Subject: Motherboards | December 3, 2015 - 01:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- Gigabyte's Z170X-Gaming G1 @ The Tech Report
- Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH @ eTeknix
- MSI B150M Mortar Review @ OCC
- GIGABYTE Z170-HD3 Review; DDR3 & Skylake @ Hardware Canucks
- Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 @ Modders-Inc
- FIRST LOOK Gigabyte H170N-WIFI Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Gigabyte GA-H110M-A: A Sub-$60 Intel Skylake Motherboard @ Phoronix
Introduction and Technical Specifications
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.
Courtesy of ASUS
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.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 26, 2015 - 09:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: asus, 980 Ti
As most of our readers are well aware, the graphics market is dominated by two GPU vendors, both of which sell chips and reference designs to add-in board partners. ASUS is one of the oldest add-in board partners. According to their anniversary website, ASUS even produced a card that was based on the S3 ViRGE/DX graphics chipset all the way back in 1996.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary, although they don't exactly state when they start counting, ASUS has released a few high-end versions of Maxwell-based graphics cards. This one is the ASUS 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti. It comes with a base clock speed of 1266 MHz, which boosts up to 1367 MHz as needed. This is quite high, considering the reference card is clocked at 1000 MHz and boosts to 1189 MHz, although overclocking the 980 Ti is not too difficult to begin with. Ryan got up to 1465 MHz with a reference card. The Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti might go even higher with its enhanced cooling and power delivery, and it's designed for liquid nitrogen if you're that type of enthusiast.
Speaking of liquid nitrogen features, the card advertises a “Memory Defroster” feature that looks rather extreme. I can't say that I've ever seen a graphics card get covered in a visible layer of ice, but I've also never attached it to a reservoir of liquid with a temperature that's easier to write in Kelvin than Celcius.
Is this a legit problem? Or does this seem like “anti-dust shield” to everyone else too?
The ASUS 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti ships this month.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | November 22, 2015 - 01:30 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, PCIe SSD, notebook, N752, N552, laptop, ips, Intel Core i7, GTX 960M, asus, 4k
ASUS has added two new laptops to their N series line up premium, entertainment-focused laptops. The new models offer Intel’s 6th-gen (Skylake) Core i7 processors and high resolution IPS displays, as well as fast PCIe storage and discrete NVIDIA graphics.
The new models are the 15.6-inch N552 and 17.3-inch N752, and both sizes offer wide-gamut IPS display options up to 3840x2160 with 100% sRGB coverage. The displays are powered by graphics up to a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. Quad-core Intel Core i7 processors power both models, with a generous 16GB of RAM standard. Storage is provided via PCIe x4 storage with speeds of 1500 MB/s with capacities up to 512 MB, and external connectivity includes a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port.
While boasting powerful specs these N-series laptops are also geared toward entertainment, with ASUS drawing attention to the sound from their “SonicMaster” audio system, which boasts powerful B&O ICEpower class-D amplification for the laptop’s front-facing speakers. Other features include backlit keys which offer 1.8 mm travel, and aluminum covering the keyboard area and lid.
The new models haven’t shown up on the U.S. product pages just yet, so pricing and availability are not yet known.
Subject: Motherboards | November 20, 2015 - 02:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, TUF SABERTOOTH Z170, LGA 1151
It has been a while since we saw a new Sabertooth motherboard from the other side of ASUS, The Ultimate Force, up for review but [H]ard|OCP has remedied that with the new Z170 member of this line of products. It bears the same Thermal Armour design as previous models, adding a small fan that doesn't quite fit in with the overall design of the motherboard. As well you will notice an absence of a visible CMOS battery, it is indeed buried under the armour. [H]ard|OCP were less than impressed with the memory subsystem, the board is rated for DDR4 2400MHz DIMMs maximum and no higher. On the other hand the incredible stability of this board and the amount of features available on this relatively inexpensive Z170 board did garner a Gold Award. Read the full review to understand the benefits and drawbacks of this motherboard.
"In our opinion ASUS’ TUF series motherboards target the sweet spot in regard to features, price, and performance. TUF motherboards give you more features than most mid-range motherboards but lack certain features found on the high end. The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 is the flagship part of the current TUF series."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
Podcast #376 - Intel Speed Shift, CPU Coolers from Noctua and DEEPCOOL, Broadwell-E Rumors, and more!
Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2015 - 02:42 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, noctua, Deepcool, Gamer Storm Gabriel, Intel, speed shift, amd, R9, fury x, trixx, Broadwell-E, kaby lake, nvidia, shield tablet k1, knights landing, asus, chromebit
PC Perspective Podcast #376 - 11/19/2015
Join us this week as we discuss Intel Speed Shift, CPU Coolers from Noctua and DEEPCOOL, Broadwell-E Rumors, 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:19:22
Week in Review:
0:32:10 This episode of PC Perspective Podcast is brought to you by Braintree. Even the best mobile app won’t work without the right payments API. That’s where the Braintree v.0 SDK comes in. One amazingly simple integration gives you every way to pay. Try out the sandbox and see for yourself at braintreepayments.com/pcper
News item of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 19, 2015 - 01:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, strix, Radeon R9 380X, tonga
The full serving of Tonga in the AMD Radeon R9 380X has 32 compute units, 2048 stream processors, 32 ROPs and 128 texture units which compares favourably to the 23CUs, 1792 stream processors, 32 ROPs and 112 texture units of the existing R9 380. Memory bandwidth and amount is unchanged, 182GB/sec of memory bandwidth at the stock speed of 5.7GHz effective and the GPU clock remains around 970MHz as well. The MSRP is to be $230 for the base model.
With the specifications out of the way, the next question to answer is how it fares against the direct competition, the GTX 960 and 970. That is where this review from [H]ard|OCP comes in, with a look at the ASUS STRIX R9 380X DirectCU II OC, running 1030MHz default and 1050MHz at the push of a button. Their tests at 1440p were a little disappointing, the card did not perform well until advanced graphics settings were reduced but at 1080p they saw great performance with all the bells and whistles turned up. The pricing will be key to this product, if sellers can keep it at or below MSRP it is a better deal than the GTX 970 but if the prices creep closer then the 970 is the better value.
"AMD has let loose the new AMD Radeon R9 380X GPU, today we evaluate the ASUS STRIX R9 380X OC video card and find out how it compares to a 4GB GeForce GTX 960 and GeForce GTX 970 for a wide picture of where performance lies at 1440p or where it does not at 1440p considering your viewpoint."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD's Radeon R9 380X @ The Tech Report
- ASUS Strix R9 380X DirectCU II OC @ Kitguru
- XFX Radeon R9 380X DD Review @ Neoseeker
- AMD Radeon R9 380X Technology Report @ Tech ARP
- XFX AMD Radeon R9 380X @ Hardwareheaven
- ASUS Radeon R9 380X Strix 4GB @ techPowerUp
- Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP Extreme 6GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti SEA HAWK @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2015 - 12:47 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, hdmi stick, hdmi, chromebit, chrome os, asus, arm
Small form factor PCs are big this year, and Google is about to get into the game with its own HDMI dongle PC running Chrome OS. Google has partnered with Asus to release the Chromebit CS10 which is now avaialble for $85.
The small stick PC weighs 75 grams (2.6 ounces) and will come in black, orange, and eventually blue colors. The Chromebit is about the size of a flash drive with an HDMI port on one end, DC power input on one side, and a single USB 2.0 port on the other end. A removeable cap protects the HDMI output. It is small enough that you can toss it into a bag or tuck it behind a monitor or kiosk permanently. Asus includes an AC power adapter (18W, 1.5 amps) and a flexible HDMI connector (or a short extension cable depending on the region) along with velco stickers in the box.
The Chromebit CS10 is powered by a quad core Rockchip 3288-C SoC featuring four ARM Cortex A17 CPU cores and a Mali T624 GPU. The SoC is paired with 2GB of LPDDR3 memory and 16GB of eMMC storage. Connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 radios along with the USB 2.0 port. Users can hook up a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and use the USB port for extra storage, or hook up even more devices using a USB hub.
So far, reviews are positive and generally state that (for example) while the Rockchip ARM processor is no racehorse, it is good enough for basic web browsing, media streaming, and document editing.
Of course, the Chromebit runs the Chrome web browser, but it also can run any of the apps from the Chrome Web Store including Netflix, Office, and any number of free games. Asus is aiming the Chromebit at digital signage, kiosk, thin clients for schools, and for on-the-go travelers.
The Chromebit CS10 is available soon (it is listed as out of stock on Newegg and has not shown up on Amazon or other sites yet) for $85 in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Taiwan. Business customers can further purchase the ability to use the Chromebit in a locked down single-app kiosk mode for $24 per user, per year from CDW.
- Intel Compute Stick Review
- Kangaroo is a Pocket-Sized Battery-Powered Windows 10 PC
- Google Chromecast coverage
Subject: Networking | November 17, 2015 - 12:56 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nitroQAM, mu-mimo, gigabit router, broadcom, asuswrt, asus, 802.11ac
Asus has officially launched the RT-AC5300, a massive
replicator tri-band wireless router. The new router is fenced in by eight large antennas that allow the device to support 4 x 4 MU-MIMO wireless on two 5 GHz and one 2.4 GHz bands.
The menacing high-end wireless router supports the latest wired and wireless consumer networking technologies and runs the AsusWRT firmware. The RT-AC5300 is clad in black with red accents. The top of the router is mesh to facilitate cooling. In addition to the eight antennas, there are five gigabit Ethernet ports (up to two ports can be configured as WAN ports), a USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, and physical buttons for WPS, Wi-Fi, and LED on/off.
Powered by a Broadcom chipset, the router supports 802.11ac as well as older N/G/B Wi-Fi standards. Using NitroQAM technology, the two 5 GHz bands each support up to 2,167 Mbps speeds while the 2.4 GHz band tops out at 1,000 Mbps. This is a boost over the usual 1,734 Mbps for 5 GHz and 600 Mbps for 2.4 GHz wireless bandwidth numbers. Asus claims that the router can run all three bands simultaneously along with beamforming to improve the signal to devices by focusing the signal. Note that the combined advertised "5334 Mbps" of the router includes all three bands but a single device would max out at the 2,167 Mbps theoretical maximum of a single band. The router is capable of automatically figuring out and using the optimal band to communicate with each device based on its capabilities and signal strength.
When it comes to wired connections, the router has four 1 Gbps LAN ports. It also supports 802.3ad link aggregation which allows using two of the gigabit ports to create a single 2 Gbps link to supported devices like network attached storage (NAS) and workstations.
Asus is using ASUSWRT firmware along with AiRadar beamforming, AiProtect security, and a subscription to WTFast GPN which is a service aimed at gamers that reportedly delivers decreased pings and lower latency connections to game servers.
Pricing and availability have not been announced, but CNET is reporting an expected price of $400 USD.
To say that this router is overkill for most is an understatement, but it is packed with features and is ready to stream a Stargate SG-1 marathon to all your devices!
Subject: Systems | November 13, 2015 - 10:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Zen AiO Pro, UHD, its display, Intel RealSense, desktop computer, Core i7-6700T, asus, all-in-one, AIO, 4k
ASUS has announced their newest all-in-one desktop PC, the Zen AiO Pro, featuring a 24-inch 4K IPS display and 6th-gen Intel Skylake processors.
"The Zen AiO Pro is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and design, with a slim unibody shell and integral stand forged from aluminum. The sophisticated appearance is enhanced by a layer of edge-to-edge glass covering the display, while the rear cover has a brushed-metal finish that complements the spun-metal concentric circles on the front fascia. A vision of elegance, the Zen AiO Pro’s exterior is anodized a stylish yet subtle Icicle Gold color that adds a touch of beauty to any space."
Beyond the (very gold) industrial design this PC features some pretty impressive specs depending on how you choose to configure it. The 23.8" IPS screen is available both 1920x1080 and a multi-touch 4K (UHD) 3840x2160 as well. CPU options include the Intel Core i7-6700T, a 4 core/8 thread part, and the AiO Pro features discrete graphics up to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. The inclusion of an Intel RealSense camera allows features like facial recognition, with plenty of rear I/O connectivity that includes USB 3.1 Type-C.
Zen AiO Pro Specifications:
- Display: 23.8in IPS 4K/UHD 3840×2160 with 10-point capacitive multi-touch; 23.8in IPS Full HD 1920x1080
- Processor: Intel Core i5-6400T; Intel Core i7-6700T
- Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 950M, 1GB GDDR5; NVIDIA GTX 960M, 2GB GDDR5
- Memory: 8GB or 16GB dual-channel DDR4 at 2133MHz
- Storage options: 512GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD; 1TB SSHD; 1TB HDD
- Wireless: 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4 (M.2, 2T2R), supports Intel WiDi
- Ethernet: 10/100/1000Mbit/s
- Cameras: Intel RealSense camera, 1MP 720P webcam
- Audio: 8W Stereo Speakers
- I/O ports: 1x USB 3.1 (Type-C); 4x USB 3.0; 1x USB 2.0; 1x microphone; 1x headphone; SD card slot; 2x HDMI; LAN
- Power Supply: 180W
- Operating System: Windows 10
The Zen AiO Pro starts at $999 (which includes a matching wireless keyboard and mouse) and is available now, with additional configurations to follow.