The Asus VH242HL-P is one of only two monitors we tested with a stand that tilts, swivels, and is height-adjustable. The 23.6-inch display is based on a six-bit TN panel with FRC and a native resolution of 1920x1080.
The monitor’s default setting prevents changes to brightness and contrast, so we switched to User Mode to tune the monitor when using DisplayMate. Red, green, and blue were all set to 100 percent here, but the entire display nonetheless over-emphasized blue. We also ran into a problem with the gamma measurement test, which indicated a serious color-tracking error. We finally put the monitor into sRGB mode and sacrificed brightness control in the interest of color accuracy.
It looks like we'll have to wait a little bit longer for Asus' Eee Keyboard, which was was supposed to launch in October. That didn't happen, nor does it look like we'll see the keyboard this month because it hasn't yet passed wireless regulation testing in te U.S. and Europe. How long that will take is anyone's guess, and it's up in the air whether Asus will manage to ship the Eee Keyboard in time for the holidays.
Perhaps turning lemons into lemonade, Asus said it will use the delay to its advantage by beefing up the hardware specs. The company plans to swap the CPU for one that is faster, and it will get a new OS too. On top of it all, the Eee Keyboard will add capacitive touchscreen capabilities. All this while still checking in around the $500 mark.
We'll update you with more info as soon as we have it.
With some of the first USB 3.0 and SATA 6 devices already released, the first capable motherboards are now available for purchase. Asus and Gigabyte were both known to be working on new boards earlier this summer and both companies are now shipping their latest models.
Asus is shipping two boards, one with a P55 chipset, and the other with an X58. Due to the single lane bandwidth bottleneck of the P55 chipset, Asus uses a bridge chip (PLX8613) and four PCIe lanes so the board can run in SLI and Crossfire modes. Gigabyte is shipping seven different boards in the P55A series. Gigabyte opted to avoid the bridge chip so dual-card modes will not be enabled in the board.
These motherboards are shipping despite delayed chipset releases from Intel supporting the latest interfaces. Manufacturers do not expect to have new Intel chipsets with USB 3.0 support until 2011.
There’s no good reason for the existence of Asus’s Xonar HDAV 1.3 Slim soundcard, and yet it’s a godsend for those of us who want to hear the high-definition soundtracks on so many of the Hollywood movies released on Blu-ray disc. Blame Microsoft for the contradiction: No one would need a product like this if Vista provided a protected audio path.
After all, this card doesn’t decode Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, nor does it enhance the audio or the video; it just passes the signals through to your A/V receiver. Using the included HDMI cable, the card takes the output from your videocard, re-encrypts the soundtrack so that no one can intercept the bit stream to make a bit-perfect copy, and outputs the encrypted audio and video to a second HDMI port. For those without HDMI, Asus also includes a DVI-to-HDMI cable.
The protected audio path requires a software component, too, so Asus bundles a copy of ArcSoft’s TotalMedia Theatre with the Xonar. Not your favorite media player? Too bad, it’s the only one that’s compatible. For what it’s worth, we don’t have any complaints about the program. There’s nothing objectionable about its user interface; it can handle all the major codecs; and it supports BD-Live, so you can access whatever online content is linked to the movie you’re watching.
If you were bummed like most of us that Intel’s shiny new P55 chipset didn’t include USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0 support, Asus's new U3S6 should make you happy.
For a mere 30 smackers, the U3S6 card gives you two USB 3.0 ports and two SATA 6.0 ports in a PCI-E card. The card has three primary components: an NEC D720200F1 USB 3.0 controller, a Marvell 88SE9123 SATA 6.0 controller, and a PLX PEX8613. The PLX part is the same chip the company uses on its SATA6 boards to helps ameliorate a problem with the P55 chipset.
More photos, details and our analysis after the jump!
Intel may be content to wait until 2011 before jumping on the USB 3.0 bandwagon, but that isn't stopping third-party mobo makers from taking advantage of the SuperSpeed spec right now. Take Asus, for example, who has just launched a pair of motherboards the company claims features "true" USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s performance.
So what exactly is all this talk of 'true?' According to Asus, a special expansion bridge chip outfitted to its P7P55D and P7P55D-E series alleviates bandwidth constrictions for both the USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s controller chips, whereas other solutions might knock the theoretical bandwidth down by as much as 50 percent.
Other features of the new boards include CrossFireX and SLI support, eSATA, up to 10 USB 2.0 ports (and 2 USB 3.0 ports), Firewire, DDR3 2200 support, and full Windows 7 support.
The mobile phone market boasts worldwide sales growth of 29 percent year-over-year to reach 180 million units. Smartphones are expected to account for 37 percent of global handset sales by 2012 with forecasted revenue of $191 million by 2012. So, what does that have to do with PC’s?
Analysts think that PC makers want a piece of that huge growth action. The growth percentages mentioned above are already far above that of worldwide PC sales numbers and outside of Apple, few PC makers have been able to cash in. Although, “PC vendors will find it difficult to simply use existing supply chains and channels to expand their presence in the smart phone market,” according to Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner.
Despite the difficulties, it is inevitable that more PC manufacturers will dip their toes into the success of mobile markets even though it is a very different ocean. Acer, Asus and Toshiba have all announced smartphone launches and this trend is expected to continue.
Already a major force in the mobile PC market, Asus said it expects to ship 16 million notebooks and netbooks combined in 2010. That would be four million more than it shipped in 2009, but there's plenty of room for growth, suggests company president and CEO Jerry Shen, who predicts that global notebook shipments will balloon from 140 million units in 2009 to 180-190 million units in 2010.
The lofty goal is part of Asus' bigger objective, which is to position itself firmly as one of the world's top-three notebook vendors by 2011. Towards that end, Asus has already shifted roughly 30 percent of its popular Eee PC netbooks to Windows 7, which Shen says will be the primary driving force for notebook growth.
While the Eee PC line is Asus' bread and butter, the company also expects its ultra-thin lineup to grow in popularity and account for 20 to 30 percent of all its notebook shipments in the first half of 2010.
Shen also talked about his company's plans for the fast-growing e-reader market. According to Shen, Asus will soon launch its 9-inch grayscale e-book reader, although at first the focus will be on cooperating with a Taiwan-based charity organization. A consumer version is expected to follow suit perhaps as early as the first quarter of 2010 and be built around the same 9-inch grayscale panel.
And what about 3D notebooks and dual-booting Android netbooks? These are both areas Shen said Asus is taking a conservative approach.
So you want a Netbook, but you’re not crazy about dealing with a slow computer? You’re in luck. The recently leaked specs for the upcoming ASUS Eee PC 1201N should make any geek’s wallet feel a little too heavy. The 1201N is said to be packing a 1.6 GHz Atom N330 Dual Core CPU paired with 3GB of RAM. The standard configuration will have a 320GB hard drive as well.
The thing that really sets it apart is the video. The 1201N will be rocking the Nvidia ION chipset (Geforce 9400M), which will be pumping video to a 12 inch display with a resolution of 1366x768. You can also expect an HDMI out with the ION chipset.
There will also be a less powerful version, the 1201HA, with a standard Atom chipset and Intel graphics in the same 12 inch chassis. No pricing information is available right now. Release date is also a mystery. The fact that they both run Windows 7 indicates they won’t be available until after Windows 7 is released on October 22.