When ASUS released their first audio card last year, which we quickly reviewed, people were skeptical. Could some company come along and release a new sound card that was actually impressive, and competitive? If you take a look at that article and also our recent DX look, you could see that the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.
I had the great pleasure of being able to talk to ASUS’ audio team at Computex for near an hour, and I’m impressed to see what is on the horizon. I’m no audiophile, I’ll admit, but the quality of their cards cannot be denied, and I religiously use my Xonar D2X paired with good headphones on a regular basis. It’s the ultimate aural orgasm.
So with the Xonar D2, D2X and DX out, what’s next? How about the world’s first HDMI audio card? You might be wondering how this works, and so did I. This is to be installed as a normal sound card, alongside a video card. It does not transmit video.
One small HDMI cable will run from the card to your GPU, which can be done with a DVI-to-HDMI adapter if your GPU doesn’t include an HDMI port. From there, you can run another HDMI cable from the video card (can also be done via DVI/HDCP) to the display. This will enable higher quality audio than what on-board audio cards or GPU HDMI outputs will offer.
Unlike all (from what I’m told) PC solutions on the market, which can only output to 48kHz, using this card will offer a full 192kHz frequency… something to be appreciated if you have a proper setup.
It doesn’t end there, however. Also on display were multiple solutions for true audiophiles and those with specific needs. There is even production cards… one that can accept a 1/4" microphone jack. I’ll let the pictures explain themselves.
Audio aside, ASUS had numerous other products on display, such as CPU coolers, updated and new notebooks and many Eee PC accessories.
This cooler caught my eye, primarily because it’s rare to see one adorned with a pearl white guard. I am not sure what the emblem represents, but despite being shaped like a butterfly… I kind of want one.
During my Computex trip, I solely used ASUS’ U6 notebook, and overall, I have to say I’m quite impressed. I’ll leave all the comments for the review soon, though. Updated models were on display, including one which incorporates bamboo into the design, which looks absolutely fantastic.
Wood doesn’t seem like it would be a great choice for implementation into a notebook, but it’s pulled off well here. The wood was incredibly smooth, and from what I understand, will not wear out over time.
While the U6 is a modest 12", the brand-new G70 is a staggering 17"… as it should be though, for gamers. I am unsure of the components used in here, but I believe the GPU was a GoForce 9600 GT, with other comparable components used.
I was quoted that this beast of an offering should retail for under $2,000, so all we can do is wait for a final SRP and also the specs list to judge how well desired this one should be.
For Eee PC enthusiasts, you’d be pleased to know that numerous accessories are on the way, and to say they are unique would be an understatement. On display we saw a handwriting pad, a home security starter kit, a mouse the size of your finger, motion joysticks (thing Nintendo Wii) and also a Skype phone. More were on display, but I found these to be the most interesting.
Lastly, the new Eee Box was also on display, which is essentially the Eee PC in a desktop form. This thing looks quite hopeful. It’s small (smalled than a Nintendo Wii from what I could tell), offers a fair amount of connectivity and is supposed to come in at a very good price.
The Eee Box will of course not be for performance hounds, but the fact that you could actually hide your entire PC behind your monitor or in a cabinet is a very attractive option. Using wireless peripherals may defeat the purpose of an affordable PC, but the option is there for those who want it.
So as you can see, ASUS had a lot on display. Not only were the products abundant, but they were intriguing. I am most interested in their upcoming audio lineup, personally. This is a company that came virtually out of nowhere with an audio lineup and are now creating solutions not seen from the other guys (such as the pure HDMI card).
We of course will not be taking a look at every product seen in this article in the future, but there will be a definite few, so stay tuned as we will evaluate their true value.
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