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ASUS

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ASUS G50V-A1 Gaming NotebookThe ASUS G50V-A1 is a new 15.4" gaming notebook to hit the market this holiday season.  The G50V-A1 is one of the best machines produced by ASUS performance-wise, but it has other issues that should be considered if your intention is to use the "gaming notebook" heavily for its intended purpose.

The notebook offers excellent performance powered with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400, high-quality WSXGA+ screen, and numerous features that make the system stand out.  It is even bundled with useful accessories that do not normally come with a laptop, including a backpack and gaming mouse. The G50V is covered with a two-year warranty, and the first year includes accident damage coverage as well.  The ASUS G50V-A1 also comes with a recovery disk that can be useful in the case of emergency.

If the system was marketed as a business machine, we could stop there with an exceptional review.  However, while the laptop offers great stock performance, the G50V-A1’s over clocking and power management abilities didn’t fare so well. Even though the machine was nearly flawless during regular usage, it’s always a plus for it to perform during rigorous benchmark tests (WorldBench, Mobilemark, etc.). Another serious issue is that it lacks driver support for widescreen resolution (1440×900), which would come in handy. It runs perfectly in its normal resolution of 1680×1050, but having to step down to 1280×768 for a decent widescreen resolution is not a good look.

The G50V-A1 comes with Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit, with 4GB of DDR2-800 RAM. The notebook includes an 8X DVD-RW Super Multi drive, 8-in-1 memory card reader, built-in 1.3-megapixel webcam, and Intel Wireless WiFi Link 5100AGN with built-in Bluetooth support.  Overall, the G50V is a quality gaming platform.  The design and numerous features are great. The graphics card it uses (the NVIDIA GeForce 9700 GT) is a bit of an undershot for ASUS since it’s quite underpowered for a gaming laptop.

The A1 can be purchased for a little under $1600, but it may be overpriced since the ASUS G50Vt-X1 can be purchased for $1,250. It’s a cheaper machine, but it has a Core 2 Duo processor, a 15.6" 1366×758 display, and a NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GS, which is simply a better graphics card for a gaming platform.

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Asus N20A Ultraportable NotebookASUS is new to the notebook and desktop PC market.  They have long been known for making quality motherboards, video cards, and other PC components, but the company has just recently entered the field of custom desktop and notebook computers.  The ASUS N20A notebook is ultra-portable, sleek, and stylish, yet it also offers top of the line security and high-end specifications to meet the needs of business users. The system’s display is a 12.1" WXGA, glare resistant color shine screen.  It features the ASUS Express Gate, which provides an 8-second boot time to a Linux-based environment with web browsing and basic tools.  Other features of the ASUS N20A include facial recognition technology, a fingerprint reader, and eSATA connectivity.

ASUS used state-of-the-art technology in the production of the N20A notebook. ASUS’s Unique Infusion Technology provides a scratch resistant exterior and helps maintain the system’s "brand new" sheen, even after prolonged use. Its additional operating system known as Express Gate enables a rapid boot up for quick access to everyday features, such as your web browser, instant messenger, music player, and more. The facial recognition system, otherwise known as SmartLogon, recognizes the users face and can logon without having to press a key. It also looks for changes in the users facial features and no matter the lighting, it can normally detect the user. Using the AuthenTec fingerprint sensor with Trueprint Technology, the ASUS N20A can accurately read anyone’s fingerprint as well.

As for the system’s actual specifications, it boasts an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Intel GMA X4500HD integrated graphics, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, up to 320GB hard drive, 1280×800 resolution display, 1.3 megapixel webcam, HDMI and VGA output ports, DVD burner, Wi-Fi connectivity, ExpressCard expansion slot, 8-in-1 memory card reader, and optional Bluetooth and 3.5G connectivity support.  The ASUS N20A ships with Windows Vista pre-installed, with prices starting from $999, and increasing depending on your configuration.

ASUS P6T Deluxe X58 Motherboard for Core i7 ProcessorsASUS offers another option for enthusiasts with an eye on the new Core i7 processors, the ASUS P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition motherboard. It is marketed as a fully loaded 1366 motherboard that offers unique features not found on other competing boards.  Features include a small 2.5" LCD display that provides overclocking options, three PCI express slots, and support for NVIDIA SLI multi-GPU technology. The high-end motherboard has a lot of competition, though, including the Intel DX58SO, MSI Eclipse, Foxconn Renaissance, and EVGA’s X58 SLI motherboard, as well as ASUS’ own Rampage II Extreme X58 motherboard. Enthusiasts will be interested to know how the fares when compared in terms of features, performance, and price.

The first distinct difference is the 2.5 inch LCD monitor. This is an exclusive device that can be plugged into the motherboard through any available USB port. It displays overclocking options and vital system information such as CPU temperature, fan speeds, etc. The user can easily monitor system performance, and take action should a problem arise (e.g. temperature rising to unstable/unacceptable levels). A Yahoo! Widget can also be used to access the data.

The ASUS P6T has three PCI Express 2.0 slots. The first two slots will run at x16 speed. If the second slot is set to x8 speed, the third slot can also run at x8 speed. This gives the user more flexibility for the hardware that can be used. Obviously, if you only need to use two slots (e.g. installing two graphics cards), both will run at x16 speed. In addition, a x4 speed PCI slot and two regular PCI slots are provided.

ASUS P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition Motherboard

Another key feature of the ASUS P6T motherboard is the inclusion of SLI support.  This is a strategic business move on the part of ASUS, since NVIDIA charges a royalty fee per motherboard sold to manufacturers that offer support for SLI.  It is not supported by all manufacturers for this reason.

Memory wise, the board offers six physical slots, separated into two different colors. To achieve maximum efficiency, only three or six memory modules should be installed. If only 3 modules are installed, the same color slots should be used. In total, you can install up to 12GB of memory on the ASUS board.

Overall, the ASUS P6T compares very favorably to other options in many ways.  While it doesn’t offer the four PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots or fourteen USB 2.0 ports of the Foxconn Renaissance motherboard, the ASUS P6T is an excellent option due to the extras assuming it includes all the functionality you require.

ASUS UFOTO UF735 USB LCD Monitor / Photo FrameDisplaylink USB video technology introduced the possibility of secondary USB monitors to the technology community.  ASUS has now successfully extended this technology to create a unique product, the ASUS UFOTO, which combines the functionality of a photo frame and a secondary monitor. It is a 7" monitor that allows a high resolution display of up to 800×400 pixels (720×480 viewing area).

It serves very well as a photo frame because as a standalone gadget, it is able to store over 700 photos with its in-built 128MB memory. The product features auto image rotation for vertical or horizontal placement. If the in-built memory is not enough, adding additional storage devices is also possible. The UFOTO supports CF/FD/MMC/MS/xD cards and an external USB flash drive. It can be plugged into an AC power source, or it can operate on its own, drawing power from its in-built rechargeable battery. It even allows photo searching by specific dates. Several  popular image formats are supported, including JPG (the most common), BMP, and GIF.

The UFOTO looks very elegant sitting on a desk or hanging on a wall. Left on its own, it is able to display a huge number of photos in a slideshow. To make the slideshow more interesting, it is also possible to play MP3 while the slideshow is displaying.

Similar to full-size LCD monitors, the UFOTO is also capable of adjusting its brightness according to the surrounding ambiance automatically. For example, when the surrounding light dims, the display adjusts itself until a comfortable level is attained. This is to ensure that the photos are always displayed in the best possible light.

The other primary function that the UFOTO serves is as a secondary LCD monitor. When plugged into the USB port of a desktop computer, the display can be synchronized to either look exactly like the parent monitor or display a totally different application altogether. This is useful for being able to see your screen from another location or running multiple applications concurrently without cluttering up monitor space.

For those who are concerned about the design of the unit, the ASUS UFOTO comes in three cool colors: star silver, blush pink, and sky blue. It has a shiny exterior casing, which makes the appearance highly compatible with Apple desktops and laptops.

Finally, note that the ASUS UFOTO is designed to be a simple piece of hardware. As the USB video technology is still in its infancy, do not expect the UFOTO to be able to display advanced 3D graphics. However, the technology at its current stage is ideal for displaying photos, playing music, or even watching videos. Available at a mere 06kg, the UFOTO is perhaps the smallest monitor around with this much functionality.

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ASUS Triton 81 CPU Cooler for X58 SystemsASUS has released its first CPU cooler for the soon to be released Intel Core i7 platform. The ASUS Triton 81 offers a 90mm fan that functions between 800 RPM and 2,500 RPM, with a noise level of 18 dBA during normal operation.  The cooler is controlled by the motherboard’s PWM, and presents a blue glows when running.  ASUS’s Triton 81 is constructed of copper, and includes copper heatpipes that link its base with the fins.  The unit weighs 24.16oz, and supports Intel (sockets 1366 and 775) and AMD (sockets 939/940/1207/AM2/AM2+) motherboards.  Pricing and availability information has not yet been announced.

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As we all eagerly await the release of Intel’s Core i7 (Nehalem) processors, news is beginning to surface regarding the X58 motherboards.  Thus far, the best performing motherboard seems to be the ASUS Rampage II Extreme, with is, of course, specifically designed for the Intel i7 processors.

The new ASUS Rampage II Extreme will be packed with impressive features, including six DDR3 DIMM slots for tri-channel memory bandwidth (performance is said to be better using the blue slots), on-the-fly overclocking through Windows, two PCI Express x1 slots, three x16 PCIe 2.0 slots (dual x16 or x16/x8/x8), SLI and CrossFire support, 12 USB ports/headers, and much more.  Overclocking with the X58 motherboards will venture away from the comfort zone of the Core and Core 2 processors into a process similar to that used with AMD processors.

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ASUS G71 Gaming NotebookThe ASUS G71 notebook was designed specifically for the gaming market.  The machine emphasizes audio quality and video performance to offer a complete gaming experience.  Features include an Intel Core 2 Extreme processor QX9300 (quad-core), DDR3 RAM, dedicated NVIDIA graphics, and a Blu-ray optical drive. The ASUS G71 offers three different processor speed options via the Direct Console 2.0 overclocking and configuration software.  Gaming hotkeys are also provided that can be configured to launch a favorite game or execute in-game commands. Similar to the Dell XPS systems, the G71 also features a programmable lighting system that lights up and blinks during in-game events. The lighting options are configurable through the Direct Console 2.0 software.  Pricing information has not yet been made available.

Laptop Specifications:

  • Intel Quad Core QX9300 Processor
  • Mobile Intel PM45 Express Chipset + ICH9M-E
  • Intel WiMAX/WiFi Link 5100
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Up to 4GB DDR3 1066MHz SDRAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9700M GT with 512MB GDDR3 VRAM
  • Intel Turbo Memory Technology with 2GB NANDFlash
  • 17" WUXGA High Brightness Display
  • 1 Terabyte Disk Space via Two 500 GB 5,400 RPM Hard Drives
  • Blu-ray Optical Drive
  • 2 MP Swivel Web Camera
  • Built-in Bluetooth V2.1+EDR

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