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Mobile Devices

Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook Motherboard and Peripheral PCBAs Teardown

15 May 2009
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Overview

This analysis focuses on only the motherboard and peripheral PCBAs from the Acer Aspire One ZG5 netbook computer featuring Intel Atom (N270) processor and 945GSE Express chipset. The peripheral PCBAs include the solid-state storage PCB, mini PCIe WLAN module, touchpad PCB and 'Side I/O' PCB.

The remainder of the netbook (which includes the enclosure, LCD display and integrated webcam) were excluded from this teardown analysis.

Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook Motherboard and Peripheral PCBAs Main ImageAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook Motherboard and Peripheral PCBAs Main Image

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a 3 year 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 and Peripheral PCBAs Cost AnalysisAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook Motherboard and Peripheral PCBAs Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers Representing ~85% of Direct Materials Costs

Motherboard

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

QG82945GSESLB2R - Intel - Northbridge - Graphics and Memory Controller Hub

$8.3 0- K4T1G164QQ-HCE6 - Samsung - SDRAM - DDR2, 1Gb (64Mx16), 1.8V (Qty:4)

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

HannStar - 8-Layer - FR4, Lead-Free

Ceramic Multilayer - X5R/X7R (Qty:524)

JMB385 - JMicron Technology - Memory Card Host Controller - PCI Express to 4-in-1 Combo Card Reader (Qty:2)

Other PCBAs

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

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

Synaptics - Touch Pad Assembly

Materials and Manufacturing $134.62

Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook Motherboard and Peripheral PCBAs - Motherboard TopAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook Motherboard and Peripheral PCBAs - Motherboard Top

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

Acer is a top ranked global mobile PC manufacturer who outsources 100% of their manufacturing capability to ODM suppliers. According to iSuppli's Global OEM Manufacturing and Design Analysis - Compute Platforms - Q2 2008, Acer's major contract manufactures with respect to percentage shares are Quanta, Compal, Wistron and to lesser extents Inventec and Arima.

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 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 WLAN mini PCIe module), 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.

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

Intel Functional AreaTotal
System VR198
Chipset VR150
Memory148
Misc. I/O106
Southbridge101
CPU VR97
Backpanel I/O78
Audio67
Northbridge64
CPU61
SIO51
Clock46
Display36
LAN35
Memory VR30
PCB6
Storage Device1
WLAN1
Grand Total1276

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.

Acer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook Motherboard and Peripheral PCBAs - Motherboard BottomAcer Aspire One ZG5 Netbook Motherboard and Peripheral PCBAs - Motherboard Bottom

Design Notes

The Acer Aspire One ZG5 is only the second Intel-powered netbook device iSuppli has analyzed comprehensively [the first being the Asus EEE PC 2G]. The notable similarities between the two are the low-cost method of building the main board by directly soldering on the major ICs as opposed to using intermediary board mounts. Likewise, the Acer's memory chips are also soldered directly on the bottom side of the motherboard. However, with the Aspire, Acer added expandability provisions via an additional SO-DIMM connector to add upwards of 1GB of memory to the device configuration. Another similarity between the Acer and the Asus is the use of modular mini PCIe WLAN PCB. Modularity in the case of netbook creates added size but offers options to reconfigure the wireless connectivity.

The Acer Aspire One ZG5 represents the second generation of netbook designs featuring a purpose-built processor and chipset by Intel. The Intel Atom processor and 945GSE chipset was designed to meet the low power requirements of a netbook application built on a 45nm process. In fact, the CPU itself measures less than 25 square millimeters making it one of the smallest processors ever built.

In terms of differences from the first generation netbook, the Acer Aspire One is designed for greater expandability and configurability than the Asus EEE PC 2G. It features solid-state drive (SSD) storage on a separate PCB and can be swapped out for optional hard drive storage. Also, the main motherboard has a dedicated SD card reader to add to overall storage capabilities. Another 4-in-1 media card reader is accessible on a peripheral PCB (titled Side I/O PCB).

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


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