Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2013 - 01:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, gtx 650 ti boost, DirectCU II, factory overclocked
The sub-$200 GPU market is getting crowded which is great for enthusiasts without pockets deep enough to drop $400+ on a GPU as they can upgrade a card now and consider getting a second card some time down the road. At $175 ($165 after MIR) the ASUS GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost DirectCU II OC 2GB is fully customized with a boost clock of 1085MHz though a stock 6GHz effective on the RAM. Thanks to the impressive design and cooling of the card [H]ard|OCP pushed those up to 1150MHz and 6.2GHz on the RAM which pushed its performance even further passed the XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition that it tested against.
"Today on the test bench for your reading pleasure, we have the ASUS GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost DirectCU II OC 2GB that comes in at the $175 mark. We will compare it to the XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition 2GB to determine which factory overclocked card can run circles around the other."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II @ Bjorn3D
- MSI GeForce GTX 770 Lightning Review @ Hardware Canucks
- EVGA GeForce GTX 760 SuperClocked w/ ACX Cooling Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Gigabyte GTX 770 WindForce OC 2GB Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
- EK Water Blocks TITAN Full Cover Block Kit Review @ Madshrimps
- Sapphire HD7730 2GB GDDR3 & 1GB GDDR5 @ Kitguru
- PowerColor HD 7870 Devil 2048 MB @ techPowerUp
- Powercolor Devil HD 7870 Review @ OCC
- PowerColor HD7870 DEVIL 2GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- PowerColor HD 7870 2GB DEVIL Video Card Review @ HiTech Legion
Subject: Motherboards, Processors | July 30, 2013 - 02:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: P9X79, Ivy Bridge-E, IVB-E, bios, ASUS ROG Rampage IV GENE X79, asus
ASUS has released BIOS updates for all of its LGA 2011 X79 motherboards that add support for Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge-E processors. The update enables enthusiasts to upgrade from their existing Sandy Bridge-E CPU to an Ivy Bridge-E model which adds marginal improvements in performance and power efficiency. Supported processors include the Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition, Core i7-4930K, and the Core i7-4820K. According to benchmarks by Tom's Hardware, the top-end Ivy Bridge-E i7-4960X exhibits up to 30% improvements in performance per watt along with being slightly faster in multi-threaded performance than SB-E. Of course, single threaded performance was shown to be similar to that of Sandy Bridge-E but slower than Haswell.
All of ASUS' X79 boards (including the ROG Rampage, TUF, and P9X79 series) will be getting a BIOS update which will be made available for download on the company's support website or via the individual motherboard product pages. The following chart indicates the motherboard and associated BIOS version number that adds support for IVB-E.
|Motherboard||BIOS Version Supporting IVB-E|
|ROG Rampage IV Extreme||4206|
|ROG Rampage IV Formula||4004|
|ROG Rampage IV Gene||4206|
|TUF Sabertooth X79||4104|
To grab the update, head over to the ASUS support site and type in your motherboard model name to get the appropriate BIOS file.
Will you be upgrading your LGA 2011 rig to Ivy Bridge-E?
Subject: Motherboards | July 30, 2013 - 12:33 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Maximus VI Formula, maximus vi, atx, ASUS ROG, asus
ASUS has officially launched the Maximus VI Formula motherboard which the company showed off earlier this year. This board has extensive IO and other enthusiast friendly features and is a complement to the Maximus VI Extreme that PC Perspective reviewed back in June.
The Maximus VI Formula uses the Intel Z87 chipset and supports Intel’s latest 4th Generation Core “Haswell” processors. The board is is clad in ASUS technology and a red and black Republic of Gamers color scheme. A 8+2-phase DIGI+ III VRM feeds the processor and memory on the board and is cooled by a massive CrossChill heatsink that can air cool the VRMs or integrate into your custom water loop. The LGA 1150 socket is paired with four DDR3 DIMM slots, and the board supports a maximum of 32GBs at 3100MHz. The DIGI+ III VRM uses NoFET MOSFETs, 60A BlackWing chokes, and 10K Japanese capacitors.
An integrated SupremeFX audio chipset, Mini-PCI-E Combo II card (802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and a NGFF slot for SSDs), Intel Gigabit NIC, UEFI BIOS, and ROG Armor with SECC back-plate are also featured on this board. The board also supports the company's OC Panel, which is a hardware box that sits outside the case and allows real time overclocking and monitoring.
The Maximus VI Formula further includes 10 SATA 3 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (x8+x8 or x8+x4+x4 when in SLI or 3-way CrossFire), and three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots. ASUS is bundling GameFirst II (QoS that prioritizes gaming traffic), Sonic Radar (visual cues point out direction noise is coming from in games), and ROG RAMDisk software with the motherboard.
Rear IO on the Maximus VI Formula is extensive and surpasses even the Maximus VI Extreme. Port options include:
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 6 x USB 3.0
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack (Intel NIC)
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x optical S/PDIF
- 6 x analog audio
The Maximus VI Formula is shaping up to be a beastly flagship board that enthusiasts should get a lot out of when it comes to features and overclocking ability.
ASUS has not provided official pricing or release dates, but postings around the Internet suggests that it will be available sometime within the first half (first or second week) of August for around $310. An ASUS representative on the company's ROG channel stated that "currently the projected price is 300 to 310." You can find the product page with more photos and specifications on the ASUS website.
Subject: Mobile | July 29, 2013 - 01:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: phablet, asus, Fonepad
Running Android 4.1, aka Jelly Bean, the ASUS Phonepad has a 7" 1280 x 800 display and an Atom Z2420 or Z2460 processor paired with a PowerVR STX 540 for the GPU. While built in 3MP camera certainly makes this more like a phone Hardware Secrets found it uncomfortable to use as such but for short calls and random browsing they liked the performance and were impressed that for their usage it would only need to be charged every other day. Due to the size and the lack of support for 4G connections Hardware Secrets recommends that this device be treated as a tablet which happens to be able to make phone calls as opposed to being a phone replacement.
"Is the ASUS Fonepad a 7" tablet with cell phone functions or a cell phone with a 7" screen? Let's try to answer this question in this review."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- HTC One Mini @ The Inquirer
- Sony Xperia Tablet Z @ Hardware.info
- LG Optimus G Pro @ Hardware.info
- HTC One Mini hands-on @ The Inquirer
- iconBIT NETTAB Space Quad HD NT-0901S Tablet Review @ Madshrimps
- Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra @ Hardware.info
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini @ Hardware.info
- DefenderPad Review: Protecting Your Junk From Laptop Radiation & Heat @ Legit Reviews
- PQI Air Card microSDHC Wi-Fi Adapter Review @ HiTech Legion
- Kingston MobileLite Wireless Reader Charger @ eTeknix
- RaidSonic ICY BOX IB-PBa7800 7800mAh Power Bank @ NikKTech
- Neptor 10000mAh Battery Pack Review @ HiTech Legion
- Cat B15 @ The Inquirer
- Survivor+Catalyst waterproof case for iPhone 5 @ Funky Kit
- Kingston MobileLite Wireless @ Funky Kit
- Acer Aspire P3-171-6820 Review @ TechReviewSource
- MSI GE40 Review: a Slim Gaming Notebook @ AnandTech
- Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S @ Legit Reviews
- Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple Macbook Air 2013 11in @ The Inquirer
- ASUS G750JX @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: Motherboards | July 28, 2013 - 04:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: hUMA, Kaveri, hsa, fm2, asus, APU, A88X, A55, PCI-E 3.0, mATX
ASUS recently announced two new socket FM2+ motherboards that are compatible with AMD’s upcoming “Kaveri” Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). The new boards are the A88XMA and A55BM-A/USB3 and use the A88X and A55 AMD chipsets respectively. Pricing and availability have not yet been released, but the new boards confirm that users will need new motherboards in order to take advantage of AMD’s next generation APUs (though the new FM2+ boards are backwards compatible with the existing APUs, it will not work the other way around). Both motherboards should be available around the time of the Kaveri processor launch (2H 2013).
The AMD A88XMA FM2+ Motherboard.
Both the ASUS A88XMA and A55BM-A/USB3 motherboards come in the mATX form factor. The boards both have FM2+ processor sockets and expansion slots including a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, one PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, and one legacy PCI slot. The support for PCI-E 3.0 is new for AMD motherboards, and the extra bandwidth may prove useful for as graphics cards get faster and AMD works on its hUMA and HSA architectures to create a layer of virtual memory that can be simultaneously addressed by CPUs and GPUs. There will still be latency to deal with over the PCI-E bus, but more data can be moved back and forth in the same amount of time.
The two ASUS FM2+ motherboards also share the same rear IO options, which include:
- 2 x PS/2
3 x Video outputs:
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x DVI
- 1 x VGA
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 3 x Analog audio jacks
The RJ45 jacks are backed by a Realtek 8111G Gigabit Ethernet controller and the audio jacks are handled by a Realtek ALC887-VD chipset. Finally, they also have UEFI BIOSes in common, but from there the two boards diverge in hardware capabilities.
The ASUS A88XMA is the higher-end of the two boards, and features a FM2+ socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots, and six SATA 3 6Gbps ports. It utilizes the AMD A88X chipset which is aimed at enthusiast platforms.
ASUS' A55BM-A/USB3 budget motherboard.
On the other hand, the A55BM-A/USB3 motherboard uses the cheaper A55 chipset. That motherboard features an FM2+ socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, and six right angle SATA 2 3Gpbs ports. The A55Bm-A/USB3 should be significantly cheaper as a result of the A55 chipset and resulting hardware reductions. In most other respects, ASUS has managed to make the two baords remarkably similar, including aesthetics and basic board layout.
According to Bit-Tech, the two boards are are part of a larger family of boards with the new FM2+ sockets. As such, we should see additional ASUS boards that fill in the gaps between the two models closer to AMD's Kaveri launch. As noted above, ASUS has not provided official pricing or release date information yet.
Subject: Storage | July 28, 2013 - 08:13 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ssd, raidr express, raidr, pci-e ssd, ASUS ROG, asus
ASUS has officially launched its PCI-E based ROG RAIDR Express SSD which was first shown off at CES 2013. The company posted details and high resolution photos on its Republic of Gamers blog on Friday.
The new PCI-E-based solid state drive measures 157 x 120 x 20mm and contains 240GB of NAND flash encased in a sleek metal Replublic Of Gamers themed exterior. Specifically, the RAIDR Express uses 19nm Toshiba synchronous MLC NAND flash and two LSI SandForce 2281 SSD controllers. As such, the drive is actually two SSDs that are placed in a RAID 0 configuration for the best performance. ASUS rates the drive at 830 MB/s sequential reads and 810 MB/s sequential writes. The PCI-E SSD is further capable of up to 100,000 4K random IOPS.
ASUS has also included what it is calling a "DuoMode" BIOS switch that allows the drive to be used with either legacy or modern UEFI BIOSes. When the switch is in the EUFI position, PCs with the modern UEFI-equipped motherboards can boot up faster.
Beyond the RAIDR Express SSD itself, ASUS includes the following bundled software packages:
- RAMDisk software
- HybriDisk caching software
- SSD TweakIT utility
ASUS is including RAMDisk software that is able to use as much as 80% of system RAM as a virtual drive that can be used to reduce wear on the SSD by using the RAM drive instead of the SSD for writing temporary files and the like. The above mentioned HybriDisk software allows the RAIDR Express SSD to be used as a cache drive for mechanical hard drives up to 4TB in capacity. Users can use the TweakIT utility to manage and optimize the SSD, and the CrystalDiskMark benchmark is being included to allow gamers to run benchmarks on the RAIDR Express to get an idea of its performance.
Oddly enough, ASUS has yet to release specific pricing or availability. More information along with the full press release can be found on the Republic of Gamers blog, however.
With that said, some sites are reporting that the RAIDR Express will be sold for around 440 Euros, which works out to about $600 USD or $2.5 per Gigabyte. Update: Commentor Roberto has pointed out that the RAIDR Express 240GB is available over in Japan for around 39,980 Yen, or ~$409 USD which is a much more reasonable price. US availability and pricing are still just estimates at this point, however. A bit on the expensive side (if the price is true) for sure, but it is nice to see another player in the PCI-E SSD space and it looks to be a speedy drive aimed at ROG fans and enthusiasts.
Also read: Details on a 120GB ASUS ROG RAIDR Express SSD @ PC Perspective.
Subject: Mobile | July 26, 2013 - 12:29 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Snapdragon S4 Pro, qualcomm, nexus 7, google, asus, android 4.3
Google recently launched an updated version of its Android-powered Nexus 7 tablet. The existing Nexus 7 will be discontinued and replaced by three new Nexus 7 SKUs. The updated tablets are slightly thinner and lighter, come with improved hardware specifications, and will come with Google’s latest Android 4.3 “Jelly Bean” operating system.
The updated Nexus 7 features a 7” touchscreen display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 which works out to 323 pixels per inch (PPI) and front-facing HD webcam on the front of the device. The back of the tablet hosts a 5MP camera and a smooth soft touch cover. A micro USB port is located on the bottom edge. Google has added stereo speakers located on the top and bottom of the tablet.
Internal specifications include a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, and either 16GB or 32GB of storage depending on the specific SKU. There is no SD card slot on the Nexus 7, unfortunately. Additionally, the Nexus 7 will support 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, Bluetooth 4.0, and Qi wireless charging. Google will have both Wi-Fi only and LTE models, with the latter coming with 32GB of internal storage and a 4G LTE cellular radio compatible with all the major US carriers.
The chart below compares the specifications of the original Nexus 7 to the updated Nexus 7 tablet.
|New Nexus 7||Original Nexus 7|
|Display||1920 x 1200||1280 x 800|
|Weight||11.2 oz||12 oz|
|Processor||Quad core Snapdragon S4 Pro @ 1.5GHz||NVIDIA Tegra 3 (4+1)|
|Internal Storage Options||16GB or 32GB||16GB or 32GB|
|Wireless Radio Options||Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz), BT, and 4G LTE||Wi-Fi (2.4GHz), BT, and 3G/HSPA+21|
|OS||Android 4.3||Android 4.1|
|Starting MSRP||$229 (16GB)||$249 (16GB)|
Google has continued its partnership with Asus and worked with the hardware company to develop the updated Nexus 7 tablets.
The Nexus 7 will be available in the US starting on July 30. It will be rolled out to other countries over the next few weeks including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Germany, UK, South Korea, and Spain among others.
The 16GB Wi-Fi only model has an MSRP of $229 while the 32GB Wi-Fi only model has an MSRP of $269. Finally, the Nexus 7 with 32GB of storage and 4G LTE modem will cost $349.
In all, I think Google has another winner on its hands with the updated Nexus 7.
Podcast #261 - ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review, Samsung 840 Evo details, Kepler meets Tegra, and more!
Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2013 - 11:36 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, tegra 5, Samsung, pq321q, podcast, logan, kepler, asus, 840 evo, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #261 - 07/25/2013
Join us this week as we discuss our ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review, Samsung 840 Evo details, Kepler meets Tegra, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:12:20
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
0:25:30 More Samsung 840 EVO news
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
Specifications and Overview
Talk to most PC enthusiasts today, be they gamers or developers, and ask them what technology they are most interested in for the next year or so and you will most likely hear about 4K somewhere in the discussion. While the world of consumer electronics and HDTV has been stuck in the rut of 1080p for quite some time now, computers, smartphones and tablets are racing in the direction of higher resolutions and higher pixel densities. 4K is a developing standard that pushes screen resolutions to 4K x 2K pixels and if you remove the competing options discussion (3840x2160 versus 4096x2160 are the most prominent) this move is all good news for the industry.
I first dove into the area of 4K displays when I purchased the SEIKI SE50UY04 50-in 4K TV in April for $1300 when it popped up online. The TV showed up days later and we did an unboxing and preview of the experience and I was blown away by the quality difference by moving to a 3840x2160 screen, even with other caveats to be had. It was a 30 Hz panel, half a typical LCD computer display today, it had limited functionality and it honestly wasn't the best quality TV I had ever used. But it was 4K, it was inexpensive and it was available.
It was hard to beat at the time but the biggest drawback was the lack of 60 Hz support, the ability for the screen to truly push 60 frames per second to the panel. This caused some less than desirable results with Windows usage and even in gaming where visual tearing was more prominent when Vsync was disabled. But a strength of this design was that it only required a single HDMI connection and would work with basically any current graphics systems. I did some Frame Rating game performance testing at 4K and found that GPU horsepower was definitely a limiting factor.
Today I follow up our initial unboxing and preview of the ASUS PQ321Q 4K monitor with a more thorough review and summary of our usage results. There is quite a bit that differs between our experience with the SEIKI and the ASUS panels and it is more than just the screen sizes.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | July 18, 2013 - 05:16 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pq321q, PQ321, nvidia, drivers, asus, 4k
It would appear that NVIDIA was paying attention to our recent live stream where we unboxed and setup our new ASUS PQ321Q 4K 3840x2160 monitor. During our setup on the AMD and NVIDIA based test beds I noticed (and the viewers saw) some less than desirable results during initial configuration. The driver support was pretty clunky, we had issues with reliability of booting and switching between SST and MST (single and multi stream transport) modes caused the card some issue as well.
Today NVIDIA released a new R326 driver, 326.19 beta, that improves performance in a couple of games but more importantly, adds support for "tiled 4K displays." If you don't know what that means, you aren't alone. A tiled display is one that is powered by multiple heads and essentially acts as multiple screens in a single housing. The ASUS PQ321Q monitor that we have in house, and the Sharp PN-K321, are tiled displays that use DisplayPort 1.2 MST technology to run at 3840x2160 @ 60 Hz.
It is great to see NVIDIA reacting quickly to new technologies and to our issues from just under a week gone by. If you have either of these displays, be sure to give the new driver a shot and let me know your results!
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