iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Interview with ASUS

<Q>: Could you introduce yourself first, please? What is your position in ASUS?
<A>: My name is Alexander Kim, a Sales Manager.
<Q>: How will the average mainboard in H1'2001 look?
<A>: Intel - CUSL2-C(815E) on mainstream and the best replacement for our famous P3BF board. Also our BX board - CUBX-E(7USB, ATA100)
AMD - A7V133(KT133A, Promise ATA100) and lighter spec of it - A7A133 (KT133A, ATA66),
VIA - CUV4X-E(VIA 694X, 4 DIMM, ATA100 - VIA 686B) and CUV4X -C(2DIMM, ATA66, that will be the replacement for the current Slot 1 - P3V133 ).
<Q>: What will happen on CPU/chipset market in 2001?
<A>: As for Intel this year was not very lucky for them, but I believe they will be back with the strength in the next year with 815E, 815EP and P4. AMD, VIA also SIS will be quite active as well, providing a good solutions for the entry level power systems.
It will be also very important and it will depend on who will bring the most successful DDR solution for end users in Q2 of 2001.
Next year will bring some new exciting chipsets that will add more competition though.
<Q>: ASUS was the first to introduce the mainboard with an integrated IEEE 1394 controller. Are you satisfied with the results?
<A>: Result was not the best, but due to our wide customer range we do have a market for those motherboards. USB connection is still good enough to satisfy even the demands from the Power Users.
<Q>: ASUS was preparing the mainboard for Timna - TIMNA-FX. What do you think now, when Intel has cancelled this project?
<A>: Yes, as number one MB partner of Intel we were preparing the motherboard for TIMNA.
Intel wanted to come out with something totally new in order to get some market back from AMD and VIA. However despite that great temptation they did a good choice - not to repeat the mistake with the 820 MTH issues.
I believe they will come back to that idea in the future - as chipset integration will be developing with the fast temp.
<Q>: ASUS produces PCs and started to produce information appliances. Which way do you think is better: "crippled" PC from VIA or a special device with a special architecture and CPU (for example, Crusoe)?
<A>: We have a specially allocated team of high qualified engineers and PMs for these new projects. We believe that quality starts from design, so despite the standardization in architecture of this kind of equipment we will still bring the Innovative solutions.
<Q>: Please, tell us about the company's results in the last quarter. Any forecasts?
<A>: As for the year 2000 - Second quarter was better than the first and we have a healthy growth starting from July.
We predict that margin and prices will slowly go down as component market will be overcrowded. We are actively preparing the additional production facilities in Tawain and Mainland China in order to double our MB sales in the next year. This is not just our ambition but our concrete plans. I can also add that competition in the next year will be quite tough and most of the small and mid sized MB manufacturers will find it difficult to compete.
Especially the range and amount of chipsets is increasing and smaller manufacturers , being pressed by the decreasing margin, would not be able to keep the whole range of the products.
Briefly speaking - we are prepared to compete and looking forward to the promising new year.
<Q>: Will we see Crusoe or mobile processors from AMD in ASUS' notebooks?
<A>: We are always trying to adapt to the demands of our users and it will depend of the popularity of this or another CPU then.
<Q>: Can we expect an integrated Bluetooth controller in ASUS' mainboards?
<A>: As for the Bluetooth - MBs will not have it in the near future.
However as a part of our strategy, we are always trying to establish ASUS as a computer company that provides a wide range of High quality and Innovative solutions.
Besides Notebook and systems business we are also developing our own ASUS PDAs and WebPads. These new exciting products will be coming out in the Q4, 2000 and will have a Bluetooth connection.
<Q>: Intel is going to release P4 processor and in a quarter will change its form-factor (0.13 micron Northwood). What do you think of it? What does ASUS plan for P4?
<A>: As I have already mentioned, Intel needs a good solution that will provide them the stable interest from end users ot only for Q4 2000 but also for the whole next year. The whole industry will be moving to the 0.13 micron chip production process, so Intel is trying to be successful too.
We will fully support them and will produce the board called P4T (Tehama) that will be available in the W3 of this November.
<Q>: What do you think about NVIDIA (Crush) and ATI (ArtX2) future integrated chipsets? What about price/performance balance of these solutions? Will these announcements change market shares of other chipset companies?
<A>: Most of the Graphic chipset makers, after the success in the VGA business, seriously started to think about the MB business. Some of them will be successful due to the Differentiation and Innovation that they promise to bring to end users...
<Q>: Will ASUS release STMicroelectronics KYRO chip based graphics card? What do you think about this chip?
<A>: ASUS is not thinking about this chipset at the moment. We are one of the biggest partners with nVIDIA and being quite satisfied with their development and solutions.
<Q>: 3dfx announced that they would provide Rampage chip for graphics cars makers. Is it possible that ASUS will produce cards based on 3dfx's future chips?
<A>: My previous answer is partially covering this question. I just want to add that the whole industry is moving ahead quite fast and we choose partners carefully.
<Q>: What is your forecast for the graphics chips (cards) market in 2001? Will NV20 and NV17 from NVIDIA be the leaders or anybody will be able to compete with NVIDIA?
<A>: Next year will be an obvious competition between two companies: nVIDIA and ATI. Their market base will not grow rapidly due to the growing popularity of the integrated graphics, so they will mostly expand into the decreasing share of another smaller competitors.
<Q>: The future chip from NVIDIA - NV17 will have an integrated HD processor. What do you think of this feature?
<A>: I cannot say much about this, as it is not officially confirmed by nVIDIA themselves yet.
<Q>: NV20 won't appear this year. Do you think it is a good solution to move the release to Febraury-March'2001?
<A>: The Q4 of this year is already quite "saturated" with the new products, such as Geforce2 PRO and Ultra - it is already quite a good balance to the new Radeon from ATI. I personally would not prefer to have such a fast change as it happened between Geforce 256 and Geforce2 GTS...
<Q>: Please, tell us about the ASUS graphics cards based on NVIDIA chipsets in 2001 (High-End, Mainsream, Low-End).
<A>: The fame and popularity of ASUS V3800 "Magic" Series(TNT2, TNT2 PRo) will be gradually inherited by the Geforce2 MX based V7100 series.
Geforce2 GTS - V7700 Series will take the mid range and the high range will be covered by Geforce2 Ultra and latest chipsets in the next year.
<Q>: Thank you very much for your answers!
<A>: Thank you.

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