AM3+ Last Gasp?
Over the past several years I have reviewed quite a few Asus products. The ones that typically grab my attention are the ROG based units. These are usually the most interesting, over the top, and expensive products in their respective fields. Ryan has reviewed the ROG graphics cards, and they have rarely disappointed. I have typically taken a look at the Crosshair series of boards that support AMD CPUs.
Crosshair usually entails the “best of the best” when it comes to features and power delivery. My first brush with these boards was the Crosshair IV. That particular model was only recently taken out of my primary work machine. It proved itself to be an able performer and lasted for years (even overclocked). The Crosshair IV Extreme featured the Lucid Hydra chip to allow mutli-GPU performance without going to pure SLI or Crossfire. The Crosshair V got rid of Lucid and added official SLI support and it incorporated the Supreme FX II X-Fi audio. All of these boards have some things in common. They are fast, they overclock well, and they are among the most expensive motherboards ever for the AMD platform.
So what is there left to add? The Crosshair V is a very able platform for Bulldozer and Piledriver based parts. AMD is not updating the AM3+ chipsets, so we are left with the same 990FX northbridge and the SB950 southie (both of which are essentially the same as the 890FX/SB850). It should be a simple refresh, right? We had Piledriver released a few months ago and there should be some power and BIOS tweaks that can be implemented and then have a rebranded board. Sounds logical, right? Well, thankfully for us, Asus did not follow that path.
The Asus Crosshair V Formula Z is a fairly radical redesign of the previous generation of products. The amount of extra features, design changes, and power characteristics make it a far different creature than the original Crosshair V. While both share many of the same style features, under the skin this is a very different motherboard. I am rather curious why Asus did not brand this as the “Crosshair VI”. Let’s explore, shall we?
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | March 1, 2013 - 04:35 PM | Matt Raymond
Tagged: snapdragon 600, qualcomm, padfone infinity, padfone, MWC 13, MWC, asus
Mobile World Congress 2013 pulled up stakes yesterday in Barcelona, but the buzz will echo worldwide for quite a while. While fewer companies are unveiling flagship devices at the big industry shows, one new entrant into the mobile sphere definitely caught our eye: the ASUS PadFone Infinity.
Image via ASUS.com
Not to be confused with ASUS's 7" phablet Fonepad, the PadFone Infinity is the company's third version of its two-in-one phone/tablet, and it has taken major strides beyond its predecessors, the PadFone and the PadFone 2.
On its own, the handset is a 5" LTE phone, powered by Qualcomm's 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 Quad-core CPU, with 2 GB of RAM and the integrated Andreno 320 GPU that can crank out 1080p video sweetness (improving on the PadFone 2's 720p), and with 64 GB of onboard storage. Also included is 50 GB of free ASUS Webstorage for two years.
The PadFone Infinity ships with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (although the demo video embedded below says 4.1) and is the first in its family to sport an anodized aluminum unibody with a brushed-metal back case.
Image via ASUS.com
But slide it into the PadFone Station, and suddenly you're holding a full-HD, 10.1" tablet. Basically, it's like getting two devices on a single carrier contract.
The devices' battery performance is fairly impressive, at least when taken in tandem. The phone lists 19 hours of 3G talk time, which can triple when connected to the Station. The phone's battery claims 6.5 hours of browsing and nine hours of video playback, to each of which you can add 7.5 hours when connected to the Station.
The phone's 5" display--up from 4.3" and 4.7" in the first two generations respectively--features 1920x1080 pixels (the same as the pad's 10.1" screen) with a resolution of 441 PPI. (Compare at 326 PPI on the iPhone 5's Retina Display.)
Image via ASUS.com
The dimensions of each device are relatively svelte. The phone is 8.9 mm thick, tapering sharply to 6.3 mm at the edges, and weighing in at 141 grams (roughly 5 ounces, for the metrically challenged). The pad is 10.6 mm thick and adds 530 grams (nearly 19 ounces) to the overall weight.
On the chassis you'll find a MyDP port, which supports Micro-USB 2.0 and 1080p video-out, 3.5 mm audio, and a Nano SIM slot. The front camera shoots 2 megapixels, while on the rear is an almost obscene 13MP, f/2.0 camera that features a burst mode of 8 frames per second. It shoots 1080p MPEG4 video at 30fps or 720p at 60fps.
ASUS says the PadFone Infinity will be available in April in Taiwan and in "selected other countries from early Q2 2013" at the hefty price of 999 euros (roughly US $1,300). Sadly, there is no word of a U.S. release.
Check out ASUS's demo video:
Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2013 - 01:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel Network Card (82574L) Packet of Death @ ISC
- Seagate squeezes out 4TB desktop monster @ The Register
- Raspberry Pi is right at home inside of a Game Boy @ Hack a Day
- Make Dry Ice at Home with a Fire Extinguisher and a Pillowcase @ MAKE:Blog
- Android dropped to 70 percent smartphone share in Q4 2012 @ The Inquirer
- BlackBerry Q10: This quirky QWERTY will keep loyalists perky @ The Register
- Intel’s Anna Cheng showcases touch screen gaming @ Kitguru
Subject: Motherboards | February 5, 2013 - 06:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ECS NM70-I2 (V1.0) Mini-ITX Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- GIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H LGA1155 Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Gigabyte Force M7 Thor @ LanOC Reviews
- ASRock Z77 OC Formula Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- ECS Z77H2-A2X (v1.0) Review: "Golden" LGA 1155 Mainboard from the "Black" Series @ X-bit Labs
- MSI Z77 MPOWER Review: OC Certified LGA 1155 Mainboard from the Big Bang Series @ X-bit Labs
- Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 @ eTeknix
- ASRock Z77 Extreme3 @ X-bit Labs
- MSI Z77 MPower Review: The XPower’s Little Brother @ AnandTech
- BIOS Option Of The Week - DRAM Act to PreChrg CMD @ TechARP
- ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 for AMD Socket FM2 APUs @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4 @ X-bit Labs
- BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A85W Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 28, 2013 - 03:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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!"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- ASUS ROG ARES II @ Guru of 3D
- ASUS Ares II @ Hardware.info
- ASUS ARES II Dual HD 7970
- ASUS ROG ARES II 6144 MB @ techPowerUp
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT @ Tweaktown
- Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital SE External Multi-Display Adapter Review @ OCC
- VGA GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 2GB @ techPowerUp
- GeForce GTX 650 Ti Graphics Cards Roundup @ X-bit Labs
Subject: Displays | January 25, 2013 - 03:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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?"
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Crossover 27Q 2560 x 1440 LED Pivot Monitor @ XSReviews
- Asus VG248QE 144hz Gaming Monitor @ Kitguru
- Acer T272HLbmidz and Dell S2340T review: the price of touch @ Hardware.info
- Mega monitor round-up: 22 23-inch & 24-inch monitors tested @ Hardware.info
Subject: Motherboards | January 24, 2013 - 04:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI BIG BANG Z77 MPOWER Socket 1155 Mainboard Review @ Madshrimps
- ASRock Z77 OC Formula Review: Living In The Fast Lane @ AnandTech
- Intel 847 with NM70 ECS NM70-I2 @ Guru of 3D
- Gigabyte Z77N-WiFi mITX Intel LGA 1155 @ techPowerUp
- BIOS Option Of The Week - SDRAM Row Active Time @ TechARP
- ECS A85F2-A Golden Review: All That Glitters @ AnandTech
- ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 @ Tweaktown
Subject: Motherboards | January 23, 2013 - 04:10 PM | Ryan Shrout
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!
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.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 22, 2013 - 03:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Nvidia Quadro K5000 Professional @ X-bit Labs
- Five-Way NVIDIA GeForce Comparison On Nouveau @ Phoronix
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison @ TechARP
- Sapphire TRIXX Video Card Tweak Utility Overview @ Tweaktown
- IS Radeon HD 7970 3GB IceQ X2 Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- VTX3D HD 7870 Black Edition 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS HD 7970 IceQ X² & HD 7950 IceQ X² Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Sapphire HD7870 W/ Boost @ Kitguru
- PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 3GB PCS Overclocked @ Tweaktown
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 19, 2013 - 01:26 AM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.