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Asus making more motherboards with embedded Linux

P5Q line, of which Asus expects to ship more than a million in the first month of production, might actually be affordable than its $350 predecessor.

Last October, I covered my first motherboard for Webware: the Asus P5E3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP (check out the video).

It was a Webware story since it was, at the time, the only motherboard to ship with "Splashtop," an embedded Linux OS with Firefox and Skype. With this capability, 15 seconds after you hit the power switch, you could be online.

The idea is that it makes it possible to shut down the PC when you're done with it, yet still be able to pop online in a hurry to check something on the Web.

The browser works just like Firefox. Because it is Firefox.

The only problem with the P5E3 was its eye-popping price: $350. It also requires ultraexpensive DDR3 RAM. But apparently, the Splashtop experiment has been a success, and Asus is releasing new, more down-to-earth motherboards with the feature.

The "P5Q" series of motherboards will launch this month, and Asus expects to ship more than a million in the first month of production. AnandTech reviewed one of the models, the P5Q3 Deluxe (no mention of Splashtop, though).

Asus laptops with Splashtop will also ship this year. The company already ships a series of Linux-based Eee PC ultralight laptops, but these don't use the Splashtop technology, which comes from DeviceVM.

Personal rant: Asus, I'm mad. I just built a new Vista PC using one of your P5E motherboards. I wanted the embedded Linux feature but didn't want to shell out for the P5E3 Deluxe. I would have waited. You could have told me. More on my Vista build in this Real Deal podcast, Rafe builds a new PC: