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June 23, 2006 by Devon
|ASUS Terminator 2 T2-AE1
Barebones system for Socket 754
Asus needs no introduction. The company is a heavyweight in the PC enthusiast
world, with a diverse product line that spans enclosures to laptops and everything
in between. Although they primarily target the high end, they are big
enough to have a presence in just about every market sector.
The Terminator 2 T2-AE1 does not target ASUS' usual market. Priced at just
over US$100, this barebones system is designed for those who want to spend as
little as possible. Throw in a $70 CPU, a $50 hard drive, and $20 of RAM and
you have a complete system for US$250.
Even though it is generally true that you get what you pay for in
terms of performance, the same is not true of noise. Just because the T2 is
based on old technology (Socket 754) does not mean it will be any noisier or
quieter than ASUS' latest and greatest.
The large box is needed to fit the thick foam packing material that protects
the T2 from shocks in transit.
The bare essentials: A heatsink and a few cables are the only extras.
SPECIFICATIONS & FEATURES
Not surprisingly for a low end offering, the specifications for the T2-AE1
are dated. Socket 754, AGP, and DDR RAM are all at the end of their lifespan
and there is no viable upgrade path to replace them. Whatever parts are purchased
when the system is first built are likely to stay in use until the system is
retired. Of course, for many workloads, there is little incentive to buy above
the bottom end; even the wimpiest system is capable enough for office work, internet
surfing and media playback these days.
When it comes to peripherals, things are a little more up to date. There are
two firewire ports one 4-pin, one 6-pin an optical S/PDIF port,
plus the usual array of graphics, sound and legacy connections. There's even
an old MIDI/game port. The only noticeable omission is a DVI port, although
that is easy to fix by purchasing a cheap AGP video card.
Onboard graphics are provided by SiS Mirage2 Graphics. We were unable to find
any reliable information about how it performs, but given its age and the lack
of excitement around it, it is unlikely to be anything special. The chipset
does feature an MPEG I/II motion compensation decoder, but it is unclear how
well supported it is on the T2-AE1. Hardware decoders often require special
support in the playback software.
Perhaps the most important "spec" of all is the note that is appended
to the bottom of the list. No, not the subject-to-change disclaimer; the note
that a BIOS update "may" be needed to run 64-bit CPUs. Since it is
impossible to update the BIOS without already having a working CPU, it would
be a good idea to ask your vendor to update the BIOS for you as a condition
of purchase. ASUS'
CPU support page lists all of the compatible processors and the BIOS revisions
that they require. Note that the only processors that are supported out of the
box are Athlon 64 and CG revision Semprons. 64-bit Semprons require a BIOS update,
as we discovered to our dismay when trying to set up our sample.
| Product Name and Model
||AMD Athlon 64 / Sempron
800 MHz FSB
|| North Bridge: SiS 760GX
South Bridge: 965L
|| 2 x DIMM
Support max. 2GB
||1 x PCI
1 x AGP 8X
|| Mirage2 Graphics
||1 x IDE Port
||2 x SATA Ports
|| Realtek AC' 97 6channel ALC655
6 Channel Codec
| Dimensions (mm) W x H x D
|| 190 x 310 x 300
|| Drive Bays
||2 x 3.5" (1 x Internal; 1
2 x 5.25"
| Front Panel
||2 x USB 2.0
1 x Microphone
1 x Headphone
2 x IEEE1394 (4-pin & 6-pin)
| Rear Panel
|| 4 x USB 2.0
1 x Line-in/Line-out/Mic-in
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Parallel Port
1 x D-sub (VGA Out)
1 x Game / MIDI
1 x S/PDIF Out
1 x RJ45 LAN
1 x Serial Port
| Power Supply
|| 200W (PFC)
|| O/S Support
| Key Features
||ASUS TriOptix Form Factor
CrashFree BIOS 2
Ez Flash BIOS
|| *All specifications are subject to change without
notice. Please check with your supplier for exact offers. Products may not
be available in all markets.
**May need to update the latest BIOS if using 64-bit CPU.
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