Subject: Graphics Cards | April 3, 2013 - 10:14 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, mini-itx, gtx 670, GK104, directcu mini, asus
ASUS has finalized the design for its Kepler-based DirectCU Mini graphics card. The new card combines NVIDIA's GTX 670 GPU and reference PCB with ASUS' own power management technology and a new, much smaller, air cooler. The new ASUS cooler has allowed the company to offer a card that is a mere 17cm long. Compared to traditional GTX 670 graphics cards with coolers at approximately 24cm, the DirectCU Mini is noticeably smaller.
The DirectCU Mini features a GTX 670 GPU clocked at 928MHz base and 1,006MHz boost. It also has 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit bus. The card requires a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector. Video outputs include two DVI, one DisplayPort, and a single HDMI port. The ASUS cooler includes a copper vapor chamber and a single CoolTech fan. According to ASUS, the DirectCU Mini is up to 20% cooler and slightly quieter than previous GTX 670 cards despite the smaller form factor.
This new card will be a great addition to Mini-ITX-based systems where saving space anyway possible is key. It is nice to know that gamers will soon have the option of powering a small form factor LAN box with a GPU as fast as the GTX 670. Even better, water cooling enthusiasts will be happy to know that the card still uses a reference PCB, meaning it is compatible with existing water blocks made for the current crop of GTX 670 cards.
Pricing and availability have not been announced, but the small form factor-friendly GPU is now official and should be coming sometime soon.
Subject: Motherboards | April 2, 2013 - 11:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asus, p9x79-e, workstation, Sandy Bridge E, quad sli, quad crossfire, lga 2011
Earlier this year at CES, ASUS showed off a high-end workstation board called the P9X79-E WS. The board is meant for Sandy Bridge-E processors, but will likely be compatible with Ivy Bridge-E as well. Unlike Wolverine and Zeus, the P9X79-E WS is a motherboard that will actually see the light of day and has been officially launched. It will be available sometime in May at an as-yet-unannounced price.
The P9X79-E hosts a single LGA 2011 processor, up to 64GB of 2400MHz DDR3, the Intel X79 PCH, and support for 4-Way SLI or CrossFire on four of its seven total PCI-E 3.0 slots. The workstation board uses a 10-layer PCB, ASUS DIGI+ with 10+2 power phases, DR Power PSU monitoring, ASUS SSD Caching II, solid capacitors, and fanless heatsinks connected via copper heatpipes.
Storage options include six SATA 6Gbps ports, four SATA II 3Gbps ports, and two eSATA ports coming from the front panel header. The rear IO has changed a bit since the board seen at CES, however. The now-official ASUS P9X79-E WS includes the following rear IO options:
- 1 x PS/2 combo port
- 10 x USB 2.0 ports (one can be used for BIOS flashing)
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 2 x eSATA ports
- 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports backed by Intel i210 GbE controller
- 6 x Analog audio ports
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF port
The board can accommodate up to four dual slot graphics cards or seven single slot expansion cards (like PCI-E SSDs and RAID controllers). As a workstation board, it is likely to be pricey, but for those that need 4-way SLI and LGA 2011 (possibly for Ivy Bridge-E though its hard to say for sure if that will work yet) it is shaping up to be a good option. As mentioned above, the P9X79-E WS will reportedly be available for purchase in about a month. Sometime in early May or late April, according to Slash Gear.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of Oyen Digital
Oyen Digital, a popular manufacturer of portable storage enclosures and devices, provided us with its MiniPro™ eSATA / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive enclosure for testing USB 3.0 enhanced mode on the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe motherboard. This enclosure offers support for USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA ports in conjunction with a 2.5" hard drive. We put this enclosure on the test bench with the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe board to test the performance limits of the device. The MiniPro™ enclosure can be found at your favorite e-tailer for $39.95.
The MiniPro™ SATA / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive enclosure is a simple aluminum enclosure supporting any 2.5" form factor hard drive up to SATA III speeds. The enclosure itself supports USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA connections. Because of its use of the ASMedia 1053e chipset for USB 3.0 support, the enclosure supports both USB 3.0 normal mode transfer speeds and UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) mode transfer speeds. UASP mode is a method of bulk transfer for USB 3.0 connections that increases transfer speeds through the use of parallel simultaneous packet transfers. Per our sources at ASUS, UASP can be explained as follows:
The adoption of the SCSI Protocol in USB 3.0 provides its users with the advantage of having better data throughput than traditional BOT (Bulk-Only Transfer) protocol, all thanks to its streaming architecture as well as the improved queuing (NCQ support) and task management, which eliminated much of the round trip time between USB commands, so more commands can be sent simultaneously. Moreover, thanks to the multi-tasking aware architecture, the performance is further enhanced when multiple transfers occur.
The downside of UASP is that the receiving device (Flash drive/external hard drive etc) must also be UASP enabled for the protocol to work. This requires checking your peripherals before purchase. However since UASP is an industry standard, the device support for ASUS UASP implementation is not restricted to a particular controller manufacturer or device type, so the overall number of peripherals available should undoubtedly grow.
Technical Specifications (taken from the Oyen Digital website)
eSATA 6G (Up to 6.0 Gbps)
USB 3.0: (Up to 5.0 Gbps)
|SATA III (up to 15mm SATA 2.5" HDD/SSD)|
|Windows XP/Vista/7/8 & above; MAC OS 10.2 & above; Linux 2.4.22 & above|
Subject: Mobile | March 19, 2013 - 03:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, VivoBook S500, ultrabook, win8
The ASUS VivoBook is under $1000, lightweight with a touchscreen for Win8 and it does have an SSD, a small 24GB cache SSD but enough to trim down on boot times and resume from sleep all of which come close to the original specs for an Ultrabook. Legit Reviews tried out the 1366x768 Core i5-3317 powered Ultrabook, configured with 4GB RAM and a SanDisk cache drive. It lasted a reasonable 2 hours and 21 minutes in Futuremark Powermark, simulating heavy usage but when it came to the storage subsystem it really lagged behind the competition. Overall ASUS did make compromises to keept the price low, but if you are looking for an ultramobile touch device and don't need fast storage it is a decent choice.
"Are you looking for an affordable Intel Ultrabook that features Windows 8 with Touch? The ASUS VivoBook S500 just launched this week and is an entry level 15.4" Intel Ultrabook that is loaded with features and costs under $700 shipped. Read on to see how the ASUS VivoBook S500 Ultrabook performs with an Intel Core i5-3317U processor, 6GB DDR3 memory, 500GB 5400RPM hard drive and 24GB SSD for caching purposes."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Acer Aspire S7 13″ (S7-391) Ultrabook @ XSReviews
- Dell Inspiron 17-3721 Review @ TechReviewSource
- HP ENVY 4 TouchSmart (ENVY 4-1102xx) Ultrabook Review @ Custom PC Review
- Microsoft Surface RT review: the first Microsoft tablet @ Hardware.info
- Acer Iconia W510 Hybrid Tablet @ TechSpot
- Nextbook Premium7SE Tablet Review @ TechwareLabs
- DeepCool N9 Aluminum Notebook Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- Logitech T651 Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac Review @ Legit Reviews
- Antec PowerUp 6000 and Go Charger Mobile Accessory Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Benchmarking Ubuntu Linux On The Google Nexus 7 @ Phoronix
- Sony Xperia Z @ The Inquirer
- Sony Xperia Z review: Sony's flagship Full HD phone @ Hardware.info
- Mid-range smartphone round-up @ Hardware.info
- HTC One review: there can be only One @ Hardware.info
- Cygnett Aviator iPhone 4/4S Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Poetic Palette Nexus 4 @ LanOC Reviews
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 18, 2013 - 03:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 2560x1600, amd, hd7970 direct cu 2, asus, dell, 3007WFP
[H]ard|OCP has wanted to publish their review of the ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II for a while but ran into a compatibility issue during their testing and ended up being a perfect example of what sometimes happens to review sites and enthusiasts on the bleeding edge. [H] uses a Dell 3007WFP with a resolution of 2560x1600 which necessitates the use of a dual link DVI connection, which cause the issue you can see below. No other setup seemed to reproduce this problem, even the same monitor on a single link DVI at 1920x1080 or at the higher resolution on Display Port would not display the issue. So what began as a review of an HD 7970 with some nice extra features from ASUS became a long session of troubleshooting. Take a read through the review as these cards should be back in stock over the next few months, very likely with a solution to this problem already incorporated.
"Today we have the ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II strapped to our test bench for your reading pleasure. We will compare it to the AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 to determine whether the custom VRMs and DirectCU II cooling solution are the droids you are looking for in your next graphics card purchase."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- PowerColor PCS+ HD7870 GHz Edition 2GB GDDR5 @ LanOC Reviews
- HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB @ Tweaktown
- ASUS Radeon HD 7850 DirectCU On Ubuntu @ Phoronix
- AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition vs. Nvidia GeForce GTX 660: frametimes @ Hardware.info
- Powercolor HD 7870 Myst Edition @ Bjorn3D
- AMD vs Nvidia: Radeon 7870 vs GeForce 660 Using Frame Times @ HCW
- Prolimatech MK-26 GPU Cooler Review @ Pro-Clockers
- GELID Icy Vision Rev. 2 VGA Cooler Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Matrox DS1 review: a practical Thunderbolt dock @ Hardware.info
- Nvidia GeForce GTX TITAN 6 GB @ X-bit Labs
- Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan @ Techspot
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX Titan @ Legion Hardware
- EVGA GeForce GTX 670 FTW 2GB @ Hardware.info
- NVIDIA GTX TITAN vs. SLI & Crossfire @ Hardware Canucks
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