bit-tech recently visited Hong Kong to cover the Asus Advanced Overclocking Championships, where some of the world's top overclockers competed using Asus motherboards and graphics cards to secure the most performance from the hardware provided.
In amongst the hundreds of litres of liquid nitrogen we had a chance to ask a few questions to Richard Liu, Senior Director of Motherboard Division at Asus. Sadly due to a typhoon in Taipei, we were unable to sit down and get one on one with him, but we were still able to pose him some questions on Nehalem, X58, overclocking and ExpressGate via email.
Asus are one of the largest motherboard retailers in the world and Richard is naturally a very busy fellow, so we really appreciate him taking the time out to answer our questions. Read on for an interesting insight into the world of motherboard design from one of the most innovative companies in the business.
bit-tech: Do you see the possibility of the importance of motherboards changing should GPGPU take over processing?
Richard Liu: GPGPU might change certain end-users' buying behaviour or strategy, but not all of them. "The PC will never become too fast." This statement will still hold true for quite some time. GPGPU can help to speed up the system performance for certain applications like transcoding or scientific calculations, but it's still good and worthwhile when a faster CPU can make it even faster for other applications. So, the debut of GPGPU might make end-users put more money budget on GPU instead of CPU, but if the user have deeper pocket, why not invest some on CPU itself also?
bit-tech: How are the X58 an X58+NF200 motherboards progressing?
RL: Both are going quite well inside ASUS. And we have strong confidence that our X58 motherboard will be the 1st motherboard on time for Intel's launch. Regarding the X58+NF200 board will be a little bit late than X58 board, but we're quite sure ASUS will still be the first in the market.
bit-tech: What challenges (if any) has the new Intel Nehalem architecture presented for motherboard design and development?
RL: Basically none. The Nehalem architecture seems more mature than we expected.
bit-tech: When can we expect the X58 and X58+NF200 boards to reach consumers. We've heard rumours of the Nehalem launch being significantly moved up.
RL: Since X58 is still under NDA protection. We are not allowed to reveal its launch schedule. But we're sure it will hit the stores sometime in Q4.
bit-tech: Is ASUS just focusing on the "Republic of Gamers" series of boards for ultra advanced overclocking features, or will we continue to see advanced overclocking features on standard motherboards?
RL: It's a good question. We are still struggling on how to define/differentiate ROG boards from standard ASUS motherboards. Although ROG boards should have been designed & targeted for 'gamers' in our original plan, in the last, we found that it also attracted a lot of overclockers & PC enthusiasts.
But ASUS Deluxe series motherboards have also been targeted for such overclockers & enthusiasts, so sometimes we will face the product conflicts between ROG series & standard ASUS motherboards. I think, in the future, we might have two kinds of ROG boards: one is targeted for gamers, and the other for extreme overclockers and PC enthusiasts.
And as for the standard ASUS boards, say, the Deluxe series, we will continue providing abundant/decent overclocking features for the general users or overclockers. With a wide variety of chipsets to be chosen for the ASUS Deluxe series motherboards, definitely users can have more flavours to choose from.