ASUS creates a substance: Ceraluminum, which fuses aluminum and a ceramic

Not unobtanium or vaporwareum, as it's coming soon to a 16-inch Zenbook lappie

Computex ASUS has given the world what it claims is a new substance, and it's got a catchy name: Ceraluminum.

Announced yesterday at an event staged alongside the Computex conference in Taiwan, Ceraluminum was described as the result of four years' effort to "transform aluminum into high-tech ceramic." Ceraluminum has been baked into a new ASUS laptop, the Zenbook S 16.

The Register was told the substance is synthesized by immersing a sheet of aluminum in hot water, then introducing a mystery ceramic component that, during a complex process, bonds with the metal, producing a speckled finish that somewhat resembles pottery. We suggested to an ASUS rep at the event that the process sounds a little like anodizing, which bonds a material to the surface of metal, and were told that wasn’t a terrible supposition but the Ceraluminumization process – what a wonderful word – is more complex.

The substance has only been applied to the rear of the Zenbook 16's screen – a panel that in your correspondent's experience schlepping laptops around the world is prone to scratching. Why Ceraluminum isn't worthy of wider use wasn't explained.

When we poked and prodded the Zenbook S 16's Ceraluminum panel, it felt like plastic. And, when tapped with a fingernail, it produced a low but crisp tone we'll call "posh polymer kitchen benchtop" rather than the slight ring of keratin on tableware or the click of metal.

The Zenbook S 16's Ceraluminum cover

The Zenbook S 16's Ceraluminum cover – Click to enlarge and behold its glory

Whatever the device's properties, or shortcomings, it helped ASUS's designers to produce a machine that's just 1.1cm (0.43 inch) thick and weighs 1.5kg (3.3 pounds) – the same weight but a little thinner than the 15-inch MacBook Air. A vapor chamber just 0.7mm thick helps to keep the laptop slim, and other heat management ideas – including a "geometric grille" with lots of little holes in lieu of a more open vent – mean it can consume 28W without overheating.

The lappie runs on Ryzen AI 3000 CPUs – complete with 50 TOPS NPU – that were also announced at Computex yesterday. Machines packing the lower-end model 9 365 CPU will cost $1,399 and include 24GB of memory.

Ceraluminum is not unobtanium or vaporwareum – the 16-inch Zenbook lappie can be ordered now, although delivery dates are uncertain.

ASUS has also put AMD's new Ryzen 300 AI-centric SOCs into other lappies, a pair of the ProArt machines it aims at video pros, plus 14 and 16-inch versions of its TUF gaming laptop range, and the Zephyrus G16 gaming laptop. The gaming machines also get Nvidia GPUs.

Speaking of GPUs, another ASUS announcement at the event concerned the "ASUS ESC AI POD" – a rack full of servers that in a configuration dubbed the "GB200 NVL72" comes packed with 36 Nvidia Grace units, 72 Nvidia Blackwell Tensor Core GPUs, a trio of 1 Gbps management switches and 200 Gbps data switch – all using 5th Gen Nvidia NVLink.

ASUS suggests using the rig for trillion-parameter LLM inference and training with Nvidia. ®

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