ASUS kills the Eee PC and shrinks the Atom market

Subject: General Tech | September 4, 2012 - 02:43 PM |
Tagged: asus, acer, Intel, atom, eee pc

2012 has been a very tough year to be a manufacture of mobile products and not too easy on the designers either.  We started off with the Ultraboook form factor, specifically the challenge to make parts which could allow the ultrathin design to be functional in the real world while still aiming for that $1000 price point.  The prices of SSDs have come down and the processors have also marginally dropped in price but the materials required to make a sturdy chassis of exceptional thinness have not. 

Then Microsoft decided to make things interesting with their Surface tablet, which is a wonderful platform to show off Windows 8 on but not the best way to maintain a relationship with mobile manufacturers.  Regardless of the price that Microsoft chooses to release the Surface at, each Surface sale represents a lost sale for another mobile manufacturer.  Acer, for one has had no problems voicing their complaints about a software company muscling into hardware territory.

Today we heard from DigiTimes that ASUS is dropping their Eee PC line, along with Intel's Atom processor and Acer is dropping netbooks altogether.  While part of the problem with the Intel's Atom is that it has always had a hard time providing users with the computing experience they desire, dropping the entire form factor implies more problems that simply performance.  Manufacturers could build netbooks with AMD's Trinity or even NVIDIA's Tegra depending on the agreements in place with Intel, however the two top tier mobile manufactures have straight out dropped the form factor, with only MSI staying in the market.  While the netbook may have only been of use to a certain younger crowd with limited money and expectations there were certain Eee PC models designed for the desktop which made decent low powered internet access machines which are also going the way of the dinosaur which may be missed a little by a larger audience. 

The effective death of the netbook will have an effect on manufacturers like Pegatron and some sections of Intel, the real question is whether the end user will even notice or if they were already only considering a 13" laptop or Ultrabook.

 

asus-eee-pc-1008p-pink.jpg

"Intel may be forced to adjust its roadmap for PC-use Atom processors as the top-2 netbook vendors – Asustek Computer and Acer – both plan to stop manufacturing related products, according to sources from notebook players.

Asustek is already set to halt its Eee PC product line and officially phase out from the IT industry after completely digesting any remaining inventory. As for Acer, so far, the company has not yet made any plans to open new netbook projects, indicating that the vendor may also plan to step out of the market."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

ASUS Shows Off Vivo Windows 8 and Windows RT Tablets At IFA 2012

Subject: Mobile | September 2, 2012 - 09:27 PM |
Tagged: windows 8 rt, windows 8, tablet 810, tablet 600, microsoft, ifa 2012, ifa, asus vivo, asus

During Computex 2012 in June, ASUS showed off two new tablet computers that at the time were labeled the ASUS Tablet 810 and Tablet 600 respectively. At the company’s booth, they had both models on display and released some basic specifications on the machines. It seems that the two Windows 8 tablets are closer to launch as they now have official names and what appears to be final specs.

The ASUS Tablet 810 and 600 are now part of the company’s Vivo series and will be named the Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT at launch. We now know the final specifications, but pricing is still up in the air. On or around October 26, 2012 would be a good guess as far as when they will be available for purchase as several other tablet launches are set to coincide with the official launch of Windows 8.

In many respects, the two Vivo tabs are Transformer tablets – only running Windows 8 instead of Android. The two Vivo tabs are touchscreen-enabled tablets with a dockable keyboard that turns in into a laptop.

Here's what is official so far on the two new Vivo tablets.

ASUS Vivo Tab

Formerly known as the ASUS Tablet 810, the Vivo Tab is an 11" tablet measuring 8.7mm thick and weighing 675 grams. It features an 11.6" SuperIPS+ display at 1366x768 resolution as well as an 8 MP rear camera with LED flash and autofocus, and a 2 MP webcam on the front. On the inside is an Intel Atom (Clover Trail) processor, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC internal memory. For those enticed by styluses (styli?), the Vivo Tab has you covered as well with a Wacom digitizer offering up to 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. 

The Vivo Tab can further be docked with a keyboard. The keyboard is similar to the one used by the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer due to offering up a full QWERTY keyboard, trackpad, USB port, and second battery that adds some additional life to the Vivo Tab. The Vivo Tab will run Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system and will be able to access both the traditional desktop applications as well as Modern UI/Metro UI/Windows 8-Style UI/Whatever-it-is-called-this-week UI apps via the Windows Store thanks to its x86 architecture. Other features include Wi-Fi, NFC, and SonicMaster audio. If I had to guess, I would estimate it to cost between $100 and $200 more than the Transformer Prime (ie priced around $550). Compared to the recently announced Transformer Infinity, it should be about $70 more since the Infinity is priced at $488 on Amazon at time of writing. Granted, the atom architecture is not going to cost $200 more to implement, but that – in addition to a Windows license – will likely add up to a bit of a premium over the Android-powered Transformer line.

ASUS Vivo Tab RT

The ASUS Vivo Tab RT is a 10" tablet that is 8.3mm thick and weights 520 grams – a bit smaller (and lighter) than the Vivo Tab and Transformer. The Vivo Tab RT is even closer to the Eee Pad Transformer due to its Tegra 3 underpinnings (Tegra 3 "4+1" core processor+12 core GPU). On the other hand, the Vivo Tab RT has a total of 2GB of RAM (the Transformer has only 1GB) and 32GB of internal storage. It will run the ARM version of Windows 8 called Windows RT, and will have access to Metro apps as well as the full Microsoft Office. However, other traditional desktop applications will not run on the ARM-powered tablet. On the outside, the Vivo Tab RT features a 10.1" SuperIPS+ touchscreen display with resolution of 1366x768, an 8MP rear camera (with LED flash and autofocus), and a 2MP webcam on the front of the device. It also supports SonicMaster-powered audio.

Asus Vivo Windows 8 Tablet.jpg

The Vivo Tab does not have the Wacom digitizer of its larger Vivo Tab relative, but it does feature a similar keyboard dock. The docks packs an additional battery, full QWERTY keyboard, trackpad, and USB port. While the Vivo Tab's (Tablet 810) keyboard dock is silver with black keys, the Vivo Tab RT's keyboard dock is all black and slightly smaller to match the width of the 10" tablet. I would expect this one to be priced more in line with the latest Transformer tablet with a small premium for the Windows license due to being very similar hardware specifications-wise.

The table below shows the specifications of the Vivo Tab, Vivo Tab RT, and the Transformer Prime which represent the latest ASUS has to offer in the dockable tablet department.

Comparison of ASUS' Transformer-style tablets
  ASUS Vivo Tab ASUS Vivo Tab RT ASUS Transformer Prime ASUS Transformer Infinity
Processor/SoC Intel Atom NVIDIA Tegra 3 NVIDIA Tegra 3 NVIDIA Tegra 3
RAM 2GB 2GB 1GB 1GB
Internal Memory 64GB 32GB 32GB 64GB
Display 10.1" Super IPS+ @ 1366x768 11.6" Super IPS+ @ 1366x768 10.1" IPS @ 1280x800 10.1" Super IPS+ @ 1920x1200
Camera(s) 8MP rear, 2MP front 8MP rear, 2MP front 8MP rear, 1.2MP front 8MP rear, 2MP front
Size 8.7mm thick 8.3mm thick 10.4" x 7.1" x .3" 10.4" x 7.1" x .3" (8.5mm thick)
Weight 675g 520g 589.67g 598g

As the chart above illustrates, the Vivo Tabs are an improvement in almost every respect versus the Android-powered Transformer Prime in boasting more memory, better cameras – and in the Vivo Tab's case – being thinner and lighter. On the other hand, the Transformer Prime offers up a 1280x800 resolution panel such that when it is in laptop mode you will have a bit more vertical space. Further, the recently launched ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity has the best display of the bunch with 1920x1200 resolution. As far as weight, it fits between the Vivo Tab RT and Vivo Tab while being closer in physcial dimensions to the Vivo Tab RT. The Infinity's only negative versus the Windows 8 tablets specifications-wise is memory as it has only 1GB of DDR3L RAM, though it should not be a huge performance hit.

Further, the Transformers should be cheaper than the Windows-powered tablets. I do think that there is a place for both Android and Windows 8 tablets, and ASUS seems to believe that as well. Price is likely going to be the deciding factor for many, so I am anxious to learn just how much the Vivo-series tablets are going to cost.

Have you been eyeing a Windows 8 tablet, and if so which one? Are you holding out for the Microsoft Surface?

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Windows RT tablet coverage!

Continue reading to see videos of the Vivo tablets in action!

Source: Engadget

Podcast #216 - GTX 660Ti Roundup, AMD Steamroller Details, Multi GPU Graphics Card Rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2012 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: zotac, Steamroller, ssd, revodrive, podcast, ocz, msi, MARS III, Intel, galaxy, evga, asus, arm, ARES II, amd, 7990, 690, 660ti

PC Perspective Podcast #216 - 08/30/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our GTX 660Ti Roundup, AMD Steamroller Details, Multi GPU Graphics Card Rumors and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:01:56

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. PCPer moving to pcper.com/live
  3. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  4. http://pcper.com/podcast
  5. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:15 GeForce GTX 660 Ti Roundup
    2. 0:16:00 AMD Steamroller details from HotChips
    3. 0:27:30 ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Review
  2. 0:29:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:30:25 EVGA 1500 watt power supply
    2. 0:34:30 Powercolor HD 7990 Devil 13 graphics card
    3. 0:37:26 AMD releases FX-4130 and lowers prices
    4. 0:39:24 Synology refreshes DiskStation
    5. 0:40:50 ASUS MARS III GTX 680 - dreamers only
    6. 0:43:17 EVGA Mini ITX Z77 motherboard
    7. 0:45:15 NVIDIA shows Unreal Engine 3 on Tegra 3
  4. Closing:
    1. 0:51:11 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2
      2. Jeremy: Something to vie for your upgrade budget
      3. Josh: Can never have enough space
      4. Allyn: Kingston HyperX Genesis 32GB DDR3 1600
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

 

ASUS Mars III Dual GTX 680 Graphics Card Pictured, Set to Launch Soon

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 28, 2012 - 07:31 PM |
Tagged: triple fan, nvidia, mars 3, gtx 680, dual gpu, custom cooler, asus

If rumors hold true, NVIDIA’s GTX 690 will soon be joined by a custom dual GTX 680 card from ASUS. First shown off at Computex, the Mars III combines two GTX 680 graphics chips, 8GB RAM, and a massive triple fan cooler. Expect it to cost quite a bit but offer up some impressive performance numbers. 

Update: According to ASUS speaking with TechPowerUp, this card is not going to be released to the public after all. I suppose the  Powercolor 7990 Devil 13 will have to suffice!

ASUS has a long history of taking high-end graphics chips to the extreme, even going so far as to put more than one graphics processor on the same PCB. The third iteration of its custom dual GPU "MARS" series graphics cards, the MARS III was first shown off at Computex. At the time, the company indicated that the dual NVIDIA GPU card was not quite ready for final release as the GPU cooling solution and PCB in particular required further tweaking.

marsiii02b.jpg

Going by the recently leaked photos, ASUS has been hard at work refining the custom design, and it certainly looks ready for prime time. The MARS III takes two Kepler architecture-based GTX 680 GPUs, beefed up power phases, and a total of 32 RAM chips (8 per GPU) for 8GB of total RAM, and places it on a single black PCB. Further, the two GTX 680 GPUs are configured in SLI using a PLX PEX8747 bridge chip. While it does not have more CUDA cores than the NVIDIA reference GTX 690 (which we recently reviewed), it should have a bit more overclocking headroom in addition to the extra 4GB of GDDR5 memory. I would expect that it will cost more than the GTX 690 as a result of its custom design and extra memory, but so far there is no word on what that price might be.

marsiii03b.jpg

Needless to say, all that hardware is going to require a lot of power. Internally, each GPU will be fed electricity using an 8+2 power phase. Further, the board continues to feature the three 8-pin PCI-E power connectors which allows the dual-GPU graphics card to draw up to 525 Watts of power. While the color of the cooler has been changed from the model seen at Computex to a red and black color scheme, the red overclocking button is still there on the side of the card. It will spin the fans up to 100% to allow you to push the NVIDIA GPUs as far as possible.

Video outputs include three DVI and a single mini-DisplayPort connector for NVIDIA Surround gaming and a fourth accessory monitor.

The dual GTX 680 graphics card at Computex.

Sources speaking with Videocardz have confirmed that the card is nearly ready for retail availability, and is only waiting NVIDIA’s go ahead.

Now that the rumored 7990 is on the way (or at least a custom version of the 7990), I would bet that we will be seeing this custom ASUS card sooner rather than later – and that NVIDIA’s “okay” to unleash this beastly graphics card should not be difficult to get.

Have you been following the ASUS Mars III? You can find more Mars III coverage and photos by following the Mars III tag. Further, you can see more leaked photos over at Videocardz.

[Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to clean the drool off of my desk.]

Source: EXPreview
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction, Design

zenbook1.jpg

I often think of ASUS as the PC’s answer to Apple. Their products are not up to Apple’s rigorous engineering, nor is the customer service as accessible, but ASUS does offer a number of products that were obviously designed to meet a set of high standards. I’ve always enjoyed the company’s G-Series gaming laptops, ultraportables like the U33 Bamboo and high-end multimedia laptops like the N53 and N56.

The original Zenbook didn’t impress me, however. PC Perspective never reviewed it, but I did have some hands-on time with one courtesy of Intel’s CES 2012 ultrabook giveaway. The build quality wasn’t great, the touchpad was quite poor and the overall look and feel proved a bit tacky (the cursive lettering below the display panel being the most obvious example).

ASUS has now followed up the original Zenbook with the new Zenbook Prime. There are a couple of different variants. We received the 13-inch UX31A which come equipped with the 1080p IPS display panel. As for the rest? Well, see below.

zenbookprimetable.png

This is one well equipped ultrabook, which explains why it comes with a nearly $1500 price tag. You don’t have to spend that much, however. The basic Zenbook Prime, which still has the IPS display but downgrades to a Core i5, is $999 on Amazon.

Does the flagship of ASUS design deliver the goods? Let’s find out.

Continue reading our review of the new ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Ultrabook!!

ASUS' P8Z77V-Pro; trimming the cost without paring off the features

Subject: Motherboards | August 21, 2012 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: asus, P8Z77-V Pro

At $208 the ASUS P8Z77-Pro might surprise you, with three PCIe 3.0 16x slots (dual GPUs are limited to 8x speeds), two of both PCIe 1x and legacy PCI slots, four each of SATA2 and SATA 6Gbps ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, a half dozen USB 3.0 ports and built in WiFi it is not exactly a basic Z77 board.  It does suffer from the common ailment of Z77/Ivy Bridge systems, the overclocking potential is good but not excellent, though it was rock solid at the 4.79GHz that [H]ard|OCP managed to push it to.  ASUS does offer better Z77 boards at higher prices for the hard core enthusiasts which may be why this board didn't pick up an award.  For those not looking to overclock much and would rather save a few dollars the P8Z77-Pro is a solid contender for your hard earned money.

H_p8z77pro.jpg

"The P8Z77-V Pro is a perfect example of how powerful the ASUS P8xxx series is and what it has to offer. While many would consider it a stripped down model, it is anything but. While not as feature rich as some in the series, the P8Z77-V Pro does have a lot to offer, especially given its price point."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS Releases the GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II Lineup

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 16, 2012 - 06:58 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 660 Ti, DirectCU II, asus

Fremont, CA (August 16, 2012) - The ASUS DirectCU II range of graphics cards continues to expand with the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II series featuring the Standard, OC and TOP editions. Utilizing the latest 28nm graphics technology from NVIDIA, the OC and TOP cards deliver a factory-overclock while all three cards feature exclusive DirectCU thermal design and GPU Tweak tuning software to deliver a quieter, faster, and more immersive gameplay experience that redefines the term affordable performance.

directcu.jpg

Available on NewEgg already for $300 and Borderlands II for free

Superior Design and Software for the Best Gaming Experience ASUS equips the GeForceGTX 660 Ti DirectCU II series with 2GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 6008MHz. The TOP edition features a blistering GPU core boost clock of 1137MHz, 157MHz faster than reference designs while the OC edition arrives with a factory-set GPU core boost speed of 1058MHz. Exclusive ASUS DIGI+ VRM digital power delivery and user-friendly GPU Tweak tuning software allows all cards to easily overclock beyond factory-set speeds offering enhanced performance in your favorite game or compute intensive application.

02.jpg

The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II series feature exclusive DirectCU technology. The custom designed cooler uses direct contact copper heatpipes for faster heat transduction and up to 20% lower operating temperatures than reference designs. The optimized fans are able operate at lower speeds providing a much quieter gaming or computing environment. For enhanced stability, energy efficiency, and overclocking margins the cards feature a six-phase Super Alloy Power design for the capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs meant to extend product lifespan and durability while operating noise-free even under heavy workloads.

ASUS once again includes the GPU Tweak tuning suite in the box. Overclocking-inclined enthusiasts or gamers can boost clock speeds, set power targets, and configure fan operating parameters and policies; all this and more is accessible in the user-friendly interface. GPU Tweak offers built-in safe guards to ensure all modifications are safe, maintaining optimal stability and card reliability.

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Product specifications and features may change without prior notice. Learn more about the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II series and other ASUS products here.

Source: ASUS

WinRT spreads to the major vendors after they touched the Surface

Subject: General Tech | August 14, 2012 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: winRT, asus, dell, Lenovo, Samsung, microsoft, arm

When Microsoft released their Surface tablet/notebook, the tech community wondered if this move by a software company would upset the Tier 1 hardware vendors who might not want the competition.  That discussion was ended when Microsoft announced that Surface was a proof of concept and would be released in very limited qualities.  Today The Inquirer reports on upcoming mobile devices running on ARM hardware and WinRT from all the major vendors, giving us a rough idea what to expect in the way of performance.  The quoted specs include user interface animations at 60FPS and touchscreen sampling rates of 100Hz per finger.  Battery life will be impressive, 320 hours and 409 hours of standby time and for video playback you can expect 8-13 hours of HD playtime, though they do not talk about the quality of that playback.

winrt.png

"SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft has revealed Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung Windows RT devices will be available at the launch of the operating system.

Microsoft has been playing a very dangerous game with its Surface tablet hogging the Windows RT limelight, something that its long-term and invaluable partners will not like. Now the company has come out and said that Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung will also have Windows RT devices when the operating system launches later this year."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

ASUS Republic of Gamers @ Fry's Electronics Recap

Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2012 - 09:45 PM |
Tagged: ROG, Republic of Gamers, asus

Over the weekend PC Perspective visited with ASUS for a stop on their Republic of Gamers tour, ROG @ Fry's Electronics.  On hand at the event were ASUS, Patriot, Antec and NVIDIA to showcase some exciting new hardware, perform some demonstrations both inside and outside the store and of course, offer up tons of prizes and giveaways to the DIY enthusiasts.

asusrog1.jpg

Besides the $0.25 hot dogs and sodas (proceeds of which went to local community kids sports teams), I stopped by on Saturday to host a panel of Q&A with a rep from each of the individual companies involved.

asusrog2.jpg

After going through some introductions and gauging the knowledge of the audience (standing room only!) we took questions and raffled off some free hardware as well. 

asusrog3.jpg

Overall I thought the event was a pretty good success and there was a great amount of participation from the local hardware enthusiasts.  If you want to get involved in the market, get hands on with hardware you haven't seen yet and talk directly with the companies that affect your gaming experience, participating in events like this (and future ROG Experience Tour stops) is a fantastic way to do it!

You can see some more photos from the event after the break!!

Join ASUS and PC Per At Fry’s For a ROG Gaming Event

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2012 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: ROG, patriot, gaming, fry's, event, asus, antec

As Ryan alluded to in last night’s podcast, there is an upcoming event at the Fry’s Electronics store in Sunnyvale, California on the last weekend in July – the 28th and 29th. Specifically, it is the second-annual Republic of Gamers @ Fry’s event held by popular motherboard manufacturer ASUS. ASUS, in concert with NVIDIA, Antec, and Patriot Memory will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to your comments. As a gaming-oriented event, the company has lined up several events for the whole family – from casual to hardcore gamers – and has brought along tons of ROG-branded hardware for you to check out. Some of the hardware on hand will include ASUS’ Maximus V Extreme and Maximus V Formula Z77 motherboards, its G75 laptops, and Vulcan Active Noise Canceling Headphones. There will also be prize giveaways both in person and online through the various social networks (for those that can’t make it in person).

ASUS Republic of Gamers.jpg

Gaming hardware spans from the ASUS Transformer tablets to custom high-end gaming machines that will be available for you to play a number of different games.

The other major event is a panel hosted by PC Perspective’s own Ryan Shrout who will be entertaining the audience along with several hardware manufacturers. The topics of discussion will include tips for first time PC builders, advanced overclocking techniques, general hardware goodness, and a question and answer section where you will get a chance to get answers from the hardware manufacturers on your important questions!

ROGfrys.png

It’s is going to be a really fun time, and you will be able to see Ryan and bug him about the podcast videos and give him (good!) feedback on the site. We are excited about it and hope to see you all there! We previously mentioned a question and answer section, and one way to ask if you can’t make it is use the comments section below this post where Ryan will do his best to get you good answers!

Below are the full details on the where and when.

Location:

Fry’s Electronics
1077 East Arques Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94085

When:

July 28th-29th 2012 (Saturday and Sunday) from 11am to 6pm

Misc:

Admission is free.

ASUS will be providing $0.50 hot dogs and Coke, the money from which will go towards local charities.

Of course, there is a Facebook page for more information and to RSVP. Visit http://goo.gl/Lxkdl for more event details and follow #ROGexperience to stay up-to-date on the latest event information and for some great on-site giveaways.

Source: ASUS