ASUS ExpressGate -- beware of ripoff!
The tone of this message may be somewhat unfriendly, but I want to warn other potential Linux users so they don't make the same mistake I made.
I have been using Linux for quite a while and often wondered why it's not included by default instead of the clumsy BIOS-es we have to struggle with. Needless to say, after reading the articles on this site and others regarding SplashTop being embedded with the P5Q line of Asus motherboards, I had a strong reason to choose one of them for my new build as opposed to, say, a Gigabyte or MSI with similar specs.
Initially I aimed for the P5Q-Deluxe model, but it was not in stock at my local retailers and they all said I'd have to wait at least 2-3 weeks; at the same time, the P5Q-Pro was in stock and from what I read on the ASUS website the features were similar enough for my needs (and, importantly, it included the "Express Gate" feature). So I went ahead and got that one, saving a few bucks (not many) at the same time.
It turns out that only a select few of the ASUS boards actually have SplashTop installed on the motherboard. All the others (the p5q-pro included) do not. Instead they only have a stripped-down castrated version that needs to be installed on the HDD (!), on a NTFS partition under XP/Vista none-the-less (!!!).
I find this really appaling, especially since there is no warning on the ASUS site or elsewhere until you actually buy the product and read the manual (which doesn't make it clear either). The website only features a tiny hint -- the presence of three letters "SSD" on the "deluxe" models, and the absence thereof on the others -- without any other clear indication that the "Express Gate" version is totally different from the "Express Gate SSD" one.
This experience has severely shaken my trust in ASUS (whom have received quite a bit of my money during the past decade or so) and I will be much more circumspect of their products from now on. I urge the readers of this site to do the same.
It would be wonderful if Phoronix could write an article detailing this situation -- after all ASUS can trace at least some of their sales to the articles announcing it's "linux-friendliness". Maybe some bad press will deter them from doing this in the future.
P.S.: As it stands, this feature does not even work on my MB. I had only Linux installed initially and a black screen with an error message upon boot ("Express Gate is not properly installed or incomplete, please run the Installer in Windows" is what it said for a second before the BIOS started), but now I installed Vista and a) the program from the included DVD which didn't do anything, afterwards b) the latest version from the website which created a bunch of Asus.xxx directories in my C:\ root but still -- no go, the same black screen on boot. Shame on you, ASUS!
Originally Posted by mgc8
Hmmm, must of been a mistake with the packaging on your box. Other Asus boards clearly label if Expressgate Light is being used (example below). I would be contacting Asus about that.
Well, see for yourself:
Originally Posted by deanjo
I have sent a message for the fact that the feature isn't working, other than that there isn't much to do. Even if by some strech of imagination they would refund me, it's not worth my time to take the computer apart and reassemble it, I'd much rather warn others so they don't fall for this as well.
Interesting how they labeled the thing differently on the other MB, probably some annoyed customers already wrote to them about it... Too bad they forgot about the "old" P5Q boards.
What can I say, long live marketing (also interesting to note the messages in other threads here about capacitors exploding and their so-called EPU which according to Gigabyte is nothing but a lie... seems like they may have taken their customers for fools a little too much)!
Originally Posted by curaga
Originally Posted by mgc8
I'm not doubting you, I'm just pointing out that this doesn't seem to be the case with all boards. (In fact all of the AMD boards have it clearly listed at least.).
ASUS is NOT clear which boards have full ExpressGate
OK, in some cases the say, n others they do not.
Originally Posted by deanjo
For example look at the M3N78-VM
Great deal. The board costs around $95
Pretty decent platform, with embedded nVidia video, hybrid SLI support, etc.
The webpage simply says "Instant Internet Access with Express Gate™"
However on setup one finds the usual message about using the installer under Windows.
It IS a ripoff!
Express Gate on Asus M3A78-EM
I just bought the M3A78-EM board. On the Asus website, it says nothing about the Express Gate being "Light", and the description of the Express Gate feature says that it is a "unique motherboard built-in OS", see
When I boot, I get the dreaded message about installing Express Gate using the Windows installer. What does this mean? Do I have the onboard SSD or not? I do not have Windows installed on the computer, neither do I want it. If I was able to boot into Windows temporarily, say from a USB stick, could I then install Express Gate to the SSD and then be done with it?
From what I learned after browsing several ASUS product pages, if it is not specifically written "Express Gate SSD" then no, you don't have the SSD. The description icon is also different (see P5QDeluxe for what it looks like when it's "full"). That means the hardware (flash chip) is missing from your board and you need to install EG to the hard-disk from windows. If you still want to use it, follow Kano's adice above. I personally find this completely useless if it's not embedded, so I disabled it and also mailed ASUS about this -- which you could (politely) also do...
Originally Posted by cobra-kai
Thanks for the replies. After finding the FAQ on ASUS' site, it seems that they changed the name of Express Gate to Express Gate SSD and Express Gate Lite to Express Gate. Very confusing indeed. I'll consider running it off a USB stick, if only for the reason that I had my mind set on this nifty feature.
Why is this the first time I hear about this?
They have been around, what, months at least, and this dirty trick comes out now?
I won't be buying Asus, that's for sure.
This really really sucks!
I made the same "mistake". I bought the P5Q-Pro. "Mistake" because how could I knew the SSD and AHCI/RAID problems before?
Express Gate only works in SATA-IDE mode. It does _not_ work in RAID or AHCI mode.