Asus

Asus

ASUSTeK Computer Incorporated (Asus) () is a Taiwan-based multinational company that produces motherboards, graphics cards, optical drives, PDAs, notebook computers, servers, networking products, mobile phones, computer cases, computer components, and computer cooling systems. Commonly called by its brand name Asus (pronounced ah-soo-ss or [a'sus] in IPA), it is listed on both the London Stock Exchange and the Taiwan Stock Exchange. In 2007, one in three desktop PCs sold was using an ASUS motherboard; and the company's 2007 revenues reached US$6.9 billion.

Corporate information

History

Asus was founded in 1989 in Taipei, Taiwan by TH Tung, Ted Hsu, Wayne Hsieh, and MT Liao - all four were computer engineers from Acer. The name Asus originated from Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology. The first three letters of the word were dropped to give the resulting name a high position in alphabetical listings.

In 2005, shipments from Asus, ECS, Gigabyte, and MSI totaled 104.86 million units. Asus led with 52 million units, followed by ECS with 20 million, MSI with 18 million, and Gigabyte with 16.6 million.

Asus also produces components for other manufacturers, including Sony (PlayStation 2), Apple Inc. (iPod, iPod Shuffle, MacBook), Alienware, Falcon Northwest, Palm, Inc., HP, and HP's Compaq brand.

Relationship with Intel

In the early 1990s, Taiwan based motherboard manufacturers had not yet established their leading positions in the computer hardware business. Any new Intel processors would have been supplied to better established companies like IBM first, and the Taiwanese companies would be forced to wait for approximately six months after IBM received their engineering prototypes.

When the Intel 486 was released as engineering samples, Asus decided to design its own 486 motherboard without having a 486 processor engineering sample on site, using only the technical details published by Intel and the experience they gained while making the 386 compatible motherboards. When Asus finalized its 486 motherboard prototype, they took it to Intel's base in Taiwan for testing. Unsurprisingly, there was not a formal greeting when they arrived. It turned out that Intel's own 486 motherboard prototype had encountered design flaws, and Intel's engineers were rectifying it. The Asus founders exercised their experience with the 486 and had a look at Intel's malfunctioning motherboard. Their solution worked, to the Intel engineers' surprise. Intel then tested the Asus prototype, which functioned perfectly. This marked the beginning of an informal relationship between the two companies – Asus now receives Intel engineering samples ahead of its competitors.

Asus is one of the main supporters of Intel's Common Building Block initiatives.

Corporate restructuring

As of 3 January 2008, Asus has been in the process of restructuring its operations. The company will be split into three distinct operational units: ASUS, Pegatron, and Unihan. The Asus brand will be used solely for first party branded computers. Pegatron will handle motherboard and component OEM manufacturing. Unihan will focus on non-PC manufacturing such as cases and molding. In the process of restructuring, the highly criticized pension plan restructuring effectively zeroed out the current pension balances. Previous employee contributions were returned.

Timeline

  • 2002: Formed subsidiary Asrock.
  • September/October 2003: debuts in the cellphone market with the J100 model.
  • September 2005: releases their first PhysX accelerator card.
  • December 2005: enters the LCD TV market with the TLW32001 model, initially only available on the Taiwan market.
  • March 9 2006: Asus is announced to be one of the producers of the first Microsoft Origami models, together with Samsung and Founder. Samsung and Asus devices expected by April 2006.
  • August 8 2006: announced joint venture with Gigabyte Technology.
  • June 5 2007: Asus announced the Eee PC at COMPUTEX Taipei 2007.
  • September 9, 2007 Asus started to support Blu-ray by announcing the release of BD-ROM/DVD writer PC drive, BC-1205PT. It has been followed by the release of several Blu-ray based notebooks.
  • October 31 2007: launched their PDA/smartphone range to the UK market.
  • January 3 2008: Asus formally splits into three companies: ASUStek, Pegatron and Unihan.
  • August 2008: ASUS refuses to accept responsibility, or provide support, for the incompatibility of its A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard with Windows XP SP3, thereby tacity refusing to guarantee that any of its manufactured components' will remain compatible throughout the entire lifespan of a given Windows platform (in this case, the ubiquitous Windows XP operating system).
  • August 12 2008: Asus creates a new motherboard (ZT23) capable of clocking a processing speed of 120GHz, a record
  • August 22 2008: Details of the N10, a mid-level version of the Eee PC, leaked online

Manufacturing facilities

As of January 2006, Asus has manufacturing facilities in Taiwan (Taipei, Lujhu, Nankan, Kweishan) and in mainland China (Suzhou), Juarez, Mexico, and Czech Republic (Ostrava) with a monthly production capacity of two million motherboards and 150,000 notebook computers.

Asus original features

Asus has introduced a number of original features and tools that complemented its products, especially motherboards. The table below lists them, together with some third-party technologies, rebranded under Asus-specific names (note: the acronym AI, which prefixes many of the feature names, stands for Asus Intelligence).

Asus is known for its extensive cooling solutions on it's enthusiasts motherboards and video cards. Many incorporate a large copper cooler that does not require the presence of a fan.

Name Year of introduction Product Description Patented
AI NET 2002 Motherboards Diagnoses LAN connection problems before starting the OS
AI NOS 2005 Motherboards Non-delay Overclocking System. A dynamic overclocking technology
AI Proactive 2004 Motherboards a blanket term for all AI enhancements
AI Quiet/Q-Fan 2003 Motherboards Controls fan-speed to requirement for noise management
Audio DJ 2005 Motherboards and notebooks Allows playing Audio CDs without turning the computer on. Notebooks supporting this feature normally have play/pause, stop and other control buttons on the front, where they are accessible even when the notebook is closed.
Express Gate /Lite 2008 Motherboards On boot-up, the user is given the option to boot a version of Linux stored on some Flash memory on the motherboard. Users can surf the internet and use Skype, IM, YouTube, webmail and internet file downloads without booting into another operating system.
Asus EZ Flash 2004 Motherboards Allows update of the BIOS through a non-boot floppy which just contains the new BIOS image. Built-in with the BIOS firmware and can be accessed by pressing ALT+F2 during the power-on self-test
C.P.R.
(CPU Parameter Recall)
2004 Motherboards Automatically restore default CPU settings at reboot when the system fails due to overclocking.
Asus CrashFree BIOS 2004 Motherboards If the BIOS becomes corrupted, CrashFree BIOS 2 allows the user to perform a recovery using the motherboard support CD.
Color Shine (or Colour Shine), Crystal Shine 2006 Laptop LCDs Asus marketing names for the anti-reflective LCD technology.
GameFace Live 2004 Graphics Cards A multi-player audio and video chat solution allowing online gamers to see and talk to each other while playing. As of 2006, it is limited to DirectX games and allows up to eight simultaneous players.
GameLiveShow 2004 Graphics Cards Allows gamers to broadcast
WiFi-AP 2005 Motherboards WiFi AccessPoint module bundled with some motherboards, Notably the P5E3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n that includes 802.11n.
Music Alarm 2007 Motherboards BIOS feature makes the computer play music from a CD at a user-defined date.
Q-Connector 2006 Motherboards Front-panel connectors plug into this block. The block is then plugged into the motherboard for easy removal and installation.
Stack Cool 2006 Motherboards The back of the motherboard is designed for optimal heat dissipation of onboard components.
AI Gear 2007 Motherboards Uses adjustable profiles to change CPU frequency and Core voltage to minimize noise and power consumption.
O.C. Profile 2006 Motherboards Allows users to store multiple BIOS settings for distribution or sharing. Settings can be stored in CMOS or as a separate file.
GreenASUS 2006 All Products with this badge comply with the RoHS initiative.

Piracy Controversy

It has been discovered ASUS has been selling a number of laptops that contain (on both the physical machine and the recovery media) cracked and pirated software, together with confidential documents from Microsoft and other organizations, as well as internal documents, and sensitive personal information including CVs. An ASUS spokesperson promised an investigation at "quite a high level", but declined to comment on how the files became to be located on the machines and recovery media.The pirated software is believed to have been accidentally copied over from a flash drive during the unattended installation of Windows Vista, due to a parameter in the "unattend.xml" file on the personal flash drive used to script the installation.

See also

References

External links

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