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During CES 2008 ASUS presented their forthcoming gaming laptop: C90P. This will be a high-end laptop that will allow overclocking by simply touching a button. It is not only that: it will use regular desktop CPUs, making it easier to install and upgrade the processor (the product is based on Intel CPUs), lowering the system cost (as desktop CPUs are traditionally cheaper than mobile CPUs) and allowing faster CPUs to be installed (as usually very high-end CPUs are only released for the desktop market). Sounds interesting? Read on.
This notebook will be sold in the US as a barebone system, where you (the system integrator of your choice, actually) will need to buy and install the CPU, the video card (this laptop will use NVIDIA’s MXM module), memories, hard disk drive and optical drive, allowing you to have a fully customized gaming laptop, almost like one would get with a desktop PC (the only limitation is with the video card, as only very few models are available using MXM modules – this laptop only accepts up to GeForce 8700M GT). In other countries ASUS will sell C90P already built.
In Figure 1, you can see ASUS C90P closed. It measures 14.45” x 10.55” x 1.34” (36.7 x 26.8 x 3.4 cm) and weights 6.83 lbs (3 Kg), which is not bad at all for a high-end gaming notebook. On this picture you can see the cooling system at the rear side of the unit (see also Figure 2) and its 2 Mpixel webcam. According to ASUS its black finishing resists better to scratches than regular laptop housings.
In Figure 2 you have a closer look at the cooling system. Since this is a high-end laptop using a regular desktop CPU a lot of attention was given to the cooling system. We will talk more about this later.
On the rear side of the laptop you can also find two USB 2.0 ports, as shown in Figure 3.
On the front of the laptop you can find an 8-in-1 card reader, capable of reading MMC, SD, Mini SD, XD, MS, MS Pro and MS Pro Duo formats. The speakers are also located on the lower front part of the laptop, as you can see in Figure 4.
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On the left-hand side of the laptop you can find several features: phone jack for its internal 56 Kbps V.92 modem, RJ-45 for its internal Gigabit Ethernet port, VGA output, S-Video output, HDMI output, eSATA port, microphone input, headphones output, FireWire (IEEE 1394) port, Express Card slot and one USB 2.0 port.
On the right-hand side you will find the optical drive, and with this laptop you have the option to have regular DVD burner or a HD-DVD or a Blu-Ray drive.
In Figure 7, you can see the laptop opened. As you can see it has a built-in fingerprint recognition system, increasing the system security. It has a 15.4” LCD screen with a 1680×1050 native resolution.
On the upper right corner of the laptop you will find some shortcut keys to your internet browser, e-mail program, etc. The last key, however, controls which mode the unit will work under (standard, gaming, power-saving or overclocking). By simply pressing this button you can overclock the laptop. According to ASUS you can easily achieve an overclocking of up to 20%.
Two other features worth mentioning are the wireless capability of this laptop. It has Bluetooth, allowing it to be easily connected to wireless keyboards, mice and cell phones based on this technology, and 802.11n networking, allowing transfer rates up to 300 Mbps when connected to 802.11n networks. It is also compatible with 802.11g/a (54 Mbps) and 802.11b (11 Mbps).
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In Figure 10, you can see the bottom part of ASUS C90P.
This laptop does not use a long-life battery. The reason why is that users playing games on laptops won’t be running them on batteries, but connected to the AC power line, using the laptop as a mere desktop replacement. So the battery provided by this unit is to be used as a UPS, giving you time to save your documents if the power grid goes down.
Opening the unit is very simple and you can see it opened in Figure 12.
The first thing that catches the eye is the cooling solution used. As you can see, there are three copper heat-pipes, two connecting the CPU heatsink to the cooler and another connecting the video card heatsink to the cooler. The cooler is external (see Figures 2 and 13) and uses four fans.
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Below you can see a close-up of the main components found inside ASUS C90P.
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- CPU: Desktop socket LGA775 CPUs
- FSB: 1,333 MHz
- Chipset: Intel P35 Express
- Memory: Two DDR2 SO-DIMM sockets supporting up to 4 GB of DDR2-667 or DDR2-800.
- Display: 15.4” LCD with 1680×1050 native resolution
- Video card: MXM slot accepting up to GeForce 8700M GT
- Hard disk drive: 2.5”
- Optical drive: DVD burner, HD-DVD or Blu-Ray.
- Webcam: 2 Mpixels
- One Gigabit Ethernet port
- Bluetooth V2.0+EDR
- IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n wireless networking
- One eSATA port
- One HDMI output
- Three USB 2.0 ports
- One FireWire (IEEE 1394) port
- Card reader: 8-in-1 supporting MMC, SD, Mini SD, XD, MS, MS Pro and MS Pro Duo formats.
- Fingerprint recognition
- Dimensions: 14.45” x 10.55” x 1.34” (36.7 x 26.8 x 3.4 cm)
- Weight: 6.83 lbs (3 Kg)
C90P will be a very high-end gaming laptop, with options that even high-end desktops don’t have out-of-the-box, like HDMI output, Bluetooth and fingerprint recognition. Its optional support for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs is simply amazing, allowing you to watch hi-def movies on your laptop – and you can easily hook up the laptop to a big screen TV through its HDMI port, making it also the perfect multimedia machine.
We saw a demo of its overclocking capability and it found it really interesting, as after you have configured your preferred overclocking settings for the first time you can switch your laptop from standard configuration to your overclocked settings by just pressing a button.
According to ASUS the maximum graphics card this laptop accepts is GeForce 8700M. Even though this is not the most high-end NVIDIA graphics card for mobile computers, we think this video card provides a great performance for the mainstream gamer.
Of course this shouldn’t be the cheapest laptop around, but for gamers and high-end users it should present an attractive cost/benefit ratio if you want to get rid of a big computer and lots of cables to get more space on your desk and have the option to own a computer that can be easily carried around from home to LAN parties and similar events.