CES 2007: ASUS 3

CES 2007: ASUS Review

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ASUS didn't have a big booth with a lot of traffic at this year's CES, instead they chose to fill a big meeting room with all their new products. This helped reduce the traffic a lot, so you could actually see something and talk to the people.

XG Station

All current ultra portable notebooks have a major problem, their graphics cards sucks. For example my Core 2 Duo Thinkpad X60s can barely play Quake 3, but it weights only 2.5 lbs. Sometimes I wish there was a way to at least game a little bit when travelling. To accomodate these needs, ASUS has created the XG Station. It is an external video card, that is connected to the laptop via Express Card Slot. The video card inside the XG Station is a EN7900GS, the whole project has been developed together with NVIDIA.

The large readout has been inspired by Star Trek it seems. It can display FPS, GPU temperature, fan speed and GPU clocks. The XG Station does more than just rendering, it also has a true 5.1-channel surround sound card onboard that is using Dolby Headphone Technology.

Internally the device uses a PCI-E x1 bridge to extend the notebook's internal PCI-E bus externally to the XG Station. While x1 may not sound like a lot of bandwidth and the latencies are increased, it does not matter that much during actual gameplay. Remember, bus bandwidth is mainly needed during upload of textures and geometry which usually happens at game start. From then on everything is rendered from the video memory. Compared to a 945 integrated graphics, the performance speed up is expected to be close to factor 10. What I think is more important, is that you can run games using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR on your ultra portable notebook now and enjoy all the eye candy. All you need is a laptop with Express Card slot, which are becoming more and more common.

The XG Station is fully Vista certified and scheduled for a Q2 release. Pricing is yet unknown.

ASUS Sideshow

The ASUS W5Fe notebook is the world's first laptop that comes with the Windows Vista Sideshow feature. The 12" TFT notebook is based on a C2D, i945GM chipset, with the usual features like Wireless LAN and Bluetooth. You also have an Express card slot, for the ASUS XG Station for example, an integrated 1.3 MP webcam and 1 GB of NAND Flash.

What makes this notebook revolutionary is the little 2.8" QVGA LCD which is designed for Vista Sideshow.

Sideshow is a secondary display that you can use to show emails, calendar and other data from MS Outlook. Also you can do some light-weight gaming, mobile navigation, or cycle through photos. Sideshow is a whole platform, which means that it can be built into any other kinds of devices, like cellphones or PDAs. For example, Logitech will announce a Harmony Remote Control soon that comes with Sideshow support.


The ASUS Asteio D22 DAV is ASUS latest home theater appliance. DAV stands for Digital Audio Video. The tiny device is based on Intel's Viiv Platform and is designed to act as centerpoint of your digital entertainment household. It has native HDMI (full 1080p, with HDCP!) and DTS 7.1 Audio, this means you can connect it directly to your LCD, Plasma TV or projector without worrying about adapter cables. On the inside the unit has a Core 2 Duo E6300 processor, 1 GB DDR2 memory, NVIDIA 7600 GS, Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless LAN 802.11b/g, 16x DVD drive and a 250 GB SATA HDD.
Integrated in the unit is a dual hybrid TV tuner, which means you can record two channels at the same time, or watch one and record another. Also supported of course is time-shifting: you can pause a live running TV programme at any time and continue watching later.

Users can connect to the Asteio D22 via the Internet, to watch their own videos or TV programme. Also they can program the device from remote. Included with the Asteio D22 is an EPG (Electronic Program Guide) for up to two weeks in advance.

I really love the wireless keyboard with the integrated touch pad that uses RF technology, so it doesn't need a line-of-sight. It seems to be big enough for serious use, while still looking very sleek. ASUS also paid special attention to reducing fan noise, by using ASUS Tranquil Technology, a dynamic fan control mechanism, bringing the unit down to less than 26 dbA.

The ASUS Asteio D22DAV is available now with prices in the $2,000 range.

G1 and G2 Gaming notebooks

For gamers who want to carry their gaming system with them, yet don't want to spend a ton of money, two new notebooks based on NVIDIA and ATI video cards have been created.

The ASUS G1 AK008M is using an NVIDIA GeForce Go 7700 graphics card with 512 MB of video memory. The display is 15.4" widescreen TFT with a native resolution of 1680x1050. The other specs are Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 2.0 GHz processor, 2 GB DDR2-667 RAM, 160 GB HDD, DVD-RAM drive, Card Reader, 1.3 MP WebCam, for about $1,800.

The ASUS G2 G2P-7R001M is based on the ATI X1700 Mobility and a large 17" TFT display (1440x900). The rest of the specs are Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 2.16 GHz processor, 2 GB DDR2-667 RAM, 160 GB HDD, DVD-RAM drive, Card Reader, 1.3 MP WebCam, for about $1,800 as well.

Both laptops are already available and come with a free backpack to carry them around.
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