Asus (cont’d)

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This is a new system from Asus being shown for the first time; the W2P notebook features a wealth of multimedia features, the most of important of which is support either an HD-DVD or Bluray drive. 

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The rest of the specs on the notebook are going to be just as impressive including Dolby audio, HDMI output and an integrated subwoofer.

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The new Asus W5Fe notebook has also been getting a lot of attention recently, as it is one of the first devices to make use of small external display that is Vista capable. 

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This screen is capable of communicating with your PC, even while it is in a hibernating-like state so you check your calendar, email or even media player without having to open up the notebook.  This saves power and time; a great thing for any traveler. 

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Another big hit at CES was Asus’ introduction of the XG Station, an external graphics card for notebook users.

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One side of the XG Station has headphones and mic jacks as well as a pair of USB connectors acting as basic USB hub.

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On the other side is where the external connectors from the graphics cards (which is a full size GPU inside a case basically) are accessed.  External power is required of course.

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The XG Station connects to notebooks via an ExpressCard slot; an updated high speed connection replacing PCMCIA. 

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Interestingly, Asus also had an XG Station with an AGEIA PhysX card installed in it, showing that this device can be used for many different purposes.

The XG Station uses a standard PCIe x16 connector inside its case to allow any PCIe card to installed and powered.   The default configuration will come with an Asus 7900 GS card though theoretically any card will work just fine.  The drawbacks include approximately x1 PCIe bandwidth across the ExpressCard slot and the inability to use on notebook display when the XG station is attached.  Obviously with the x1 bandwidth limitation the GPU processor power is going to be somewhat limited.  I hope to get one in very soon for some testing!

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Asus wasn’t done innovating there, as you can see in this shot of a water cooled 8800 GTX card with an in-case reservoir.  The current Asus solution only water cools the GPU, requiring the fan for the memory chips, meaning that the 8800 GTX itself is still taking up two full slots of case space. 

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The Asus R2H UMPC has also been getting a lot of attention.  It sports a fully function GPS system on it as well as the standard UMPC benefits of size and weight. 

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Finally, this is a near-final design on a new Asus notebook that is super thin and super light — around 2 lbs I am told!  The finish is gorgeous, though a little prone to finger prints but this machine would definitely be a traveler’s dream.

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