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ASUS CUV4X Motherboard: a review

by Bob Wright
2001/03/10



Recently, we were approached by a client to build a special server, a web server. Now, web servers are a special breed of animal. They typically do not require a great deal of processor power, but ram is a big issue, to deal with a vast volume of traffic. That sent us to investigating motherboards. We discovered that our standard server motherboard was limited to 768mgs of Ram. That simply would not do in this case.

That led us to finally use the ASUS CUV4X motherboard, because as you guessed it, this motherboard not uses PC133 memory, but it supports 1.5gigabytes of Ram. This board uses the VIA chipset, clearly one of the fastest for using an Intel processor.

We installed the motherboard into a 4U rackmount case, (a four U or Unit case takes up 4 units of height in either a storage cabinet or telco rack). The installation went fine, but then it is rare to run into a problem installing nearly all ATX motherboards today, as the ATX format has become truely universal. We installed a 733mhz 133fsb PentiumIII CPU, as I said before, processor power was our least important issue. But then we set in with three 512mg PC133 Dimms. That is a great deal of ram by anyone's measure. I would not recommend using this much ram with any Microsoft operating system, even Windows2000. But, when it comes to servers, I am a great fan of Linux, in this case we used Redhat Linux.

Although it is not required in a server, we added a 16mg AGP 4x Trident video card. Why such a card when a server really only needs a basic 1 or 4mg card for Linux? It has been my experience that although you would not believe it, system administrators get bored, just like everyone else. Then you have them playing a video game on a server. You do not think this happens? I assure you, it happens. Anyway, this was the basic setup though we did add two network cards, a Mylex SCSI 3 LVD controller and four 72mg SCSI drives. Why the dual network cards? In this setup, they have redundant networks and each is connected with a separate Network card.

Now, to complete the setup, I entered the BIOS to complete the configuration. This was definitely a WOW!! ASUS has done it right, with probably the most configurable CMOS in a BIOS I have seen to date. This one is a monster and for a Windows user it is astounding. I highly recommend this board based solely on the Bios, if for no other reason.

Now, this is the point you would expect all sorts of testing numbers from applications like Winbench... but, since we find those numbers of little use... I am not wasting my time or yours with that sort of data. Let's just say that it is a screamer with the VIA chipset.

Okay... you have the basics. We built a monster of a server and decided we had to be sure the VIA chipset would be able to meet the demand of a web server. So, what did we do? We hit it with our own DOS, denial of service, attack. We set it up on our network and cranked in a small application we dug up on a hacker's web site. I can now tell you that we will not share this application as it can create too much unintended havoc in the wrong hands.

This little DOS application was first set to 50,000 hits, then a hard 125,000 simaltanious hits. The ASUS CUV4X board did not even break a sweat... actually, we did not reach overload and a system failure until we finally reach over 200,000 simultaneous hits. The VIA chipset and the 1.5gig of Ram were very effective. I can also tell you that we are quite comfortable that this motherboard will function just fine for our intend use.

Would I recommend this motherboard based on other issues? Absolutely. This motherboard is a bit pricy for a low end PC, costing around $100... but, well worth it for mid level or high end PCs. We have decided to use it as often as we can in the future. The onboard sound is an added bonus for any Windows user who decides on this motherboard.

Bob

 

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