When you think of the name ASUS, the first thought that comes to mind for nine out of ten enthusiasts is Tier One motherboard manufacturer. This reputation is well deserved – besides ABIT, no other motherboard manufacturer has earned as many awards on this site as ASUS.
However, over the years we’ve shown you that ASUS not only builds high quality motherboards, but also kickass graphics cards. ASUS’ V9280S was the first GeForce4 Ti 4200 board to utilize a Ti 4600 PCB with BGA memory. It also didn’t hurt that ASUS overclocked the board from the factory. The net result was performance that was even higher than GeForce4 Ti 4400. ASUS’ GeForce FX 5900 Ultra and 5950 Ultra cards, the V9950 Ultra and V9980 Ultra, also stood out by utilizing a single-slot copper heatsink design. Most GeForce FX 5900 Ultra and 5950 Ultra cards consumed two slots.
And of course, ATI enthusiasts are well aware of ASUS’ RADEON 9800 XT/TVD and RADEON 9600 XT/TVD boards. These cards were the first of their kind to support VIVO functionality, this feature was previously only found in ATI’s ALL-IN-WONDER line. But both boards went well beyond just adding VIVO, ASUS’ Smart Doctor software went much further than the capabilities found in ATI’s OVERDRIVE dynamic overclocking software. In fact, we dedicated 1.5 pages to summarize all of Smart Doctor’s features. Smart Doctor even provides fan control and hardware monitoring capabilities!
The ASUS L5000GA
Another business ASUS has delved into is notebooks. These aren’t your barebones, no-frills notebook PCs, ASUS’ notebooks can be equipped with all kinds of high-end toys and goodies. We’re not talking your typical Dell or Sony custom notebook here either, where “custom” usually means that you’re limited to choosing your hard drive’s size and memory, ASUS’ high-end notebooks have just as many bells and whistles as the specialty manufacturers like Alienware or VoodooPC.
To demonstrate this, ASUS sent over one of their high-end L5000GA notebooks from their L5000 line. The L5000GA is ASUS’ no-compromises flagship. The L5000s sport Pentium 4 processors with Intel core-logic, GeForce FX Go 5650 or MOBILITY 9600 PRO graphics, integrated 802.11g for Wi-Fi (with built-in antenna), and 7200 RPM hard drives as optional features.
All that sounds good right about now right? The scary part is, as great as all that sounds, we haven’t even talked about the best part in ASUS’ L5000: its jaw-dropping, everyone-stare-at-you-on-the-airplane ACE View LCD display! But we’ll get into that a little bit later.
Built on ASUS
Besides building notebooks, ASUS also acts as an ODM, original design manufacturer. This means that they design and manufacture the notebook, then slap someone else’s name on it where it’s then sold at retail.
Beginning in 2003 ASUS began shipping these notebooks without processors, memory, or hard drives. The reseller would then configure the system as they wished, add their logo, and sell the notebook under their own brand name. ASUS referred to these systems as their barebones notebooks internally. The ODM business isn’t quite as sexy as OEM, but it has paid well for ASUS and really taken off. Just recently, resellers began requesting that ASUS add their name to these barebones notebooks. They felt that ASUS’ brand name and reputation for quality would help them sell more notebooks.
ASUS responded to this request and has now revised its notebook strategy. Starting this year, ASUS has two product lines, “factory configured” and “Built on ASUS”. The factory-configured line of systems are complete systems that are built ready to go. Examples of these include ASUS S5Ne and is marked with the ASUS logo and backed by a full ASUS two-year warranty.
The second line, Built on ASUS, is their line of reseller-configured, barebones notebooks we mentioned earlier which ship without the processor, memory, and hard drive installed. These systems are marked with the Built on ASUS logo (although our review system is an exception) and are still backed by a full ASUS warranty. By shipping them without the hard drive, memory, and processor, resellers can custom-tailor these notebooks for each individual end user’s needs while at the same time resellers minimize their costs by allowing them to purchase components just before they’re installed. This frees them from having to carry a large inventory of pre-configured notebooks and/or price volatile components, such as RAM, whose prices can fluctuate on a weekly basis at times.