It's hot, it's loud, but for those unwilling to sacrifice performance at any cost the Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 is the card to beat. Naturally however if one GTX 480 is great, two is even better right? That's what we thought when we came across leaked photos of the new ASUS Mars 2 featuring a pair of GeForce GTX 480 chips on a single card.
In terms of power consumption the images we came across revealed three 8-pin power connectors, and outputs for a single DVI, HDMI, and what looks like a display port. Fitting both of these massive chips onto a single PCB is a stunning accomplishment, but we can't wait to get a glimpse of the cooling solution if and when this thing ever comes to market. If it can successfully manage and channel that much heat, it will be nothing short of an engineering masterpiece.
Depending on the price, this could really put a dent in the market share for the new "Ares" 5970. Let's just say if you have $1,000+ in your upcoming GPU budget, you might want to hold off just a little bit longer to see how this story shakes out.
The current lineup of budget cards from both companies has never been better, but for those looking to indulge, it's about time we had a few worthwhile options.
Someone at Asus deserves a raise. We're talking about whoever it was that convinced the company it was a good idea to put so much time and energy into the netbook market, because that strategy has paid off in a big way. For the first time ever, Asus has positioned itself as one of the top 5 PC makers in the world, and it's mostly due to Eee PC sales.
According to market research firm IDC, Asus shipped 4.3 million PCs in the second quarter of 2010, claiming 5.3 percent of the market. That also represents an 84 percent growth rate for the quarter, putting the company shoulder-to-shoulder with Toshiba for the fifth spot.
"It's remarkable, particularly for people who haven't seen the Asus name around," said Loren Loverde, head of IDC's Quarterly Worldwide PC Tracker. "Toshiba is a long-time venerable PC player. Asus is a relative newcomer. But they have been shipping pretty significant volumes (of PCs), more substantially outside the U.S., but pretty significantly in most markets."
Hewlett-Packard still leads the pack with 18.1 percent of the market, trailed by Dell, Acer, and Lenovo, in that order.
The bean counters at Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and every other first-tier motherboard maker are working overtime crunching numbers and trying to get a pulse on the mobo market.
June hasn't been kind to any of the motherboard makers except MSI, which saw revenues jump 13.05 percent over the previous month. ECS took the biggest hit, recording a drop of 17.73 percent, followed by Asus at 5.53 percent. Gigabyte, Pegatron, and ASRock also skidded backwards to the tune of 5.48 percent, 3.1 percent, and 0.94 percent, respectively.
But while June wasn't particularly kind to most of the major motherboard players, they've all seen positive gains for the year, except for ASRock, which is down 11.94 percent. Asus is the biggest winner, having increased its revenues to 68.62 percent on year, while Pegatron and MSI recorded gains of 20.4 percent and 19.03 percent, respectively. Everyone else saw double digit gains as well.
Well here's something we didn't expect to see, at least not yet. According to reports, both Acer and Asus seem content with each one's respective netbook lineup and will see how the market plays out before deciding on whether or not to release any new models.
This doesn't include upcoming SKUs already slated for release, as both companies will inject a few more netbooks into the market around the middle of August. But after that, Acer and Asus want to see what kind of demand remains before forging ahead with more models, a stark departure from the near constant barrage of new netbooks from each camp the past two years.
What's even more interesting about this is that Intel plans to release its dual-core Atom N550 processor in the third quarter of this year. Outside of a handful of specialty netbooks sporting Nvidia's Ion graphics or AMD's Mobility Radeon series, dual-core netbooks are few and far between. Though netbooks have always been about portability first and foremost, one of the chief complaints is that they're simply not powerful enough, and a dual-core chip could give the popular PC segment a needed kick in the pants. However, Intel's price point for the N550 puts the price gap between it and the N455/N475 at around $11 to $22, which has made netbook makers hesitant in building models around the faster part.
Asus has managed to squeeze about as much performance as currently possible into its new netbook, the Eee PC 1215N. It all starts with a dual-core Intel Atom D525 processor clocked at 1.8GHz, which is supplemented by Nvidia's Ion graphics chipset. Nvidia's Optimus technology is also part of the package, allowing the 1215N to switch between the discrete Ion chipset and integrated graphics to extend battery life.
Other features include choice of 250GB or 320GB hard drive, 500GB of cloud-based storage (Asus WebStorage), Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and HDMI-out.
With the HDMI-out port and Nvidia's Ion graphics, Asus claims you'll have no trouble playing back Full HD 1080p content on your a large screen TV. Embedded hardware decoders include H.264, VC1, and MPEG2.
ECS may not be on your radar when shopping for new computer parts, but it may end up in your system anyway. According to reports, Asus plans to outsource a portion of its production of motherboards and videocards to ECS. If true, it's somewhat of a curious decision, given that the two companies are rivals of sorts, but apparently Asus wants to wean itself off of Pegatron Technology, at least partially, industry sources say.
None of this is official yet and Asus is keeping tight lipped, but the company did recently add Foxconn and Quanta as production partners for notebooks and Eee PCs, as well as employed Foxconn as its OEM maker of Garmin-Asus smartphones.
While Asus is looking to expand its production relationships, Pegatron has been picking up the slack by soliciting business from motherboard and videocard orders from Gigabyte, the sources added.
What differentiates one netbook model from any other of the same size? There are only a few flavors, after all: last-gen netbooks, with Atom N270 or N280 processors and Windows XP; current-gen netbooks, with Pine Trail Atom processors and Windows 7; and Ion-based netbooks, with Nvidia mobile graphics and middlin’ battery life. Well, you could wait for second-gen Ion netbooks, which promise excellent gaming power and 10-hour battery life. Or you could go for the Asus Eee 1201N, which offers first-gen Ion performance and—get this—a friggin’ dual-core processor.
The 12-inch 1201N is the first netbook we’ve tested with an honest-to-goodness dual-core processor inside—Intel’s 1.6GHz Atom N330, which you may remember from bare-bones Ion boards and nettops. Paired with the N330 is Nvidia’s first-gen Ion platform, which turns a 12-inch netbook into something approaching a gaming platform (if 7-year-old titles fit your idea of games). The last Ion device we reviewed, the HP Mini 311 (February 2010), used a single-core N280, while upcoming second-gen Ion netbooks will use single-core Atom N450s. So is there a niche for a dual-core Atom netbook with Ion?
Just about everyone knows that Nvidia’s hot new Fermi graphics chip is literally hot. So, when Asus bundled its new ENGTX480 card with a custom voltage tweaker for overclocking, we wondered if it was such a good idea.
After all, do you really need the card to run hotter? And with the speed of the ENGTX480, you probably don’t need the higher clocks anyway. The ENGTX480 ships with 32 shader processors (what Nvidia calls “CUDA cores”) disabled, yet the card still manages to be the fastest single-GPU card you can buy today.
Rolling out of T-Mobile this week is the Garminfone, which as you might have guessed is both a smartphone and GPS. Asus had a hand in building the device, opting to stuff a Qualcomm MSM7227 processor (600MHz) into the 4.57 inch x 0.5 inch by 2.46 inch smarthpone rather than the far sexier Snapdragon chip clocked at 1GHz.
Other design decisions include a 3.5-inch display with a 320 x 480 resolution, 4GB of internal memory, and a 3 megapixel camera. Living up to its namesake, the Garminfone comes with extensive navigation features with turn-by-turn directions, voice, weather, traffic, and gas prices, and you can even record your own custom voices as navigation prompts with Garmin Voice Studio.
Unlike other smartphones, where GPS is typically tacked on as an afterthought, the opposite holds true for the Garminfone - it's primarily a GPS with smartphone capabilities. Layered on top of Android is a custom home screen, though it does come preoloaded with Google Mobile Services giving you instant access to Google Calendar, Gmail, YouTube, and GoogleTalk.
The Garminfone is available now for $200 after $50 mail-in-rebate card and with a 2-year service agreement.
Most first-tier motherboard makers started off the year with lofty shipments goals, but it looks as though all of them will have to play catch-up after a disappointing month of sales. Asus, Pegatron, MSI, and Gigabyte each saw over 10 percent on-month revenue drops in the month of May, the mobo makers said.
Waning demand in Europe and China are largely to blame for the slumping sales, which the companies hope is only temporary. Asus was hit particularly hard, noting revenues of $674.12 million for May, a decrease of 22 percent on the month. However, Asus is still up by a whopping 79.71 percent on the year, and up over 80 percent in combined revenues for the first five months of 2010.
The same trend holds true for Gigabyte, though to a lesser extent. Gigabyte's revenues for May were down almost 11 percent, but up nearly 6 percent on the year, while accumulated revenues from January through May were up 17.63 percent on the year.
MSI's numbers are down, both for May (17.88 percent) and on the year (0.07 percent), though combined revenues were up for the first five months (21.74 percent).