by February 28, 2001 0 comments

Asus iPanel

Hardware monitoring solution. Rs 2,000
Features: Two USB ports; hotkeys; fits in a 5” drive bay.
Pros: Easy to install; extensive display of hardware information. 
Cons: Connects only in ASUS CUSL-2 and CUSL-2M motherboards.
Source: Rashi Peripherals
105, Unique House
Chakala Road
Andheri (East)
Mumbai 400099. 
Tel: 22-8329593/6637 
Fax: 8221012 
E-mail: ho@rptechindia.com  Website:
www.rptechindia.com

This is a complete hardware monitoring solution for your PC.

It fits into a 5" drive bay and gives you a host of information that
comes in handy in monitoring your PC’s health.

Apart from the speed of your CPU, lots of other physical parameters like CPU
temperature, chipset and motherboard temperature, FSB speed, RPM of fans (both
CPU and chassis), and even important voltages on the motherboard are displayed
on the front panel of the iPanel. For overclockers, CPU speed, temperature, and
core voltages are extremely helpful parameters. However, the iPanel apparently
reads the information about CPU and FSB speeds from the BIOS. This could be
misleading as a BIOS program may not be able to catch minor variations in CPU
speed.

It also conveys important information in the form of POST (Power-On Self
Test) codes. These are error codes that tell you about keyboard errors, I/O
errors, or other factors that could be preventing the PC from booting up. So if
you pull out your keyboard and turn on the PC, iPanel will immediately display
the corresponding error code. The data cable that supplies all this information
to it is connected onto a special connector (called AFPANEL connector) found
only in ASUS CUSL-2 and CUSL-2M motherboards. You can switch between the
information displayed using the Mode button. The corresponding LED lights up and
the display shows the associated information. It takes a bit of time to get used
to, but is useful nevertheless.

The iPanel also gives you two USB ports. A USB connector cable running from
the motherboard to the iPanel gives you handy access to these ports. A set of
four buttons, called Hotkeys, on the iPanel are meant to be used as shortcuts to
start up preset applications on your PC. For example, the WWW button will launch
your Web browser; the e-mail button will launch your e-mail client, etc. You can
also program the hotkeys to launch any applications you want. This is done
through the accompanying software.

Priced at Rs 2,000, it’s not something for everybody. If you’re very
finicky about features, and want all the bells and whistles fitted on your PC,
you might like to go for the iPanel. A Deluxe version of the same is planned
for, which will even have sound jacks. However, we couldn’t get enough
information on this at the time of doing this review.

Ashish Sharma at PCQ Labs

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