LOOK INSIDE (PART 7): Asus Zenbook UX32VD


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6 May 2012
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I am back with yet another LOOK INSIDE thread. Today we will see what's inside the recently launched Asus Zenbook UX32VD. Lets tear this enlightening Ultrabook down to its most basic components. Here we go....

For those who missed the earlier parts of this Look Inside series Click Here


Step 1 — Asus Zenbook UX32VD

The UX32VD Zenbook Prime was released in the second quarter of 2012, as an update to the already-popular UX31E.

Here are some of the most calming features of the UX32VD:
  • 1.9 GHz Intel Core i7 processor
  • Nvidia GeForce GT 620M dedicated GPU
  • 1920 x 1080 LCD with IPS
  • 4 GB (2 GB upgradable) RAM
  • 500 GB HDD stock with 24 GB SSD cache

Step 2

In addition to a slick Ultrabook, Asus throws in a whole bag of goodies with the Zenbook:
  • Envelope-style laptop sleeve
  • Stylish power adapter with a machined face
  • Mini VGA-to-VGA adapter
  • USB-to-ethernet adapter
  • Small pouch to carry the adapters

Given the laptop's $1300 price tag, Asus managed to have none of these items look or feel cheap.


Step 3

Despite being a formidable Ultrabook in its own right, the Zenbook is often criticized for its thickness. All things considered, the "bulging waistline" of the Zenbook isn't all that considerable. When compared with a MacBook Air, it's only a few millimeters thicker at the spine.


Step 4

The only markings indicating that this is indeed the newest Zenbook is the model number on the bottom of the laptop. The UX32VD comes standard with a hotkey for "Super Performance Mode," initiated by hitting Function+Space.



Step 5

Everyone likes a well-connected Ultrabook, and the Zenbook is not a disappointment.
  • Three USB 3.0 ports
  • Combo SD, SDHC, and MMC reader
  • Audio out
  • Mini VGA port
  • HDMI out

Sadly, the display adapter is not the same as the mini display adapter used by Apple, so defecting parties can't use their existing adapters with the Zenbook. But good news—Asus was kind enough to include the mini VGA-to-VGA adapter with the computer.



Step 6

The stylish aluminum lower case is held in place with twelve T5 Torx screws. The cover itself is not the same quality you'd find in an Apple product, but we applaud Asus' use of non-proprietary screws. Torx screws provide large amounts of surface to transfer torque, they resist cam-out much better than many screws, and they're common.



Step 7

The first component to come out is the battery. The screws on the outer case were Torx, but the eight screws holding down the battery are good-old Phillips. Pulling out the battery delivers us special bonus components: the left and right speaker assemblies that are adhered to the sides of the battery.




Step 8

The 7.4 volt, 6520 mAh battery in the UX32VD weighs 280.5 grams, accounting for approximately 20% of the Zenbook's weight.
By comparison, the battery in the 13" MacBook Air is approximately 22% of the Air's total weight, at 300 grams. This Zenbook sports a 48 watt-hour battery, a smaller battery than the previous year's model, but a solid contender with other similarly-sized laptops.
  • 2011 Zenbook UX31A: 50 watt-hours
  • Macbook Air: 50 watt-hours
  • Acer Aspire S5: 34 watt-hours



Step 9

Many PC manufacturers turn to audio specialists outside of their own company to provide their laptops with sound systems. Asus is no different, looking to Bang & Olufsen to pump up the volume in the Zenbook. For those of you who aren't familiar with Bang & Olufsen, their sound systems are the choice of many luxury vehicle manufacturers, including Aston Martin. The left speaker is Bang, while the right is Olufsen.


Step 10

In order to completely blur the lines between an Ultrabook and a high-powered laptop, Asus gave the Zenbook onboard RAM and removable RAM. While this may give the Zenbook an identity crisis, it is a step in the right direction for Ultrabook design. It is clear that Asus wanted to give users the ability to upgrade/repair their laptops, but could only allow for a single RAM module given the space constraints inside the already-bulging Zenbook. Keep your eyes peeled for the onboard RAM, but the removable RAM module comes out for now.



Step 11

The Zenbook comes standard with a 500 GB, 5400 RPM 2.5" hard disk drive, in addition to 24 GB of onboard SSD storage. Let's see how this hard drive measures up to other high profile Ultrabooks.
  • 2012 Apple MacBook Air 13" ($1,099.99 - $1,199.99): 128 GB SSD
  • Dell Inspiron 14z ($899.99): 500 GB, 5400 RPM HDD and 32GB onboard SSD
  • Acer Aspire S5 ($1,279.00 - $1,399.99): 2x 128 GB SSD
No matter which way you spin it, a 5400 RPM HDD seems a bit out of place in a $1,300 laptop.



Step 12

These fans are pretty cool. And accessible. Because fans are responsible for circulating the air through the computer, they are often the component that collects the most dust. Having fans that are easy to access for cleaning are important for making a device that is easy to maintain.




Step 13

It appears as though Asus didn't put too much engineering into enforcing their warranty. The void sticker is just a sticker—no impossible-to-remove residue on the screw head, no weird disintegrating labels. Just a sticker that actually retains a good amount of stickiness even after being removed.



Step 14

With a little elbow grease, the Intel 6235 Wi-Fi / Bluetooth 4.0 card comes out of its mini PCI Express socket. Inside we find two Intel ICs:
  • RED: Intel 82550 Fast Ethernet Controller
  • ORANGE: Intel 82549MDE Wi-Fi controller
In an industry where design often favors slimness over modularity, we're thankful that the Weefees still come as mini PCI Express cards.




Step 15

Motherboard removal and replacement is fairly easy with the inclusion of labeled connectors on the board. Though they're not technically "instructions," labeling sockets and connectors is extremely helpful when reassembling a machine. Off come some standard connectors and screws, and the motherboard is free.




Step 16: Front of motherboard

RED: Intel Core i7-3517U 1.9 GHz processor (4M cache, up to 3.00 GHz)
CYAN: 2x Hynix H5TQ2G63DFR 2 Gb DDR3 video SDRAM
PURPLE: Intel BD82HM76 platform controller hub
BLACK: ON Semiconductor NCP3218 synchronous buck controller


Step 17

The backside of the motherboard houses some more chips, including more onboard RAM.
RED: 4x Hynix h5TQ2G83CFR 2 Gb DDR3 SDRAM
ORANGE: 2x Hynix h5TQ2G63DFR 2 Gb DDR3 video SDRAM
CYAN: 3x Fairchild PC78T FDMC7696
BLUE: Richtek RT8168B PWM Controller
PURPLE: Realtek ALC269 audio codec
So if our tally is correct, the UX32VD has a total of 1 GB onboard video RAM! (4 x 2 Gb = 8 Gb = 1 GB)


Step 18

Like the MacBook Pro with Retina display, the touchpad in the Zenbook is located underneath the battery. Unlike the MacBook, though, you can remove this touchpad without destroying said battery.
RED: Multi-touch gestures are managed by an Elan 33200V-3600 touchpad controller.




Step 19

In addition to a couple Phillips screws, each side of the display assembly was held to the upper case with a 4 mm hex nut. In addition to holding down the display assembly, the top of each hex nut was drilled and tapped to hold one of the motherboard screws. The display assembly comes off pretty easily and we're left with the upper case that houses the backlit keyboard. Just like the unibody MacBooks, the keyboard in the Zenbook cannot be removed from the upper case, which means the two must be replaced simultaneously.




Step 20

Next up is some housecleaning on the bottom of the display assembly. Away go the clutch cover, hinges, and wireless antennas. The main and auxiliary wireless antennas hide underneath the plastic clutch cover on the display assembly, one of the few non-metallic surfaces on the exterior of the Zenbook.




Step 21

Not only is there no obnoxiously glossy front glass on the Zenbook's display, but the bezel comes off pretty painlessly after applying some heat and playing a sweet tune with guitar picks. The fact that you can gain access to the display assembly is a huge plus. Not only is the fashionable display bezel easy to remove, it's even custom-made for the UX32VD.




Step 22

The LCD and camera cables are routed underneath the rubber display gasket. In most cases, a simple piece of rubber wouldn't be much of a deterrent, but the corners of this gasket were stuck down with a formidable adhesive and required heat and patience to peel up.
After that, four Phillips screws come out, followed by the LCD. The Chimei Innolux 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD performs extremely well, bringing legitimate gaming chops to an ultra-portable 13" notebook.




Step 23

The Zenbook's 2 megapixel webcam. A Realtek 5828T camera controller keeps all of your recording and video chatting in check. The camera board is really thin. Without the components on it, it measures at ~ 0.3 mm, which is about the thickness of three pieces of paper stacked together. Shown here for comparison is a US dime. That's right, folks, a dime.




Step 24

All the components are easy to access, with no proprietary screws inhibiting access. The battery is not glued in place, and a person equipped with the right tools can replace it in a matter of minutes. You can upgrade both RAM and hard drive in this machine. Labeled motherboard sockets make reconnecting cables easier. A lot of components were held in place with more adhesive than is necessary.


Source and Image Credit: iFixit
Good work mmadhankumar.

Offtopic: Nice signature...!!
Great going Madhan bro. Not only your work is great ,I would say you are an Extra ordinary member on DDF :c :)

As your all posts are Extra ordinary like you and specially TECH based ,I really appriciate your work bro. As my field is Hardware so I can under stand better and these posts fed my Tech hunger 99%.So keep your nice work bro. Thanks a lot.:c

+REPS added

Now pl I don;t see all the pictures due to slow speed of network as I am using Mobile network only 10kb to 15kb speed.I can't able to even Thanks you as button not appering so waiting for speed become normal,But lot of Thanks.
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