Scarcity of onboard 14 nm Broadwell chip likely pushed back launch

ASUSTek Computer Inc. (TPE:2357finally announced pricing and availability of its Zenbook UX305 ultra-thin/ultrabook laptop.  The 1.2 kg (2.65 lb), 12.3 mm (0.484 in.) laptop was originally announced last September, but waited months with no official word on pricing and availability.

A likely culprit was the onboard processor, a dual-core Broadwell (14 nm) chip from Intel Corp. (INTC) (namely, the Intel Core M-5Y10).  This was one of just seven Broadwell chip SKUs Intel announced last year.  Quantities of these chips were exrememely limited.

It is possible that ASUS didn't get priority in early shipments (scant as they were), or it's also possible it simply didn't want to bother with the risk of launching when volume is so low.  And of course, it's possible -- if unlikely -- that some factor other than the Broadwell SoC was responsible for the delay.


Whichever the case may be, the fact is that Intel's 14 nm production is finally scaling up, and ASUS is finally ready to let the hammer drop.  The price and availability of the two models of the UX305 are as follows:


Available: Now (U.S.)

Price: $699

  • Display: 13.3-inch Full HD (FHD) (1920 x 1080 pixel, aka 1080p) LCD touchscreen
  • SoC: Intel Core M-5Y10
    • CPU: 2x Broadwell cores (4x threads) @ 800 MHz (base), 2.0 GHz (turbo)
    • GPU: 24x shader cores (HD 5300 (GT2) bundle) @ 100 MHz (base), 800 MHz (turbo)
  • Memory: 8 GB DRAM
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD (upgradeable to 512 GB)
  • Battery Life: rated @ 10 hr.
  • Ports:
    • microHDMI
    • 3x USB 3.0
  • Connectivity:
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • 802.11 b/g/n/ac


Available: April 2015(U.S.)

Price: $999

  • Display: 13.3-inch WQXGA+ (3,200 x 1,800 pixel) LCD touchscreen
  • (Same, otherwise)
While it's a bit tardy, as Engadget points out it may be worth the wait.  Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KRX:005930) (KRX:005935) ATIV Book 9 and the Lenovo Group, Ltd.'s (HKG:0992) Yoga 3 Pro pack similar specs to the high-end (WQXGA+ monitor) Zenbook UX305, but retail for $1,200 and $1,299, respectively.  Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, meanwhile, retails for $1,099 USD while lacking a touchscreen and having an older/slower CPU.


Looks like ASUS's product is priced attractively, even after the long wait., Inc. (AMZN) has the ultrabook available for sale here.  It's also available from the Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) store.  Both are sold direct from ASUS and priced at the normal MSRP of $699 USD.

Source: Engadget

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