We attend the Consumers Electronics Show each year in Las Vegas, Nevada, because it’s by far the largest technology showcase on these shores. However, an arguably even more important event takes place each June in Taipei, Taiwan: Computex.
Why Computex is important is because it showcases products from companies that have active sales in that market, and believe it or not, many of the products in your computer were likely developed and produced in Taiwan. Sometimes, it’s good to go straight to the source.
One such company that resides in Taiwan is ASUS, and because they had so much to show off, I decided to dedicate an entire article to what they had on display. It’s clear to me that ASUS’ R&D department never sleeps, because the amount of new products on display just since CES is rather staggering.
As you have probably noticed from our front page, one of the biggest announcements during the show was for ASUS’ 10" Eee PC. I’ve been quoted by ASUS directly that they will not go beyond that size, so let’s see if it holds true. For specific Eee PC coverage, please refer to Greg’s article.
No Shortage of Vento
The first thing that grabbed my attention was the sheer amount of Vento-branded products in their display. Vento, to me in the past, represented their bubbly red Vento chassis, but the name is finding its place on numerous other products, including power supplies, a wide-range of chassis’ and even peripherals.
Given how many companies are now producing power supplies, you’d almost guess that it was an untapped market. That’s certainly not the case, obviously, but if there is one company to dive in and actually deliver worthwhile products, it’s ASUS. We can just hope their models will satisfy even the hardcore-est of the hardcore power supply enthusiasts.
The same thing could be said about hard drive enclosures, but that didn’t stop their offerings from receiving a Taiwan Excellence 2008 award. I do admit, I like the clean design and cool colors.
Their first Vento-branded chassis was only to be the beginning of big things to come. On the top shelf were numerous different Vento chassis’, all with very different styling. I didn’t crack one open, so I’m not sure what they do that others do, if they do indeed have innovative features. None of the cases shown struck my fancy, but your opinions may vary.
We first learned about ASUS’ foray into the gaming PC market a few months ago, but at Computex they had showed off completed designs. These machines are pre-built, meaning the chassis will not be available separately – at least at this point in time.
I’d assume that the same retail channels that currently offer ASUS notebooks would begin to pick up on these… or at least the higher-end retailers. The machines on display featured a high-end QX9650 Quad-Core and dual (or quad, I can’t recall) GPUs. One thing that did strike me, was the fact that the machines include not one, but TWO 1000W power supplies.
Overkill? Without question. Certainly good if you care about the appearance of your e-peen, however.
The company had countless motherboards on display, for both AMD and Intel platforms. The first stop was a look at their Intel offerings, which, not surprisingly, were mostly focusing on the new P45 chipset from Intel.
In my P5Q Deluxe review from a few weeks ago, I mentioned that there would initially be four P45 offerings from ASUS, but here there were seven or eight. Regardless of what you are looking for in a motherboard, there should be one here for you.
All of the current and upcoming AMD boards on display offer support for the new 140W Phenom processors… even the mATX model. This will come as a relief to those wanting to pack some AMD Quad-Core action into a small PC.
The Republic of Gamers’ boards are always ones to be drooled over, and the Rampage Extreme is no different. It’s decked out in most all regards, and offers a robust cooler that’s modeled after a Ferrari engine. Hard to not like that.
It’s not everyday that an mATX motherboard catches my eye, but the M3A78-EM did. You can see the reason below. Alongside the many USB and e-SATA ports are four different video outputs including HDMI, DVI, VGA and even DisplayPort. Though not many people will be able to take advantage of all four at any given time, having the option between any is nice.
Since ATI’s and NVIDIA’s upcoming offerings are still under embargo, no company showed off their new models. So all of the cards on display were based on previous architectures that we’ve reviewed in the past. One common theme I noticed though, was that almost every video card manufacturer had designed unique 9600 GT coolers, and ASUS was no exception.
The ‘Black Pearl’ edition of the EN9600GT features a pure black PCB and low-profile heatsink with leaf-blower fan. The 9600 GT is easily one of the best cards on the market for the price-point and this is equally easily one of my favorites.