Introduction

Since 1988, Transcend has primarily focused on memory production and has become one of the largest memory manufacturers, producing more than 2000 types of memory.  Ten years later, they decided to enter the motherboard market as well.  Since then, they have produced quite a number of motherboards for both Intel and AMD systems.

Compared to most other companies, Transcend is really late entering the motherboard market.  As such, it has been hard for them to gain a significant portion of the market, especially since they definitely lack the reputation of some larger manufacturers like ABIT, ASUS, and Microstar.  In order to build its reputation, Transcend set a goal to design some high quality motherboards with decent performance, and they have been mostly successful with their previous products.

Now Intel has put i815/i815E chipset as their flagship chipset, sure enough Transcend released their i815E solution -- the TS-ASL3.  Let's see if the board can meet Transcend's goals.

Transcend TS-ASL3

CPU Interface
Socket-370
Chipset
Intel 815E
Form Factor
ATX
Bus Speeds

66 – 99 MHz in 1MHz increments (66MHz CPU)

100 – 132 MHz in 1MHz increments (100MHz CPU)

133 – 166 MHz in 1 MHz increments (133MHz CPU)

Voltages Supported

Auto Detect

+0.05 / +0.1 / +0.2 / +0.3 / +0.4 / -0.05 / -0.1 Volts

Memory Slots
3 168-pin DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots

1 AGP Slot
6 PCI Slots (2 Full Length)
1 CNR Slots
0 ISA Slots

On-board Audio
Sigmatel STAC9721T AC 97 CODEC
BIOS

Award Modular BIOS 6.00PG


The Good

The TS-ASL3 is a very "standard" i815E motherboard, as Transcend did not put any extra or special components on the board, but instead focused on the overall performance and quality.  For starters, the PCB is about 12 by 8.5 inches.  Such a small PCB generally helps to reduce the cost of the motherboard.

One thing that Transcend did put an effort into was the placement of the power supply connector, which can be found along the right edge of the PCB such that the power cables will not have to run over the memory and the CPU and block airflow to the CPU.  This comes in handy when we are talking about overclocking, where the CPU will dissipate more heat than usual.  We do not see many manufacturers putting the connector on the right edge, so we can see that Transcend does listen to users out there.

The 82815 Graphic and Memory Controller Hub (GMCH) is right below the CPU socket.  This GMCH is the core for the whole i815 chipset, featuring an integrated i752-based on-board 3D video and support for external AGP 4X graphics cards.  One serial port is replaced by the VGA connector at the back of the motherboard.  However, from our "Intel i815 chipset" article, the i752 on-board video has a very poor performance.  It might be enough for users who do not need any 3D application, but for most users out there, the on-board video is definitely not acceptable.  The AGP slot is a "universal slot," so you can install almost any AGP cards.

The Features

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