I often think of ASUS as the PC’s answer to Apple. Their products are not up to Apple’s rigorous engineering, nor is the customer service as accessible, but ASUS does offer a number of products that were obviously designed to meet a set of high standards. I’ve always enjoyed the company’s G-Series gaming laptops, ultraportables like the U33 Bamboo and high-end multimedia laptops like the N53 and N56.
The original Zenbook didn’t impress me, however. PC Perspective never reviewed it, but I did have some hands-on time with one courtesy of Intel’s CES 2012 ultrabook giveaway. The build quality wasn’t great, the touchpad was quite poor and the overall look and feel proved a bit tacky (the cursive lettering below the display panel being the most obvious example).
ASUS has now followed up the original Zenbook with the new Zenbook Prime. There are a couple of different variants. We received the 13-inch UX31A which come equipped with the 1080p IPS display panel. As for the rest? Well, see below.
This is one well equipped ultrabook, which explains why it comes with a nearly $1500 price tag. You don’t have to spend that much, however. The basic Zenbook Prime, which still has the IPS display but downgrades to a Core i5, is $999 on Amazon.
Does the flagship of ASUS design deliver the goods? Let’s find out.
Subject: Motherboards | August 21, 2012 - 06:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, P8Z77-V Pro
At $208 the ASUS P8Z77-Pro might surprise you, with three PCIe 3.0 16x slots (dual GPUs are limited to 8x speeds), two of both PCIe 1x and legacy PCI slots, four each of SATA2 and SATA 6Gbps ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, a half dozen USB 3.0 ports and built in WiFi it is not exactly a basic Z77 board. It does suffer from the common ailment of Z77/Ivy Bridge systems, the overclocking potential is good but not excellent, though it was rock solid at the 4.79GHz that [H]ard|OCP managed to push it to. ASUS does offer better Z77 boards at higher prices for the hard core enthusiasts which may be why this board didn't pick up an award. For those not looking to overclock much and would rather save a few dollars the P8Z77-Pro is a solid contender for your hard earned money.
"The P8Z77-V Pro is a perfect example of how powerful the ASUS P8xxx series is and what it has to offer. While many would consider it a stripped down model, it is anything but. While not as feature rich as some in the series, the P8Z77-V Pro does have a lot to offer, especially given its price point."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Biostar Hi-Fi Z77X Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH Z77 motherboard review: dual Thunderbolt @ Hardware.info
- Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 TH Intel LGA 1155 @ techPowerUp
- Two High-Quality LGA 1155 Mainboards from Gigabyte: GA-Z77X-UD3H and GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI @ X-bit Labs
- ASRock X79 Extreme11 @ Kitguru
- ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- BIOS Option Of The Week - PCI Master Bus TimeOut Control @ TechARP
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 16, 2012 - 06:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 660 Ti, DirectCU II, asus
Fremont, CA (August 16, 2012) - The ASUS DirectCU II range of graphics cards continues to expand with the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II series featuring the Standard, OC and TOP editions. Utilizing the latest 28nm graphics technology from NVIDIA, the OC and TOP cards deliver a factory-overclock while all three cards feature exclusive DirectCU thermal design and GPU Tweak tuning software to deliver a quieter, faster, and more immersive gameplay experience that redefines the term affordable performance.
Superior Design and Software for the Best Gaming Experience ASUS equips the GeForceGTX 660 Ti DirectCU II series with 2GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 6008MHz. The TOP edition features a blistering GPU core boost clock of 1137MHz, 157MHz faster than reference designs while the OC edition arrives with a factory-set GPU core boost speed of 1058MHz. Exclusive ASUS DIGI+ VRM digital power delivery and user-friendly GPU Tweak tuning software allows all cards to easily overclock beyond factory-set speeds offering enhanced performance in your favorite game or compute intensive application.
The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II series feature exclusive DirectCU technology. The custom designed cooler uses direct contact copper heatpipes for faster heat transduction and up to 20% lower operating temperatures than reference designs. The optimized fans are able operate at lower speeds providing a much quieter gaming or computing environment. For enhanced stability, energy efficiency, and overclocking margins the cards feature a six-phase Super Alloy Power design for the capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs meant to extend product lifespan and durability while operating noise-free even under heavy workloads.
ASUS once again includes the GPU Tweak tuning suite in the box. Overclocking-inclined enthusiasts or gamers can boost clock speeds, set power targets, and configure fan operating parameters and policies; all this and more is accessible in the user-friendly interface. GPU Tweak offers built-in safe guards to ensure all modifications are safe, maintaining optimal stability and card reliability.
Product specifications and features may change without prior notice. Learn more about the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II series and other ASUS products here.
Subject: General Tech | August 14, 2012 - 02:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: winRT, asus, dell, Lenovo, Samsung, microsoft, arm
When Microsoft released their Surface tablet/notebook, the tech community wondered if this move by a software company would upset the Tier 1 hardware vendors who might not want the competition. That discussion was ended when Microsoft announced that Surface was a proof of concept and would be released in very limited qualities. Today The Inquirer reports on upcoming mobile devices running on ARM hardware and WinRT from all the major vendors, giving us a rough idea what to expect in the way of performance. The quoted specs include user interface animations at 60FPS and touchscreen sampling rates of 100Hz per finger. Battery life will be impressive, 320 hours and 409 hours of standby time and for video playback you can expect 8-13 hours of HD playtime, though they do not talk about the quality of that playback.
"SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft has revealed Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung Windows RT devices will be available at the launch of the operating system.
Microsoft has been playing a very dangerous game with its Surface tablet hogging the Windows RT limelight, something that its long-term and invaluable partners will not like. Now the company has come out and said that Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung will also have Windows RT devices when the operating system launches later this year."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel: Xeon breaks Calxeda's ARM in Apache benchmark @ The Register
- Wireless power for the price of a penny @ NanoTechWeb
- ARM tags GlobalFoundries for future chip tech @ The Register
- Ubuntu 12.10 Is Faster With Intel Hardware @ Phoronix
- Hardware Secrets Interviews Arctic
- Canon Pixma Pro-1 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Intel refutes nVidia claims regarding HD4000 game compatibility @ Kitguru
- How do you organize the cables and networking equipment from your computer? @ Hardware Secrets
- Genius G-Shot HD575T Digital Camcorder Review @ TechwareLabs
- Mini Apple iPad to launch at £179 on 12th September @ Kitguru
- Win A Silverstone Fortress FT03-MINI Chassis @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2012 - 09:45 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: ROG, Republic of Gamers, asus
Over the weekend PC Perspective visited with ASUS for a stop on their Republic of Gamers tour, ROG @ Fry's Electronics. On hand at the event were ASUS, Patriot, Antec and NVIDIA to showcase some exciting new hardware, perform some demonstrations both inside and outside the store and of course, offer up tons of prizes and giveaways to the DIY enthusiasts.
Besides the $0.25 hot dogs and sodas (proceeds of which went to local community kids sports teams), I stopped by on Saturday to host a panel of Q&A with a rep from each of the individual companies involved.
After going through some introductions and gauging the knowledge of the audience (standing room only!) we took questions and raffled off some free hardware as well.
Overall I thought the event was a pretty good success and there was a great amount of participation from the local hardware enthusiasts. If you want to get involved in the market, get hands on with hardware you haven't seen yet and talk directly with the companies that affect your gaming experience, participating in events like this (and future ROG Experience Tour stops) is a fantastic way to do it!
Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2012 - 02:35 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ROG, patriot, gaming, fry's, event, asus, antec
As Ryan alluded to in last night’s podcast, there is an upcoming event at the Fry’s Electronics store in Sunnyvale, California on the last weekend in July – the 28th and 29th. Specifically, it is the second-annual Republic of Gamers @ Fry’s event held by popular motherboard manufacturer ASUS. ASUS, in concert with NVIDIA, Antec, and Patriot Memory will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to your comments. As a gaming-oriented event, the company has lined up several events for the whole family – from casual to hardcore gamers – and has brought along tons of ROG-branded hardware for you to check out. Some of the hardware on hand will include ASUS’ Maximus V Extreme and Maximus V Formula Z77 motherboards, its G75 laptops, and Vulcan Active Noise Canceling Headphones. There will also be prize giveaways both in person and online through the various social networks (for those that can’t make it in person).
Gaming hardware spans from the ASUS Transformer tablets to custom high-end gaming machines that will be available for you to play a number of different games.
The other major event is a panel hosted by PC Perspective’s own Ryan Shrout who will be entertaining the audience along with several hardware manufacturers. The topics of discussion will include tips for first time PC builders, advanced overclocking techniques, general hardware goodness, and a question and answer section where you will get a chance to get answers from the hardware manufacturers on your important questions!
It’s is going to be a really fun time, and you will be able to see Ryan and
bug him about the podcast videos and give him (good!) feedback on the site. We are excited about it and hope to see you all there! We previously mentioned a question and answer section, and one way to ask if you can’t make it is use the comments section below this post where Ryan will do his best to get you good answers!
Below are the full details on the where and when.
1077 East Arques Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
July 28th-29th 2012 (Saturday and Sunday) from 11am to 6pm
Admission is free.
ASUS will be providing $0.50 hot dogs and Coke, the money from which will go towards local charities.
Of course, there is a Facebook page for more information and to RSVP. Visit http://goo.gl/Lxkdl for more event details and follow #ROGexperience to stay up-to-date on the latest event information and for some great on-site giveaways.
Subject: Displays | July 26, 2012 - 11:17 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tn monitor, nvidia, monitor, asus, 3d vision 2, 144hz, 1080p
ASUS has a new 27” desktop monitor that should be hitting shelves soon. The VG278HE is an LED-backlit TN display with 1920x1080p resolution. So far, the specs are fairly lackluster, especially considering it is a 27” monitor. What is impressive about the display is the refresh rate. At 144 Hz, it offers up some promising 3D benefits, and as such it is compatible with NVIDIA’s 3D Vision 2 technology (the necessary glasses and transmitter are sold separately).
For 3D, the 144 Hz refresh rate means that you can get 72 Hz per eye, which should make it a much smoother experience that cuts down on flicker. It also suggests benefits for 2D gamers as well, because you can enable V-Sync to reducing tearing and still get respectable frame rates. Sure, 240 hertz would be really nice, but at least this is a step in the right direction for desktop monitors that seem to be perpetually stuck at 1080p resolutions (unless you go Korean, of course – as Josh would put it). The TN panel and resolution are drawbacks, but depending on price this may still be a good buy. Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability according to Flat Panels HD.
Other features of the monitor include a swivel, tilt, and height-adjustable stand, and HDMI, DVI, and VGA video inputs. Further, the monitor offers up two three watt speakers – and better yet – a headphone jack to connect powered speakers or headphones to. (At least that’s the reported spec, I hope that it’s not simply an input like my ASUS monitor has).
Personally, I think that I would rather have a higher resolution monitor than one with a faster refresh rate, but it seems to be a highly debated topic. I’m interesting in what you think. Which do you prefer, resolution or refresh rate (3D aside)?
Granted, as Ken reported earlier this month, if you are lucky you may be able to get the best of both worlds and snag an overclockable IPS monitor – but you’ll pay for the privilege.
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