The top end of the motherboard market is likely to be blown apart by accusations that Asus has quite blatantly lied about the power-saving capabilities of the Energy Processing Unit (EPU) in its new motherboards, to say nothing of bizarre suggestions that a journalist may have been involved in commercial espionage with Asus against its biggest rival, Gigabyte.
Asus has claimed power savings of up to 80.23 per cent from EPU boards, but Gigabyte executives told Tom’s Hardware that the EPU figures quoted by Asus are complete fabrications, and the EPU is “a fake”. They claim Asus has made no changes via firmware, design or component changes, and in an act that if true, can only be interpreted as gross cynicism if not outright fraud, simply changed the numbers on product advertisement and packaging. Gigabyte accuses its rival of “playing numbers marketing” and “cheating end users.”
Asus claimed its EPU motherboards trumped the power-saving performance of Gigabyte DES equivalents, but according to Gigabyte, Asus made up their tests. Gigabyte claims its rival provided incorrect comparison figures and graphs to the public.
Several motherboards were compared: Asus P5E3 Deluxe, P5E3 Premium and Gigabyte’s EP35-DS3L. According to Gigabyte’s testing, its own boards had significantly higher levels of efficiency at system start and during fluctuations in load. During all loads, Gigabyte’s DES system bests the EPU system with figures ranging anywhere from 4.1-percent to a whopping 17-percent difference at maximum savings settings. In fact, Gigabyte claims that Asus’ EPU system “cheats” by lowering certain system frequencies by small amounts to reduce power consumption, instead of actually providing better power throughput. In the EPU “Walk Mode,” which is its most efficient mode, Gigabyte claims that Asus’ EPU does its trick by down clocking 10-percent and dropping Vcore voltage — possibly affecting CPU stability.
Worse, Gigabyte claims Asus is fooling its customers by using poor-quality capacitors in its motherboards that are not manufactured in Japan, and are known to be likely to blow under load. Gigabyte uses top components, specifically those from Chemico or Fujitsu.
We suspect the scandal is going to result in a fascinating defamation suit. If Gigabyte is wrong, the damage to Asus would be immense, and any trial lawyer would be licking his lips.
Bleeding Edge has a good deal of respect for Gigabyte motherboards. We’ve generally favoured them in our quarterly specifications for the workhorse PC, although from time to time we’ve gone for an Asus alternative. We’ve always regarded Asus as a premium supplier, and been particularly impressed by their Eee PC, which we’re seriously tempted to upgrade, now that it’s available with a slightly larger screen and more memory.
We still like the Eee PC. But we’re no longer quite so confident about the quality.
We can declare right now that our opinion of Asus has been dramatically lessened, and we’d be very reluctant right now to switch our recommendation from Gigabyte. If a company has such a poor opinion of its customers that it would deliberately hoodwink them, what does it say about its products and services?
As for that espionage angle, could it be that the journalist might have been researching this story? No mention there that the EPU is a controversial issue, or that Asus components have been called into question.