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Today we’re sitting down with Jack Cheng, resident ASUS hardware guru and all-round expert on anything that has solder points and capacitors on it, plus pretty much everything else. Jack has been with ASUS for quite some time as we just found out, and as his love for PCs knows no bounds, we’d say he’s right at home. You may have seen Jack in one of the many videos he’s been in, usually involving detailed yet very approachable explanations of the latest motherboard and/or technology features. While usually too busy to talk due to his largely classified R & D duties, Jack was able to share some of his thoughts with us, so read on.

Heard of a Thousand Motherboard Stare?

We know you’re extremely passionate about PC hardware. When did this love affair begin?

Well, it all began twenty years ago, when my parents bought me a genuine Intel 486DX33 system to try and redirect my interest in video games into computers.  Back then, with very limited knowledge, the only cool thing I could do was to fiddle with that fake “Turbo LED” to let it display 99MHz rather than 33, which I suppose a lot of people also did back then. My interest in computer hardware developed with time as I started to upgrade, which happened a few years later.

 

You’ve been on many ASUS videos explaining new products – do you think more people are keen on learning about PCs and understanding how they work?

 

Yes of course, or else there would be no point in making such videos in the first place. Computers were once like a mysterious black box to people, many believed it had powers beyond human imagination, and were afraid to even touch computers because of this. However, as computers are no different from any other human creation, I do personally believe that people will develop more interest in them as they get to know more about what they are, and how each part works, especially when you can tie them to your existing knowledge. A good example of this would be the Nintendo Wii remote, which introduced actual human movements into controllers, guiding more people into the world of gaming with what they know the most: waving something with their hand!

Speaking of ASUS, is there a story behind you joining the company, and how long have you been at it?

 

Well, I first joined ASUS when I waited for the commencement of my Masters of Philosophy courses ten years ago, thinking I could just earn some pocket money for myself. However, I quickly built my passion in this industry and just stayed on.

How would you describe your role within ASUS?

My role in ASUS is to provide understandable technical materials to people who need them, and meet the demand for more knowledge from media, our own sales and marketing, as well as our own customer support team. Outside that, I also do market research based on media reviews and user feedback, digest findings, and have them delivered to relevant departments for the development of newer and better products.

Do you think we’re due for major changes in PC design in the near future with regards to cloud computing, mobile devices, and the like?

 

Well, not really to be honest. Though yes, we are in a world with massive amounts of digitalized data around us, and yes, mobile devices are easy to carry. But there is always a tradeoff in the way we use computers. Modern PCs can do a lot more than just mass storage and remote processing. Yes, for light users that may perhaps change, but only for users who are not used to current computer standards. Enterprise users or even gamers should not be effected that much. I personally see this as opening more opportunities for us to work on, as the lack of storage space and processing power on mobile devices may certainly create more demand in the PC market. There may be more software solutions to build better interaction between the PC and mobile devices, and that should be most of the change, at least for the next few years.

What would you say to someone worried about the demise of the traditional desktop?

 

As explained in the last question, I will say there is nothing to really worry about, at least not in the next few years. This is unless of course the development of ARM-based solutions can achieve the processing power to go head to head with low end desktops, then we will have something to really be concerned about.

With the great ready-made power of current hardware, do you believe there’s still room for traditional overclocking and modding? Why should we get into that?

You see, there is no limit to the desires of mankind. If there is a mountain, someone will conquer it, if there is a beast, someone will tame it, and if there is a world record or room for better performance, you bet there will be people chasing after them, no matter the cost. Therefore I do think we should continue to provide at least the necessary designs and tools to let our boards clock better and work with greater stability than any others with ease, as at the end of the day, this is one of the key areas where ASUS has become famous.

Choose a product – what’s your favorite hardware of the moment?

 

This question is tough, I will say all of them, as we put all our best efforts into every product we design, and they all deserve to be the best on my list.

We may have taken the hardware thing too far – surely there’s more to Jack than that! Who are you when away from PCs and related accessories?

 

That is a very interesting question. Outside my usual computer work, I enjoy doing official translations for Japanese anime titles and manga (yes, on my home computer, as well) like many fansub translators. Other than that perhaps visiting monuments and imagining myself walking back in time…

Can you share with us one big plan you have for the future? Other than world domination, that is!

 

Simple, make everyone an expert in computer hardware! (laugh) The more you know, the bigger the market, and of course the brighter the future we may all have.

Thanks much Jack for taking the time to talk to us and for letting us in, now get back to building that supercomputer you’re always on about.

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