Podcast #381 - Picks of the Year, the EK Predator 240, ASUS MG278Q FreeSync and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 31, 2015 - 06:57 PM |
Tagged: video, Skylake, Silverstone, predator 240, podcast, picks of the year, mg278q, Intel, g-sync, freesync, EKWB, Broadwell, asus

PC Perspective Podcast #381 - 12/31/2015

Join us this week as we discuss our Picks of the Year, the EK Predator 240, ASUS MG278Q FreeSync and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, Morry Tietelman, and Sebastian Peak

Program length: 2:13:30

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. PC Perspective Hardware Picks of the Year
    1. 0:48:30 Graphics Card of 2015
    2. 1:00:40 CPU of 2015
    3. 1:06:55 Storage of 2015
    4. 1:11:15 Case of 2015
    5. 1:20:50 Motherboard of 2015
    6. 1:29:20 Price Drop of 2015
    7. 1:38:30 Mobile Device of 2015
    8. 1:45:50 Best Trend of 2015
    9. 1:57:40 Worst Trend of 2015
  4. Closing/outro

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ASUS Announces ROG Maximus VIII Formula Motherboard with EK Hybrid Liquid Cooling

Subject: Motherboards | December 30, 2015 - 09:06 PM |
Tagged: Z170, water cooling, water block, Maximus VIII Formula, EKWB, ek, crosschill, ATX motherboard, ASUS ROG, asus

ASUS ROG has announced the Maximus VIII Formula, a premium ATX motherboard with integrated EK hybrid liquid cooling which allows users to choose liquid or air cooling for the board's hottest components.

Maximus-VIII-Formula_3D-1-s.jpg

"The latest ROG Z170 motherboard now comes with the exclusive CrossChill EK hybrid cooling block! ROG teamed up with the guys at EK to create a high-conductivity channel, so you will be ready for liquid-cooling goodness right out-of-the-box. Don’t worry if you don’t intend to upgrade to liquid-cooling straight away, because this also runs on air cooling. Why spend more money on a third-party waterblock when it’s already built-in and looks this good?"

In addition to the integrated water cooling support the Maximus VIII Formula includes the usual bells and whistles we've come to expect from these ROG motherboards, including advanced overclocking support and premium audio, and the Formula also offers RGB headers and lighting controls and "ROG Armor". There is also advanced storage support from both M.2 and U.2 connectors, and provides advanced wireless via built-in 2x2 802.11ac with an external antenna included.

Maximus-VIII-Formula_Crosschill-EK-s.jpg

Specifications from ASUS:

  • Processor: LGA1151 socket for 6th-generation Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium / Celeron processors
  • Chipset: Intel Z170 Express
  • Memory: 4x DIMMs, up to a maximum of 64GB, DDR4 3733 (OC), Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
  • Expansion slots: 
    • 2x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (single at x16, dual at x8/x8 mode)
    • 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (maximum at x4 mode)
    • 3x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots
  • Graphics (Integrated Intel HD Graphics processor):
    • DisplayPort 1.2 with maximum resolution of 4096 x 2034 at 60Hz
    • HDMI with maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 at 24Hz
    • Intel InTru 3D / Quick Sync Video / Clear Video HD Technology / Insider
  • Multi-GPU: Two-way/quad-GPU NVIDIA® SLI and AMD three-way/quad-GPU CrossFireX technology
  • Storage:
    • 1x U.2 (supports PCIe 3.0 x4 NVM Express storage)
    • 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, supports 2242/2260/2280/22110 devices
    • 2x SATA Express
    • 8x SATA 6.0 Gbps (4 shared with SATA Express)
  • Networking/LAN: 
    • Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN and ASUS LANGuard
    • Integrated 2×2 dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with external antenna included
  • USB: 
    • 2x USB 3.1 (1x Type-A; 1x Type-C)
    • 10x USB 3.0 ports (6 on back panel, 4 mid-board)
    • 4x USB 2.0 ports (mid-board)
  • Audio: ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-channel high-definition audio
    • ESS ES9023P high-definition DAC
    • 2V RMS Headphone Amp into (32-600 ohms)
    • SupremeFX shielding technology
    • Sonic SenseAmp
    • Jack-detection, multi-streaming, front-panel mic jack-retasking
    • Optical S/PDIF-out port on back panel
  • Dimensions / form factor: ATX, 12.0 x 9.6in (30.5 x 24.4cm)

Maximus-VIII-Formula_ROG-Amor-s.jpg

Pricing and availabilty were not announced. Full press release after the break.

Source: ASUS ROG
Author:
Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: ASUS

Another TN Option for FreeSync Fans

If you had asked me a year ago how many monitors we would be able to store in the PC Perspective offices, I would have vastly underestimated the true answer. It seems that not only is the demand from readers for information about the latest and greatest display technology at a demand that we have never seen, but vendors that sell high quality monitors for enthusiasts and gamers are pumping out more models than I can keep track of.

But this is good, right? The more options we have, the more likely we are to find the best choice for each user, for each budget and for each required feature set. But more choices can also lead to confusion - that's where we continue to chime in. Today we are taking a look at the ASUS MG278Q monitor, a 27-in 2560x1440 display with support for AMD FreeSync technology and sporting a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz. With a TN panel rather than IPS, the MG278Q has a current selling price of just $399, well under the equivalent G-Sync monitors.

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Even better, since we started our evaluation on the display, AMD released the Radeon Crimson driver, introducing a new feature called Low Frame Rate Compensation. This essentially allows most of the FreeSync displays on the market to match NVIDIA G-Sync's ability to handle lower frame rates without resorting to V-Sync tearing, etc. If you haven't read about it, do so in the link above.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS MG278Q 2560x1440 144Hz FreeSync monitor!!

Podcast #380 - Microsoft's Surface Devices, the ASUS X99-E WS. HTC Vive and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 24, 2015 - 04:23 AM |
Tagged: podcast, video, asus, X99-E WS, microsoft, surface pro 4, surface book, htc, vive, ECS, LIVA, vulkan, dx12, Mantle, nvidia, shield tablet k1

PC Perspective Podcast #380 - 12/24/2015

Join us this week as we discuss Microsoft's Surface Devices, the ASUS X99-E WS. HTC Vive and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Morry Tietelman, and Sebastian Peak

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

ASUS Introduces E3 Pro Gaming V5 Motherboard for Intel Xeon E3-1200 CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | December 20, 2015 - 04:09 AM |
Tagged: motherboard, Intel Xeon E3-1200, Intel C232, E3 Pro Gaming V5, ATX motherboard, asus

ASUS has introduced a new ATX gaming motherboard for Intel's 6th-generation Xeon E3-1200 server processors, offering premium desktop gaming features on a board built with Intel's C232 chipset.

e3_pro_gaming_v5_asus.jpg

The board is built with Intel's C232 chipset, needed to support the Xeon E3-1200 processors (not compatible with desktop chipsets). Intel's C232 product page lists a maximum of only 8 PCI Express lanes, so (as pointed out in the comments) the E3-1200 and desktop Skylake processors will provide 16 lanes to the first PCIe slot, with the C232 providing up to 8 more for the other slots. (Intel's C236 chipset, the other chipset supporting these new Skylake Xeon CPUs, supports 20 PCIe lanes.)

The E3 Pro Gaming V5 supports not only E3-1200 series Xeon processors, but 6th-generation Intel Core and Pentium/Celeron CPUs as well with its LGA1151 socket. Why exactly would a server CPU be an attractive option for a gaming rig anyway? For one thing the 4 core/8 thread Skylake desktop CPU (the i7-6700K) is difficult to find and currently $419.99 on Newegg (and out of stock). A Skylake Xeon E3-1230 v5 on the other hand (all models above E3-1220/1225 are 4 core/8 thread) starts at $274.99 (Newegg).

E3PGV5.jpg

Here are some of the specifications from ASUS:

  • CPU: Intel Socket 1151 for Xeon E3-1200 v5 and 6th genereation Core, Pentium and Celeron Processors 
  • Chipset: Intel C232
  • Memory: 4x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory, Dual-Channel Memory Architecture 
  • Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
  • Expansion Slots:
    • 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 mode) 
    • 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)
    • 2x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 
    • 2x PCI
  • Multi-GPU Support: Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology, AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology
  • Storage: (Intel C232 chipset) 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Supports both SATA & PCIE SSD), 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports, support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise support
  • LAN: Intel I219LM, 1x Gigabit LAN Controller, GameFirst technology, Anti-surge LANGuard
  • Audio: SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio
  • USB Ports:
    • (ASMedia USB 3.1 controller) 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
    • (Intel C232 chipset) 6x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • Form Factor: ATX (12 inch x 9.6 inch)

Availability for the U.S.A. was not specified, but according to the press release (accessed via Vortez here) it will be offered in the UK with an MSRP of £118.10, or approximately $175 US.

Source: ASUS
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

02-board_1.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

The X99-E WS/USB 3.1 is leading board in ASUS' Workstation line for the Intel X99 chipset with enhanced support for USB 3.1-based devices. The board features full support for all Intel LGA2011-3 based processors paired with DDR4 memory operating in up to a quad channel configuration. Priced at a hefty $539.99, the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board comes with an immense feature set to more than justify its massive price tag.

03-board-profile_0.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

04-board-flyapart_0.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

Powering the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board is an 8-phase digital power system featuring high efficiency Beat Thermal chokes, Dr. MOS MOSFETs, and 12k rated solid capacitors. Additionally, ASUS integrated their CPU OC Socket into the board's design, ensuring board's overclocking potential. The integrated PLX chip enhances the board's graphics bandwidth, offering full x16 bandwidth with four card populated and x8 bandwidth with all seven PCIe x16 slots populated.

ASUS chose to integrate the following features into the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board: eight SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; two eSATA ports; Intel I218LM and I210-AT Gigabit NICs; seven PCI-Express x16 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, MemOK!, Q-Code Logger, and BIOS Flashback buttons; TPU, EPU, Dr. Power, and EZ_XMP switches; Crystal Audio 2 audio subsystem; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A port support.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS X99-E WS/USB 3.1 motherboard!

Pushing the ASUS STRIX R9 380X DirectCU II OC to the limit

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 14, 2015 - 08:55 PM |
Tagged: amd, asus, STRIX R9 380X DirectCU II OC, overclock

Out of the box the ASUS STRIX R9 380X OC has a top GPU speed of 1030MHz and memory at 5.7GHz, enough to outperform a stock GTX 960 4GB at 1440p but not enough to provide satisfactory performance at that resolution.  After spending some time with the card, [H]ard|OCP determined that the best overclock they could coax out of this particular GPU was 1175MHz and 6.5GHz, so they set about testing the performance at 1440p again.  To make it fair they also overclocked their STRIX GTX 960 OC 4GB to 1527MHz and 8GHz.  Read the full review for the detailed results, you will see that overclocking your 380X does really increase the value you get for your money.

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"We take the new ASUS STRIX R9 380X DirectCU II OC based on AMD's new Radeon R9 380X GPU and overclock this video card to its highest potential. We'll compare performance in six games, including Fallout 4, to a highly overclocked ASUS GeForce GTX 960 4GB video card and find out who dominates 1440p gaming."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Soundcards are no longer an easy sell ... can the ASUS STRIX Soar tempt consumers?

Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2015 - 10:50 PM |
Tagged: STRIX Soar, sound card, audio, asus

Ever since the NFORCE2 chipset's onboard audio codec we have seen a huge increase in the quality of integrated sound on motherboards and we have hit a point where you no longer need a soundcard for general usage.  This has sparked an interesting competition among soundcard makers, searching for a way to make their product relevant to users.  We have seen the return of tubes, programmable and replaceable OPAmps, powered headphone ports and a variety of other features.

ASUS has released the STRIX Soar 7.1 PCIe card recently and Kitguru got a chance to review the board.  It certainly looks as pretty as the cards which come with high end motherboards and is thin enough not to encroach on systems with multiple cards already installed but does it offer compelling reasons to purchase the card?  Kitguru gave it their "Must Have" award so there must be something attractive about the card, check out the full review to hear more about it.

asusstrixstock1.jpg

"Today we look at the most affordable of the STRIX sound cards, the Soar. Although it has much the same hardware and features as its bigger brothers, it is more affordable which could be the real kicker in convincing potential buyers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: Kitguru

Maximum Impact and mimimum footprint; the ASUS Maximus VIII Impact

Subject: Motherboards | December 3, 2015 - 06:39 PM |
Tagged: skylake-s, ROG, Republic of Gamers, Maximus VIII Impact, lga1151, Intel Z170, asus

Before looking at this particular Maximus board, make sure you have checked out Morry's review of the Silver Award winning Maximus VIII Gene as it is well worth the read.  If you find that a mATX board is simply too big for you then you could consider the ASUS Maximus VIII Impact, a mini-ITX board with a fair spread of features.  You are limited to a single x16 PCIe slot but that leaves plenty of channels for 6 USB 3.0, two 3.1 ports of which one is a Type-C connector, four SATA 6GBps ports and U.2 as well.  This board also features the SupremeFX audio found on the Gene, albeit in a slightly different form and adds dual channel WiFi support as well.  [H]ard|OCP were very impressed with Impact, check out the many reasons why it picked up their top awards here.

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"Let’s face it, most sequels are never as good as the original films. When it comes to motherboards the opposite usually rings true. ASUS’ Republic of Gamers brand has had several iterations of the mini-ITX Maximus Impact, today we have version VIII. Hopefully ASUS continues its track record of great sequels."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

02-board_0.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Gene is one of the Intel Z170 chipset offerings in the ROG (Republic of Gamer) board line. The board features the standard black and red ROG aesthetics in an mATX form factor to accommodate space constrained system builds. ASUS chose to integrate black-chrome heat sinks into the board's build, giving it a sleek and modern appearance. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset integrates support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. With an MSRP of $230, the Maximus VIII Gene offers a compelling price for a feature-packed product.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Gene features an 8+2 phase digital power system, providing more than enough power to the CPU and integrated GPU for whatever you choose to throw at it. ASUS integrated the following features into the Maximus VIII Gene board: two SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; two PCI-Express x16 slots; one PCI-Express x4 slot; on-board power, reset, MemOK!, Safe Boot, ReTry, Clear CMOS, and USB BIOS Flashback buttons; ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Maximus VIII Gene motherboard!