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The CS61-EC 815EP Mainboard

DFI Corporation has over 19 years of commitment in the computer product design and production. Their main production focus is targeted towards Home/Business PC mainboards. They offer a complete line of mainboards ranging from low end to the latest high-end i850 Pentium 4 solutions. DFI also co-develops with Intel and 3rd party developers for the latest technology on chipsets and motherboards. While not the biggest, DFI easily makes the TOP 10 biggest mainboard corporations in the world. This is the first time we take a look at a DFI based product and I would like to point out that this is our very first 815EP review to be published. We are looking at DFI's latest 815EP Flagship, the CS61-EC.

The board
  • Intel 815EP Chip
  • Socket 370
  • Intel Pentium® III FCPGA 533EB-1GHz/133MHz
  • Intel Pentium® III FCPGA 500E-850E/100MHz
  • Celeron™ FCPGA 566-700MHz/66MHz
  • Celeron™ PPGA 300A-533MHz/66MHz
  • 1 AGP slot (Supports 4x/2x AGP)
    6 PCI slots
    1 CNR slot


130 - 170$ USD

1 2 3 4 5 6 7.5    
The 815x Chipset

The 815 chipset was announced in early July 2000 at Computex 2000. The 815 platforms came to the market to give the expensive, Rambus enabled, 820 platforms a break. That’s how we the consumers see it anyway. Intel had a very different point of view when they finally released this RDRAM killer. Intel stated a few times that the 815 chip-set would be a low cost solution, and to prove that, they included an integrated low cost video solution and limited its memory expansion to (512mb).

The 815 platforms offer everything a VIA133A, i810E, BX chip-sets combined all together has to offer, and much more. The Solano 815 chip-set was available under two different phases at first and just a few months back a third and fourth version showed up. First and second are the 815 and the 815E. What differs both is their South Bridge.

The most advanced version with the E is using a newer I/O Controller Hub, also known as ICH. The newer ICH stepping name is ICH2. The ICH2 offers several newer improvements over ICH such as the use of four USB ports, CNR support and support of the newer ATA100 standard. The I/O controller hub2 can be found in Intel platforms such as the i840 and i820 with the new E stepping.

The ICH version in the other hand offers similar features to today’s recent available platforms such as the 810 chipset. The older ICH supports the standard features as ATA/66, two USB ports. A reasonable money difference between both versions could be noticed. It will be up to you, the user, to decide which will fit your needs. Features such as ATA/100 might not always be worth the money, but features like four USB ports could definitely come in handy these days.

The third version of the 815 is 815EP Chipset. This one is an identical solution to the 815E but does not features the integrated video adapter, making it a better choice for the users that will be using their own 3D Graphics card. And the fourth is 815P; this one is the same as its older brother the 815 but without the integrated graphics adapter. A fifth version, the 815EM is also available but we will not be touching this one just yet because it’s focused for the mobile market.

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