ASUS Terminator 2 T2-AE1: Mod-friendly Barebones System

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June 23, 2006 by Devon Cooke

Product
ASUS Terminator 2 T2-AE1
Barebones system for Socket 754
Manufacturer
ASUSTeK
Market Price
US$100~150

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.

ASUS T2-AE1 Specifications from the ASUS' product page
Product Name and Model T2-AE1
CPU AMD Athlon 64 / Sempron
socket 754
800 MHz FSB
Chipset North Bridge: SiS 760GX
South Bridge: 965L
Memory 2 x DIMM
DDR400/333
Support max. 2GB
Expansion Slots 1 x PCI
1 x AGP 8X
Graphics Mirage2 Graphics
IDE 1 x IDE Port
S-ATA 2 x SATA Ports
LAN 10/100 Mbps
Audio 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 x FDD)
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 Windows 2000/XP
Key Features ASUS TriOptix Form Factor
Recovery Pro
Q-fan Technology
CrashFree BIOS 2
Ez Flash BIOS
My Logo
Note *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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