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

QDI SynactiX 2E

Board Revision: 1.0
BIOS Version: 1.2 (July 20, 2000)

You can identify the QDI board (Quantum Designs Inc.) by the green PCB color and a little brand sticker on the ICH chip. It is the ICH2 chip that was used for this motherboard. Thanks to that, it supports UltraATA/100 and comes with 2 more USB ports. Unfortunately you will have to purchase an adapter cable for the second two USB-ports by yourself, as it is not included in the package. There are no special add-ons in the box besides the manual, floppy and 80-pin IDE cable. As with most other boards, the COM2 port has been removed from the back panel. QDI placed the connector for the 2nd COM port on the right side, just in front of the PCI slots. The required adapter cable is also part of the motherboard package.

QDI supports Front Side Bus speeds of up to 166 MHz, giving you basic overclocking features. The speed range has to be chosen via two jumpers, determining whether you want the system to auto-detect the system speed or to chose between 66/100/133 MHz. QDI is very proud of their soft setup called 'CPU SpeedEasy', which is as old as Abit's 'SoftMenu'. The patent was even printed into the manual. In it you can find one of the most detailed hardware features and setup descriptions as well as explanations for most BIOS settings. It also introduces QDI's RecoveryEasy system to you. Basically, it is an enhanced partitioning sofware. It allows making copies of your system partition (and others, of course) for backup purposes. Due to the fact that this program has been placed into the 4 MBit Flash ROM, you can start it during the system initialization procedure. Hence you can also change the active partition in order to boot different operating systems.

Also the basic hardware features are top notch: 6 PCI slots, CNR, AGP 4x with a mechanical card lock, AC97 sound system with two line-ins, three DIMM sockets and optional LAN. Although I don't believe that end users will ever equip their AMR or CNR slot, the placement of the CNR at the bottom of the board is well chosen. You may attach up to three additional fans to the on-board fan headers. QDI placed a little piezo speaker on this board, making the system speaker obsolete.

I had no stability issues and performance was good as well. The SynactiX 2E is compatible with almost all kinds of memory: All types of SDRAM except the HSDRAM worked properly. There was also no reason to complain after a deep look at the design. The DIMM sockets can be equipped without its locks interfering with the AGP, all add-on cards can be full-size and all three CPU coolers I had could be installed. There is some space between the floppy and the IDE connectors which make it a bit easier to plug in a flat cable inside the cable-crowded system. Last but not least, this board has a chassis intrusion detection connector as well.