41 million motherboards shipped in 2012 were either ASUS or Gigabyte

Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2013 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: asus, gigabyte

Together the two companies accounted for just over half of the motherboards shipped in 2012, with ASRock and MSI following and leaving ECS trailing.  With Intel backing out of the motherboard business this year, the 5 million boards they shipped last year might help prop up ECS' numbers though they will be competing with Asustek, Gigabyte and ASRock who are also licensed to take up Intel's customers.  With 80 million boards shipped in total it seems disingenuous to refer to the PC market as dying, as this years numbers are very similar to 2011's total shipments.

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"Asustek Computer and Gigabyte Technology shipped 22 million and 19 million motherboards respectively for own-brand sale in the global DIY market in 2012, together occupying 51.3% of the total global shipments of 80 million units, according to Taiwan-based motherboard makers."

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Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

10-phase riser card powered mini-ITX Ivy Bridge from ASUS

Subject: Motherboards | February 5, 2013 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: asus, Intel Z77, P8Z77-I Deluxe, mini-itx, lucid

The most instantly noticeable thing about the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe has to be the riser card sporting an array of capacitors and providing 8+2 power phase VRMs.  What isn't as noticeable until you use the motherboard is the Intel SRT support, Lucid Virtu and the overclocking options available in the UEFI BIOS.  Being a Mini-ITX board, the singly PCI Express x16 slot and dual memory slots are to be expected but the spacing is such that you should have no problems with full sized DIMMs or oversized GPUs, depending on the cooler and case you choose.  The included dual Wi-Fi antennas are a nice bonus from ASUS as well.  Drop by The Tech Report to see this board in action

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"The P8Z77-I Deluxe packs a lot of goodness into a tiny package. We take a closer look at the board's features, performance, and overclocking potential."

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Motherboards

As powerful as it is rare, meet the ASUS ROG ARES II

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 28, 2013 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: ROG ARES II, asus, amd

The new ASUS ROG ARES II sports two HD7970 cores at 1100MHz, faster than reference, as well as a total of 6GB of VRAM also overclocked at a speed of 6.6GHz.  In previous dual GPU and single PCB solutions we often see the cores running slower than reference but in this case thanks to the custom self contained liquid cooler this card breaks that trend.  With four full-sized DisplayPort, one single-link DVI and one dual-link DVI port you can support up to six displays off of this one card.  [H]ard|OCP were blown away by the performance of the card and equally impressed with the cooler, especially when they added the extra fan and overclocked the card.  Unfortunately you won't be seeing a lot of them, there will be only 1,000 of these video cards sold, and only 100 of those in North America.

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"ASUS is launching its latest flagship ROG series video card, the ASUS ROG ARES II. This beast takes two Radeon HD 7970 GHz GPUs and provides CrossFire performance in a dual-slot configuration with unique custom closed-loop external cooling. This powerful limited edition video card is a born overclocker!"

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Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Could it be an actual thin bezeled LCD?!?

Subject: Displays | January 25, 2013 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: asus, VN247H, thin bezel, TN Dis

To start off with the bad news, it is a TN panel, but sacrifices are acceptable for a 9mm bezel!  The ASUS VN247H does indeed have a very thin bezel and a screen without dead space, this is truly like the monitors we were promised ages ago when multi-screen gaming first became possible.  The 24" 1920 x 1080 monitor will set you back about $190 each, which is really not a bad price for a niche product and makes buying several a little more affordable.  Kitguru had a chance to try out this monitor with its rear mounted controls, check it out.

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"Today we are looking at the latest VN247H from ASUS. This monitor will stand out in the crowd due to the super narrow bezel which measures less than 1 centimeter. The VN247H is VESA wall mount compatible and has a scratch proof rear panel for ultimate durability. Should this be next on your shortlist in 2013?"

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Displays

Source: Kitguru

Thunder! Thunder! ThunderFX! Meet the new ASUS Maximus V Formula

Subject: Motherboards | January 24, 2013 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: asus, maximus v formula, ThunderFX

While we have seen ASUS' Maximus V Formula before and it still sports three PCIe 3.0 16x ports, up to 32GB of DDR3, six SATA 6G ports, 8 USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth and mSATA with the mPCIe combo card.  The new part to this version of the motherboard is the ThunderFX external USB audio DAC, which uses the C-Media 6631 audio processor and [H]ard|OCP found it superior to the onboard SupremeFX solution in every way.  Read on to see why.

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"Not one to rest on their laurels, ASUS adds another Z77 Express chipset based board to its Republic of Gamers lineup. This time in Formula trim. The Maximus V Formula / ThunderFX gives us most of what the Extreme version gave us and a couple of things it didn’t. What’s so special about the Maximus V Formula ThunderFX? Let's find out."

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Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS wants to make sure you know they're here for you

Subject: Motherboards | January 23, 2013 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: asus, motherboards

ASUS wants to be sure everyone knows that it isn't going anywhere and that the motherboard business is doing just fine.  We are working very closely with the team at ASUS and can assure you they have little interesting in backing off the DIY train and are even investing more heavily in the enthusiast market.

We are still sorry to see Intel leave the business (at least after Haswell) but it is good to have company's like this coming out and assuring us of their support!

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Enthusiasts and PC builders trust ASUS as their go-to brand when it comes to building desktops. As the global leader in motherboard design across multiple product ranges, ASUS remains strongly committed to developing a wide range of new and innovative motherboards now and well into the future. For the consumer segment we have invested significant resources to grow and sustain the Build Your Own ecosystem, including the PCDIY initiative designed to educate and inspire new builders, our ongoing support for the PC gaming community, and our grassroots program for university students across North America providing support for learning through a number of vehicles. For the commercial segment we have been on the forefront with the highly acclaimed Corporate Stable Model (CSM) program in North America. ASUS motherboards have been recognized by eChannelNews with their Resellers Choice Award for Best Motherboard several years in the row. ASUS CSM motherboards covers a full range of chipsets and form factors, and come complete with a guaranteed long shelf life, advance cross shipping, and Intel vPro Technology. With the Haswell-based 4th generation Core platform we plan to deepen our commitment to bring excitement and new opportunities to the desktop platform.

ASUS will continue to expand our close partnership with Intel to fully support their growing CPU and chipset roadmap with a wide selection of motherboards that provide the highest quality and ownership value in the market. We have the utmost confidence in Intel’s continued commitment to desktop CPUs and chipsets, and eagerly look forward to leading the next generation of Build Your Own enthusiasts and system builders.

As promised, 8GB of GTX 670 SLI performance

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 22, 2013 - 03:47 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, asus, GTX 670 DirectCU II 4GB, sli

When they first tried ASUS' new GTX 670 Direct CU II with 4GB of memory on its own, [H]ard|OCP had difficulty recommending it over a 7970 but they planned to try two cards in SLI to see if that would improve the comparative performance.  The competitors are a pair of 2GB 670s, a pair of 3GB HD7970's, a pair of 2GB 680s and of course two 4GB 670s, all powering a system at 5760x1200.  Unfortunately the quote from the conclusions spells out the results "It's like putting beefy off-road tires on a Yugo", so while it will give you the ability to use some higher graphics settings, overall you are still better of with HD7970s or GTX680s.

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"We review two ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II 4GB video cards in SLI under NV Surround resolutions. We'll answer the question as to the value and validity of 4GB of RAM on a GeForce GTX 670 GPU video card in SLI. Far Cry 3, Hitman Absolution, and all our other games will be taken to the extreme to get to the bottom of 4GB GTX 670 cards."

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Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS Shows Off ROG ARES II GPU With Sealed Loop Water Cooler

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 19, 2013 - 01:26 AM |
Tagged: water cooler, sealed loop, ROG ARES II, gpu cooler, asus, amd, 7970 ghz edition

ASUS has taken the wraps off of a new dual GPU graphics card that comes equipped with a sealed loop liquid cooler to keep the two overclocked 7970 GHz Edition GPUs frosty. The new ROG ARES II is a limited edition card that pairs the ARES II GPU with an Asetek-based cooler and rounds out the top-end of the company’s Republic of Gamers lineup.

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The card itself features two AMD Radeon 7970 GHz Edition GPUs clocked at 1050 MHz base and 1100 MHz boost, 6GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1650 MHz, and ASUS’ DIGI+ 20-phase VRM with “Super Alloy Power” hardware. The ROG ARES II has a 500W TDP and uses three 8-pin PCI-E power connectors. The card measures 11.8” x 5.5” x1.8,” not including the radiator.

The ROG ARES II includes one DVI-I, one DVI-D, and four DisplayPort video outputs. ASUS is also packing a DVI to HDMI adapter in the box.

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The sealed loop water cooler is where the card sets itself apart, however. Based on an Asetek design, the ARES II water cooler features a 120mm radiator, and two CPU-style water blocks over each 7970 GHz Edition GPU. The loop runs from the radiator and through both water blocks before returning to the radiator which is paired with two 120mm fans. Curiously, the water cooler did not result in a single-slot design. Rather, the ARES II card has a somewhat-bulky two slot profile. According to ASUS, the water cooled card will run up to 31 degrees Celsius cooler than the reference NVIDIA GTX 690 graphics card while being as much as 13% faster (though ASUS does not specifically name the games/benchmarks).

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ASUS has not released any pricing or availability information, but you can expect it to rival the price of PowerColor’s Devil 13 thanks to the sealed loop water cooler and ARES II hardware. Currently, ASUS is planning on producing a mere 1,000 liquid cooled ARES II cards, so be prepared to be fast on the mouse click upon release.

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I would have liked to see a water cooler that was a bit more customized to the card. In particular, I think ASUS should have used a single water block that covered both GPUS and the VRM area, which would have allowed ASUS to get rid of the fan on the card itself entirely. Nevertheless, the ARES II will be extremely fast, and hopefully run nice and cool even when overclocked. I’m interested in seeing a head-to-head between the ARES II and PowerColor Devil 13.

Read more about AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture at PC Perspective.

Source: Asus

ASUS' new gaming headset tries to impress with both features and asking price

Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2013 - 04:11 PM |
Tagged: audio, asus, Orion Pro, gaming headset

ASUS makes a lot of promises with their new Orion Pro gaming headset, not only do they claim to provide 7.1 surround sound but the suggested price is below $120.  The specifications look good, 50mm drivers and a 50Hz-50KHz response range but the surround sound is virtualized with the included Spitfire USB Audio Processor.  You can choose between three modes of sound but do not have the ability to really customize your experience which could be a problem if you are playing a game which only supports 5.1 surround.  Hardware Canucks put the headset on for a test drive and were suitably impressed by the performance, perhaps these might be a worthy addition for gamers who prefer headsets to speakers.

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"ASUS' new Orion Pro headset combines the versatility of a USB powered virtual 7.1 surround sound environment with the high quality aspect of an analog connection. All of this is offered in a unique package that doesn't require drivers to function properly but comes in at under $120."

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Audio Corner

ASUS MeMO Pad (ME172V) for Emerging Markets Starting at $149, VIA Powered

Subject: Mobile | January 13, 2013 - 09:00 PM |
Tagged: memopad, me172v, asus

Right after the completion of CES, ASUS is announcing another new device for emerging markets.  The MeMO Pad ME172V is powered by the VIA WM8950 (as rumored back in December), part of the WonderMedia Prizm line of SoCs, with a single core 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 and Mali-400 graphics processing capable of 1080p video playback and basic 3D.  ASUS is claiming that the MeMO Pad ME172V is meant for "novice to basic tablet users" rather than "Android enthusiasts, 3D gaming and early hardware adopters, who are better suited to the more powerful Transformer Pad Infinity or Nexus 7 series."

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This is a full Android experience that includes access to the Google Play store, ebooks, social networking and web browsing.  With a focus on pricing and performance per watt, ASUS still claims that the MeMO Pad ME172V will offer a "smooth and fluid user experience" though I question how much it can handle with a single Cortex-A9 core. 

The screen resolution is 1024x600 and the tablet will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with only moderate tweaks from the ASUS UI team.  It will be available in either 8GB or 16GB capacities but with a microSD card slot that can be expanded by 32GB. 

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What about availability?  ASUS had this to say:

ASUS MeMO Pad will be available starting this January in selected markets from authorized ASUS resellers.  We will carry this device in the US market starting in April with a US specific image (full support for our region including Hulu Plus, Netflix, HBO Go, etc, etc.)

So if you are looking for a $149 tablet, the MeMO Pad ME172V might be the best option when it is available in the US later this spring.  We are working with ASUS to get a sample to test out the quality of the build as well as the level of performance and usability you can expect for this low-cost tablet.