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CES 2012 Asus X79 Boards, Transformer TF700T Action
Date: Jan 10, 2012
Author: Marco Chiappetta
Transformer Prime Hands On, Mobile

In a lavish suite at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas, Asus set up a number of existing an upcoming products for eager members of the technology press to ogle and get some hands-on time. In the suite, we had a chance to checkout a handful of upcoming X79 motherboards, nettops, netbooks, notebooks, and even a few tablets and a smartphone.

One of the standout products had to be the new Transformer Prime TF700T, which builds upon the original design we showed you here, but adds an absolutely awesome WUXGA 1920x1200 resolution screen, a higher-resolution front facing camera, and reportedly more reliable Wi-Fi performance. 

A video of the Transformer Prime TF700T is posted above. As you can see, the device offers silky smooth performance navigating through the various menus, thanks not only to NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 SoC, but enhancements coming with Android 4.03, a.k.a Ice Cream Sandwich, which was running on the device. Although better, quickly scrolling the web browser still resulted in some blank blocks and redraws.


What the video doesn’t clearly convey is how sharp and clear the 10.1” WUXGA screen really is. The Asus TF700T easily has the best screen we have ever come across on a tablet. The new front facing camera in the TF700T is upgraded from the original’s 1.2MP to a full 2MP, but we didn’t evaluate it on-site and can’t comment on its performance just yet.

The upgraded Asus Transformer Prime TF700T will be available sometime in Q1 and carries a $599 price tag for a 32GB model, $100 more than the original.


Also on display in Asus’ suite was the latest iteration of the PadFone device the company has been talking about for a while. This version of the phone was running Android Ice Cream Sandwich, however. If you’re unfamiliar with the PadFone, it’s essentially a smartphone that can be docked into the back of a larger tablet screen.



Asus’ new MeMO 370T 7” tablet was also on display, although solid information on this little puppy isn’t clear just yet. Asus sent out a press release the other day regarding the device, but we were told the specs would be changing before launch (Asus now plans to use NVIDIA’s Tegra in the device), with the goal of bringing the price down to around Kindle Fire levels.

A number of new netbooks were also available in the suite. What you see here are the upcoming Eee PC 1225C, 1025C, and X101CH. All three of these machines were based on Intel’s newest Atom processor platform, codenamed Cedar Trail, which is manufactured using Intel’s advanced 32nm processor and features a more powerful integrated GPU. The new platform also offers better overall performance and lower power consumption, so battery life should be much improved over current models. The machines will also offer interchangeable, colored lids, which are pictured here.

Asus X79 Motherboards and More

Of course, Asus had a number of motherboards and peripherals on display, as well. The main focus was on a few upcoming X79-based boards, namely the Rampage IV Formula, Extreme, and Gene, which are all members of Asus’ Republic of Gamers product family.

Here is a quick video of Asus’ own geek extraordinaire Jumpin’ J.J. Guerrero III chatting about a number of the Rampage IV’s main features, along with a couple of interesting peripherals...

For those unfamiliar with Asus’ naming convention, the Rampage IV Formula and Extreme are the full-sized ATX variants of the enthusiast-class RoG boards, while the Gene is a smaller, micro-ATX version that offers essentially the same feature set, minus a couple of expansion slots.



One of the standout features of both the Rampage IV Formula boards is their audio implementation. Asus broke out the audio circuity onto its own PCB layer to better isolate the signals. The result, although both boards still use the same Realtek HD audio codecs of older boards, is that the Rampage IVs offer 110db SNRs. To call out the feature, both boards have a lighted strip that runs from the audio connected to the Supreme FX III badge affixed to the audio chip.

Other features of the Rampage IV boards include Intel LAN controllers, and in the case of the Extreme and Formula, support for socket 1366 coolers.



Asus also had a dual-socket LGA2011 board on display running a pair of Intel 8-Core Sandy Bridge-E engineering samples. If you’re keeping count, a machine setup like this would offer 16 actual cores with support for 32 threads thanks to Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I want one of these setups—bad.

Although they weren’t providing information on the board, I also spotted an Asus-branded mechanical gaming keyboard. This particular board sports the same enclosure (and presumably, the same controller) as some of X-Armor’s / iOne’s boards, it had LED backlighting, and was equipped with Cherry MX Black keyswitches.

There was also a high-end external WiFi controller on-display, which you’ll notice does not connect via USB. Instead, the controller connects directly to a wired Ethernet cable (and power). And the latest Eee Top nettop, powered Intel’s Cedar Trail platform, was also on display.

Be sure to check out all of the videos and pics, and stay tuned to HotHardware for more CES 2012 coverage over the next few days.

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