Bundled Software Continued
AI Suite has a lot more going for it than just Thermal Radar, of course. Here’s a quick look at its other features.
AI Charger+ lets you fast-charge USB Battery Charging (BC 1.1) compliant mobile devices rapidly from a USB 3.0 port. If your device isn’t BC 1.1 compliant, though, ASUS has a fallback:
USB Charger+ provides up to 1.5 amps at 5V on a special USB port at the back of the computer. This is handy for charging larger devices like tablet computers, whose batteries take forever to charge at the standard 0.5 amps a standard USB port delivers. Note that you can configure the motherboard to keep the power on this port “live” even when the system is shut down.
USB 3.0 Boost is another performance-enhancing feature. Devices that support USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) get a boost, and most devices that don’t can benefit from Turbo Mode, which uses larger block sizes to reduce the transfer overhead. USB 3.0 Boost automatically detects what your device is capable of and does the right thing.
You’re probably already familiar with ASUS’ USB BIOS Flashback feature, which lets you update your BIOS even without a CPU and memory installed. ASUS has made it even easier to keep up to date: simply leave a USB key in one of your ports, and the system will automatically check for BIOS updates at periodic intervals. If a new BIOS is ready, AI Suite will download it onto the USB key and notify you.
Speaking of notifications, Push Notice will alert you if voltage or temperature exceed specified limits (although what those limits are remains a mystery), and can also be configured to start, sleep, or shut down the computer at a given time.
Asus Webstorage is a new feature implemented as a separate utility. This is a cloud account, with 5GB of free space, whose contents are synchronized with a dedicated folder on your computer. Asus has free web storage client software for iOS and Android devices, so your files can be synchronized across all your devices. In my experience most files I dragged into the special folder were uploaded within a minute or two.
In the next section, I’ll take a close look at ASUS’ Thermal Armor.