanks to this, an UltraATA/100 controller is available as well as 2+2 USB ports. DFI even includes an adapter cable for the second COM port, which is not bad for a MicroATX motherboard that is usually meant for meagerly equipped office computers only. In the last VIA motherboard round up, Gigabyte used an AGP card lock. DFI took over the idea and ships their CS35-EC motherboard with this mechanical lock as well. Most users won't ever need it, but people who have to carry around their computer can be sure that the AGP card stays plugged in tightly. OEMs will definitely love this feature, as it helps to make sure that their systems will work right out of the box after shipment.

Three DIMM sockets are more than I would expect from a MicroATX motherboard. But that's not all. DFI equipped an AC97 sound system, using Analog Devices' AD1881 codec and four (!) internal line-ins. That's more than the competition provides. A little piezo speaker is also placed on the motherboard, thus you do not need the system speaker any more.

To setup your CPU, first you need to choose the system speed: 66, 100 or 133 MHz. In the BIOS you may choose overclocked speeds afterwards. The board offers full monitoring options, but you cannot select a shutdown temperature.

Testing the different memory modules was a pleasure with this board. Everything except the HSDRAM DIMM worked. Only few components are placed around the CPU socket, thus it was no problem to use each of the three CPU coolers. DFI placed three fan headers on the board, again more than I would expect. All connectors are clearly labeled, so that you won't need the manual to attach the power, reset and LED cables. If anybody needs the second COM port or more than the two external USB ports, one will have to get the proper adapter cable, as DFI did not put them inside the box.

Finally, stability and performance are on a quite high level, underlining the good impression of this motherboard.