Introduction, Design and Connectivity
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 20, 2012 - 01:11 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: transformer prime, transformer pad, transformer infinity, tablet, asus
ASUS recently announced that they will be bringing the latest version of Google's Android operating system – Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" to its line of Transformer tablets. Among the tablets to receive the update are the ASUS Transformer Pad, ASUS Transformer Pad Prime, and ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity. They will be getting the updates within the next couple of months, and more specific release dates will be announced closer to launch, according to the company.
The Transformer Prime tablet with keyboard dock
ASUS further stated that they are continuing to evaluate the feasibility of upgrading other devices to Jelly Bean, but there is nothing official in regards to devices that will for sure get it beyond the tablets listed above.
In an email, Senior Technical marketing Manager Gary Key stated the following:
"At ASUS, one of the key commitments we make to our customers is a relentless drive to deliver the best user experience. We constantly strive to achieve this goal through our ‘Design Thinking’ philosophy that includes regular software and firmware updates for our products."
While I don't have a Transformer tablet myself, It's great to see that they are continuing to support their devices, unlike a certain smartphone manufacturer (heh, yeah I'm still jaded over my Infuse 4G's update situation). If you have a ASUS tablet, be on the lookout (or follow PC Per!) for the Jelly Bean updates as it has some really neat new features.
For now though, you will have to settle for watching Ryan ogle over his Nexus 7 on this week's podcast :).
Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2012 - 02:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, asus, DGX, DSX, xonar, ROG Phoebus, pcie
While many of us are perfectly content with the quality of the audio output from the motherboards onboard audio codec there are others who because of incompatibilities (looking at you PunkBuster) or who are gifted with good ears who are still in the market for a discrete sound card. A forum member recently pointed out that the sound card on the Hardware Leaderboard was so old it didn't ship with Win7 drivers so ASUS's timing on releasing three new sound cards couldn't have come at a better time. The ASUS Xonar DGX 5.1 is the lowest cost of the three cards at $40, though currently on NewEgg the Xonar DSX 7.1 card is only $37 after MIR. Finally is the Republic of Gamers Xonar Phoebus at $200, with a long list of features for those who want the best. Drop by [H]ard|OCP to see how these three cards do when put to the test.
"Asus recently released it's new flagship gaming sound card, the ROG Xonar Phoebus, as well as updated PCI-Express versions of its popular DG and DS sound cards. All three of these cards feature quality components for products in their respective price ranges. Today, we will tell you exactly what each card may bring to your PC audio experience."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- ASUS Xonar Phoebus @ Guru of 3D
- Kworld Dark Pyramid D15u+ Speaker Review @ eTeknix
- Audyssey Lower East Side Media Speakers System Review @ NikKTech
- Microlab H21 2.0 Bluetooth Speaker Set Review @ HardwareLOOK
- SteelSeries 7H Fnatic Edition Gaming Headset Review @ Madshrimps
- Razer Blackshark Headset Battlefield 3 Edition Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Cooler Master Storm Sonuz Gaming Headset Review @ Ninjalane
- Cooler Master Storm Sonuz Gaming Headset @ Pro-Clockers
- Corsair Vengeance 2000 Wireless Headset @ Rbmods
- Corsair Vengeance 2000 Wireless Headset @ Benchmark Reviews
- Sennheiser's HD 558 headphones are cans of whoop-ass @ The Tech Report
- Corsair Vengeance 2000 Wireless Headset @ LanOC Reviews
- Corsair Vengeance 2000 Wireless Headset Review @ Neoseeker
Subject: Motherboards | July 12, 2012 - 06:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, p8z77-v premium, thunderbolt
As we mentioned on the PC Perspective Podcast ASUS has a new ultra high end motherboard on the market, the P8Z77-V Premium for the low price of $440. There are four PCIe 3.0 16x slots, capable of running two cards at full speed or four at 8x speeds as well as a pair of PCIe 2.0 1x slots. There are a half dozen of both flavours of USB ports and SATA 6Gbps ports as well as SATA2 and eSATA ports but the big connectivity feature is Thunderbolt. The feature set is almost endless, up to and including an onboard 32GB SSD and it seems that the only thing this board cannot do much better than the competition is overclock. That is not to say you cannot overclock this board, only that the overclocking potential was lower than other Z77 boards from ASUS that [H]ard|OCP tested. If you can afford the price, you will not find a more impressive Z77 motherboard on the market.
"It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the "Premium" moniker on any ASUS boards. ASUS reserves this for boards with truly premium features that set these apart from the rest of the product line. The end result is usually a complex product with more features than most people will ever need. Let's find out just how premium the P8Z77-V Premium truly is."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Biostar TPower TZ77XE4 @ Bjorn3D
- GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Motherboard @ Bjorn3D
- LGA 1155 Mainboard from Micro-Star: MSI Z77A-GD65 @ X-bit Labs
- ASUS RoG Maximus V Formula Z77 Motherboard Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Biostar TZ77XE4 Intel LGA 1155 @ techPowerUp
- ASRock, ECS, Gigabyte, Intel, Sapphire Z77 Motherboard Roundup @ Neoseeker
- MSI Z77A-GD80 (Intel Z77) Motherboard with Thunderbolt @ Tweaktown
- ASUS P8Z77-V Intel Z77 Express LGA 1155 @ techPowerUp
- 32 Intel Z77 motherboards tested with Ivy Bridge processors @ Hardware.info
- ASUS P8Z77-V Premium @ Bjorn3D
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional @ Tweaktown
- ASUS Maximus V Gene Micro-ATX @ [H]ard|OCP
- Asus Maximus V Gene Review @ OCC
- EVGA Classified SR-X review: dual Socket 2011 @ Hardware.Info
- BIOS Option Of The Week - CPU to PCI Post Write @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2012 - 02:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, laptop, Chromebook, asus, EeePC 1225C, sputnik
If you are less than impressed by Windows 8 or are looking to avoid the costs incurred by a Windows installation on the laptop then Linux.com has four systems you should consider. First up are the Chromebook models available at stores like Best Buy, like the Samsung 12.1-inch Series 5 Chromebook. If the ChromeOS isn't to your liking then perhaps the Asus EeePC 1225C which comes with Ubuntu installed on it. It is not yet widely available but should make it to North America in the not too distant future. Dell is also getting into this market with their Project Sputnik which Tim covered a few weeks ago. Finally are what are referred to as Diminutive Desktops which cover devices like the Raspberry Pi, VIA's APC and a number of other models. You might have more choices when it comes to Linux powered retail PCs than you think.
"Windows may still be the default operating system on the vast majority of mainstream PCs thanks to Microsoft's many longstanding OEM partnerships, but that's not to say it hasn't been possible for some time to buy desktop machines with Linux preloaded.
No, indeed! Thanks to vendors such as System76, ZaReason, EmperorLinux and others, Linux fans have long been able to get desktops, laptops, netbooks and more preloaded with a variety of Linux distributions -- and that's not even counting several on-again, off-again efforts by Dell, Wal-Mart and others to sell Linux boxes on their retail shelves."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TSMC touting next-generation 20nm process in the US @ DigiTimes
- Fusion-io server strokers show off 2.6TB RAM extension @ The Register
- Sonic screwdriver controls your TV, doesn’t work on wood @ Hack a Day
- ARM CEO says CMOS transistors and Moore's Law are not the future @ The Inquirer
- Disable Gadgets NOW says Redmond @ The Register
- Everything You Need to Know About the PCI Express @ Hardware Secrets
- OCZ, In-Win & Thermalright Joint Contest @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | July 5, 2012 - 12:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Warranty, asus, gigabyte
Neither ASUS nor Gigabyte have released an official press release on this topic but the news coming out of DigiTimes this morning will make many users smile if it is wholly accurate. This story claims that both companies will offer free repairs on motherboards which are still under warranty for user damage in addition to the current warranty which covers factory defects. Gigabyte will attempt to repair any such user caused damage, which should cover damage caused by overclocking or overvolting and ASUS will replace an unusable motherboard for free, including free shipping and delivery.
This may reassure many who have had bad RMA experiences, as the process is not enjoyable at the best of times. The previous standard RMA process usually offered two alternatives, the first would be for the user to pay to ship the motherboard to the manufacturer who is often located overseas and if the problem with the motherboard was discovered to be a defect then that company would reimburse the shipping as well as ship out a replacement for free. Otherwise you were often stuck paying the return shipping on a component that was in the same state as when you first gave up on it, as well as being without that part for the duration of the RMA process. The second option involved cross-shipping but was only available to those willing to put the cost of the replacement motherboard and shipping on their credit card, to be returned if the motherboard was defective and again, if the board was not defective you ended up footing the bill.
If these changes to the RMA procedure are indeed accurate then the worry of a faulty board being sent back to you if the damage was judged not to be a factory defect need no longer prevent you from sending a buggy or even non-functional board back to the manufacturer. There are likely to be some limits on these new policies, keep your eye out for updates as the arrive.
"Due to the weak global economy, in addition to dropping their motherboard prices, Asustek Computer and Gigabyte Technology have both expanded their motherboard warranty services hoping to attract consumer demand, according to sources from motherboard players."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TSMC has no plans to purchase Renesas 12-inch fab, says chairman @ DigiTimes
- Buying a Raspberry Pi is going to get easier @ The Inquirer
- Samsung sampling 16GB DDR4 modules for servers @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft OEM head change related to Surface, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Will AMD’s missing vital ingredient prevent cooking on gas? @ Kitguru
- BitTorrent usage increases in Europe, following the blockade of The Pirate Bay @ ExtremeTech
- OCZ, In-Win & Thermalright Joint Contest @ NikKTech
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 28, 2012 - 05:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, DirectCU II, gtx 670, factory overclocked
ASUS' family of DirectCU II TOP have made a good name for themselves with enthusiasts, coming from the factory with impressive overclocks and a quiet and efficient custom cooler. There is a new member of this family, the GTX670 which comes with a default clock of 1059MHz and a boost clock of 1137MHz though the memory remains unchanged at 6GHz. These cards have more than just a custom cooler, the capacitors and switches are significantly better than the ones found on other cards which gives the card a longer lifespan as well as giving it serious overclocking headroom which you can see in action in [H]ard|OCP's review. At $430 it does cost a bit more than the stock version, but not prohibitively so.
"ASUS has delivered the fastest GeForce GTX 670 on the market in the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP video card. The monster overclock and the improved cooling system are sure to provide the performance we yearn for. We will be testing it in the recently released Max Payne 3 against a GeForce GTX 680 and Radeon HD 7950."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Nvidia's GeForce GT 640 @ The Tech Report
- Inno3D iChiLL GTX 670 HerculeZ 3000 Edition 2GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- ASUS GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI GTX 670 Power Edition Twin Frozr IV 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- PNY XLR8 GeForce GTX 670 Video Card @ Benchmark Reviews
- ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme III review (w/ Asus GTX680 DirectCU II TOP) @ Kitguru
- Club3D Radeon HD 7850 royalKing 2GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- Sapphire HD7870 FleX Edition @ Kitguru
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB DDR5 Flex Edition Video Card Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- MSI GEFORCE GTX 680 Lightning 2GB @ Tweaktown
- Sapphire HD 7870 FleX Dual-X 2GB Review @ OCC
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition @ Legion Hardware
- Sapphire HD 7870 FLeX @ LanOC Reviews
- Sapphire HD 7950 FleX Edition @ TechwareLabs
- XFX Double Dissipation R7750 Review @ OCC
- AMD Radeon HD 7750 / 7770 graphics card round-up @ Hardware.info
- AMD Radeon HD 7850 / 7870 round-up @ Hardware.info
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: Mobile | June 28, 2012 - 02:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, transformer infinity, tablet, keyboard dock
The 10.1" ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity sports a 1920x1200 display which doesn't quite match Apple's Retina display but is more than enough to deliver HD content and provide sharp text. The SuperIPS+ mode which was intended to make the tablet fully readable under direct sunlight did not work perfectly but does live up to the promise when you are dealing with indirect sunlight. The paired dock has been updated as well, with a stronger design and a keyboard The Tech Report preferred over many laptop keyboards, though if you are happy with the dock you used for the Prime it is compatible with the Infinity as well. In the end, they only recommended this tablet when paired with the keyboard dock thanks to the extras that it offers, but even with the dock you still don't seem to get any USB ports.
"Six months after we first laid eyes on Asus' Transformer Pad Infinity, the tablet hybrid is finally read for prime time. Join us for an in-depth look at the new Transformer and its high-density 1920x1200 display."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 Review @ TechReviewSource
- ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700T) @ AnandTech
- ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T review: Full HD Android tablet @ Hardware Info
- Asus Transformer Pad TF300 @ Techspot
- Dell XPS 14 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Dell Alienware M17x R4 Review @ TechReviewSource
- MSI GT60 Gaming laptop review @ Rbmods
- Dell Inspiron 14z (Mid-2012) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba's 14" USB Mobile LCD Monitor @ AnandTech
- Cygnett Lavish Earth Multi-view Folio Case iPad 2 Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad @ Bjorn3D
- Samsung SGH-i717 GALAXY Note 16GB 4G LTE (Carbon Blue) Android Phone Review @ ModSynergy
- Google Nexus 7 and Android 4.1 @ AnandTech
- Galaxy S III Review: Samsung's Worthy New Flagship @ TechSpot
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean vs Windows Phone 8 Apollo @ The Inquirer
An overview of Thunderbolt Technology
The promise of Thunderbolt connectivity has been around for a couple of years now. Today, Thunderbolt is finally finding its way to the PC platform in the form of motherboards from ASUS and MSI. First unveiled as "Light Peak" at the Intel Developer Forum in 2009, the technology started out as a way to connect multiple devices to a system over a fiber optic cable (hence the 'light' in the name), though the final products have changed the implementation slightly.
The first prototype implementations actually used a USB-style connection and interface. It further required fiber optic cables. When it was renamed to Thunderbolt and then released in conjunction with a new lineup of Apple MacBook laptops, not only did the physical interface move to a mini-DisplayPort connection but the cable was made to use copper rather than fiber. Without diving too far into the reasons and benefits of either direction, the fact is that the copper cables allow for modest power transfer and are much cheaper than fiber optic variants would be.
Thunderbolt's base technology remains the same, however. It is a transfer standard that allows for 10 Gbps of bandwidth for each channel (bi-directional) and concurrently supports both data and display connections. The actual interface for the data path is based on PCI Express and connected devices actually appear to Windows as if they are internally connected to the system which can offer some interesting benefits – and headaches – for hardware developers. The display connection uses the DisplayPort standard and can be used along with the data connection without affecting bandwidth levels or performance.
For current Intel processor implementations, the Thunderbolt connection is supported by a separate controller chip on the motherboard (or a riser card) – and some routing is required for correct usage. The Thunderbolt controller does not actually include a graphics controller, so it must be fed an output from another graphics processor, obviously in this case directly from the Ivy Bridge / Sandy Bridge processors. In theory, these could be from other controllers, but with the ubiquitous nature of integrated processor graphics on IVB and SNB processors, this is going to be the implementation going forward according to motherboard and system designers.
Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2012 - 10:48 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, google io, google drive, google, developers, conference, chrome, asus, Android
Every June, the tech world lights up with numerous tech conferences that pack dense information into a couple days (and takes weeks to fully decompress). One of the bigger conferences (by a single company, Computex is its own beast) is Google I/O.
The biggest rumor to come out concerning this year’s Google I/O announcements is an ASUS manufactured 7-inch Nexus Tablet. It is allegedly packing some high end hardware with the Tegra 3 Soc, up to 16GB of memory, IPS display, and an extremely attractive price at less than $200. Beyond that, we can expect Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) information, developer talks, software demos, and more talk of Google Wallet, and NFC technology. Heck, Google may even make a second attempt at pushing Android@Home (or maybe not heh).
Being June 27th, it is the first day of Google I/O and that means it is time for keynotes! On the schedule for today, Google has talks on the new aspects of Android, Google Play, cloud computing, Youtube cloud rendering, Google+ (including Hangouts), and new features of Google Maps. They also have talks scheduled with Google Drive information that should demo some of the things developers can do with the Drive SDK.
We are excited to see if the Nexus tablet rumors are true or not, as well as learning more about the latest version of Android. If you are interested in watching the event, check out the Google I/O schedule where you can tune into the most of the events live. The first event starts soon at 9:30am PST!
Check back later today for updates!
Update: (9:00 PST) A leaked screenshot indicates that the Nexus tablet may be called the Nexus 7.
Update: (9:30 PST) Vic Gondotra stepped on stage to kick off the Google I/O conference. He stated that there are more than 30,000 people in attendance.
What are you excited about at Google I/O? Let us know in the comments below!