updated 12:15 pm EST, Mon January 19, 2009
ASUS F50 F70 and RT-G32
ASUS is claiming a pair of firsts for notebooks with two new models and pairs the systems with a new network router. The F70 is the first notebook to have a 17.3-inch display and gives the desktop replacement-sized system a 16:9 ratio, 1600x900 display better-suited to movies. It accordingly gets a Blu-ray combo drive as an option which is unusually made external rather than built-in. ASUS gives the system a GeForce 9300M GS video chipset to offload HD video decoding work from the main processor.
The company in its characteristic fashion doesn't mention prices or pre-built configurations but says an F70 starts with as little as a 2GHz Celeron but steps up to a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo. It can carry as little as a 250GB hard drive for permanent storage but has space for up to two 500GB drives.
The F50 is targeted more at the mainstream but also claims a display first as the thinnest and lightest notebook with a 16-inch, 16:9 screen. It and a slightly smaller 15.6-inch variant display at 1366x768 and, in a rare move for ASUS, split into both AMD and Intel models. The F50Z is intended as the economy version with processors ranging from a 1.9GHz Athlon 64 Mobile to a 2.4GHz Turion as well as Radeon HD video; the F50Gx uses Intel chips from the 2GHz Celeron up to the 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo and uses NVIDIA's GeForce 9400M G hybrid mainboard/graphics chipset.
Either holds between 250GB to 500GB of storage and has an internal DVD burner or Blu-ray combo drive.
Rounding out ASUS' announcements, the RT-G32 is a standard 802.11n Wi-Fi router with four 100Mbps Ethernet jacks and whose central feature is support for automated Wi-Fi Protected Setup by pressing a lone button. Administration is handled through a web browser.
ASUS doesn't say when or where the devices will ship, though the company regularly ships its systems to the US.