Subject: General Tech, Systems | October 2, 2012 - 04:44 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trinity, silent pc, passive cooling, asus, APU, amd
AMD officially launched its desktop Trinity APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) today, and along with the new processors are a number of new socket FM2 motherboards to support them. One of the cooler motherboard and Trinity APU pairings was shown off today in a completely silent PC by ASUS and AMD in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, Japan.
The silent system is nested inside a Streacom FC5 chassis that does double duty as a case and heatsink for the AMD APU. Inside the system is an unidentified power supply, two DDR3 DIMMS, Corsair Force SSD, ASUS F2A85-M PRO motherboard, and – of course – the AMD A10-5700K APU that we recently reviewed.
The APU is covered by an aluminum and copper block that is then connected to the metal case via four heatpipes. Then, the outside of the case has a finned design to provide more cooling surface area (but likely just to make it look cooler, heh).
This passively cooled system would make for a really nice home theater PC case, and the GPU prowess of the Trinity APU is well suited to such a task. You can find more photos of the fan-less Trinity system over at FanlessTech.
What do you think of Trinity, and will you be using it in your next build?
Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2012 - 02:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: purchase, merger, asus, asrock
The news from DigiTimes yesterday that Haswell will take even more features away from the motherboard and place them on the CPU signalled a problem for second and third tier manufacturers was worrying. With less and less features being available for motherboard manufacturers to use to distinguish their products the market becomes less profitable for those boards which can't afford the additional costs incurred by including Thunderbolt or other high end features. That could well spell the end of several current motherboard manufacturers.
If that wasn't enough to worry you about the possibility of having less choice in system parts in the future, how about the news coming out of SemiAccurate that ASUS is looking to purchase ASRock's motherboard business. If that was to occur ASUS would own a huge portion of the first tier of motherboards and swamp Gigabyte with the volume they could produce. At the same time they could leverage ASRock's lower cost motherboard business and compete with the second tier motherboard manufacturers. With the competition being so fierce and the added features being so limited, at least for Intel boards, the third tier would not have a snowballs chance in the market and would collapse except for a few custom boards for niche markets. Not the best news for enthusiasts or cost conscious consumers.
"Currently word has it that an offer has been made for Asrock, and Pegatron is essentially fine with the terms. This would take the #1 and #3 mobo makers and combine them, leaving the industry with one massive behemoth, one solid player, and a lot of minnows struggling to make waves. As of now, there is a first tier of Asus and Gigabyte, then Asrock, MSI, and ECS at less than half of that volume, plus a few niche players in the motherboard market."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Seagate's OCZ gobble was real, but went sour in CEO row @ The Register
- Adobe scrambles to revoke stolen cert @ The Register
- Touchscreen controller ICs in tight supply @ DigiTimes
- Making logic gates out of crabs @ Hack a Day
- Arctic Breeze USB Fan Review @ Legit Reviews
- Guru3D Rig of the Month for September 2012
- A Quick Review of Acronis True Image 2013 @ Techgage
- BE QUIET! COMPETITION @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2012 - 04:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: win8, resolution, asus, Zenbook Prime, win7, disappoint
The Tech Report were excited by the arrival of the new ASUS Zenbook Prime with its 1920x1080 13.3" IPS display but when they they used it under Win7 they ran into some problems. As the text at this resolution is absolutely tiny on a 13.3" screen it is zoomed to 125% which is about right for text on the desktop, the third party applications however did not necessarily look right and when they fired up IE9 it got much worse, as you can see below. As there is a new almost finished version of Windows 8 available, which touts its ability to handle high pixel per inch screens, they loaded that OS onto the Zenbook in the hopes of improving the look of the web. Read their disappointing results from using Win8 and IE10 on small screen with a big resolution.
"We've taken Windows 8 for a spin on Asus' new Zenbook Prime in order to get a feel for the new OS's PPI scaling capabilities. As we found, Windows 8's suitability for systems with high-PPI screens may have been exaggerated."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Western Digital adds 4TB offering to hard drive line @ The Inquirer
- Google spikes old MS file formats @ The Register
- Intel Haswell processor design may cause motherboard players to exit market @ DigiTimes
- New critical Java flaw claimed @ The Register
- Tri-mounted monitors using strut channeling (no welding) @ Hack a Day
- Laser power system keeps UAVs flying indefinitely @ Hack a Day
- Trinity interview with AMD VP Leslie Sobon @ Kitguru
- Samsung slaps swift patch over phone-wiping Galaxy S III vuln @ The Register
- Intel’s Clover Trail is a bloated nightmare @ SemiAccurate
- Win a MDSSD TweakTown Chris Ramseyer Signature Edition by SuperSSpeed 128GB SLC SSD @ SSD Review
Subject: Motherboards | September 21, 2012 - 05:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, p8z77-V deluxe
The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe has a 20-phase power design, more heatsinks than an assault mech and a long list of features including a pair of PCIe 16x slots for CrossFireX and SLI, LucidLogix Virtu MVP, Quick Sync video, Smart Response Technology, Smart Connect Technology and many other extras. You do pay a premium for such a long list as the board is $280 on NewEgg, those who want this much motherboard are going to have to spend a bit more than someone happy with a basic Z77 implementation. [H]ard|OCP put the board to the test most important to many enthusiasts, overclocking an i7 3770K to 4.84GHz with some careful adjustments to the voltages provided to the components. It pulled in a Gold Award but [H] recommends only the experienced pick up this board as there are available settings in the UEFI BIOS which could seriously damage your equipment if you aren't very familiar with the specifications of your CPU and memory.
"The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe comes from an outstanding pedigree as virtually every board in the ASUS P8xxx series has been excellent. Is this another tremendously worthy entry in the lineup or does this one shy away from its heritage? Read on to learn about our experiences with the P8Z77-V Deluxe."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASRock Z77 Pro4 (Z77) Motherboard @ eTeknix
- Asrock X79 Extreme11 @ Pro-Clockers
- First "Ultra Durable 5" Mainboards with Two Thunderbolt Ports: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH and GA-Z77X-UP5 TH @ X-bit Labs
- GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H Motherboard Review @ Techgage
- BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X Intel Z77 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- ASUS Maximus V Formula @ Kitguru
- ASRock Z77 OC Formula @ Tweaktown
- MSI Big Bang Z77 MPower Intel LGA 1155 @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi @ Legion Hardware
- MSI Big Bang XPower II (X79) Motherboard Review @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH Review: Thunderbolt Times Two @ AnandTech
- Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 Socket 2011 Motherboard @ Pro-Clockers
- The 4 Best X79 Motherboards - You will never see @ Ninjalane
- BIOS Option Of The Week - PEG Port VC1/Map @ TechARP
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 20, 2012 - 04:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: overclock, gtx 660, DirectCU II, asus
As promised [H]ard|OCP has spent some time overclocking the ASUS GTX 660 DirectCU II card and have come back with their results. The highest GPU clock they managed was a reported 1170MHz Boost clock in GPU Tweak but which was 1215MHz in actual in-game performance. While that was the high speed record it did not provide the best performance as the frequency often dipped much lower because of the heat produced, [H]'s sweet spot was actually a 1100MHz Boost clock, in-game a much more steady 1152MHz though it did still dip occasionally. They also upped the memory, but again because of the heat produced by the overclock they could not raise voltage without negative consequences. Check the whole review here.
"We put our new ASUS GeForce GTX 660 through the ringer of overclocking and make real world gaming comparisons. If you are thinking the new GTX 660 (GK106) GPU will be a good overclocker like its bigger brother GK104, you may be in for a surprise that puts the new GTX 660 in a new light."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP @ [H]ard|OCP
- GeForce 9800 GT vs GeForce 660 GTX @ Guru of 3D
- Zotac GTX680 AMP Edition @ Bjorn3D
- EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SuperClocked Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Zotac GeForce GTX 660 with GK106 GPU @ @ X-bit Labs
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 2GB Review @ Techgage
- Sparkle GTX650 OC Dragon Series @ Kitguru
- GeForce GTX 650 MSI Power edition @ Guru3D
- KFA GeForce GTX 650 EX OC 1 GB @ techPowerUp
- EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SC @ Guru of 3D
- MSI GeForce GTX 650 Power Edition OC 1 GB @ techPowerUp
- NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table @ Hardware Secrets
- NVIDIA FXAA Anti-Aliasing Performance @ Phoronix
- Seven Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 round-up: Super cards @ Hardware.info
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Arctic Accelero Twin Turbo 6990 VGA Cooler Review @ eTeknix
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 1GB Low Profile Review @ Neoseeker
- ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid 7970 @ Hardwareoverclock
- PowerColor Devil 13 HD 7990 Review @ OCC
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 Flex Edition Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- XFX Radeon HD 7770 Black Edition Overclocked 1GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- Sapphire HD7770 GHZ FleX Edition @ Kitguru
- Sapphire Radeon Flex HD 7770 GHz Edition Video Card @ Pro-Clockers
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Vapor-X Review @ OCC
- HD 7990 Review; PowerColor’s Devil 13 @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI HD7850 Power Edition Video Card @ Bjorn3D
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 19, 2012 - 07:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows rt, vivo tab rt, vivo tab, taichi, tablet, pricing, asus
Earlier this month we detailed two ASUS tablets that were on display at IFA 2012. The important specification that was unknown at the time was pricing, however. Specifically, pricing information has been leaked on not only the two ASUS Vivo tablets, but a third tablet that we reported on in June: the ASUS Taichi convertible tablet.
ZDNet claims to have gotten a hold of the final pricing for the three tablets, by means of a leaked slide(s) that represent the company's holiday roadmap. The leaked slide can be seen below.
The two upcoming Vivo-series tablets are the Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT, which will run the x86 and ARM versions of Windows 8 respectively.
The Vivo Tab will run an Atom CPU, 2GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, front/rear cameras (8MP/2MP), and sport a 10.1" Super IPS+ display (1366x768 resolution). It is rated at 8.7mm thick and weighing 675 grams. According to the leaked slide, the Vivo Tab will be priced at $799 for the base model, and the accompanying keyboard dock will cost an additional $199.
On the other hand, specifications for the Vivo Tab RT include a NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage, 11.6" Super IPS+ display (1366x768), 8MP/2MP front and rear camera. It weighs 520 grams and is 8.3mm thick. This tablet has a starting price of $599 for the tablet itself, and the keyboard dock costs $199 extra.
Note that this ARM-powered tablet will come with the preview/RTM version of Microsoft Office 2013 at launch (which I have been using since the Customer Preview came out, and generally like it). Once office goes gold, Windows RT tablets will receive a free update to the final version. However, with the Windows RT version, you do not have access to features like macro support in excel (which kind of defeats the purpose of using this a business machine, but at least it's 'free').
|ASUS Vivo Tab||ASUS Vivo Tab RT||ASUS Transformer Prime||ASUS Transformer Infinity|
|Processor/SoC||Intel Atom||NVIDIA Tegra 3||NVIDIA Tegra 3||NVIDIA Tegra 3|
|Display||10.1" Super IPS+ @ 1366x768||11.6" Super IPS+ @ 1366x768||10.1" IPS @ 1280x800||10.1" Super IPS+ @ 1920x1200|
|Camera(s)||8MP rear, 2MP front||8MP rear, 2MP front||8MP rear, 1.2MP front||8MP rear, 2MP front|
|Size||8.7mm thick||8.3mm thick||10.4" x 7.1" x .3"||10.4" x 7.1" x .3" (8.5mm thick)|
A comparison of the Vivo Tab and Vivo RT compared to ASUS' Android-powered alternatives.
Further, the ASUS Taichi is not only a tablet, but one with dual screens that is actually billed as an ultrabook -- and with a (rumored) price to match! For $1299, you get an ultrabook with two 1920x1080 multi-touch displays on the front and bad "lid" of the laptop. Specifications include an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of RAM, SSD, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, dual cameras, and USB 3.0 support. Even better, both displays on the Taichi can be used at the same time to share the computer with a friend sitting across from you (unclear how the software handles this though I don't think both users get individual desktops).
What that means is that if you want a Windows 8 tablet from ASUS with a keyboard dock, you are looking at a minimum of $798 for the ARM-powered Vivo Tab RT, $998 for the Vivo Tab, and $1299 for the ASUS Taichi. Now, the Taichi's pricing I can forgive, because it is marketed and positioned as an ultrabook. The two Vivo Tabs do seem overpriced for what you are getting once you factor in the additional cost fo the keyboard dock. If the dock was included in the $599 and $799 (base tablet) prices, I think those prices would be fair – but they do not. Even comparing to the company's Android tablets, it is difficult for me to justify the 'x86 and Microsoft taxes' that are likely responsible for the increased cost. As an example, you can find the 32GB Transformer Prime and keyboard dock for a total of $616.94 on Amazon right now. Is the (approx.) additional $180 really worth it just to run Windows 8 – and the ARM version at that (so no traditional desktop apps). For many people, I think not and I think Microsoft and the many tablet OEMs that are going to try to push Windows 8 tablets/notebooks this holiday season are going to need to re-evaluate the market if they want these devices to sell well.
After using Windows 8 RTM on my main desktop, I'm not sold on metro but it's not terrible and it's actually a decent UI when navigating around with a touchscreen (I've also tried it on a convertible tablet). I do think that Windows 8 tablets are a good thing, and if positioned at the right price, Microsoft and the OEMs could sell a lot of these just on the merits of being able to say that this computer/tablet/notebook/et al is running 'Microsoft' and/or 'Windows' on the box and displays (at retail) which consumers are familiar with and comfortable paying for (the brand name).
The crux of it is pricing though, because if there is a 10" tablet for $800 next to a 10" for $600, and the only discernable difference is what is on the screen (the OS, and especially since Win 8 isn't all that reminiscent of Windows' desktop), I have to believe that the majority of consumers are going to go for the cheaper model (likely running Android).
[And that's not really touching on the $1000 Vivo Tab+dock that is running an Atom processor of all things... that is most definitely ultrabook territory and for that price you should be getting at least a Sandy Bridge CPU, and better chassis. If I was in that situation of choosing just between ASUS' devices (with a touchscreen), I would probably just save up the extra cash for the Taichi and get a 'real' ultrabook (internal specs-wise), or go for something like the Transformer Pad Infinity which wouldn't run Windows but would at least have a much better display and be a bit more portable.]
But what do you think? Are the rumored prices reasonable? Would you buy a Windows 8 tablet over an Android tablet even if the Microsoft-powered device is significantly more expensive?
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2012 - 06:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, gaming headset, noise cancellation, asus, Vulcan ANC
No matter how loud you have the ASUS Vulcan ANC headset you will never hear anyone around you complain thanks to the active noise cancellation feature. While it does mean you will occasionally need to feed the headset some batteries as well as keep them plugged into the 3.5mm audio out on your computer. However doing so will mean you can game in peace without worrying about background noise disturbing your concentration. At $120 they are not inexpensive, however Neoseeker found the sound quality more than acceptable and were even happier with the noise cancellation performance.
"As you may have already guessed, the ANC stands for Active Noise Cancelling. That's correct, the ASUS Vulcan ANC is the first active noise cancelling headphones made specifically for gamers. If you've got a loud computer, or a roommate that won't stop talking, simply put on your Vulcan ANC headset and turn the noise cancelling on! The removable mic adds versatility and does let the pro gamer headset come across as a headphone more geared toward audiophiles."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Tt eSports Shock One @ XSReviews
- CM Storm Sonuz Gaming Headset @ techPowerUp
- Corsair Vengeance 2000 Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Bowers & Wilkins P3 review - sublime audio @ Hardware.info
- SteelSeries Siberia v2 Frost Blue Edition Gaming Headset Review @ Madshrimps
- Asus RoG Vulcan Pro Gaming Headset @ Kitguru
- Libratone Lounge Speaker Review @ eTeknix
- Sandberg Pocket Bluetooth Speaker Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2012 - 06:48 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Z77, Sabertooth, hardware, contest, asus, 660ti
Today ASUS kicked off a new PC building contest where they are offering up hardware and gift cards to winners. Called the ASUS Skills Challenge, the hardware company is challenging enthusiasts to time themselves building a computer, and the three fastest times will get Newegg cards and hardware grab bags. In addition, the PC builder that puts their computer together faster than JJ from ASUS will win a grand prize.
Prizes for the Skill Challenge include:
- The enthusiast that builds their PC faster than JJ wins a grand prize that includes all of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes as well as a "top of the line" ASUS grab bag.
The fastest build time of all entrants, 1st place prize:
- ASUS Sabertooth Z77 Motherboard, ASUS GTX 660Ti, and a $500 Newegg gift card.
The second fastest build time, 2nd place prize:
- ASUS grab bag and a $250 Newegg gift card.
The third fastest build time, 3rd place prize:
- ASUS grab bag and a $100 Newegg gift card.
Alternatively, ASUS is offering up a random prize draw as well for those that want a chance to win without entering the speed building contest. In the random prize draw, one entrant will be chosen, and ASUS will award the winner with a $100 Newegg gift card and an ASUS grab bag.
The contest begins today and will end on October 14th, 2012 at 5:00 PM PDT. To enter, you will need to "Like" this ASUS Skills Challenge contest page, and then provide the company with your name, birthday, and email. If you are doing the building challenge, you will further need to provide an unedited video of yourself assembling a PC with a timer of some sort in the foreground.
Basic contest rules are that you be at least 18 years old, and live within the United States or Canada. If you do not use Facebook, you can also enter the contest on this webpage. The winner list will be posted on the app on (or before) October 19, 2012.
You can find the official rules on the contest page. Best of luck in winning some ASUS hardware!
Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2012 - 01:26 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: wireless charging, VIVO, thunderbolt, podcast, k90, k60, corsair, black mesa, ax1200i, asus
PC Perspective Podcast #217 - 09/06/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the Corsair AX1200i Power Supply, Video Games as Art, Wireless Charging 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malvantano and Scott Michaud
A big thanks goes to our friends at ALXTech.net for hosting our PC Perspective gaming server! Find out how you can get a game server for just $0.65/slot by visiting http://alxtech.net/pcper/!!
Program length: 1:24:36
- Week in Reviews:
- 0:38:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
News items of interest:
- 0:39:20 Wireless charging is close!
- 0:44:13 Western Digital 2TB Thunderbolt MyBook
- 0:47:20 Arctic MC101 Trinity based HTPC
- 0:48:50 ASUS shows Vivo tablets at IFA
- 0:53:30 Ultrabook with 2560x1440 display from Samsung
- 0:56:10 Lower Power IVB coming soon
- 0:57:30 The ASUS Eee PC line is gone...
- 1:02:30 ASUS launches "Powered by ASUS" systems
- 1:08:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: Systems | September 5, 2012 - 06:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
ASUS has just launched a new prorgam with popular system builders like Puget Systems and CyberPower to give enthusiasts the ability to order a system built around ASUS parts, not just for the branding but also for the theoretical compatibility between the components. Since ASUS makes such a wide variety of components these systems will include motherboards, graphics cards and sound cards on the interior as well as gaming headsets, monitors and even routers will all be sold as a package by these boutique outlets. You can also expect to see some savings on these parts compared to retail as well as the customizations you would expect from high end system builders. The PR is below and you can head straight to the new Powered By ASUS site here.
Fremont, California (September 5, 2012) - Working closely with its custom system integration partners, ASUS today formally launched its Powered by ASUS (PBA) program in North America. Powered by ASUS brings consumers familiar with the performance, design and reliability of ASUS components together with trusted system integrators. This program creates a new category of build-to-order PCs offering unique configurations that are stability tested and performance optimized with class leading ASUS components.
Timothy Lin, Director of Product Management at ASUS summed up the reasoning behind the new program by explaining “There are a lot of hardware enthusiasts and ASUS fans out there that do not build their own PCs, but want additional performance and features typically not available in off-the-shelf systems. Recognizing this opportunity we worked closely with the system integrators in developing the Powered by ASUS program. This unique program offers consumers the ability to custom configure a system utilizing a wide variety of high-quality ASUS components.”
System integrators that participate in the Powered by ASUS program offer custom configurations utilizing multiple ASUS components. The expansive list of available ASUS components includes motherboards, graphics cards, sound cards, optical disc drives, headsets, wireless routers, USB wireless adapters and monitors. ASUS encourages system integrators to utilize various hardware combinations based on their customers’ needs. This program highlights not only the benefits of using multiple ASUS components together in one system, but also the capabilities and expertise of each authorized system builder.
Strong Support From Partners
North American custom system integrators expressed strong support for the Powered by ASUS program:
“ASUS has created a unique program that showcases their commitment to the industry by offering consumers more choices. Combining the ASUS brand promise with its wide range of products, the Powered by ASUS program can change the way consumers seek custom PCs. We applaud ASUS for moving the industry forward!” – Tim Chen, General Manager, iBUYPOWER
“We are honored to be a launch partner of the Powered by ASUS program. It allows us to offer configurations that are focused on design and innovation that make sense and provide lasting performance. It represents an important milestone in custom PCs and should encourage more consumer considerations.” – Eric Cheung, CEO, CyberPower
“ASUS motherboards have been our default choices for many years thanks to their superb engineering and rock solid reliability. The Powered by ASUS program takes our commitment to building cutting-edge PCs one step further by allowing consumers to experience more ASUS product innovations. We are excited to be a launch partner of PBA.” – Kelt Reeves, President, Falcon Northwest
“Our hand crafted systems would not be top shelf without ASUS motherboards found behind the rest of our carefully selected hardware. Even before our inception we've recognized the commitment ASUS has made to the industry to provide truly innovative, stable and performance dominant hardware. It is an honor to be a launch partner with the Powered by ASUS program, and we applaud ASUS for seeking to share an ecosystem of innovative products through its customer experience driven partners. – Adrian Hunter, CEO, Geekbox Computers
To celebrate the launch of Powered by ASUS, during the month of September customers that purchase qualifying systems from authorized system builders will receive a complimentary, award-winning Xonar DSX sound card built into their system - a $59.99 USD value.
To learn more about Powered by ASUS, go to http://pba.asus.com. System configurations and ASUS components available are subject to change at any time.