IT WOULD APPEAR the INQ has uncovered a little bit of hypocrisy from the Asus family when it comes to 2oz copper printed circuit boards (PCBs). 2oz copper PCBs have been a Gigabyte flagship feature since September of last year; an expensive, yet daring move by the firm's CEO to try to innovate its way out of the economic crisis. But not everyone is a fan. Or are they?
A while back, Asus' little sister, Asrock, sent out a plethora of PowerPoint presentations to press, decrying the evils of using so much copper, in such wanton wasteful fashion, saying it would damage the environment and be the eventual downfall of the human race - or something along those lines.
Asrock was so indignant, it even went so far as making a video to prove that its X58 board was far cooler - in both senses of the word - than Gigabyte's 2oz copper offering, and without any of that nasty copper either.
Asrock's video compared the temperature of its motherboards' CPU power phases to Gigabyte's, showing its own as having significantly lower temperatures. What the firm didn't mention in the video, however, was that while Asrock was using a CPU cooler with a large fan to blow cool air down over the CPU VRM, Gigabyte's claim was staked using a fanless water cooler.
An air cooler cools the CPU and all the onboard components around the CPU. Gigabyte had used a fanless water cooling setup in order to show how its 2oz copper PCB helped dissipate heat from the CPU VRM, and the fanless setup showed a bigger temperature difference than when using a CPU cooler with a fan.
Asrock had simply nicked Gigabyte's own results and twisted them to its own nefarious purpose. Realising its customers were getting confused, Gigabyte decided to release another thermal diagram, this time showing the system with a CPU fan, for a somewhat fairer comparison with Asrock's dodgy video.
But as the mudslinging campaign finally settled down, and the last few quarters saw Gigabyte's motherboard market share growing yet again, the Asus family appeared to forget their conscientious objections to environment polluting copper. With no fuss, fanfare, press releases, videos or even a demo at Computex, Asus quietly released three 2oz copper PCB motherboards: the Intel P5P43TD PRO, P5P43TD and AMD M4A77TD PRO.
Look on the PCB between the CPU and memory slots here:
And likewise, 2oz copper PCB is visible after the last white PCI slot by the XFastest logo:
Gigabyte reckons 67 per cent of motherboards it shipped during the week before Computex were 2oz copper and that by the end of the year, that figure will come closer to 80 per cent. At Computex Gigabyte told us it didn't at all mind absorbing a little of the cost at sale time due to the firm's three year warranty, as the better quality PCB purportedly saves the company service costs.
Perhaps Asus has realised that adding two ounces of what it previously claimed to be a polluting metal might be good for business after all. No harm in polluting, er, testing the waters at least.
Also, since Asus has decided to bung its 2oz copper on its becoming-ever-more-fashionable DDR3 boards, punters can expect to pay a rather whopping premium for them.
That's what we call testing the marketing team's metal. Asus and co better hope this won't be a copp-out. µ
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