Intel isn't the only one getting jiggy with six-core desktop chips, AMD's planning a six-core party of its own. One motherboard maker who won't be showing up fashionably late is Asus, who this week announced a full range of mobos ready to support the upcoming Phenom II X6 parts.
"Besides being ready to support six-core processors, the Asus M4 Series gives users of every level the best performance and value with tis Core Unlocker feature," said Joe Hsieh, General Manger of Asus Motherboard Business. "This has received notable recognition from many of the world's top media organizations for deliver a phenomenal boost in performance."
There are several M4-based boards representing a variety of chipsets ready to support the 6-core parts, all of which will require a BIOS update. If you're planning to upgrade, be sure to check out which BIOS version you need (see list here) and get to flashing!
This isn't the first we've heard of the Eee PC 1001PX, but now that Asus has whipped up an official product page, we now know it's going to come with a matte-screen, which will be easier on the eyes when you're outdoors. And the carbon fiber finish? That's still there.
The rest is pretty basic for any modern-day netbook. You'll find a 10.1-inch screen, an Intel Atom N450 processor, up to 2GB of memory, 160GB or 250GB hard drive, 0.3MP webcam, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, two USB 2.0 ports, memory card reader, Windows 7 Starter or Windows XP Home, and a 6-cell battery.
No word yet on when Asus will release this beauty, but word on the Web is that it will ship for $299 with Windows 7 Starter, while the XP version will only hit your wallet for $279.
Having trouble deciding between a netbook or jumping on the tablet bandwagon? If you can wait a few weeks, you can snag an Asus Eee PC T101MT and have the best of both worlds.
After first showing off the T101MT at CES earlier this year, Asus is getting ready to ship the upcoming Eee PC netbook/tablet in early April for $499. That's the same price as Apple's iPad, and in this case, you'd be getting sort of a hybrid. The 10.1-inch capacitive resistive touchscreen display with support for multitouch gestures folds down over the keyboard so you can use the device as a tablet. It runs Windows 7 Home Premium and includes the AsusTouchGate software suite.
You can also use it as a traditional netbook. Either way, underneath the hood you'll find an Intel Atom N450 processor, GMA 3150 graphics, 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 0.3MP webcam, 3 USB ports, and an SDHC card reader.
There's also going to be tamer version that cuts the RAM and hard drive in half and drops the OS down to Windows 7 Starter Edition, though it's unclear which one will ship for $499.
The Declaration of Independence lists Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness as unalienable Rights, but our founding fathers forgot one: USB 3.0. Asus hasn't forgotten, and whether you're more of a mainstream Joe or a hardcore Harvey, Asus wants the world to know you deserve a SuperSpeed USB product.
"The availability of super fast data transfer to consumers is not a gimmick; it is the way of the future and means to providing better technology to people around the world," Asus recently stated. "Knowing this, Asus now offers USB 3.0 on a wide range of products beyond motherboards. This includes notebooks, the Eee PC range of netbooks, all-in-one PCs, and even digital media players. All of these feature designs specifically tailored to accommodate USB 3.0 connectivity so that its true benefits are available in full."
The motherboard is arguably the most important product, and here too Asus pounds its chest, noting that they were the "first to include USB 3.0 on a motherboard, offering the new technology not just as-is, but optimized to realize its potential."
It will soon be tough to find a new product that doesn't incorporate the new spec, and looking at Asus product line alone, the company has implemented USB 3.0 support on every modern chipset imaginable (Intel P55, X58, 3450, H57/55, g41, and P43, and AMD 890GX/890FX, 880/870, 770, 785G, 780, and 790FX).
Asus today added four new models to its Designo Series, including the MS248, MS238, MS228, and MS208. All four boast an eco-friendly, ultra-slim design with 16.5mm profiles and range in size from 20 inches to 20.3 inches.
On the lower end, the MS208 sports a 1600 x 900 screen resolution with a 5ms response time. The other three up the ante to a 1920 x 1080 resolution and a faster 2ms response time. The MS228 adds an HDMI audio-out port, while the MS238 and MS248 also include an earphone jack (for HDMI only).
Asus says all four units are easy on the environment, thanks in large part eschewing bulbs in favor of mercury-free LED backlit panels. According to Asus, the LED monitors reduce energy consumption levels by 45 percent, enough to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 23.6kg per year, the equivalent of planting 1.9 trees that can contribute two years worth of oxygen for a family of four.
Citing sources from motherboard makers, news and rumor site DigiTimes says there's a shortage of mobo components, including multilayered ceramic chips (MLCCs), solid capacitors, LAN connectors, and other odds and ends. The reason, sources say, is because of recent labor shortages.
In response to the shortages, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and ECS have all begun "aggressively placing orders" in an attempt to avoid having the component shortages affect overall shipments.
The good news is that the labor situation is expected to improve after April, by which time the mobo market will have entered the slow season. The tight supply of components will also improve, but component makers fear that their performance will be affected in the second quarter as top-tier mobo makers halt any new orders to avoid a surplus in inventory.
Asus today announced the launch of its Cine5 PC speaker. According to Asus, it's the world's most compact five-channel speaker and serves up multi-directional surround sound.
"By integrating an array of speaker drivers into a single bar, the Cine5 PC speaker helps users save space in their study rooms," Asus said. "Additionally, installation is simplified by eliminating the need to set up multiple satellite speakers—users just need to place the Cine5 PC speaker below the computer monitor. No positional adjustment is necessary to get the sweet spot for audio recreation."
The Cine5 pumps out 25W max (15W RMS) and measures 373 x 100 x 100 mm with metal stands (373 x 100 x 80 mm with rubber stands). it comes with a 3.5mm jack for multi-channel inputs, headphone output, volume knob, and a 5.1 channel audio cable.
Asus also says you can expect a bit of punch with the Cine5, despite its compact size. By using a specially-designed bass reflex port, Asus claims the Cine5 provides 15dB more bass than speakers of similar size.
Look out Asus, Gigabyte isn't just nipping at your heels anymore, the top-tier motherboard maker is pretty much standing side by side, market watchers say.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Gigabyte looks to have shipped anywhere from 3.1 million to 3.3 million motherboards in the first two months of 2010, putting the company on par with Asus, who is estimated to have shipped 3.2 million to 3.3 million units.
Don't expect to Asus to concede its lead so easily, however. Channel vendors say Asus, in an attempt to stay out in front, might start slashing prices. If Asus were to do so, it could lead to a price war in the mobo market that could potentially spill over to include other vendors.
Asus was busy showing off its Eee PC 1005PR netbook during CeBIT, and has now gone official with its latest entry to the Eee PC line. So what's the big deal about this one?
When you flip the lid of the 1005PR, you'll find an LED backlit WXGA display with a 1366 x 768 resolution, making it the first 10-inch netbook in the Asus camp to sport a higher res display. But that's not all. Asus also crammed in a Broadcom BCM 70015 HD accelerator.
"The Eee PC 1005PR embedded HD Decoder Broadcom BCM 70015, which comes with ArcSoft Total Media Theater to smoothly play high definition quality video. Users can enjoy HD video entertainment on the unit's 10.1-inch high definition screen," Asus says.
The rest is mostly standard for a Pine Trail netbook, including Intel's Atom N450 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. Other features include Express Gate / Dual OS, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, three USB 2.0 ports, and a 0.3MP webcam.
Asus today launched a pair of Radeon HD 5000 series videocards -- EAH5870 and EAH5850 -- the company claims will accommodate extreme levels of overclocking thanks to an "innovative thermal design."
Both cards come equipped with specially-flattened copper heatpipes Asus says helps dissipate heat up to 20 percent better while playing games, while also offering up to 35 percent quieter operation when idle.
Similar to what was so successful in Cooler Master's Hyper 212 Plus CPU cooler (see review here), Asus looks to have gone with a direct contact solution, squashing the 5.8-ounce heatpipes to at the base. Combined with the company's exclusive "Voltage Tweak" technology, which allows users to ramp up the GPU voltage through the included SmartDoctor application, Asus says users can expect up to a 50 percent performance gain (when overclocking).