Since it is a new product line for ASUS we were eager to get a look inside the 11-inch Zenbook as we progressed through our review process. Similar to taking apart a MacBook Air, there are 10 torx screws around the perimeter of the bottom panel of the Zenbook. 

With the bottom panel off, the UX21 looks a lot like an 11-inch MacBook Air with some notable differences. The ultra slim cooling solution actually covers both the Intel Core i7-2677M and its accompanying QS67 chipset, whereas Apple only directly cools the CPU in the MBA. ASUS uses the same two-PCB approach that Apple does, using a slightly stiffer (and conveniently labeled) ribbon cable to connect the two boards.

ASUS uses a familiar stick form factor for its SSD. The 128GB UX21/31 models come with a SandForce SF-2281 based drive from ADATA while the 256GB models use a SanDisk U100 solution. The WiFi card in the UX21 is also a unique form factor:

Other interesting tidbits:

1) The ASUS power adapter is very MBA-inspired - I like it. Cable management is handled via a strip of velcro. ASUS also found a great place to put the Microsoft COA: on the power brick itself.

2) All Zenbooks ship with a USB Ethernet adapter, VGA adapter and two carrying sleeves: one for the adapters and one for the Zenbook itself. 

Check out more in the gallery below and expect our review in the coming days!

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  • jcornel7 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I own the UX31E. I see in the BIOS and in the driver stack there is support for a TPM chip. When you opened this up did you see a spot for a TPM chip. I will buy one and sodder it on myself if its reachable. Reply
  • PeterAhlstrom - Monday, December 05, 2011 - link

    This is the only Zenbook teardown I could find online, and since it said a torx T2 was used, I spent all day Friday trying to get one locally. The smallest size Home Depot and other hardware stores had was T4. I finally found someone who had a T3 and borrowed it from him. The T3 was too small; it just spun around in the screwhead and did nothing.

    His next size up in the kit was a T5 and it worked fine on the Zenbook's screws. Due to the small amount of play with the T5, I'm guessing a T6 will work fine (but I don't have one to test with). T6 is the same size Macbook Pros used to use.

    I'm glad I didn't just order a T2 online and wait for it to arrive, because it wouldn't have worked at all.
    Reply

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