AST’s New Ascentia 950N Pentium Notebook Pulls the Pieces of the Puzzle Together for a Complete Mobile Solution; New Docking Station Gives Users Multimedia Capabilities

AST’s New Ascentia 950N Pentium Notebook Pulls the Pieces of the Puzzle Together for a Complete Mobile Solution; New Docking Station Gives Users Multimedia Capabilities

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 30, 1995–Mobile PC users accustomed to either compromising on features and performance or paying a premium for them, can now hit the road with the power of a high-end desktop PC with AST Computer’s new Pentium notebook.

The Ascentia(TM) 950N, introduced today, is the newest star in the award-winning AST(R) Ascentia notebook computer family.

“Unlike other notebook PCs that offer a single `silver bullet’ feature, the Ascentia 950N is the most complete mobile PC solution available on the market today,” said Chet Pribonic, AST vice president and general manager, mobile products. “Our customers clearly want the power that only a Pentium processor can deliver. They also want long battery life and the biggest and brightest screens available in an affordable and lightweight design — we answered their wish list with the Ascentia 950N.”

Designed for the mainstream professional user, the Ascentia 950N delivers up to four hours of battery life, the industry’s largest 10.4-inch high-resolution screens, 500MB, 800MB, or 1.2GB hard drives, and multimedia capabilities — all without asking users to break the bank.

The Ascentia 950N, available in June through AST’s authorized resellers, has estimated street prices starting at $3,499.

“AST has delivered a winning combination of performance and price with the introduction of the Ascentia 950N,” said Stephen Nachtsheim, Intel’s vice president and general manager of the Mobile and Handheld Products Group. “By combining the speed and performance of Intel’s 75MHz Pentium(R) processor with key mobile features and functionality, AST is sending a message to mainstream mobile users that Pentium notebooks are affordable mobile solutions.”

The Desktop-Equivalent 950N Closes the Gap Between Desktops and Portables

The 950N combines Intel’s 75MHz Pentium processor with 256KB of Level 2 cache memory, giving the already powerful processor a performance boost. Users can speed through graphics and processor-intensive applications, such as database or spreadsheet manipulation and multimedia presentations incorporating full motion video, sound and animation.

Complementing the powerful processor are large removable 500MB, 800MB or 1.2GB hard drives and 8MB of RAM, expandable to 40MB. In addition, advanced VL 32-bit local bus video, 1MB of video RAM and a graphics accelerator enable graphics intensive applications, such as multimedia presentations with full motion video, to run faster and smoother.

The Ascentia 950N delivers up to four hours of battery life, taking full advantage of Sony’s advanced lithium ion battery technology. In addition, AST’s industry-recognized Advanced Power Management reacts to users’ work styles, automatically powering down the hard drive and screen after periods of inactivity, significantly extending battery life and computing time.

10.4-inch High-Resolution Dual Scan and TFT Displays Provide More Viewing Area

AST extends its performance advantage by offering the industry’s largest color high-resolution screens on the market. The Ascentia 950N line incorporates either 10.4-inch Super VGA TFT screens and Super VGA Dual-Scan STN screens from Hitachi and Sanyo. These high resolution screens display images in 800 x 600 pixel resolution, providing crisp, clear images. Users working with financial spreadsheets or graphics programs can actually see 56 percent more text, image or spreadsheet columns than on the same size screen with 640 x 480 resolution.

Expanded Mode Lets Graphics and Video Fill Entire Screen Without Black Border

Multimedia developers and avid Doom(TM) game-players will appreciate the 950N’s ability to play video or display graphic programs in expanded mode, allowing 640 x 480 images to completely fill the 800 x 600 screen. Other high-resolution displays rim the images with a one-inch black border, wasting 64 percent of the screen size.

Multimedia Capabilities/Support

AST continues to provide complete mobile solutions to all users by offering multimedia capabilities without the added cost, weight or battery drain associated with integrated CD-ROM drives. Embedded Creative Labs’ Sound Blaster(R). Vibra 16 hardware allows users to incorporate .WAV and MIDI audio functions in almost any file or document, and voice, music and sound effects can be recorded through the built-in microphone. A large 36mm single speaker provides high-quality unamplified sound, and audio line in/out ports allow the 950N to be connected to external stereo sound systems or a CD-ROM drive. By using the Cirrus logic video controller with its imbedded video capabilities, .AVI files can be played back at unprecedented speed, significantly reducing the number of dropped frames. The 950N allows sales, service and training professionals to interweave full-motion .AVI video files with music, effects or voice-overs to create mesmerizing presentations.

New ProStation Docking Station also Available in a Multimedia Configuration

AST’s new ProStation(TM) docking station is available for customers who use their Ascentia 950N as a desktop replacement in the office and want the convenience of easily connecting their notebook to a local area network or additional peripherals such as printers, external keyboards or monitors. The new docking station supports Windows 95 plug and play with warm docking, allowing users to dock or undock while in suspend mode. Additional features include Teflon coated guiderails for manual VCR-style insertion and a large platform stand that will support a 100-pound monitor.

For users requiring multimedia capabilities in the office, ProStation is also available in a multimedia configuration, incorporating an integrated quad-speed enhanced IDE CD-ROM drive, two eight-watt AC-powered speakers, Creative Labs microphone and Sound Blaster Vibra 16-bit audio card and all accompanying Sound Blaster applications. Professionals can use the multimedia docking station to install CD-ROM based software, view CD-ROM titles, and develop multimedia presentations.

ProStation and ProStation Multimedia are compatible with all of AST’s Ascentia high-performance notebooks, including the 900N and 910N. The estimated selling price for ProStation is $549 and $749 for ProStation Multimedia.

Full Sized Keyboard Design Actually Helps Dissipate Heat

AST has incorporated a new heat dissipation design (patent pending) into the Ascentia 950N, solving thermal issues associated with the faster processor and eliminating the need for a cooling fan. A heat sink connected to a copper pipe funnels the heat to the aluminum backing of the full size keyboard. A natural conductor of heat, the aluminum backing quickly cools and dissipates the warmer temperature generated by the Pentium processor. The Ascentia 950N weighs just over six pounds, and the integrated SmartPoint trackstick gives users a comfortable keyboard design.

Infrared Communications Gives Users Easiest Way Yet to Send and Receive Data

The 950N lets users communicate through wired and wireless connections. Built-in infrared communications lets users send and receive data or print to other infrared-equipped devices without cluttered wires and cable connections. Users simply point the notebook at the receiving equipment and input the appropriate commands. An adapter is available so users can use their Ascentia 950N with desktops, notebooks and printers that do not have infrared capabilities.

In addition, compatibility with more than 300 optional PC cards allows users to expand storage, take advantage of multimedia sound cards and CD-ROM drives, dial into on-line services, link into the office network, fax memos and check their electronic mail. In addition, the 950N comes pre-loaded with a host of mobile-centric and multimedia software, some of which include: Delrina’s WinFax and COMit LITE, ConnectSoft’s E-Mail Connection, OAG Flight Disk, Microsoft’s RunTime Video for Windows and starter kits for America Online, Prodigy and CompuServe online services.

Worldwide Service and Support

The Ascentia 950N is covered by a worldwide three-year limited warranty, giving users the flexibility and convenience of having their notebook computer serviced throughout the world. Users who purchase and service their Ascentia 950N notebook in the United States will receive AST’s free 48-hour rapid repair service, ExeCare Plus(SM), for the first year. Years two and three are covered by a carry-in warranty. They may also choose to upgrade their warranty through ExeCare Plus’ 24-hour replacement program. AST’s Authorized Service Centers also offer state-of-the-art service programs. International customers are serviced on a carry-in basis by any of the authorized AST Service Providers located in more than 30 countries around the world. Service may vary according to the warranty terms of each country. Upgrade programs are also available outside the United States.

Corporate Background

AST Research Inc., a member of the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest industrial and service companies, is one of the world’s leading personal computer manufacturers. The $2.367 billion company develops PC products ranging from portable systems to superservers sold in more than 100 countries worldwide. Corporate headquarters is located at 16215 Alton Parkway, P.O. Box 57005, Irvine, Calif. 92619-7005. Telephone: 714/727-4141 or 800/876-4278. Fax: 714/727-9355. -0-

Note to Editors: AST is a registered trademark and Ascentia and ProStation are trademarks of AST Research Inc. ExeCare Plus is a service mark of AST Research Inc. Intel and Pentium are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. Sound Blaster is a trademark of Creative Technology Ltd. Windows is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Doom is a trademark of id Software. All other products or services mentioned herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

CONTACT: AST Research Inc.

Ruth Rosene, 714/727-7961 (Media)

Misty Ohmart, 714/727-7728 (Analyst)

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