ASUS Unveils the Prime, the World's First Quad-Core Android Tablet

Subject: Mobile | November 9, 2011 - 01:00 AM |
Tagged: tegra 3, tegra, tablet, quad-core, kal-el, eee pad, asus, Android

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ASUS Eee Pad Prime

Rumors have been swirling around the ASUS Prime tablet and dock, successors to the popular ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, for months. Today, many of those rumors can rest, as ASUS has taken the wraps off the tablet's official specifications. 

The big story for enthusiasts is the tablet’s NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor. Provided that the product makes its anticipated December release (the exact date has yet to be announced), this will be the first tablet to hit the market with Tegra 3 as well as the first Android tablet to sport a quad-core.  You can read some more details that Ryan discussed about Tegra 3 and its five (5?!?) cores, by checking out this post from September.

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NVIDIA Kal-El / Tegra 3 Processor

As the follow-up to the Transformer, the Prime offers many of the same features including the keyboard dock. However, the Prime is improved across the board. The tablet is just 8.3 millimeters thin, making it the thinnest tablet on the market (the next thinnest is the 8.6mm Galaxy Tab 10.1, while the iPad 2 is 8.8mm). Weight has been reduced to 586 grams (1.29 lbs), down from 680. The rear-facing camera now sports an 8MP sensor, the battery in both the tablet and the optional dock is slightly larger, and base storage is now 32GB, with a 64GB model available as an optional upgrade. Even the display has been improved via a new brightness enhancement function that promises to make the tablet easier to use in sunlight.

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Even the design has been upgraded. Unlike the Transformer, which has a plastic back, the Prime has a “spun metallic” finish. It will be available in amethyst gray and champagne gold.  

The battery tests from ASUS put the Prime at 12 hours of life on its own and 18 hours with the keyboard dock while playing back 720p video with all ports enabled and the screen brightness at 60 nits. 

Despite all of these improvements, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer will not be going away. In fact, it will be remaining at its current price. Instead, the Prime is entering the market as a “premium” product built to compete directly with the iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1. The base Prime model with 32GBs of storage is $499, while the 64GB model is $599. As with the original, purchasing the optional keyboard dock will set you back another $149.

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ASUS claims that the Prime will in fact ship with Android 3.2 in its initial release with an over-the-air updated to 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) as soon as it has been "optimized, tested and approved".  They weren't willing to put a date or time frame on that release but they are planning on using the 4.0 OS revision at the launch event coming in December; that seems to indicate to us we may have it in time for CES in January 2012. 

When PC Perspective reviewed the Transformer, I called it “the best Android tablet on the market today.” The thinner, lighter, more powerful Prime should be a significant improvement to an already excellent product. My only concerns were with the dock itself, which was sometimes finicky and added a fair amount of bulk. It’ll be interesting to see if the Prime can address those concerns.

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Source: ASUS

Godly graphical domination can be yours; for about $3000

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 8, 2011 - 06:20 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG MARS II Limited Edition

If you can find an ASUS ROG MARS II Limited Edition card for sale, without having to buy the whole system that is, you would have a pair of GTX580 class GPUs on a single PCB.  That is hard, but not [H]ard enough for a certain hardware review site.  They decided that the only way to satisfy their overwhelming graphics lust was to get two cards, giving them the power of quad SLI in just two cards.  That might seem a little greedy when only 999 of these cards were produced but there is only one way to utter graphical domination ... until you realize the competition is a pair of HD6990s.  Either way you will be seeing over 70fps in Battlefield 3 at a resolution of 5760x1200.  You will need more than a 1000W PSU to run stable but you will be able to laugh at those poor GTX590 owners.

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"The ASUS ROG MARS II Limited Edition video card brings true dual-GeForce GTX 580 GPUs to the table. Take two of these and you can have a true GTX 580 Quad-SLI system. We'll dive into performance, including Battlefield 3, and see what these can do directly compared to 4-way CrossFireX."

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Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Check out how the P67 chipset has evolved with the ASUS P8P67 EVO

Subject: Motherboards | November 3, 2011 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: p67 b3, asus, P8P67 EVO Rev 3.0

If you are looking to build a low cost machine using the P67 chipset you could do worse than choosing the ASUS P8P67 EVO Rev 3.0 board.  Three PCI-Express x16 slots, a pair of PCI-Express x1 slots, and 2 PCI slots flesh out the board and ASUS has designed the layout in such a way that even with a graphics card in the PCIe 16x slot you will still be able to use both PCIe 1x slots.  Surprising for a sub-$200 board you get a MemOK button and an EPU switch for low power operation, features that are much more common on a higher end board.  [H]ard|OCP paired it with an Intel 2500K and were very impressed with the maturity this chipset displayed, great overclocking, rock solid stability and a very nice component layout all worked together to win a Silver Award.

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"Through the P8P67 EVO, ASUS brings a board to the table that raises the bar on its other offerings. Not only does this motherboard perform like a champ, it is packed to the gills with features and integrated functionalities. At less than $165 after MIR, it shows to be a solid value."

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Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS may be out of HDDs but they are not out of tablets

Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 12:11 PM |
Tagged: asus, netbook, tablet, ultrabook

ASUS seems to be sitting in a very nice place in the market, with several flavours of 'killer' products, so that which ever ends up winning the form factor battle ASUS will come out with a profit.  In this high tech game of rock, paper, scissors we have The Ultrabook, with their newly released Zenbook, The Netbook, their Eee series being the best known and The Tablet, being that nice looking Eee Pad Transformer.  They even still sell laptops for those who prefer to exercise their arms and core.  Which ever form factor becomes dominant ASUS already has a model out now, with new ones on the way, which explains the 11% growth in profit they recorded this quarter.

One major benefit ASUS has with these smaller form factors is that they all use flash memory for long term storage.  With the devastation hitting Thailand as flood waters cover homes and businesses, the tech world also watches the stocks of platter based HDDs plummet.  In fact ASUS reported to The Inquirer that they expect to be out of hard drives by the end of the month.  That will only effect the larger form factors, ASUS may still hit the 1.8 million tablets shipped target that they are aiming for by the end of 2011.

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"ASUS managed a slight increase in profit for the third quarter of this year, despite the global slowdown in PC sales.

ASUS is still shipping notebooks, but has also been strong in netbooks and has launched its own fondleslab range, all siblings to its popular Eee PC netbook, led by the Eee Pad Transformer, but to eventually include the Eee Memo, Slider and Slate."

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Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

An actual ASUS Ultrabook review

Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2011 - 06:27 PM |
Tagged: zenbook, ux31, ultrabook, asus

Finally a reviewer has managed to get their hands on an Ultrabook; The Tech Report gives the low down on ASUS' Zenbook UX31 in their lateset article.  It is every bit as pretty as the pictures implied and is not too bad looking on the inside with a Core i5-2557M, 4GB DDR3-1333 on Intel's QS67 chipset with a 128GB Adata XM11 SSD for storage with the 1600x900 TN display powered by the SandyBridge processors onboard graphics engine.  Interestingly, The Tech Report finds its physical characteristics to match or beat the 13" Macbook Air, which costs $200 more so perhaps there is hope for this form factor.  Throughout the review are the inevitable comparisons to Apple, who have already mastered this form factor, as well as mention of the soon to be available IvyBridge books which should be about half the price.

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"The first 13" ultrabook from Asus looks extremely tantalizing on paper—not to mention visually. Is it as good as it seems, and is it worth the $1,099 asking price?"

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

Bulldozer, get out of the way! This review is supposed to be about the ASUS Crosshair V Formula

Subject: Motherboards | October 27, 2011 - 06:20 PM |
Tagged: asus, Crosshair V Formula, FX 8150, 990fx, am3+

As sometimes happens when one sets out to write a review, at some point it turns out you aren't reviewing what you had originally intended to.  Such happened at Legit Reviews when they tested the ASUS Crosshair V Formula AM3+ board with an FX-8150 as well as an X6 1100T.  The motherboard is very interesting; just hard to make out through the wreckage of a big yellow machine lying in front of it.  If you can manage to make out the motherboard through the Phenom-enal holes punched in the 'dozer you can see three PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16, x8, x8), a PCIe 2.0 x16 in x4, a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot and even a legacy PCI slot.  There are also four USB 3.0 ports and an equal number of USB 2.0 ports (one can be made into an ROG port)  and a slew of others including a clear CMOS button for your cat or child to play with. 

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"This particular article, we went a little bit of a different route. We compared the ASUS Crosshair V Formula with the latest AMD FX-8150 'Bulldozer' processor, to itself with an AMD Phenom II X6 1100T. We wanted to see if there was much of a difference in performance between the two core architectures on the AMD 990FX chipset. The article inadvertently felt more like a shoot out between the two processors, when the focus was meant to be on the ASUS Crosshair V Formula. The performance between the two systems was entirely too similar for my tastes. The AMD FX-8150 didn't run the circles around the Phenom II X6 1100T that I had hoped it would..."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

ASUS Showcases New X79 Motherboard Design

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2011 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: x79, sabertooth x79, ROG Rampage IV Extreme, p9x79 deluxe, asus

Fremont, California (October 25, 2011) ― ASUS, the world’s leading motherboard maker, is excited to release a complete roster of Intel® X79 Express Chipset-based motherboards with the new LGA 2011 The new ASUS X79 motherboard offerings cover a wide gamut of PC users with the mainstream P9X79 Series, built-rugged TUF Series, feature laden Work Station (WS) Series and the pinnacle of gaming and enthusiast level motherboard design with the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rampage IV Extreme. This impressive series of motherboards highlight best-in-class performance, stability, features and a user experience that is unmatched.

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P9X79 Series ― Impressive Control Features for Absolute Performance and Reliability
Several exclusive ASUS features make this series of motherboards the ideal choice for PC users who require a combination of performance, enhanced flexibility and incredible system control. This series offers an update to ASUS’ award winning UEFI graphical user interface for system options and the next-generation Dual Intelligent Processors 3 architecture, featuring the latest DIGI+ Power and new Digi+ DRAM technology. ASUS’ exclusive Digi+ technology offers the industry’s leading all-digital power control design that older analog solutions cannot match in performance, stability and control options.

Users will benefit from ASUS SSD Caching, which uses solid state drive speeds to intelligently accelerate frequently-accessed tasks and applications. Offering speeds up to three times faster than mechanical hard drives in most applications, ASUS SSD Caching features an exclusive user interface and storage control options that boosts performance with one click.

Other user enhancements include ASUS USB BIOS Flashback that allows for quick and easy BIOS flashing without the need for a video card, CPU or hard drive attached to the system. BT GO 3.0! with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi onboard enables faster connectivity and convenience without extra adapters, making wireless devices instantly accessible with improved compatibility and versatility on select boards.

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TUF SABERTOOTH X79 ― Ultimate in Control and Stability
Ruggedized and server-grade tested TUF boards have quickly garnered a reputation for the best cooling and stability in their class. The TUF Sabertooth X79 continues this tradition with a new generation of TUF Thermal Armor and new DIGI+ Power technology that is perfect for non-stop commercial use and demanding 24/7 applications. New Thermal Radar technology consists of 12 embedded sensors that detect heat levels across the board, adjusting fan speeds automatically or manually to ensure optimized cooling for improved reliability and stability.

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ROG Rampage IV Extreme – The Best Platform for Gaming or Overclocking
The new ROG Rampage IV Extreme motherboard puts the new Intel® X79 to perfect use for the highest-spec overclocking or gaming performance available to PC enthusiasts. It offers the ultimate enthusiast platform, providing gamers or enthusiasts with a rich selection of exclusive technologies that will be revealed shortly.

Source: ASUS

Asus Shows Off New X79 Republic Of Gamers Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2011 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: x79, socket 2011, sandy bridge-e, ROG, asus

Asus recently unveiled a new X79 socket 2011 motherboard specifically for Sandy Bridge-E, and it looks rather impressive. The new motherboard is a red and black affair that hold several overclocking friendly features and plenty of expansion options. Dubbed the Rampage IV Extreme, the X79 motherboard is part of Asus' Republic of Gamers lineup.

The new motherboard supports Intel's new socket 2011 CPU, eight DDR3 quad channel RAM slots, five PCI-E 3.0 slots (one rated at PCI-E x16 speeds and four at X8 speeds), one further PCI-E 3.0 x1 (physical) slot, and a host of SATA ports. Specifically, the X79 chipset powers two SATA 3 6Gbps and four SATA 2 3Gbps ports while the ASMedia controller powers an additional two SATA 3 6Gbps ports.

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Rear IO on the board includes eight USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, ROG Connect and CMOS reset buttons, four USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA 6Gbps ports, Gigabit LAN, Realtek audio powered 5.1 surround sound via five 3.5mm jacks or an optical output. The motherboard further supports Bluetooth version 2.1+EDR.

While the basic specifications of the motherboard are really nice, the most important aspects of the republic of gamers Rampage IV Extreme board are the overclocking features and diagnostics, and there are quite a few. Around the processor socket, there are chokes rated up to 50 amps and have VRMs cooled by a large black heatspreader. The RAM power circuitry, CPU VRMs, and chipsets are all cooled by heatspreaders and connected by aluminum heatpipes. The only issue that some people might run into is with CPU coolers that have wide bases as the heatpipe connecting the VRMs and chipset heatspreader is close to the processor socket, though most coolers will likely work fine.

Moving to the right of the Sandy Bridge-E socket, Asus has provided several handy overclocking tools including the "MEMOK!" RAM diagnostic button that will either reset the settings to get the board to boot or switch to overclocked profiles if activated after the motherboard has gotten past POST. Above that is a set of 4 dip switches to enable or disable the various PCI-E slots. A power and reset button are above those switches and will come in handy for overclocking the board outside of a typical case. Further, there is a diagnostic LED display in the upper right as well as a switch to enable a slow boot mode when using LN2 (liquid nitrogen) cooling. On the voltage front, there are numerous measurement points for CPU, RAM, and chipset voltages. Finally, next to the SATA ports is a odd looking four slot block that allows enthusiasts to measure temperatures of the various physical temperature diodes on the motherboard using "K-type thermocouple" device.

Needless to say, this new X79 based motherboard looks to be living up to its Republic of Gamers heritage thanks to its slew of overclocking and expansion features. If you're interested in seeing more pictures of this shiny bit of hardware, check out this VR-Zone story.

Source: VR-Zone

Ultrabook Prime; they're here

Subject: Mobile | October 25, 2011 - 12:32 AM |
Tagged: Zenbook UX311, Zenbook UX21, acer, ultrabook, asus, Aspire S Series

 Those of you who are strangers to the PC Perspective Podcast, or who do not remember the CULV may be disappointed by the retail release of the Ultrabook form factor from Intel.  Those of you who have watched us describe the woes of the manufacturers who needed to design and retail the Ultrabook for under $1000 probably already know the ending of this tale.  There are Acer models available at $900 and though they lack an ethernet port they certainly carry a citrus aura. ASUS seems to have put together a slightly better version with a fair choice of ports available, though with more dongles required than necessary (>0),  but still too many sacrifices have been made for an aluminium clad ultra-thin form factor.  Both companies produce better notebooks at a much lower price if you are willing to squeeze in a few extra milimetres.

 

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"You know a product is a dog when it is available widely in stores long before reviewers get sent some. Ultrabooks are no exception, the only thing they have is hype and consumer ignorance."

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Source: SemiAccurate

Blizzcon 2011 Day 1 Photos

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | October 21, 2011 - 07:28 PM |
Tagged: wow, starcraft, nvidia, LG, diablo iii, diablo, blizzcon 2011, blizzcon, asus, antec

Hey everyone!  I am still busily collecting information at Blizzcon 2011 but I thought I would share with you some of the photos I took from the first half of the first day of the show.  If you haven't experienced Blizzcon before (and I hadn't) this is one hell of a celebration of PC gamers.  Even if you aren't a fan of StarCraft, World of Warcraft or Diablo, this is an impressive event with a main stage area seating 15,000!!!

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Check out all the photos on our Facebook page here (available to public as well!)  I'll have some coverage of the Antec, ASUS and NVIDIA booth as well later in the evening so be sure to check back.

Here are a couple more samples, but be sure you check out the link above for ALL of the the photos!!

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