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ASUS P5E3 Deluxe  (Source: Phoronix)
New ASUS P5E3 deluxe mainboard has instant-on Linux embedded

ASUS’ forthcoming enthusiast mainboard called the P5E3 Deluxe has all sorts of features that you’d expect to find on a high-end mainboard powered by the Intel X38 chipset. The board features dual PCI Express slots, DDR3 memory and more.

A feature that you don’t expect to find on a mainboard is an embedded Linux environment. Phoronix says that the Linux environment is complete with a web browser and a Skype VoIP client. The Linux environment is ready to run within seconds of powering the mainboard up and requires no software installation.

A screen asks you if you want to boot into Linux or another operating system. The software that supports this Linux environment is called SplashTop, which is an instant-on Linux environment being developed by DeviceVM.

The included web browser is a stripped version of Firefox that includes support for flash. The OS loads into your RAM, however, Phoronix says that your settings are recalled for the next time you use Linux. Support for Live Bookmarks is included but you can’t open local files on SplashTop.

SplashTop is also reportedly able to access and use the mainboard’s built-in ASUS 802.11n wireless adapter right out of the box as well. Supported screen resolutions inside SplashTop are basic and no 3D acceleration is available. Linux fans may be disappointed to hear that there is no Linux virtual terminal.

The MSRP for the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe is $360 USD.

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Linux is nice, but too expensive
By fleshconsumed on 10/8/2007 4:56:11 PM , Rating: 4
Linux is a neat idea, not very useful at least to me, but nice to have - if my main hdd is completely hosed I can boot into linux and search for solution (or order new parts) on web.

Too expensive though. The price disparity between good motherboard like Abit IP35-E which went for $60-70 recently and this is almost unbelievable. I cringe at paying anything over $150 for motherboard because anything over rarely if ever adds to the functionality, but to each his own I guess.

RE: Linux is nice, but too expensive
By bhieb on 10/8/2007 5:18:49 PM , Rating: 3
It is a nice feature, but probably worthless 99% of the time. Anything to set your uber high end motherboard apart. I just don't see the point most people buying a board of this price are most likely to be gamers and/or workstation folks. Neither of which is a good match for Linux IMHO.

RE: Linux is nice, but too expensive
By keitaro on 10/8/2007 5:19:03 PM , Rating: 3
That much is true. The inclusion of an embedded Linux OS is nice but the pricetag asked for the board alone is what killed it. I'm going out on a limb on this assumption: Most net cafes aren't going to spend that much on a motherboard that does basic internet tasks.

One can build a stand-alone mock-up for a fraction of the board's MSRP. All it takes is a cheap US$60-70 board, which will include an integrated graphics chip, a USB thumb drive, and a simple internal-external USB port adapter. And due to the nature of Linux, there are plenty of distribution flavors around to provide a stand-alone 'net station to be used in 'net cafes.

By LogicallyGenius on 10/9/2007 8:30:02 AM , Rating: 1
RE: Linux is nice, but too expensive
By TomZ on 10/8/2007 5:47:42 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, and I would add that you could easily put Linux on a bootable CD-ROM and do the same thing. This would also have the benefit of working on nearly any PC.

By Mitch101 on 10/8/2007 9:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree its easy to download a copy of Knoppix and boot from a CD or even a USB keychain. Neat but not worth the overhead cost.

RE: Linux is nice, but too expensive
By Samus on 10/9/2007 6:46:56 AM , Rating: 2
I'd have to agree with everybody. This is the dumbest feature I've ever seen.

I can't believe they wasted money on a completely stripped down and outdated OS, then worked on a way to integrate it into non-flash.

That space could have been used for other more interesting things like a WinCE console or even a boot ROM for a mini-WinXP install (200MB)

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