Asus Reveals Specifications Of Snapdragon-Powered NovaGo Convertible Laptop

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 11, 2017 - 04:30 PM |
Tagged: Windows 10 S, snapdragon 835, qualcomm, NovaGo, asus

The Asus NovaGo was announced last week at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit, and now the company is sharing additional specifications on one of the first Windows On Snapdragon devices. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and running Windows 10 S, Asus is promising a convertible tablet with up to 22 hours of battery life capable of running most of your usual Windows applications (even non-Store / UWP apps so long as they are 32-bit and don’t require kernel mode drivers).

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Measuring 316 x 221.6 x 14.9mm, the Asus NovaGo TP370 is constructed of dark gray plastic (and some metal bits) and weighs in at just over 3.06 pounds (1.39 kg). The top half of the device is dominated by a 13.3” 1920 x 1080 LTPS “NanoEdge” display with 8.9mm bezels and also hosts the 720p webcam which isn’t great but does apparently support Windows Hello. The display offers 10-point multi-touch as well as stylus support in the form of the Asus Pen with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

A 360° silver colored hinge connects the two halves of the PC and enables tablet and tent modes. The bottom half of the NovaGo holds most of the hardware of the device along with the external I/O ports. The NovaGo has a chiclet style keyboard with flat looking keys and the arrow keys nestled in the bottom right corner. The trackpad does appear to be fairly large though. There are two SonicMaster stereo speakers, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) Type A ports, one HDMI video output, a audio combo jack, microSD card slot, Nano SIM slot, and DC power input (no USB Type-C charging here unfortunately).

Internal hardware centers around the 10nm Snapdragon 835 SoC and its X16 LTE modem. The Snapdragon 835 features eight Kryo 280 64-bit ARM cores clocked at up to 2.45 GHz, an Adreno 540 GPU at 710 MHz, Hexagonn 682 DSP, support for aptX audio and Aqstic audio codec, Spectra 180 ISP (which seems to be underutilized here with only a 1MP webcam in play), and platform security module. The SoC is paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of UFS 2.0 flash storage (rated at up to 175 MB/s or 4000 Mbps).

The NovaGo has four antennas and supports Gigabit LTE (1 Gbps down, 150 Mbps up) and dual-band 802.11ac MU-MIMO Wi-Fi. Users can use a Nano SIM or eSIM (embedded SIM) functionality to connect to their wireless carriers with the eSIM able to be set up through the Windows Store by purchasing a data plan locally when traveling. A 52 watt-hour battery allegedly keeps the NovaGo running for up to 22 hours and sitting in connected standby for up to a month. Windows 10 S is bundled with the system, but power users can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free until September 2018.

Hexus.net reports that the NovaGo will be available in early spring 2018 and will hit the US, UK, Italy, France, China, and Taiwan first with other countries to follow later. There are several models at play with 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB of RAM as well as 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB of UFS 2.0 storage. The base model has a MSRP of $599 and the top end SKU has a MSRP of $799.

The pricing does seem to be on the more expensive side, but these devices are aimed at mobile professionals and businesses with expense accounts so it’s not that out of line, and if the build quality is there and the battery life gets close to the lofty promises I can see them catching on.

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Source: Asus

December 11, 2017 | 06:53 PM - Posted by remc86007

The price is fine if the user experience is perfect, but I'm worried. I find that windows animations and web rendering is frustratingly slower on my I5 Surface Book w/o dgpu than on my desktop pc. I guess I've become extra sensitive to speed, but it's concerning to me that we are seemingly heading down the network "good enough" road again, and with the current slowing in process advancements if this experience is perceived as "good enough" the consumer market may not return to pushing the performance envelope.

December 12, 2017 | 05:02 PM - Posted by Coppermine (not verified)

Its likely going to be slower than your Core i5 Surface Book. You can checkout these https://www.ultrabookreview.com/19015-asus-novago-impressions/ and also https://www.pcworld.com/article/3240484/computers/hands-on-asus-novago-s... whom managed to get hands on testing and some benchmarks.

As for laptop slowdowns, its always due to heat (which can cause throttling), available free memory, graphic drivers (make sure latest drivers are installed), storage speed (when caching webpages) and especially bloatware running in the background (plenty of those in Windows, eating up precious memory and stealing some processor time).

December 12, 2017 | 05:24 AM - Posted by ADRIAN FLORIN LAZAR (not verified)

Would this convertible support Linux ?
I'm concerned about drivers - the LTE modem

December 12, 2017 | 04:50 PM - Posted by Coppermine (not verified)

I don't think so, most likely the BIOS firmware is locked down for Windows 10 on ARM. And the hardware drivers like the LTE modem is also another issue (customized by Microsoft and Qualcomm, thus closed source).

If you're looking for an ARM powered laptop with Linux then you may have more luck modifying an ARM based Chromebook since Chrome OS was based on Linux.

December 12, 2017 | 04:38 PM - Posted by Coppermine (not verified)

Folks at Ultrabookreview managed to pry some benchmarks out of that Asus NovaGo Convertible Laptop https://www.ultrabookreview.com/19015-asus-novago-impressions/ mostly Intel Atom level performance or worse (as indicated earlier by leaks at Geekbench database).

Also PCWorld guys managed to get some hands on as well https://www.pcworld.com/article/3240484/computers/hands-on-asus-novago-s... some hiccups (crashes) encountered and not as snappy as advertised (even with Edge native browser). Looks like lots of optimizations and debugging works still needs to be done, hence that spring launch.

December 12, 2017 | 06:50 PM - Posted by ConfusedBySomeWordings (not verified)

But the graphics has to be better or it's not worth going to any other ISA based processer. That windows bloat has to be good for sapping at least 20% away of any CPU's available processing power. That's why they need nore than 8 cores unless those cores are Apple A series(Twice as wide order superscalar as any ARM refrence CPU cores) based.

AMD really needs to get its custom K12 ARMv8A ISA running cores to market and at least try and get an ARM core with SMT capability. Maybe AMD is afraid that its K12 desgn maybe be too performant against AMD's Zen/x86 ISA based SKUs but look at Apple's A 7/Cyclone and newer cores and it usually takes twice as many refrence ARM Holding's cores to have the smake IPC as Apple's custom cores since the A7/Cyclone arrived.

December 12, 2017 | 07:32 PM - Posted by Coppermine (not verified)

Based on the graphics benchmark scores, lower than Intel's Apollo Lake like Pentium N4200. Full DirectX compatibility also calls into question, since they could not test any real games on it. Web browsing performance and x86 emulation requires very strong single thread performance which the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 unable to muster.

All ARM based projects like Hierofalcon, Amur, Lanner Falcon, Project Skybridge and including K12 were scrapped for good. That is why AMD no longer spoke about them and disappeared from all future roadmaps.

AMD's previous ARM server attempts like Seattle ended in failure https://www.servethehome.com/red-hat-rhel-7-4-introduces-support-for-arm... quotes "In mid-2014 Red Hat announced an early access program for RHEL and ARM. Many of the companies in that announcement have changed. The AMD Opteron A1100 was a failed product."

That is why none of the top server vendors (like HPE, Dell, Supermicro, Tyan, Lenovo, Inspur, etc) and manufacturers adopted AMD's Seattle. It became abandonware and subsequently dumped to final resting place at little known SoftIron in UK. This is why there was hardly any news about AMD's Seattle nowadays.

December 13, 2017 | 12:25 AM - Posted by WeWillFindOutIn2018AboutK12 (not verified)

AMD is required by law to explain K12's final status to AMD's shareholders in a SEC 10k filing and any project put off until 2018 like K12 was put of in the last roadmap where AMD made mention of K12's status as moved back to 2018. So AMD has said eariler that K12 had been delayed until 2018 so AMD will have to update its shareholders sometime in 2018 about K12's status. AMD just started in Jan 2016 providing its Opteron A1100 Seattle based products but Seattle's cores are based on Refrence design Arm Holdings A57 cores. And AMD will have to provide any of those Seattle server customers with the usual 5+ years of support by contract. If AMD is getting out of the ARM market completely that's big enough news for AMD to have to do so in a 10k filing.

I seriously doubt that if K12's design was completed that it would be scrapped if it's performance was above most of the markets other custom ARM cores. And K12's design blueprints can be retained. K12 was supposed to be very similar to Zen and it was only that the cores where engineered to execute the ARMv8A ISA instead of the x86 ISA.

A lot of Arm projects where canceled and some of the canceled projects design blueprints rights sold to others for any custom ARM CPU cores, with any new IP holders still required to get an ARM ISA architectural license from ARM Holdings if they did not already have one.

Broadcom's Vulcan custom ARM cores with SMT capability did not survive Broadcom's acquisition by Avago(Avago took on the Broadcom name after is acquired Broadcom) and Vulkan's design was sold to chip rival Cavium. In November 2017, Cavium's board of directors agreed to the company's purchase by Marvell Technology Group for $6 billion in cash and stock. So Cavium is now owned by Marvell Technology Group along with Broadcomm's Vulkan line of custom ARM processors and Cavium's line of ThunderX processors.

Who Knows what AMD will do with K12 and if that design was completed by Jim Keller/His K12 Team Then it's probably valuable IP to retain for a time when the ARM server market settles down from all the disruptive acquisitions happening in the ARM based makers markets lately. If K12 shares too much of it's design with Zen then I seriously doubt that AMD would ever sell K12's blueprints to others but AMD can keep that design on hold for a good while until the ARM server market's potential becomes clearer.

An ISA dose not make a CPU powerful it's the underlying hardware and core execution resources that make a CPU powerful. Those Snapdragon designs could hardly be considered completely custom like the Apple A7 Cyclone/Newer cores are. And Apple's acquisition of P.A. Semiconductor is Apple's best acquisition of all in that Apple got all those P.A. Semiconductor CPU engineers, Including Jim Keller who was P.A. Semiconductor's Vice President of Engineering at the time.

Apple is alomst a trillion dollar market cap company and Apple's cash reserves are larger than the total market caps of Intel and AMD combined and that's mostly on sales of the Apple A series Cores based products and not any x86 based products that do not accout for as much revenues for Apple relative to Apple's iOS based devices revenues.

December 13, 2017 | 11:13 AM - Posted by Coppermine (not verified)

Too late, AMD's K12 was delayed to 2017 https://www.anandtech.com/show/9232/amds-k12-arm-cpu-now-in-2017 And its nearing the end of 2017 already but still no K12 in sight. This confirms that K12 is scrapped for good.

December 13, 2017 | 11:12 AM - Posted by Coppermine (not verified)

Too late, AMD's K12 was delayed to 2017 https://www.anandtech.com/show/9232/amds-k12-arm-cpu-now-in-2017 And its nearing the end of 2017 already but still no K12 in sight. This confirms that K12 is scrapped for good.

December 13, 2017 | 11:14 AM - Posted by Coppermine (not verified)

Whoops, reply post above in the wrong place. Please delete. Thank you!

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