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Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook Teardown

30 November 2012
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Overview / Main Features

The Acer Aspire One ZG5 is the one of the first of a generation of netbooks featuring Intel's Atom processor. Specifically, this netbook is configured with an Intel Atom N270 running with a companion Intel 945GSE chipset. The 2 pound low cost mini-notebook features an 8.9 inch display, 512MB of RAM, 8GB SSD storage and runs Windows XP Home Edition or the Linpus variant of Linux. Additionally, the Acer Aspire One netbooks features a 4-in-1 media card reader, full QWERTY keyboard, Synaptics touchpad assembly and Atheros WLAN mini PCIe module.

Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - Motherboard TopAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - Motherboard Top
Target Market

General consumers

Released

Per press releases, first release in 2nd half of 2008.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - At the time of release, the Acer Aspire One retailed for approximately $380. At present (March 2009), the 8.9 inch netbook has been marked down considerably (presumably to make room for the refreshed 10 inch netbook product line) and can be purchased for as little as $240.

Availability - assumed global

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 2M units.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - Motherboard TopAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - Motherboard Top

Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - Motherboard BottomAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - Motherboard Bottom

Market / Sector Performance

According to iSuppli compute platform research titled "Low-Cost PCs: A Big Threat or a Small Nuisance", netbooks such as Acer's Aspire will continue to cannibalize the ultra-portable (UMPC) and value-notebook segment of the market. In fact, the low-cost PC category is still an evolving segment in the compute platform but generally regarded as a device costing less than $600 with a display size ranging from 7 to 10.2 inch display. One of the biggest challenges for netbooks is the issue of low-cost software as the minimal cost structure of the device runs up against traditional operating system pricing of Windows. In fact, most of the first generation netbooks opt to run variants of Linux to by pass this thorny issue. The research cites impressive growth rates for the netbook category with a CAGR of 120% from 2008 to 2012.

Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - WLAN Mini PCIe Module TopAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - WLAN Mini PCIe Module Top

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers (Representing ~72% of total materials cost)

Motherboard

$37.52 - Intel - AU80586GE025D - CPU - Intel Atom Processor N270, 1.6GHz, 512KB L2 Cache, 533MHz, 45nm Process

$19.76 - Intel - QG82945GSESLB2R - Northbridge - Graphics and Memory Controller Hub

$10 - Sanyo Li-Ion Battery - UM08A31 -

$7.03 - Intel - NH82801GBMSL8YB - Southbridge - I/O Controller Hub 7-M (ICH7-M)

$5.87 - HannStar - 8-Layer - FR4, Lead-Free

$5.25 - Atheros - AR5BXB63 - WLAN Mini PCIe Module - IEEE802.11/b/g

$4.60 - Hipro - HP-A0301R3 - Power Supply 30W, 19V, 1.58A with Cord

$3.16 - Samsung - K4T1G164QQ-HCE6 - SDRAM - DDR2, 1Gb (64Mx16), 1.8V (Qty:4)

Display

$27 - AU Optronics - B089AW01 - Display Module Value Line Item - 226mm Diagonal, 262K Color TFT, 1024 x 600 Pixels

Storage

$15 - Intel - SSDPAMM0008G1 - SSD - PATA, 8GB, MiniCard

Mechanicals

$4.50 - Keyboard Assembly - Injection Molded Plastic Keys, Keyboard Contact Sheet with Flex PBC, Silkscreened, on Silicone Rubber Substrate, w/ Stamped/ Formed Metal Support Frame

$3.22 - Enclosure, Main, Bottom - Injection Molded Flame Retardant ABS-Polycarbonate, w/ ESD/EMI Coating, & 20 Threaded Brass Inserts

Total Materials Cost $200.01

Total BOM Cost$213.19

What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing

Based on our understanding, Quanta is the ODM for Acer Aspire One netbook.

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on markings, the unit was assembled in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc.) were also sourced in low cost regions within China.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of "finished" sub-assemblies (such as CPU and LCD displays), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. "Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - SSD Module TopAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - SSD Module Top

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The Acer Aspire One netbook has an overall component count of 1745, of which, 1204 are contributions from the motherboard along and 205 are mechanical in nature. Compared to other netbooks iSuppli has analyzed, the Acer slots between the Asus EEE 4G (~1400) and HP Mini-Note 2133 (~2200) in terms of overall complexity.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for China.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

The Acer Aspire One is typical of the other Intel Atom based netbooks currently on the market. It features the Intel 945GSE chipset which is the only Intel supported chipset for the Atom N270 processor. For all practical purposes, the Intel N270 + 945GSE is the de facto reference design for this generation of netbooks.

The Aspire One features an 8.9 inch LCD display. This is an incremental increase over the screen real estate of the first generation netbooks such as the Asus EEE 4G Surf and HP mini Note 2133. This particular netbook features similar soldered on RAM memory - a move obviously to eliminate SO-DIMM connectors and drive down cost on the motherboard. Additionally, the Acer Aspire (at least this particular configuration) uses an 8BG PATA SSD card and a mini PCIe card for WLAN.

Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - Camera PCB TopAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - Camera PCB Top

Here is a summary of the major components used in the Acer Aspire One Motherboard design:

Main PCB

CPU

  • CPU - Intel Atom Processor N270, 1.6GHz, 512KB L2 Cache, 533MHz, 45nm Process

Northbridge

  • Graphics and Memory Controller Hub - Intel - QG82945GSESLB2R

Southbridge

  • I/O Controller Hub - Intel - NH82801GBMSL8YB

I/O & Interface

  • Embedded Controller - Nuvoton - WPCE775x
  • Ethernet Controller - Realtek - RTL8102E-GR
  • Codec - Realtek - ALC268-GR
  • PCI Express to x1 Combo Card Reader Host Controller - JMicron Technology - JMB385

Memory

  • SDRAM - Samsung - K4T1G164QQ-HCE6

Clock

  • Clock Generator - IDT - ICS9LPRS365BKL

Display

  • 8.9 TFT LCD - AU Optronics - B089AW01

Storage

  • SSD (PATA, 8GB, MiniCard) - Intel - SSDPAMM0008G1


Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - Box ContentsAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook - Box Contents



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