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Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS continues to optimize their hardware for the overclocking and PC gaming crowds, but they are also catering to a niche audience looking for ultra stable and durable PC components. ASUS's Sabertooth X79 motherboard is their one of their latest products to bear the TUF series label and sport customized hardware and thermal components as well as a desert camo color scheme to complete the military look. This $329 motherboard comes with a five-year warranty, digital power management system, rugged chokes, solid capacitors, and MOSFETs that have been certified through third party, military-grade testing.

 

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Sabertooth X79 also comes with a host of other features to improve SSD caching and give users quad GPU support for CrossfireX and SLI graphics card configurations. This board also includes a unique UEFI BIOS and natively supports 2TB hard drives with 64-bit operating systems. The USB BIOS "Flashback" feature also helps new users update their motherboard BIOS without entering the BIOS. ASUS states that users can use any USB storage device with the latest BIOS, push the BIOS button located on the back I/O panel for three seconds, and the board will automatically update the BIOS using standby power. Very cool!

 

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Courtesy of ASUS

The back I/O panel on the Sabertooth X79 is no slouch either as it gives users a healthy amount of USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA 6GB/s ports for greater performance and expandability options. They also added a small fan over the back I/O panel as part of their "TUF Thermal Armor" feature that will help cool and exhaust heat from ther motherboard out the back of the chassis. Let's move on to the rest of the Saberbooth X79's features where we will get our first out-of-the-box look at this motherboard.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Sabertooth X79 LGA2011 Motherboard!!

ASUS preps ThunderboltEX add-in card for Z77 and H77 motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Displays | June 4, 2012 - 09:30 PM |
Tagged: Z77, thunderboltex, thunderbolt, h77, computex, asus

Ever since we posted our series of videos with ASUS on the new Z77 chipset and the features ASUS was introducing on their P8Z77 lineup, we have had countless questions about the Thunderbolt header, the implementation and finally the required add-on card to enable it.  Well thankfully at Computex this week ASUS is revealing the product that users of the P8Z77 motherboards will need to enable the Thunderbolt connection, the ASUS ThunderboltEX.

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Even though we have already had some hands-on time with the new ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard that integrates a Thunderbolt header on the board directly, the rest of the P8Z77-V line has a 9-pin header labeled "TB_header" that will allow users to purchase the ThunderboltEX card and enable the technology in their system.  ASUS was the only company to really plan ahead for Thunderbolt technology across the entire series of Z77 motherboards and as such should enjoy the feature benefits of TB for some time.

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The ThunderboltEX will plug into the bottom PCIe slot using up the x4 connection and will be required to use a header cable to connect to the TB_header shown above.  This header serves a dual purpose - it allows the integrated graphics of the Ivy Bridge (and even discrete graphics) to pass through to the ThunderboltEX card and then out to either a Thunderbolt enabled display or a DisplayPort monitor in a daisy chain of devices.  It also allows ASUS to make sure this card is ONLY used on their own lineup of motherboards - sorry, you won't be able to buy the ASUS ThunderboltEX and use it on your Gigabyte or MSI or even your non "TB_header" ASUS motherboard.

You will also have to install an included full-size DisplayPort cable from the output on the Z77 motherboard back panel to the full-size DP input on the ThunderboltEX itself.  This allows the pass through of all the video data.

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Once everything is configured, users will have a full speed 10 Gbps ready Thunderbolt connection to use with external storage, break out boxes and other accessories coming down the pipeline rapidly.  ASUS claims this implementation will still support 6 daisy-chained devices with a seventh device as either a Thunderbolt or mini-DisplayPort monitor.  Even better, hot plug support will still be enabled!

ASUS stands committed to the belief that motherboard design is not just about pure spec but ensuring a quality design and overall implementation. This is achieved through many means such as sensible layout, flexible I/O connectivity and robust control over parameters of operation. In addition foresight in design can play an important role. ASUS recently launched the world’s first certified native Thunderbolt motherboard with the P8Z77-V Premium. While the Premium leads the industry in respect to connectivity and overall functionality it carries a flagship price for its premium feature set. ASUS had kept this in mind along with thinking about how to best support the advanced new interconnect that is Thunderbolt. With this in mind ASUS is proud to unveil its exclusive Thunderbolt upgrade solution for its line of Z77 and H77 motherboards. The ThunderboltEX card is the first add-on card on the market enabling an easy way to upgrade ASUS motherboards with the latest I/O. This is proof in having foresight in design as compatible boards had to have a special TB header in place to support this upgrade.

Currently, the ThunderboltEX is awaiting Thunderbolt device certification and ASUS will obviously announce when that occurs.

Obviously this implementation of Thunderbolt is not as elegant as the one you will find on the ASUS Premium Z77 motherboard or the MSI Z77A-GD80, but it does enable other ASUS Z77 motherboard users to add the feature to their systems without REQUIRING to the cost up front to everyone.  It does remind me a little bit of the first days of ATI CrossFire but I think most of you would agree that this solution is better than forcing users to buy a $450 motherboard.

I don't have any information on pricing or availability but you can be sure as soon as our questions are answered by ASUS we will update this post!  

If you are looking for more information on Thunderbolt devices and performance, check out our stream of posts on the subject and take a look at the Thunderbolt / ASUS video below!

Source: ASUS

ASUS Reveals Next Generation RT-AC66U Dual-Band Router

Subject: Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 04:11 PM |
Tagged: asus, RT-AC66U, wifi, wireless router

If you are wondering why you should care about the new ASUS RT-AC66U dual band wireless router, perhaps the thought of a better than gigabit speed wireless connection might interest you.  It isn't just about the speed, even though it can easily be set up to provide basic access to one machine you can actually have up to 8 SSIDs to allow you to set up multiple networks with separate privileges making this router great for small to medium sized businesses as well as home users.  It has two USB ports and is perfectly capable of using a USB 3G dongle to allow shared connections over the cell network or you could plug in data you want to share as the router can also act as an FTP server.  Check out the full press release below for even more information.

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Fremont, CA (June 4, 2012) - the new ASUS RT-AC66U router integrates dual-band Gigabit wireless with fifth generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, also known as 5G WiFi, which enables speeds up to three times faster than existing 802.11n devices. As one of the first routers to achieve this, it tops Gigabit wireless requirements with a combined 2.4GHz/5GHz bandwidth of 1.75Gbps. Coupled with exclusive ASUS AiRadar signal amplification and shaping technology, easy to use ASUSWRT setup software, multiple SSIDs, and IPv6 support the RT-AC66U is the perfect router for HD media streaming, large concurrent file transfers, and gaming. Impressive USB-based capabilities turn the RT-AC66U into a complete 3G, FTP, DLNA, and printer server device for genuine multi-role functionality in the home or at a small business.

Going beyond Gigabit Wi-Fi
The RT-AC66U is one of the world’s first dual-band wireless routers to support the advanced 802.11ac wireless protocol, enabling 5GHz band operation up to 1.3Gbps. These new capabilities are made possible by the inclusion of Broadcom’s powerful 5G WiFi chipset. 2.4GHz band capabilities work up to 450Mbps so the concurrent combined bandwidth of the RT-AC66U is 1.75Gbps. This unique router features sophisticated ASUS AiRadar technology to amplify signal strength and improve directionality to overcome environmental obstructions and increase data transfer rates. The inclusion of 5G WiFi makes the RT-AC66U one of the most future-proof routers on the market, ready for the next generation of high speed networks.

Extensive feature list enhances networking experiences
The RT-AC66U features easy and fast setup in just three steps with the ASUSWRT dashboard, while strict QoS (Quality of Service) standards help ensure improved bandwidth optimization and multitasking capabilities. Up to eight SSIDs are supported, so users can easily setup distinct networks with different access privileges and levels of security without having to compromise passwords. The RT-AC66U supports the new IPv6 standard for better packet transmission and addressing.

USB applications extend router versatility
With its twin USB ports, the RT-AC66U becomes a true multi-role device. Attaching a 3G dongle allows it to share 3G connections among several users on different devices. Full DLNA compatibility affords smooth connectivity with a variety of entertainment platforms, including game consoles, tablets, Blu-ray players, smart TVs, and set-top boxes. The RT-AC66U can also serve as a dedicated FTP server and/or printer server, letting users share resources for greater productivity while reducing costs as there is no need to buy standalone server hardware.

Full 802.11ac product lineup
In addition to the RT-AC66U router, ASUS is also releasing the PCE-AC66 and USB-AC53 client adapters, both capable of 802.11ac speeds. The dual-band PCE-AC66 offers a PCI Express client card for desktops with a 3 x 3 high-powered transmission antenna design. It offers transfer rates up to 1.3Gbps in 5GHz and 450Mbps in 2.4GHz operation modes. For easy USB upgrades to 802.11ac, the USB-AC53 compact dongle plugs into a USB port with a 2 x 2 design. In 5GHz operation the USB-AC53 offers transfer rates up to 867Mbps, while in 2.4GHz transfer speeds are up to 300Mbps, achieving a total throughput of around 1.3Gbps. The PCE-AC66 and USB-AC53 adapters are enabled by Broadcom’s 5G WiFi chipsets and demonstrate ASUS technology leadership in bringing a full 802.11ac ecosystem to consumers.

Source: ASUS

This morning at Computex it is ASUS in the spotlight

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, ultrabook, taichi, tablet, computex, asus, transformer book, Transformer

ASUS has been showing off its new mobile products at Computex, as you can see from Ryan's pictures below this post.  You can catch all the PC Perspective coverage by checking this page, as all Computex related content will show up there.   With all the fancy new products, the more pictures the better which is why you should also check out the coverage The Tech Report put up.  They snapped a few photos of the dual display Taichi which doesn't have a lid, instead there is a second independent touch screen display on the back which takes the idea behind ASUS' Transformer series to a whole new level.  That doesn't mean they abandoned the Transformer though as they also showed off three brand new Ivy Bridge powered Transformer Books and two separate tablets, the 600 and the 810 with the Tegra powered 600 running WinRT for ARM and the 810 running Windows 8 thanks to its Atom processor.

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"We're rarely surprised at trade shows these days, but Asus CEO Johnny Shih saved something special for the end of his press conference today. After discussing everything from cloud storage to all-in-ones to notebooks and tablets, he pulled out one more thing: the Taichi. It looked like any other notebook, and Shih took great pleasure in showing off the "beautiful black mirror finish" on the top panel. I couldn't help but shake my head and sigh; the glossy finish was covered in fingerprints and smudges."

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ASUS shows Tablet 810 and 600 using Intel Clover Trail and Tegra 3, Windows 8

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 12:04 PM |
Tagged: windows 8 rt, windows 8, tegra 3, tablet 810, tablet 600, computex, clover trail, asus

Haven't had enough tablets yet?  ASUS hopes that's the case as they continue to release products using Windows 8 with the fresh touch interface.  First up, Anandtech tells us about the new ASUS 810 tablet using the Intel Clover Trail x86 SoC.

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Image source: Anandtech.com

The 810 will include an 11.6-in screen with a 1366x768 resolution IPS display - we have seen almost all of the new Clover Trail based tablets using this low resolution likely due to the underpowered graphics power of the 32nm Intel graphics powering them.  ASUS also includes 2GB of memory, 64GB of solid state storage, 8MP and 2MP cameras and support for NFC (near field communications).  

Much like the Transformer brand of tablets ASUS has made popular already, the 810 (and the 600 below) will offer keyboard / battery docks. 

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Image source: Anandtech.com

The ASUS Tablet 600 will also run Windows 8, but the RT (ARM) version, and will be powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad-core SoC.  This model will also have 2GB of memory but will drop to 32GB of local storage and include the 8MP and 2MP cameras.  The 10.1-in screen will keep the 1366x768 resolution and it can take advantage of the optional keyboard dock.  

If you continue to be interested in the ASUS 600 tablet, the first Windows 8 RT Tegra 3 powered device, check out the video demonstration created by NVIDIA below.

Source: Anandtech

ASUS Transformer Book is Ultrabook and detachable tablet

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 11:35 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, transformer book, Transformer, tablet, computex, asus

Another in a line of announcements from ASUS today is the Transformer Book, an Ultrabook with a detachable tablet.  I find it interesting that ASUS chose to go with the "Transformer" brand for this machine that is x86 and Windows based rather than ARM and Android based.  Engadget has a lot of photos and details, including information about the hardware included within: an Intel Ivy Bridge-based Core i5/i7 processor, 4GB of memory, an SSD for storage and 11, 13 and 14-in screen sizes.  

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Image source: Engadget.com

Since these are taking the Ultrabook name we have a general idea of the physical traits including the thickness and performance found within.  In the standard notebook mode we can see the Transformer Book with its high resolution screen, backlit keyboard and single surface touchpad. 

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Image source: Engadget.com

The design of the Transformer Book is very familiar to users that have seen other Transformer tablet models.  One interesting aspect noted by Anandtech is that the base of the Book (the keyboard and touchpad) will actually include a discrete graphics chip leaving the tablet alone to operate on the Ivy Bridge graphics alone.

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Image source: Engadget.com

Here is the Transformer Book in its tablet-only form and it should operate like just about any Windows 8-based device. 

I am very interested to hear about the battery life of these Ivy Bridge-based tablet devices and how much of an extension you'll get when utilizing the keyboard base. 

Check out the video from Engadget below!

Source: Anandtech

ASUS shows TAICHI convertible notebook and tablet with dual displays

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 11:13 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, ultrabook, taichi, tablet, computex, asus

ASUS always does a good job of showcasing unique devices at its Computex press conference and apparently this year is really no different.  One of the biggest announcements was for the TAICHI device, a dual-display Ultrabook that is actually a convertible notebook and tablet device running Windows 8.

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Image source: Engadget.com

Available in both an 11-in and 13.3-in version, the ASUS TAICHI products will both include a 1920x1080 screen resolution (on both back and front displays actually).  When open, the TAICHI works like any other notebook with an Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor, 4GB of memory, an SSD, 802.11n and dual cameras.  However, when you close the screen and activate the BACK display, you then operating with the Windows 8 operating system in a classic tablet form.

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Image source: Engadget.com

Engadget is reporting that both displays can even be used at the same time if you wanted to share the device with a friend across the table.  Connectivity is there in abundance with mini-VGA, USB 3.0 and more. 

Source: Engadget

G.Skill To Host Overclocking Invitational at Computex 2012

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2012 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: overclocking, overclock, msi, hicookie, gigabyte, G.Skill, evga, computex 2012, asus

G.Skill will host an overclocking event at Computex 2012 with seven overclockers in an attempt to break world overclocking records. The company is teaming up with ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI for the event, which will be held in Taipei, Taiwan from June 5th to June 9th 2012.

Enthusiast RAM manufacturer G.Skill has announced that they will be hosting an overclocking event at Computex 2012 in Taiwan. The company is partnering up with motherboard manufacturers ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI who will provide several high end motherboards for the overclocking invitational.

G.Skill has further invited seven professional overclockers to attend the event and try to break world records for processors and DDR3 memory using LN2 and a combination of high end motherboards, graphics cards, and G.Skill’s DDR3 RAM. The overclockers in question are Elmor, Fred Yama, Hiwa, Young Pro, Kingpin, HiCookie, and Dinos22. HiCookie was covered by us recently when he pushed a Core i7 3770K to 7.03 GHz and DDR3 memory to an impressive 3.28 GHz. The G.Skill event will push for even higher overlcocks.

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The overclocking event will run from June 5th, 2012 to June 9th, 2012 from 11am to 5pm. It will be located at Computex 2012 in the Nangang Exhibition Hall at booth L0118. The event schedule will be as follows:

Date Motherboard Brand Platform G.Skill Overclockers Motherboard Overclockers
June 5th MSI Z77 & X79

Hiwa (Switzerland)

Young Pro (Australia)

Elmor (Sweden)
June 6th ASUS Z77

Hiwa (Switzerland)

Young Pro (Australia)

Fred Yama (Japan)
June 7th EVGA Z77 & X79

Hiwa (Switzerland)

Young Pro (Australia)

Kingpin (USA)
June 8th Gigabyte Z77

Hiwa (Switzerland)

Young Pro (Australia)

HiCookie (Taiwan)

Dinos22 (Australia)

As G.Skill's first overclocking invitational, they will need to push hard for success, and they made sure to have the best record-breaking chance possible by inviting some of the world's best overclockers. As a personal fan of G.Skill, I'm rooting for them to break the RAM overclocking record!

Source: G.Skill

ASUS would like to clear the air on just who is the fastest of them all

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | June 1, 2012 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: asus, maximus v gene, p8z77-V deluxe, overclocking, smackdown

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Earlier this week, we and several other sites reported that a Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H motherboard managed to take the Ivy Bridge i7-3770 with a single core enabled all the way to 7.03GHz and ASUS would like to know what all the fuss is about.  It seems that on January the 5th, ASUS took the i7-3770 to 7.06GHz on a P8Z77-V Deluxe which not only beats Gigabyte's overclock but did so long enough ago we needed to be reminded of it.

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That was not even the best overclock that ASUS managed, the tiny Maximus V Gene could support a speed of 7.07GHz.  That speed was hit yesterday by Andre Yang and seems to demonstrate that for extreme overclockers it is ASUS' Z77 boards which you should be counting on. 

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Hopefully this little correction will start an overclocking war between the two manufacturers, as both host events for overclockers as does MSI who have not chimed in to this contest yet.  LN cooling is not for the faint of heart but it is what you need to practice in order to compete at this level.  Gigabyte does seem to have one record which does still stand, DDR3-3280 MHz is quite spectacular.

ASUS master overclocker Andre Yang has managed another benchmarking world record, once more using the Intel Z77-based ROG Maximus V GENE mATX. Utilizing a quad-core/eight threaded Intel i7-3770 Ivy Bridge processor, Andre was able to overclock the CPU to an impressive milestone frequency of 7074.7MHz, again breaking the fabled 7GHz processor threshold and overtaking the previous record of 7.06GHz ( which was previously set and held by ASUS with the P8Z77-V Deluxe ). The CPU multiplier and BCLK were set to 112.69 x 63. The Maximus V GENE had 4GB of G.Skill DDR3 RAM, clocked to 1197.8MHz. The graphics card used was an ASUS GeForce GTX 680, set to 705MHz/3004MHz. Keep in mind quad-core and eight-threaded overclocking presents a much tougher challenge than more traditional single-core and double-threaded tuning in terms of stability and consistency, making the feat even more impressive.

 

Source: ASUS

The best valued model of the ASUS P8Z77 family of motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 28, 2012 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: P8Z77-V, lga1155, Ivy Bridge, asus

At $185, the ASUS P8Z77-V is technically a value board for Ivy Bridge as motherboards with this chipset tend to carry a high price. There are lower priced boards but they are missing some of the features which make this board stand out among its competition.  While it does support CrossFire and SLI, with only three PCIe slots in total you will only get 8x speeds when you are using two graphics cards, although testing has shown there is little difference between that and a full 16x.  ASUS also included legacy PCI slots for those of you with old cards that you simply cannot live without.  [H]ard|OCP gave this board a Gold Award thanks to the decent feature set included in a sub-$200 board as well as the rock solid performance it displayed during their testing.

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"The ASUS P8Z77-V is among the latest entries into the ASUS motherboard Intel Z77 Express Chipset series. The P8Z77-V is poised as a more value oriented solution, potentially representing a great bang for your buck option if a Z77 chipset motherboard and Ivy Bridge processor get you excited."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP