ASUS mini CeBIT @ Taipei
Similar to MSI, ASUS very recently held a "mini CeBIT @ Taipei" event at their headquarters here in Taiwan. Located on their onsite basketball court for staff, they showed off a bunch of their latest products - some old and some new, but still quite interesting to us.
ASUS showed many of their latest notebooks and it's clear that is one of their major focuses. However, since we're not entirely interested in notebooks, we'll cover the other products that ASUS had on show. Unfortunately they didn't have any Bearlake motherboards on display (that's not to say that ASUS won't be showing anything in Germany) but they did have quite a few interesting products which are a little outside of the square, which makes for a nice change.
We met up with Sean from ASUS and he first introduced the ASUS XG Station to us. It was actually announced by ASUS back at CES earlier this year but it's the first time we've actually been able to see it up, close and personal. XG Station is a very unique device which allows consumers to upgrade the 3D graphics capabilities of their notebook computer, which is usually impossible, unless of course you know what you are doing. ASUS made the comparison of internal graphics from Intel's 945GM chipset to nVidia's GeForce 7900GS providing almost 10 times increase in 3D performance - which seems about correct to us.
It is a standalone device that connects via your notebooks express card slot but it does require external power. It also includes a couple USB 2.0 ports and an onboard audio chip which provides sound support for Dolby Headphone. Moreover, the front LCD panel provides a wealth of information such as current game frame rate, fan speed and even GPU temperature. From the front of the device you can also adjust GPU clock speed by turning the volume knob, change fan speed as well as adjust volume levels.
Initially ASUS will begin shipping this product either just before or just after Computex (sometime in June) and it will come installed with a GeForce 7900GS graphics card from ASUS. When asked if ASUS would ship XG Station without graphics card, allowing consumers more freedom of choice, they commented that would be unlikely since ASUS are trying to also sell their own graphics cards. Later ASUS intend on releasing newer versions with HDMI + HDCP graphics cards inside for users wanting to add HD DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities to their notebook or connect up to their new large HDTV LCD screen. Stay tuned as we'll try and get a sample for testing shortly!
Even though it was also announced sometime ago, ASUS were showing off their new EN8800GTX AquaTank/HTDP/768M graphics cards which brings factory installed water cooling to the GeForce 8800GTX. Using cooling designed by ThermalTake, they've been able to not only increase clock speeds by 11% but also decrease operating temperatures by 12°C.
The default clock speed of all 8800GTX cards is 575MHz on the core and 1800MHz DDR on the memory but ASUS has managed to increase this to 630MHz / 2060MHz DDR.
Finally from ASUS we spotted their upcoming range of AiGuru S2 wireless Skype phones. We recently checked out the first revision S1 and it was received quite well considering the price. The new S2 version is set to be released shortly with improvements of color LCD screen as well as higher resolution. Besides the internal changes, ASUS has done great things with appearance - S2 looks sexy!