Asus Announces Ivy Bridge UX32A/UX32VD Zenbook Ultrabooks with Discrete Nvidia Graphics and More Ports [video]

Posted on 10 May 2012 by

This is an interesting development. We’ve been waiting for Asus to announce the refresh to their current Zenbook line with the Zenbook Prime, which would update the existing UX21E and UX31E to the UX21A and UX31A respectively. Oddly, Asus has gone and announced two entirely different Zenbook models that are different than the two that we had heard about. At a press event in Taipei, Asus has taken the wraps off of the UX32A and UX32VD. Both will use the latest Intel Ivy Bridge CPU and pack in more ports than their predecessors. The UX32VD will have discrete Nvidia graphics.

Just when we thought that Asus was going to keep the Zenbook line straight in terms of model numbers (UX21 = 11.6″, UX31 = 13.3″), they’ve gotta go and confuse us all with the UX32 series! I guess we should have expected this from the same company that has launched what seems like hundreds of Eee variants!

Anyway, thanks to NetbookNews.com, we know that Asus is apparently positioning the UX32A and UX32VD to be on the cheaper end of the spectrum, eschewing some of the finer features by default. The UX32A will be Ivy Bridge based with integrated HD4000 graphics while the UX32VD will also feature an Ivy Bridge CPU but include discrete switchable Nvidia graphics in the form of the GeForce GT620M. The base models are looking to hit $800 (for the UX32A) and $1,100 (for the UX32VD). Both models have a 13.3″ screen.

UX31E - The UX32 models share a very similar design but with more ports and some additional bulk

Apparently there will be options to add a full 1080p HD display, WiDi, more RAM, and to upgrade the HDD to an SSD for better performance — making the UX32A almost identical to what we’re expecting from the Zenbook Prime models.

The UX32 models also make some desirable changes to the ports by adding an additional USB port (bringing the count up to 3), and upgrading all of those ports to USB 3.0. The micro-HDMI of the UX31 models has been upgrade to full HDMI which is also very nice. The mini-VGA, 3.5mm headphone jack, and full SD card slot all remain as well. These inclusions put the UX32 Zenbook models neck and neck with the HP Envy 4 and 6 as the most port-rich Ultrabooks out there.

Along with these ports, and the option for discrete graphics, comes a bit of additional bulk and weight (1.45kg). You can see a size comparison with the UX31 models thanks to a brief hands on by Nicole Scott of NetbookNews.com:

There is no word on a release date yet for the UX32A or UX32VD, but we’re almost certain to hear more at Computex at the start of next month!

  • Nilinerthin

    This is a VERY interesting device & hopefully will spark a trend in manufacture diversity beyond just external design.

    7mm HDD, extra ports, discrete GPU will be appealing to alot of people. Unfortunately the GPU is a Fermi instead of Kepler. I would be really curious to see how an older Fermi GPU compares to the brand new HD4000. That could be the difference between an actual performance increase versus a spec sheet marketing gimmick. It would be cool if maybe they could be used simultaneously to provide a huge performance increase.

  • al

    Anyone know of any sites that cover regular ultraportables like the Lenovo X230 and HP 2170p? These ultrabooks aren’t very interesting.

    • Portable Guy

      I’m more interested in “regular” ultraportables too. Too bad the only sites I see covering them only provide short blurbs.

  • Dj

    Hey guys, do any one of you know if this Asus UX32Vd has a backlit keyboard? Any answers? Thx.

    • XeO

      Yes it does have backlit keyboard

  • KP

    I am bit confused. Are these models different from UX31A and UX31A or the same ?

  • Flo

    Yeah the UX32VD doesn’t seem to have a backlit keyboard in comparison with the UX31A but maybe it’s simply off..

  • Etha

    Do you have any idea about performance comparison between the HD4000 and this discrete GPU ?

    • XeO

      The 620M is equivalent to a 525M for performance. It is better performance than the intel HD 4000 but only by a little bit. But if what they say in the article is true,that having the 620M is 300 more dollars then I don’t think that’s worth it

  • Danyal

    are the discrete graphics worth the money compared to hd4000?

  • Andreas

    When will we see thunderbolt?

  • Dj

    This is AMAZING! Does anyone know exactly when it comes out in the US? I heard that Italy are allready selling the Asus UX32VD on the market.
    I’m really excited for this! Thanks.

  • Jake

    Asus UX32A with Ivy Bridge HD 4000 vs. Asus UX32VD with Ivy Bridge Nvidia GT 620m? Any Opinions?

    • karol

      Intel 4000 won’t get any close in games. It uses system memory and just won’t get any chance with 64bitx2 memory channel for both cpu and gpu. 620 is a bit higher clocked 525m, but still lass than 540m(630m). I am sure it can ran Starcraft on high in some nice res and get Diablo full detail on lower than FullHD res. If u want some gaming forget about Intel, it is still low/medium detail in lower res.

      • Jake

        Thx for the help.

  • Mike Danque

    Wonder if the keyboard will actually be usable this go around.

  • bill

    does anybody know if the descrete graphics coma along with the intel 4000 graphics ?
    i mean does the laptop use the 4000 when browsing and the descrete graphics in heavy use?
    is it switchable ?
    has asus fixed the backlight bleeding that many gyus say they have ?

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