Print 26 comment(s) - last by shaw.. on Jun 19 at 10:42 PM

Asus' C90 notebook gives gamers complete control over major upgrades

Asus is truly going after the DIY market with its new C90 gaming laptop. The 15.4" unit is one of the most upgradeable laptops ever offered to consumers and cedes complete control over CPU, GPU (via a MXM graphics module), memory, HDD and optical drive upgrades without fear of voiding the warranty.

The Santa Rosa-based notebook comes with a generous 1680x1050 screen resolution and supports Intel Core 2-based processors up to the range-topping Core 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93GHz). SATA HDDs are supported and the C90 can accommodate traditional DVD burners or next gen drives including HD DVD and Blu-ray.

On the connectivity front, the C90 features 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR wireless options. The laptop also incorporates an eSATA port, HDMI out, TV-out, Firewire, three USB 2.0 ports, fingerprint scanner (Trusted Platform Module 1.2) and an ExpressCard 34/54 slot.

The Asus C90 weighs 6.8 pounds with a 6-cell battery and is rated at 4.5 hours of battery life. The unit itself measures 14.4" x 10.6" x 1.7".

An overeager eBay seller is already listing the C90 for pre-order at $950 with a NVIDIA GeForce Go 8500 256MB graphics card and a DVD burner. All other essentials (including the processor, memory and HDD) must be purchased by the customer.

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Core 2 Extreme X6800 in a laptop ?!!
By maroon1 on 6/19/2007 9:03:22 AM , Rating: 2
Core 2 Extreme X6800 is not a laptop processor, right ?

RE: Core 2 Extreme X6800 in a laptop ?!!
By P4blo on 6/19/2007 9:45:10 AM , Rating: 2

It would be interesting to see this thing in action playing some 3D games with all the fastest parts in it, I bet the fans go so crazy it hovers! Probably sounds like a dentists drill too. Small cooling vents = small, noisy, high speed fans trying to achieve the kind of heat dissipation that would challenge a full size PC with 120mm case fans!

This has to be a real niche market, I have a 2 year old Dell Precision with what was a pretty spicy 3D chipset at the time and it's simply too hot to put on your lap and game with for long. Especially in warm weather.

I love the idea but I'm weary of the practicality of serious laptop gaming. If you dont game I cant see the real need for X6800's etc.

RE: Core 2 Extreme X6800 in a laptop ?!!
By Thorburn on 6/19/2007 9:53:20 AM , Rating: 2
I think they probably mean the X7800 Merom chip which should be arriving at some point.

RE: Core 2 Extreme X6800 in a laptop ?!!
By md1084 on 6/19/2007 10:53:17 AM , Rating: 2
The X6800 is correct. This laptop takes desktop processors and not their laptop variants. There is currently no support for the quad cores though.

RE: Core 2 Extreme X6800 in a laptop ?!!
By drakanious on 6/19/2007 11:10:22 AM , Rating: 2
Man, I was just logging in to say the same thing. =)
Really, putting a Core 2 desktop processor in a laptop isn't very crazy considering that the Core 2 and Core 2 Mobile architectures are essentially the same.

RE: Core 2 Extreme X6800 in a laptop ?!!
By JeffDM on 6/19/2007 11:45:10 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, it is crazy because Conroe parts are rated for about twice the power consumption & heat generation as Merom, something like 35W vs 65W.

By darkpaw on 6/19/2007 12:37:11 PM , Rating: 2
Most gaming laptops do not take battery use into consideration to begin with, so its really not that big a deal. Gaming laptops generally fall into the desktop replacement category. Hell I'll take a Desktop processor because they're 1/3 or less the price for the same speed.

By plewis00 on 6/19/2007 8:47:47 PM , Rating: 2
It's not crazy, you've clearly forgotten the era of Pentium 4 desktop CPU-based laptops which had to dissipate power levels of 90W+ under max-load. This was about the time Centrinov originally came out. It's not that hard to expel heat, you just need a decent cooling system, with lots of airflow and also not mind more heat production than, say, a desktop where you can work with more space. Anyway generally speaking the Core 2 desktop chips are very efficient, definitely much more so than any desktop Pentium 4 or D chip.

By softwiz on 6/19/2007 11:36:06 AM , Rating: 2
I found it somewhat annoying that WSXGA is limited to 1680x1050. Does anyone else think it's odd that it's a mere 30 pixels away from 1080 ? It's so full HD.

I'd much prefer a WUXGA (1920x1200), but that's me. However, it'd cost more and there probably aren't too many people interested in watching HD media on their notebooks ?

By JeffDM on 6/19/2007 11:46:00 AM , Rating: 5
Actually, that is WSXGA+. WSXGA+ is a wide version of SXGA+, which I think is 1440x1050. If you change the height, then it's some other set of letters.

"Full" HD, as the term is used, can't be less than 1920 pixels wide, so it doesn't matter if you are a few scan lines short, you would still be 300 lines too narrow.

On the few notebooks that have WUXGA, it's not that expensive of an upgrade, $100 to $150. One more significant problem is that more pixels means that the graphics chip has to work harder to feed them. Mobile graphics chips aren't as good as the desktop chips.

By Mitch101 on 6/19/2007 12:42:04 PM , Rating: 3
1680x1050 is nice however I dont believe there is any laptop level video chip which can drive todays games at decent frame rates on that screen. Generally running anything other than native resolution on an LCD doesnt look right to me. I would actually prefer to have a lower resolution LCD panel since the screen size is only 15.4"

1280 x 800 which is more in line with 720P would be a better solution for such a small screen and allow the on board graphics to produce decent frame rates.

If it were a 19-22" lcd panel then I would want the higher resolution but then again you would need a top end graphics chip to support it properly.

By Oscarine on 6/19/2007 4:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on what you consider decent, awhile back I had a Dell that had a WUXGA+ screen and a 7800GTX Go which ran Oblivion, Battlefield 2 etc perfectly acceptable at least to me at 1920x1200 even

By Johnmcl7 on 6/19/2007 4:22:17 PM , Rating: 2
Dell have offered 1920x1200 on their 15.4 inch machines for a while, one of the reasons I went with their laptops as I like having such a huge workspace area in a relatively small physical space.

I think the main reason you don't see more of them is that people find it too high a resolution, many people find 17 inch WUXGA laptops to have too high a resolution.


By mdogs444 on 6/19/2007 8:18:24 AM , Rating: 2
Very interesting route to go. I like the fact that it does not void the warranty. I just hope they continue to release bios updates to support new processors, etc.

Im not too familiar with GPU part though, as far as MXM. Anyone have any insight as far as what that is?

RE: Nice
By Ecmaster76 on 6/19/2007 8:23:52 AM , Rating: 2
MXM is a modular, mobile, graphics spec. It definies the power and mechanical limits for the video daughterboard in a laptop (and takes advantage of PCIe for the data interface)

In thoery this should allow laptops to have upgradeable graphics but in practice it just makes devolopement easier on the OEMs.

RE: Nice
By mdogs444 on 6/19/2007 8:27:00 AM , Rating: 2
So is it similar to replacing the GPU like in a Dell laptop?

RE: Nice
By Flunk on 6/19/2007 9:44:41 AM , Rating: 2
Actually Dell Laptops with replaceable graphics use MXM so it's exactly the same.

RE: Nice
By Johnmcl7 on 6/19/2007 4:20:33 PM , Rating: 2
Not in all Dell machines, many of them use custom modules - the 9300/9400/XPS 2/M170/M1710/M70 etc. all use similar graphics modules that are not MXM.


RE: Nice
By diskmagnet on 6/19/2007 8:26:25 AM , Rating: 2
Its a form factor for notebooks. Mobile PCIe x16 kinda.

Its long overdue
By darkpaw on 6/19/2007 11:31:37 AM , Rating: 2
I love this idea. I built my last gaming notebook from a Mitac barebones chassis. The only thing I couldn't change was the video, but now that is being standardized its even better.

Its about time companies started to show some interest in this market.

RE: Its long overdue
By OxBow on 6/19/2007 2:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
Amen for a lot of reasons, and not just gaming.

Most PC's do what everyone wants without a big need for more power. The nice thing about desktops is that they, generally, are easy to upgrade. The bad thing about desktops is they sit in one place and suck power worse than Carl Rove.

Standardizing upgradeable parts for laptops could make them much more ubiquitous as complete desktop replacements. This would cut down on energy and useage and improve office versatility. It's all good.

RE: Its long overdue
By shaw on 6/19/2007 10:42:05 PM , Rating: 2
Asus: We're launching a new line of DIY notebooks so anybody can build their own notebook!
Consumer: That's cool! Where can we get the parts?
Asus: Go away kid, you're bothering me. *pushes on ground* *walks away*

So, how would you upgrade the GPU?
By shaw on 6/19/2007 7:09:21 PM , Rating: 2
Buy a new GPU directly from Asus or is there a website that I don't know about which sells MXM GPUs? The only thing really keeping me from purchasing a Notebook has been the lack of GPU upgrading. If that barrier was removed then I'm gung-ho for one.

RE: So, how would you upgrade the GPU?
By Etern205 on 6/19/2007 9:50:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm wondering about that myself too.
Been searching for it online and the seems
the only place that has it is

But the 6 months warranty makes me want to look at
somewhere else. But where?!

RE: So, how would you upgrade the GPU?
By shaw on 6/19/2007 10:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hehe, that website looks like it's a service run out of some guy's basement.

Non-wide ?
By SurJector on 6/19/2007 8:29:56 AM , Rating: 4
I love the idea of a customisable notebook.

As far as _I_ am concerned, I'd prefer a 15.1" non-wide screen with similar resolution (non-standard 1152x864, more standard 1280x960) for slightly better screen real estate.

Guess my era has come and gone.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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