Asus has to be feeling on top of the world, assuming sources at the company aren't blowing hot air. As DigiTimes reports it, those sources are claiming that Asus feasts on the lion's share of P45-based motherboard sales, with the company accounting for a whopping 80 percent of worldwide shipments.
Third quarter motherboard shipments are estimated at 6.12 million units, representing a growth rate of 20 percent and surpassing the company's original estimation of 15 percent. The numbers bode well for what's to come, as demand for Intel's X58 chipset based boards is also expected to run high.
Has there ever been a better time than right now to be a PC enthusiast? Due to oversupply, RAM remains dirt cheap, and pricing wars between Nvidia and ATI in the graphics sector, and Intel and AMD on the processor front have made it so you can build a killer rig on a manageable budget. Could motherboards be next?
If there is to be a price war among motherboard vendors, you can count Gigabyte out of the battle. Richard Ma, VP of Gigabyte, says his company has no plans to cut motherboard pricing in response Asus' recent adjustments, fearing that such a move would force Asus' hand to lower prices even more. Instead, Ma says his company's strategy will be to focus on improving quality, an area he claims is of primary concern to those who purchase mid-range and high-end motherboards.
Motherboard shipments, while still meeting Gigabyte's goal of 20 million units, haven't met the company's expectations the past two months, in part because of the new price competition. However, September sales have been kinder to Gigabyte, and Ma expects October and November to be even better with Core i7 CPUs and the X58 chipset on the horizon.
Is Gigabyte making a mistake by not dropping prices? Hit the jump and let us know.
If you ever wondered what constitutes an epic fail as opposed to a regular fail, here it is. According to UK based news and reviews site PC Pro, one of its readers claims to have received a recovery DVD with his Asus notebook purchase filled with various software cracks and several confidential documents. Oops!
The reader says his antivirus software discovered a key crack for the WinRAR compression software, and upon further investigation, he uncovered a folder labeled 'Crack,' inside which are what he claims are serial numbers for other software. But that's not all that was included. Another directory is said to contain confidential Microsoft documents for PC manufacturers, complete with program files and key codes. PC Pro says that yet another directory contains internal Asus documents along with source code for some of the company's software.
Apparently this isn't an isolated incident, prompting an Asus spokesman to issue an apology to affected customers, saying "We will be investigating this at quite a high level. Once the investigation is complete, we will ensure it doesn't happen again."
But as the tussle gets more cacophonic, netbook manufacturers will have to cut prices just to be heard by customers over the din. Richard Doherty, research director for a market research firm, Envisioneering, expects majority of netbooks to sell at $299 in the foreseeable future with the possibility of prices plummeting down to $249 by the holiday season.
The podcast gang supplies our listenership with gold-medal-worthy tech advice this week! We lead off with a discussion of what your email address says about you and then crown the winner of our Win a Dream Date with Norm competition. Unfortunately, the man of the hour was out of the office working on his high bar routine, but we sifted through the entries, judged each participant on a 10-point scale, and decided that one of the myriad contestants rose above all others!
The ol' No BS Podcast mailbox was overflowing with questions this week. We discuss the possibility of using an Nividia and ATI card in one rig, how to take care of your customer-service woes, and whether you should switch to 64-bit Vista. Gordon Mah Ung also takes the floor for a few minutes to supply us with another Rant of the Week!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
You knew it would happen sooner or later, and now it has; a Wii controller knockoff for the PC. Sort of. Asus has dubbed its new Wii remote lookalike as the Eee Stick, "an easy-to-sue use yet highly versatile Plug and Play wireless controller for the PC platform that translates users' physical hand motions into corresponding movements onscreen."
Interestingly Asus has no plans of selling the Eee Stick as a standalone peripheral and will instead bundle the motion controller exclusively with select models of the Eee PC and the Eee Box. Huh? We don't understand it either, but Asus justifies the move by saying the Eee Stick is "perfect for gaming on-the-go."
The vibration capable controller connects via a 2.4GHz RF dongle with a broadcast range of 10m. Two AA batteries are required to power the Eee Stick, which Asus claims will provide up to three days (72 hours) of continuous play.
Will the Eee Stick entice potential customers to pick up an Eee PC or Eee Box, or is Asus making a mistake by not offering the controller as a standalone device?
Low cost ultraportables are starting to veer out of their budget pricing tier, a trend that will soon include Asus and its Eee PCs, the netbooks many consider to be responsible for popularizing the recent trend.
According to Asus president Jerry Shen, the company will launch more Eee PCs designed to address different market segments, including the high-end. Helping them to do it will be Intel, who Shen said is expected to keep shipping Atom N270 CPUs through the first half of 2009. So much for the Atom shortage.
Adding to the existing lineup of 11 Eee PC models, Asus will introduce two new categories, Ultimate and Pro Fashion, for a 2008 release. Both new models will come equipped with dual-core Atom processors and either a 120GB hard drive or a 32GB SSD. Models equipped with a solid-state drive will also feature a 10.1 inch 16:9 LED backlit panel, 4-5 hours of battery life, and command between $700 and $900, making them the first Eee PCs targeted at the high-end market.
Can netbooks still hold their appeal when approaching the $1,000 mark?
Solid state drives continue to make headway into the marketplace and Buffalo appears to be readying a herd of 32GB (SHD-EP9M32G) and 64GB (SHD-EP9M64G) SSDs for the Asus Eee PC 900 and 901 ultraportables. Not much else can be discerned from the translated press release, but according to PC Watch (and Google Translate), Buffalo will price the 32GB and 64GB at 16,800 and 33,600 yen, or $150 and $300 USD respectively.
Japan will get first crack at the new SSDs come mid to late September, but if you simply can't wait for Buffalo's drives to migrate stateside, at least one company is already selling the units with worldwide shipping.
Asus' Eee PC is quickly becoming the iPod of the ultraportable market, and if the latest rumor turns out to be true, it will even have an assortment of accessories to go along with the low power notebook. According to German site Eee PC News, Asus will soon add an attractive looking external hard drive that connects via USB. But that's not all. The site also shows photos of an external optical drive and a 3G connection card called the T500, which also looks to fit into a USB port.
If true, add the peripherals to the growing list of Eee branded products. And if not, props to a damn convincing Photoshop job.
Over at PCmag.com, they bring up an interesting point about Asus’ new ROM boot chip and "Express Gate"; how it will affect users psychologically. We are not talking about power users, but just regular end users and how they feel about Linux.
For power users, there just isn’t much draw on Express Gate. So it lets you boot into a basic OS with a web browser and Skype in five seconds. Not really a big deal since most power users keep their machines on 24/7, or maybe let them sleep/hibernate. They also may have a dual boot system to a full featured Linux OS as well. This leaves power users scratching their heads asking why. Had Asus decided to make use of this Linux on ROM to provide things like diagnostics, data recovery, BIOS configuration/updating, or hardware systems monitoring, they would have had us at “hello”.
End users on the other hand, are more likely to power their systems on and off. For these folks having the option to boot quickly to use a web browser for a few minutes before rushing off someplace makes sense. More importantly it gets them using Linux without being obvious about it. I am sure Asus likes this idea as it will warm users up to their Eee line using the Linux OS. This could spool up to be a big deal if other manufacturers pick up on the idea and start serving up their own Splashtop Linux ROM chips on their motherboards.
The effect becomes that there will be more users comfortable using Linux and that could eat into Microsoft’s market share. If this takes off, Microsoft has little choice but to make it’s OS capable of going instant on, or creating a super light and cheap version of Windows that can do the same thing (like Windows CE, but better).
Do you think this might take off? Can we expect Microsoft to follow suit and do their own instant on OS? Let me know!