Any old scrap heap will get you from point A to point B, but it’s about the ride, playa, and that’s where the Crosshair IV Formula shines. Not only does the red and black color scheme look pimp, the board backs up its ferocious style with extensive overclocking controls and enough cooling potential to blow down a brick house. How so? Asus plopped eight freakin’ PWM fan headers around the motherboard.
At first glance, you might think the Asus Rampage III Extreme board has just four PCI-E slots, which would be simply wimpy next to the whopping six slots in MSI’s Big Bang-XPower. But don’t be fooled by the optical illusion. The Rampage III actually has five PCI-E slots capable of fitting full x16 PCI-E cards, and one oddly empty space.
Asus' G73Jh series notebooks already had the gaming chops for gamers looking for a desktop replacement, which was largely the result of the AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics chip inside. Fresh out of the factory, however, are new models sporting Nvidia's Fermi-based GTX 460M graphics.
Both the ROG G35JW (15-inch) and G73JW (17-inch) models come with the upgraded graphics with 1.5GB of onboard GDDR5 (the Mobility HD 5870 shipped with 1GB). According to Asus, these are the first machines to sport Nvidia's mobile Fermi part.
Other than the graphics, the specs are mostly the same, including up to an Intel Core i7 820QM processor, up to 8GB of DDR3-1333 memory, up to a 750GB 7200RPM hard drive, Blu-ray options, 8-in-1 memory card reader, 2MP webcam, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and so forth. The new models also ship with a USB 3.0 port, which wasn't included with the previous gen units.
Hewlett Packard (HP) expects to become the world's second largest supplier of netbooks in 2011, and should the company get there, they should consider sending a bottle of Cristal to Intel, the world's No. 1 chip maker. It only seems fitting, considering Intel just shipped a large number of its new dual-core Atom N550 processors to HP for $65, representing a significant 25 percent savings over the chip's official $86 price tag.
As it currently stands, Acer, Samsung, and Asus are the three largest netbook suppliers in the world, in that order. MSI could have been in the mix too, but the company is putting on the brakes somewhat citing concerns over market demand for dual-core netbooks. Instead, MSI is reportedly stepping back to focus on single-core units, and eventually will exit the market in favor of traditional notebooks.
We’ve been waiting a long time for this. We first heard about Nvidia’s next-generation Ion chip way back in the first months of 2010. They were supposed to ship with Nvidia’s Optimus graphics-switching technology back in April. Okay, June. July at the latest. It didn’t quite happen—those few next-gen Ion netbooks that did launch earlier this year did so without Optimus. At long last, however, Asus’ next-gen Ion netbook—with Optimus and a dual-core netbook Atom chip—has hit American shores, just one day before September.
The Eee 1215N, one of Asus’ innumerable Eee PC Seashell netbooks, is the first netbook we’ve seen with Intel’s new mobile dual-core Atom chips—it ships with the 1.8GHz Atom D525, 2GB of DDR3/800 RAM, and most importantly, Nvidia’s next-generation Ion graphics chipset and Optimus technology, which enables Ion when required and switches to Intel’s integrated UMA graphics when Ion isn’t necessary.
According to Bensen Lin, vice president and general manager of Garmin-Asus, his company will launch its Android-based Nuvifone A10 smartphone in Taiwan on September 10. Those who want to get a jump on other buyers can put in their pre-order now.
Android's Froyo build (Android 2.2) isn't in the cards for the Nuvifone A10, at least not initially, and will instead ship with Android 2.1. It will also come with a 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen display, 512MB of RAM, a 5MP camera, Qualcomm 7227 processor clocked at 600MHz, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi, and other odds and ends. As with previous Garmin-Asus phones, the A10 will come heavily promoted for its built-in GPS functionality.
Hot on the heels of Intel announcing no less than 12 upcoming netbooks to be shipped built around its new dual-core Atom N550 processor, Asus appears to have beaten the competition to the punch with its Eee PC 1015PEM.
This latest Eee PC packs the aforementioned dual-core Atom part, as well as 2GB of DDR3 memory, Intel GMA 3150 graphics, Bluetooth 3.0, 250GB hard drive, 801.11g Wi-Fi, 1.3MP webcam, and according to at least one report. USB 3.0 support.
While Asus can claim the first to ship an N550-based netbook, it certainly won't be the last. Lenovo is currently taking pre-orders for its IdeaPad S10-3, while Gigabyte is serving up (also in pre-order form) a convertible tablet (T1005M) built around Intel's newest Atom chip.
Both Asus and Acer didn't get the memo that users want to pay less, not more, for netbook PCs. It's not that they're planning to jack up the prices willy nilly, but both companies are going to launch "luxurious" netbooks in time for the holiday shopping season.
More specifically, Asus is prepping its 12.1-inch Lamborghini netbook, the Eee PC VX6, which will sport an Intel dual-core Atom processor and Nvidia Ion 2 graphics.
Acer, meanwhile, is putting the final touches on its 11.6-inch Ferrari model, which will come outfitted with an AMD Fusion processor (Ontario) under the hood, as well as a Ferrari smartphone (Liquid E Ferrari).
The Eee PC VX6 will ship in September or October for $700, while Acer's Ferrari will debut sometime in the fourth quarter for an as-yet undetermined price.
It’s been interesting watching the evolution of Nvidia’s Fermi graphics. We’ve seen a range of cards, all built using variations of the original chip—a 3 billion transistor monster that runs hot and consumes power like a vampire sucking blood from a hapless victim.
Now Nvidia is shipping a new Fermi, previously code-named GF104. Aimed at the hearts and minds of mainstream PC gamers, the GTX 460 is a new chip, ringing in at just under 2 billion transistors and substantially more power-efficient. Two versions of the chip are available, a low-end and a high-end version.
The big question mark surrounding tablets is whether or not this emerging market will eat into netbook sales, or if the two segments can co-exist. If Asus' recent netbook performance is any indication, we may have our answer.
Asus only managed to sell 1.5 million netbooks in the second quarter, a drop of 100,000 units over the first quarter and short of the company's expectations. As a result, Asus president and CEO Jerry Shen recently told investors that Asus had to downward adjust its target shipments for the third quarter, which he blames on competition from Apple's iPad.
It's been somewhat of a rough year all around for Asus. Along with disappointing netbook sales, decreased shipments of motherboards and traditional notebooks have taken a toll on the company's financial performance, which declined during the second quarter.
What's interesting about this is that the tablet game is largely a one-man show, but will soon become crowded as 2010 comes to a close. Is this the beginning of a trend?