Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2013 - 12:13 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, teardown, sshd, ps4 ssd, ps4, podcast, mars 760, mars, asus
PC Perspective Podcast #278 - 11/21/2013
Join us this week as we discuss our PS4 Teardown and Storage Benchmarks, ASUS MARS 760, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 20, 2013 - 10:52 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mars, asus, ROG MARS 760, gtx 760, dual gpu
Fremont, CA (November 19, 2013) - ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the MARS 760 graphics card featuring two GeForce GTX 760 graphics-processing units (GPUs) capable of delivering incredible gaming performance and ensuring ultra-smooth high-resolution gameplay. The MARS 760 even outpaces the GeForce GTX TITAN — with game performance that’s up to 39% faster overall. The MARS 760 is a two-slot card packed with exclusive ASUS technologies including DirectCU II for 20%-cooler and vastly quieter operation, DIGI+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) for ultra-stable power delivery and GPU Tweak, an easy-to-use utility that lets users safely overclock the two GTX 760 GPUs.
Exclusive ASUS features provide cool, quiet, durable and stable performance ASUS exclusive DirectCU II technology puts 8 highly-conductive cooling copper heatpipes in direct contact with both GPUs. These heatpipes provide extremely efficient cooling, allowing the MARS 760 to run 20% cooler and vastly quieter than reference GeForce GTX 690 cards. Dual 90mm dust-proof fans help to provide six times (6X) greater airflow than reference design. And with 4GB of GDDR5 video memory, the ASUS ROG MARS 760 is capable of delivering visuals with incredibly high frame rates and no stutter, ensuring extremely smooth gameplay — even at WQHD resolutions. An attention-grabbing LED even illuminates as the MARS 760 is operating under load.
The MARS 760 is equipped with ROG’s acclaimed DIGI+ voltage-regulation module (VRM), featuring a 12-phase power design that reduces power noise by 30% and enhances efficiency by 15%. Custom sourced black metallic capacitors offer 20%-better temperature endurance for a lifespan that’s up to five times (5X) longer. The new card is built with extremely hardwearing polymerized organic-semiconductor capacitors (POSCAPs) and has an aluminum back-plate, further lowering power noise while increasing both durability and stability to unlock overclocking potential.
The exclusive GPU Tweak tuning tool allows quick, simple and safe control over clock speeds, voltages, cooling-fan speeds and power-consumption thresholds; GPU Tweak lets users push the two GTX 760 GPUs even further. The ROG edition of GPU Tweak included with the MARS 760 also enables detailed GPU load-line calibration and VRM-frequency tuning, allowing for the most extensive control and tweaking parameters in order to maximize overclocking potential — all adjusted via an attractive and easy-to-use graphical interface.
The GPU Tweak Streaming feature, the newest addition to the GPU Tweak tool, lets users share on-screen action over the internet in real time so others can watch live as games are played. It’s even possible to add a title to the streaming window along with scrolling text, pictures and webcam images.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 SLI
- PCI Express 3.0
- 4096MB GDDR5 memory (2GB per GPU)
- 1008MHz (1072MHz boosted) core speed
- 6004 MHz (1501 MHz GDDR5) memory clock
- 512-bit memory interface
- 2560 x 1600 maximum DVI resolution
- 2 x dual-link DVI-I output
- 1 x dual-link DVI-D output
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort output
- HDMI output (via dongle)
Subject: Motherboards | November 7, 2013 - 10:41 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, rampage iv black edition, lga2011
Fremont, CA (November 7th, 2013) - ASUS today announced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rampage IV Black Edition, an E-ATX gaming and overclocking motherboard designed to unleash the full potential of Intel LGA 2011 Core i7 Ivy Bridge-E processors is available for pre-order at select sites.
Based on the Intel X79 Express chipset, the Rampage IV Black Edition includes all of the best ROG technologies and innovations for unrivaled gaming and overclocking performance. With its four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots and eight DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB of overclocked DDR3 DRAM, the Rampage IV Black Edition has near limitless expansion possibilities, including support for both 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX.
Every Rampage IV Black Edition includes a free copy of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, allowing gamers to take advantage of premium ROG hardware and software features right out of the box.
Born to push limits and break records
ASUS designed the Rampage IV Black Edition for those who demand the ultimate feature set. It includes the OC Panel, a real-time system-monitoring and tuning console that is great for gamers and a huge advantage for overclockers. It can be mounted internally for everyday monitoring of temperatures, base clock and fan speeds while also offering one-click CPU Level Up for an instant speed boost. Externally, it can be used to monitor and control multiple parameters in real-time via onboard buttons. Extreme overclocking has never been easier.
Prior to becoming widely available, world-class overclockers have already demonstrated the Rampage IV Black Edition’s record-breaking capabilities as it currently holds chart-topping scores in top benchmarks and numerous other world records on the X79 platform.
Built for the most demanding games and gamers
In order to be able to push the limits, ROG engineers combined thoughtful design with superior quality components.
The Rampage IV Black Edition’s Extreme Engine DIGI+ III voltage-regulator module (VRM) provides highly precise and stable power delivery by employing NexFET MOSFETs, 60A (amp) chokes and high-endurance Japanese-made 10K black metallic capacitors. The motherboard’s black-themed heat-sink is exclusively and cleverly integrated with the MOSFET area to extend to the input/output (I/O) cover for even better cooling and stability.
Built-in SupremeFX Black technology provides sound quality that is on par with high-end dedicated sound cards. Premium components such as ELNA audio capacitors and German-made WIMA film capacitors deliver impeccable clarity, while high-fidelity op-amps (operational amplifiers) and a Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC (digital/analog converter) deliver lossless audio and a brilliant 120dB SNR (signal-to-noise ratio).
ROG’s Sonic Radar on-screen overlay provides fans of first-person shooter (FPS) games with an ear to the ground, as it displays the precise direction and origin of in-game sounds such as gunshots, footsteps and call-outs — giving ROG gamers a leg-up when trying to pinpoint the enemy.
Ultra-fast Intel Gigabit Ethernet with ROG’s GameFirst II utility optimizes network traffic to keep latency to a minimum and reduce all-important ping times. The ROG RAMDisk utility allows up to 80% of a computer’s available RAM to be used as a high-speed virtual drive — lending a strong performance boost to many modern games that regularly read or write data during gameplay.
ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP
Earlier this month AMD took the wraps off of a revamped and restyled family of GPUs under the Radeon R9 and R7 brands. When I reviewed the R9 280X, essentially a lower cost version of the Radoen HD 7970 GHz Edition, I came away impressed with the package AMD was able to put together. Though there was no new hardware to really discuss with the R9 280X, the price drop placed the cards in a very aggressive position adjacent the NVIDIA GeForce line-up (including the GeForce GTX 770 and the GTX 760).
As a result, I fully expect the R9 280X to be a great selling GPU for those gamers with a mid-range budget of $300.
But another of the benefits of using an existing GPU architecture is the ability for board partners to very quickly release custom built versions of the R9 280X. Companies like ASUS, MSI, and Sapphire are able to have overclocked and custom-cooled alternatives to the 3GB $300 card, almost immediately, by simply adapting the HD 7970 PCB.
Today we are going to be reviewing a set of three different R9 280X cards: the ASUS DirectCU II, MSI Twin Frozr Gaming, and the Sapphire TOXIC.
Subject: Mobile | October 29, 2013 - 10:21 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, transformer t100, transformer book
The ASUS Transformer Book T100 is two devices, a 10.1" 1366 x 768 tablet powered by a quad-core BayTrail based Atom Z3740 @ 1.33GHz base speed and Intel's HD graphics and 2GB of RAM. Storage is dependent on the model, both 32GB and 64GB models are available and you can expand that with up to another 64GB with an additional SD Card. The dock adds a keyboard as well as more connectivity options such as USB 3.0. If you want to see how it performs you can see The Tech Report's full review here.
"Despite its low $350 starting price, the Transformer Book T100 offers a quad-core Bay Trail SoC, a 10" IPS touchscreen, 10+ hours of battery life, a USB 3.0-equipped keyboard dock, and the full-fat version of Windows 8.1. We take a closer look at the most uniquely compelling notebook/tablet hybrid to date."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Alienware 18 Gaming Notebook @ Kitguru
- HP Chromebook 11 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus Review @ TechReviewSource
- Nextbook Premium 8 HD Tablet Review @ TechwareLabs
- Best Tablets of 2013: Fall Edition @ TechSpot
- Cooler Master NotePal XL Laptop Cooler Review @ Madshrimps
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (Verizon Wireless) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple iPhone 5s @ TechSpot
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphone Review @ ModSynergy
- Z30: The classiest BlackBerry mobe ever ... and possibly the last @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | October 23, 2013 - 03:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Xonar Essence STU USB, xonar, op-amps, headphone amplifier, DAC, audio, asus
Fremont, CA (October 22nd, 2013) - ASUS today announced the Xonar Essence STU USB external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier, based on the acclaimed design and quality of Xonar Essence ST/STX internal sound cards and going beyond their already high standards. Offering audiophile-grade performance, Xonar Essence STU delivers USB connectivity and accessible external controls.
It offers clear sound with a 120dB signal to noise ratio (SNR), strong 600ohm headphone amplifier, asynchronous USB audio and swappable Op-Amps for DIY sound modification. Precision clock tuning technology further enhances audio fidelity, making Xonar Essence STU a great choice for discerning music lovers who need a quality DAC and headphone amplifier to drive the full capabilities of high-end headphones.
"We received considerable positive feedback from customers regarding the excellent sound quality of Xonar Essence ST/STX sound cards, which led us to develop Xonar Essence STU as a USB device that offers even more premium audio quality plus easy controls and connectivity to notebooks. This is another example of ASUS listening to the community and acting on consumer demand”, said Ives Chiu, Audiovisual Product Manager at the ASUS Multimedia Business Unit.
High quality precision audio
Xonar Essence STU delivers clean, clear, and low distortion sound with 120dB SNR. It achieves this thanks to exacting hardware design, which includes balanced (or mirrored) PCB layout for accurate reproduction of all sound sources and minimal component crosstalk, or interference.
ASUS uses audio industry-leading components such as the Texas Instruments PCM1792A DAC and TPA6120A2 headphone amplifier, which supports up to 600ohm impedance. Also included are audiophile-approved WIMA FKP2 and Nichicon Finegold capacitors for balanced and rich sound.
To satisfy the most demanding users, Xonar Essence STU features precision clock tuning technology and asynchronous audio transfer. Both ensure accurate and jitter-free sound fidelity, allowing customers to enjoy music in its purest form. Bit-perfect playback is aided by support for ASIO audio drivers.
Complete ease of use
As an external device, Xonar Essence STU offers readily-accessible controls with no need to go into software menus. Customers can switch between low and high gain settings, accommodating better listening experiences across a wide range of headphones, from in-ear headsets (typically 16ohm-32ohm) to premium full-size headphones (up to 600ohm). This is especially useful with the increasing popularity of mobile devices, which normally ship with low impedance/high sensitivity headsets.
Dual volume controls help users change speaker and headphone sound levels simultaneously, similar to features offered by dedicated audio decks. The USB interface means connectivity with USB-compliant devices, while I/O ports include stereo RCA out, a 6.3mm headphone jack, two digital inputs, and auxiliary in.
Xonar Essence STU can be placed horizontally and vertically with a bundled stand, giving customers more space-saving flexibility for different locations and situations.
Tonal tuning and advanced controls
Texas Instruments NS-LME49720 and NS-LM4562NA Op-Amps (or operational amplifiers) deliver acoustics fine-tuned by audio engineers to support livelier and more detailed spacious sound.
Xonar Essence STU has room for three swappable Op-Amps, which can be replaced by users to adjust tonal performance based on personal taste. This open-ended and customizable design is inherited from previous Xonar Essence audio products, and remains true to the series’ commitment to accommodating as many customer preferences as possible.
Additional advanced features are a jumper switch that re-routes sound via Xonar Essence STU, allowing it to be used as a pre-amplifier in conjunction with a dedicated power amplifier. Customers can opt to adjust master volume directly on the power amplifier without having to reach Xonar Essence STU controls. Also, a selectable DC servo headphone output can be activated to minimize pop noise which may occur when powering on.
AVAILABILITY & PRICING
The ASUS Xonar Essence STU will be available from late October worldwide with an MSRP of US$399.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 23, 2013 - 03:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, overclocking, asus, ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP, r9 280x
Having already seen what the ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP can do at default speeds the obvious next step, once they had time to fully explore the options, was for [H]ard|OCP to see just how far this GPU can overclock. To make a long story short, they went from a default clock of 1070MHz up to 1230MHz and pushed the RAM to 6.6GHz from 6.4GHz though the voltage needed to be bumped from 1.2v to 1.3v. The actual frequencies are nowhere near as important as the effect on gameplay though, to see those results you will have to click through to the full article.
"We take the new ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP video card and find out how high it will overclock with GPU Tweak and voltage modification. We will compare performance to an overclocked GeForce GTX 770 and find out which card comes out on top when pushed to its overclocking limits."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte R9 280X OC 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X2 Turbo Boost Clock 3GB Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
- AMD Radeon R9 290X Versus NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Benchmarks @ Legit Reviews
- XFX R9 280X Black OC Edition @ Kitguru
- AMD Radeon R9 280X Video Card Review w/ ASUS, XFX and MSI @ Legit Reviews
- HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X² Turbo and R9 270X IceQ X² Turbo @ Legion Hardware
- Sapphire Radeon R9 270X Vapor-X @ Benchmark Reviews
- MSI R9 270X Hawk Review @ OCC
- Asus Matrix R9 280X Platinum @ LanOC Reviews
- ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS Radeon R9 280X IceQ X2 @ Benchmark Reviews
- Sapphire Toxic Edition R9 270X Video Card Review @HiTech Legion
- MSI Radeon R9 270X Gaming Video Card Review @ Ninjalane
- Sapphire Toxic R9 270X @ LanOC Review
- AMD Radeon 7000 and Radeon R200 Series Mixed CrossFire Testing @ Legit Reviews
- AMD Radeon R9 270X Graphics Card Review @ Techgage
- MSI R9 270X HAWK 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS Radeon R9 270X IceQ X2 Turbo Boost @ Benchmark Reviews
- Asus R9 270X DirectCU II Top @ LanOC Reviews
- Diamond Multimedia Radeon 7870 7870PE52GV Review @ HCW
- AMD Radeon R9 270X On Linux @ Phoronix
- ASUS GTX760 DirectCU Mini OC @ Hardawre.info
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 OC / GTX 780 OC @ Hardware.info
- MSI N660 Gaming Review: affordable and silent GeForce GTX 660 @ Hardawre.info
- Asus GTX 670 Direct CU Mini @ LanOC Reviews
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 On Linux @ Phoronix
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 9, 2013 - 09:32 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: R9 280X DirectCU II, R9 270X DirectCU II, R7 260X DirectCU II, R7 250, R7 240, Matrix R9 280X, asus
Editor's Note: Be sure to check out our full review of the new AMD Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X that includes the ASUS overclocked 280X!
Fremont, CA (October 8, 2013) - ASUS today announces the launch of its R9 200 and R7 200 Series graphics cards, powered by the latest AMD Radeon R9 and R7 series graphics-processing units (GPUs). As dedicated gamers have come to expect from Republic of Gamers (ROG), the new Matrix R9 280X graphics card feature exclusive technologies, overclocked core speeds and performance enhancing options.
The new R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X DirectCU II models are overclocked to perform faster than reference designs while also featuring DIGI+ voltage-regulator modules (VRMs) for a smooth and stable power supply and GPU Tweak software for tuning the graphics card. The new R7 250 and R7 240 cards benefit from many exclusive ASUS technologies and tools including Super Alloy Power components for superior stability, dust-proof fans for improved card lifespan and GPU Tweak.
Matrix — Push the limits
The Matrix R9 280X graphics cards benefit from a copper-based thermal design that conducts heat away from the GPU with greater efficiency. Compared to reference Radeon R9 280X designs, ROG Matrix R9 280X cards operate up to 20% cooler and three times (3X) quieter. Coupled with dual 100mm cooling fans, gamers can enjoy ultra-cool and stable game play with minimal noise. The Matrix R9 280X Platinum Edition’s core runs at a blistering 1100MHz — 100MHz higher than reference.
The Matrix R9 280X graphics card allows for overclocking on a purely hardware level with VGA Hotwire connections and TweakIt for voltage control, Turbo Fan button to crank up the fan to 100% and a Safe Mode button to instantly default the GPU back to factory BIOs. It also includes DIGI+ voltage-regulator modules (VRMs) for smooth and stable power, and GPU Tweak tuning software that allows users to squeeze the last drop of performance out of their graphics card.
DirectCU II — Faster, quieter and cooler, even in the heat of battle
ASUS DirectCU II cooling technology places highly conductive copper cooling pipes in direct contact with a card’s GPU so heat dissipates quickly and with greater efficiency. Compared with reference Radeon R9 and R7 designs, ASUS R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X with DirectCU II allow the latest AMD Radeon GPUs to run up to 20% cooler, three times (3X) quieter– so gamers can enjoy ultra-stable play with minimal noise.
ASUS R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X are all equipped with exclusive ASUS DIGI+ VRM with Super Alloy Power technology. Paired with Super Alloy Power solid-state capacitors, concrete-core chokes and hardened MOSFETs, DIGI+ VRM delivers multi-phase power and digital voltage regulation for increased graphics card stability and cleaner power, even during the most intense GPU activities.
The fans of ASUS R9 280X, R9 270X, and R7 260X DirectCU II are all dust-proof, reducing debris accumulation and retaining peak performance over a longer lifespan. In addition, ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II features exclusive CoolTech fan. This innovative fan’s hybrid blade and bearing design, with inner radial blower and outer flower-shaped blades, delivers multi-directional airflow to accelerate heat removal and maintain cooler and quieter operation.
R7 250 and R7 240 — Super Alloy Power components and dust-proof fans for superior stability and longevity
The ASUS R7 250 and R7 240 graphics cards both include exclusive Super Alloy Power technology. Super Alloy Power’s solid-state capacitors and hardened MOSFETs all withstand much greater stress and heat due to the application of specially-formulated materials — increasing reliability and overall card lifespan. Compared with reference designs, ASUS R7 250 and R7 240’s Super Alloy Power components deliver 35%-cooler operation and a lifespan that’s up to two-and-a-half times (2.5X) longer.
Additionally, the fans on the ASUS R7 250 and R7 240 are extremely resilient and dust-proof. The Dust-Proof fans ensures that even the smallest airborne particles are barred, reducing debris accumulation and retaining peak performance over a longer lifespan — typically improving lifespan by up to 25% compared to reference fans.
GPU Tweak- Easy overclocking and online streaming
The included ASUS GPU Tweak utility enables R9 280X, R9 270X, R7 260X, R7 250, and R7 240 users intuitive control over GPU and video-memory clock speeds and voltages, cooling-fan speeds and power-consumption thresholds – so they can overclock easily with confidence. Users can create multiple performance profiles for on-demand switching of custom settings for different games.
GPU Tweak now includes Live Streaming, an online-streaming tool that lets users share on-screen action over the internet in real time – so others can watch live gaming sessions. It is even possible to add scrolling text, pictures and webcam images to the streaming window.
Subject: Motherboards | October 7, 2013 - 11:35 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: x79, Ivy Bridge-E, ASUS X79 Deluxe, asus
With the release of Ivy Bridge-E the X79 chipset and socket 2011 are making a comeback. The chipset is not new and the new motherboards coming out sport the same specifications but with added features that were not available when the chipset was first introduced. ASUS has added USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps controllers, improved SSD caching as well as updating both the onboard WiFi and audio; no Thunderbolt though. [H]ard|OCP took it through its benchmarks and overclocking tests and found that the added features do make this a great choice for a new Socket 2011 system but not really worth purchasing if you are already on an X79 motherboard.
"ASUS resurrects the tried and true X79 chipset putting it back in the spotlight with updated features just in time for Ivy Bridge-E CPUs. We take a look at ASUS’ X79 Deluxe and not only see if this motherboard is worth your hard earned cash, but answer the question: is there any compelling reason for existing X79 users to upgrade?"
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS X79 DELUXE Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Gigabyte G1.Sniper B5 @ Hardware.info
- MSI Z87-G43 @ eTeknix
- ASUS Maximus VI Extreme LGA 1150 @ [H]ard|OCP
- Gigabyte Z87X-D3G LGA1150 Motherboard Review @ OCIA
- ASUS Z87-Deluxe @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS Z87 Sabertooth @ eTeknix
- ECS GANK Z87H3-AX GOLDEN Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- Gigabyte Z87X-OC @ Bjorn3D
- ASRock Z87 Extreme4 @ X-bit Labs
- BIOS Option Of The Week - Dithering @ TechARP
- Gigabyte F2A85XN-WIFI @ Legion Hardware
- Gigabyte G1 Sniper A88X @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte G1 Sniper A88X Gaming Motherboard Review @ Ninjalane
Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2013 - 03:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: z87, Thunderbolt 2, sonnet, Intel, idf 2013, idf, gigabyte, asus, asrock, aja, 4k
Intel recently launched its next generation Thunderbolt 2 interface, and several devices using the new connection were shown off at the Intel Developer Forum. The major takeaway from Thunderbolt 2 is the increased bandwidth and benefits to video production houses working with large uncompressed media. Specifically, Thunderbolt 2 is a PCI-Express based external interface that sends both video output and data down a single cable. Upgrades over the original 10Gbps Thunderbolt standard include an updated to the DisplayPort 1.2 video standard and double the bandwidth to 20Gbps. Thanks to the increased bandwidth, Thunderbolt 2 enables simultaneous video output and video file transfer of 4K media. Video editors can watch and transfer 4K video to an DisplayPort-equipped monitor and external RAID array respectively.
Intel is kicking off the Thunderbolt 2 standard with the launch of its DSL5520 and DSL5320 Thunderbolt 2 controllers, which are already in the hands of device manufactures. In fact, there were quite a few bits of hardware being shown off at this years IDF that already support the new Thunderbolt 2 standard. Intel is expecting even more devices in 2014.
Professional video editing and workstation hardware with Thunderbolt 2
While consumer PC hardware will be supporting Thunderbolt 2, the new interface is most beneficial to professional users and IDF was the launch pad for several high end pieces of production gear. Sonnet launched the Echo Express III external PCI-E card chassis that allows users to hook up PCI-E cards to systems via Thunderbolt 2 (for example: video capture card or fast solid state storage). Also, AJA showed off a video/audio capture box called the IO 4K that supports daisy chaining other Thunderbolt 2 devices and acts as a video capture card capable of taking in 4K and UltraHD video sources as well as high end audio inputs. Finally, PROMISE Technology showed off its Pegasus2 RAID 5 enclosure and SANLink2 Thunderbolt 2 bridge device.
External boxes are not the only professional products with Thunderbolt 2 at IDF, however. The technology is also being integrated into workstations, including the Apple Mac Pro with six Thunderbolt 2 ports and HP’s new lineup of desktop workstations.
Z87 Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2
Thunderbolt 2 will also be used in consumer gear as well, including Z87 motherboards. Asus, AsRock, and Gigabyte all had motherboards on display that each featured two Thunderbolt 2 ports. The new interface will be available on the multiple boards from the manufacturers. German tech site ComputerBase.de posted several photos of Thunderbolt 2-equipped motherboards and gave a glimpse at the upcoming hardware.
The Asus Z87-Deluxe/Quad, an AsRock Z87 motherboard, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH spotted at IDF by ComputerBase.de.
Of note are the ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad, AsRock Extreme 11/ac, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH. All boards off LGA 1150 CPU sockets, four DDR3 DIMM slots, a slew of SATA 6Gbps ports, multiple PCI-E 3.0 x16 and x1 slots, and rich rear IO including two Thunderbolt 2 ports (naturally).
The AsRock Z87 Extreme 11/ac via ComputerBase.de.
The following chart breaks down the specifications. Unfortunately pricing and availability have not been announced for these boards, but expect to pay a premium for the high end gaming hardware and new Thunderbolt 2 controller. (The Asrock Extreme 11/ac in particular takes the word “high end” to the, well, extreme.)
|ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad||AsRock Extreme 11/ac||Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH|
|PCI-E 3.0 x16||3||4||5|
|PCI-E 3.0 x1||4||3||2|
|Audio||6 x analog, 1 x optical||5 x analog, 1 x optical||5 x analog, 1 x optical|
|Video out||1 x HDMI||1 x HDMI, 1 x DP||1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI|
|USB 3.0||6 (+4 USB 2.0)||6 (+2 USB 2.0)||6|
It is promising to see so many devices this early into Thunderbolt 2's launch, and the various high end motherboard using both Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 gives consumers the best of both worlds and access to all manner of external peripherals. The bandwidth increase is certainly welcome, and I am interested to see what sorts of new devices it enables. For now, I think Thunderbolt 2 is going to be mainly a professional (or at least "pro-sumer") technology. With that siad, 4K capture and video output is already being worked on, and I am curious to see what other applications and technologies will really be able to push the new 20Gbps interface and what trickles down to the consumer space!
Are you excited about Thunderbolt 2? Let us know what you think of the IDF-launched products and the interface technology in general in the comments below!
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