We interview Asus' senior motherboard team
After seeing the Immensity on the Asus stand, we headed to a sleek Japanese restaurant to interview Asus’ two most senior motherboard employees - Jackie Hsu (Vice President of Asus Open Platform) and Joe Hsieh (General Manager of Asus Motherboards).
Bit-tech: What was the main reason for integrating the GPU onto the Immensity?
The main benefit to the gamer is it’s a different approach [to multi-GPU]. We have a very excellent, price cost effective solution on the board, and if you have a graphics card [already], you won’t waste it. Graphics cards, most people just buy one, so [the problem with the Lucid chip] is that it’s wasted. We want to give extra, without waste.
Bit-tech: Will there be only one model of this board, with one model of GPU?
We’ll evaluate the feedback.
Actually, that’s a conceptual model. We’re still evaluating whether we mass produce it, or just keep it in our lab.
Bit-tech Like many Taiwanese companies, Asus comes up with a lot of new ideas and tries new things quickly – so why do you think the Republic of Gamers has been around for so many years? Why did it resonate so well with the audience?
I think because the ROG team were gamers themselves. Their approach was ‘if gamers need this, then we’ll do it.’
There are two key factors. One is what Joe says, and in addition to that, the ROG team built a very big community of gamers, and game-orientated SIs to get their feedback. They’re a very good bridge between Asus and the gamers we want to target.
Jackie Hsu (Vice President of Asus Open Platform) and Joe Hsieh (General Manager of Asus Motherboards)
Bit-tech I can see how that can be a positive thing, but is there ever a problem with asking the community, and they ask for every conceivable feature to be in the product?
[Laughs] Always! We cannot grant all their wishes. We have to evaluate. We try and think hard about what people need.
Sometimes the feedback is a little naïve, too – you just have to say, ‘it’s too hard with today’s technology!’
Bit-tech: What do you think of the criticism that Asus has too big a range, creates too many motherboards?
Everyone knows the maxim, ‘simple is best’, but simple is hard. Some people want a feature, want Firewire, some people don’t, and so we have lots of options. If those features cost a lot, then some people really won’t want it…
We have to cover 100 countries – over 100 countries’ – demand. Recently, I went to Brazil, India and those countries, they don’t want so many high-end boards, they don’t want ROG boards – so they may only sell one or two of those models to fulfil their customers’ demands. Really, the way to solve the problem is local discussion, local decisions.
Bit-tech: In an Intel presentation earlier, their spokesman said that the desktop’s best years were ahead of it – do you agree with that assessment?
A lot of people say desktop has been replaced by laptop, Eee book, and that’s a reality for a certain portion [of the market]. There are still a lot of areas – office work, performance work, gaming – where mobility isn’t important and desktops are still perfect. Even if you already have a notebook [or another device], you want to do some video editing, you still need a PC, no matter what. Even though the desktop market isn’t growing that rapidly, we think it will still sustain, just grow more slowly.
Bit-tech: One last question! You’ve both worked for Asus for a long time. Over the years, what’s been your favourite motherboard?
[Laughs] It’s like asking, ‘you have three kids, which one?’ I love them all! It’s like saying pick a hole, jump in!
Bit-tech: Is there any you hated?
No, actually that’s a hole for me to jump in!