Quality time with G-Sync
Readers of PC Perspective will already know quite alot about NVIDIA's G-Sync technology. When it was first unveiled in October we were at the event and were able to listen to NVIDIA executives, product designers and engineers discuss and elaborate on what it is, how it works and why it benefits gamers. This revolutionary new take on how displays and graphics cards talk to each other enables a new class of variable refresh rate monitors that will offer up the smoothness advantages of having V-Sync off, while offering the tear-free images normally reserved for gamers enabling V-Sync.
NVIDIA's Prototype G-Sync Monitor
We were lucky enough to be at NVIDIA's Montreal tech day while John Carmack, Tim Sweeney and Johan Andersson were on stage discussing NVIDIA G-Sync among other topics. All three developers were incredibly excited about G-Sync and what it meant for gaming going forward.
Also on that day, I published a somewhat detailed editorial that dug into the background of V-sync technology, why the 60 Hz refresh rate existed and why the system in place today is flawed. This basically led up to an explanation of how G-Sync works, including integration via extending Vblank signals and detailed how NVIDIA was enabling the graphics card to retake control over the entire display pipeline.
In reality, if you want the best explanation of G-Sync, how it works and why it is a stand-out technology for PC gaming, you should take the time to watch and listen to our interview with NVIDIA's Tom Petersen, one of the primary inventors of G-Sync. In this video we go through quite a bit of technical explanation of how displays work today, and how the G-Sync technology changes gaming for the better. It is a 1+ hour long video, but I selfishly believe that it is the most concise and well put together collection of information about G-Sync for our readers.
The story today is more about extensive hands-on testing with the G-Sync prototype monitors. The displays that we received this week were modified versions of the 144Hz ASUS VG248QE gaming panels, the same ones that will in theory be upgradeable by end users as well sometime in the future. These monitors are TN panels, 1920x1080 and though they have incredibly high refresh rates, aren't usually regarded as the highest image quality displays on the market. However, the story about what you get with G-Sync is really more about stutter (or lack thereof), tearing (or lack thereof), and a better overall gaming experience for the user.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 9, 2013 - 03:03 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: R9 290X, DirectCU II, asus
The AMD Radeon R9 290X is a very good graphics processor whose reference design is marred with a few famous design choices. AMD specs the GPU to run at a maximum of 95C, perpetually, and will push its frequency up to 1 GHz if it can stay at or under that temperature. Its cooler in the typical, "Quiet", default setting is generally unable to keep this frequency for more than a handful of minutes. This lead to countless discussions about what it means to be a default and what are the components actual specifications.
All along we note that custom designs from add-in board (AIB) partners could change everything.
ASUS seems to be first to tease their custom solution. This card, based on their DirectCU II design, uses two fans and multiple 10mm nickel plated heatpipes directly atop the processor. The two fans should be able to move more air at a slower rate of rotation and thus be more efficient per decibel. The heatsink itself might also be able to pull heat, quicker, altogether. I am hoping that ASUS provisioned the part to remain at a stable 1GHz under default settings or perhaps even more!
The real test for Hawaii will be when the wave of custom editions washes on shore. We know the processor is capable of some pretty amazing performance figures when it can really open up. This, and other partner boards, would make for possibly the most interesting AIB round-up we have ever had.
No word, yet, on pricing or availability.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 6, 2013 - 04:13 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: asus, padfone, PadFone Mini
I will be entirely honest with you: every time I need to look up the PadFone to make sure I am not getting it confused with the FonePad.
An older model but it gets the point across.
The upcoming PadFone Mini is expected to be a phone of some size (probably smaller than the 5" Pad Fone Infinity) with a dock of some other unknown size. The phone was briefly mentioned in a China Times article back in September. There it was expected to have a 4-inch display on the handset and a 7-inch display on the tablet dock. According to Engadget's interpretation of the VR-Zone leak (who saw that coming?) that might have changed since then.
The device itself is expected to be based on the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC, run Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean), and have a handset resolution of 960x540. That is about all that we have even the slightest clue about at this point.
No word yet on whether this device will even be available in North America though. For that, we will probably need to wait until the actual announcement (or even later).
Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2013 - 03:13 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, teardown, sshd, ps4 ssd, ps4, podcast, mars 760, mars, asus
PC Perspective Podcast #278 - 11/21/2013
Join us this week as we discuss our PS4 Teardown and Storage Benchmarks, ASUS MARS 760, 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 Allyn Malventano
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 20, 2013 - 01:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mars, asus, ROG MARS 760, gtx 760, dual gpu
Fremont, CA (November 19, 2013) - ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the MARS 760 graphics card featuring two GeForce GTX 760 graphics-processing units (GPUs) capable of delivering incredible gaming performance and ensuring ultra-smooth high-resolution gameplay. The MARS 760 even outpaces the GeForce GTX TITAN — with game performance that’s up to 39% faster overall. The MARS 760 is a two-slot card packed with exclusive ASUS technologies including DirectCU II for 20%-cooler and vastly quieter operation, DIGI+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) for ultra-stable power delivery and GPU Tweak, an easy-to-use utility that lets users safely overclock the two GTX 760 GPUs.
Exclusive ASUS features provide cool, quiet, durable and stable performance ASUS exclusive DirectCU II technology puts 8 highly-conductive cooling copper heatpipes in direct contact with both GPUs. These heatpipes provide extremely efficient cooling, allowing the MARS 760 to run 20% cooler and vastly quieter than reference GeForce GTX 690 cards. Dual 90mm dust-proof fans help to provide six times (6X) greater airflow than reference design. And with 4GB of GDDR5 video memory, the ASUS ROG MARS 760 is capable of delivering visuals with incredibly high frame rates and no stutter, ensuring extremely smooth gameplay — even at WQHD resolutions. An attention-grabbing LED even illuminates as the MARS 760 is operating under load.
The MARS 760 is equipped with ROG’s acclaimed DIGI+ voltage-regulation module (VRM), featuring a 12-phase power design that reduces power noise by 30% and enhances efficiency by 15%. Custom sourced black metallic capacitors offer 20%-better temperature endurance for a lifespan that’s up to five times (5X) longer. The new card is built with extremely hardwearing polymerized organic-semiconductor capacitors (POSCAPs) and has an aluminum back-plate, further lowering power noise while increasing both durability and stability to unlock overclocking potential.
The exclusive GPU Tweak tuning tool allows quick, simple and safe control over clock speeds, voltages, cooling-fan speeds and power-consumption thresholds; GPU Tweak lets users push the two GTX 760 GPUs even further. The ROG edition of GPU Tweak included with the MARS 760 also enables detailed GPU load-line calibration and VRM-frequency tuning, allowing for the most extensive control and tweaking parameters in order to maximize overclocking potential — all adjusted via an attractive and easy-to-use graphical interface.
The GPU Tweak Streaming feature, the newest addition to the GPU Tweak tool, lets users share on-screen action over the internet in real time so others can watch live as games are played. It’s even possible to add a title to the streaming window along with scrolling text, pictures and webcam images.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 SLI
- PCI Express 3.0
- 4096MB GDDR5 memory (2GB per GPU)
- 1008MHz (1072MHz boosted) core speed
- 6004 MHz (1501 MHz GDDR5) memory clock
- 512-bit memory interface
- 2560 x 1600 maximum DVI resolution
- 2 x dual-link DVI-I output
- 1 x dual-link DVI-D output
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort output
- HDMI output (via dongle)
Subject: Motherboards | November 7, 2013 - 01:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, rampage iv black edition, lga2011
Fremont, CA (November 7th, 2013) - ASUS today announced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rampage IV Black Edition, an E-ATX gaming and overclocking motherboard designed to unleash the full potential of Intel LGA 2011 Core i7 Ivy Bridge-E processors is available for pre-order at select sites.
Based on the Intel X79 Express chipset, the Rampage IV Black Edition includes all of the best ROG technologies and innovations for unrivaled gaming and overclocking performance. With its four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots and eight DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB of overclocked DDR3 DRAM, the Rampage IV Black Edition has near limitless expansion possibilities, including support for both 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX.
Every Rampage IV Black Edition includes a free copy of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, allowing gamers to take advantage of premium ROG hardware and software features right out of the box.
Born to push limits and break records
ASUS designed the Rampage IV Black Edition for those who demand the ultimate feature set. It includes the OC Panel, a real-time system-monitoring and tuning console that is great for gamers and a huge advantage for overclockers. It can be mounted internally for everyday monitoring of temperatures, base clock and fan speeds while also offering one-click CPU Level Up for an instant speed boost. Externally, it can be used to monitor and control multiple parameters in real-time via onboard buttons. Extreme overclocking has never been easier.
Prior to becoming widely available, world-class overclockers have already demonstrated the Rampage IV Black Edition’s record-breaking capabilities as it currently holds chart-topping scores in top benchmarks and numerous other world records on the X79 platform.
Built for the most demanding games and gamers
In order to be able to push the limits, ROG engineers combined thoughtful design with superior quality components.
The Rampage IV Black Edition’s Extreme Engine DIGI+ III voltage-regulator module (VRM) provides highly precise and stable power delivery by employing NexFET MOSFETs, 60A (amp) chokes and high-endurance Japanese-made 10K black metallic capacitors. The motherboard’s black-themed heat-sink is exclusively and cleverly integrated with the MOSFET area to extend to the input/output (I/O) cover for even better cooling and stability.
Built-in SupremeFX Black technology provides sound quality that is on par with high-end dedicated sound cards. Premium components such as ELNA audio capacitors and German-made WIMA film capacitors deliver impeccable clarity, while high-fidelity op-amps (operational amplifiers) and a Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC (digital/analog converter) deliver lossless audio and a brilliant 120dB SNR (signal-to-noise ratio).
ROG’s Sonic Radar on-screen overlay provides fans of first-person shooter (FPS) games with an ear to the ground, as it displays the precise direction and origin of in-game sounds such as gunshots, footsteps and call-outs — giving ROG gamers a leg-up when trying to pinpoint the enemy.
Ultra-fast Intel Gigabit Ethernet with ROG’s GameFirst II utility optimizes network traffic to keep latency to a minimum and reduce all-important ping times. The ROG RAMDisk utility allows up to 80% of a computer’s available RAM to be used as a high-speed virtual drive — lending a strong performance boost to many modern games that regularly read or write data during gameplay.
ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP
Earlier this month AMD took the wraps off of a revamped and restyled family of GPUs under the Radeon R9 and R7 brands. When I reviewed the R9 280X, essentially a lower cost version of the Radoen HD 7970 GHz Edition, I came away impressed with the package AMD was able to put together. Though there was no new hardware to really discuss with the R9 280X, the price drop placed the cards in a very aggressive position adjacent the NVIDIA GeForce line-up (including the GeForce GTX 770 and the GTX 760).
As a result, I fully expect the R9 280X to be a great selling GPU for those gamers with a mid-range budget of $300.
But another of the benefits of using an existing GPU architecture is the ability for board partners to very quickly release custom built versions of the R9 280X. Companies like ASUS, MSI, and Sapphire are able to have overclocked and custom-cooled alternatives to the 3GB $300 card, almost immediately, by simply adapting the HD 7970 PCB.
Today we are going to be reviewing a set of three different R9 280X cards: the ASUS DirectCU II, MSI Twin Frozr Gaming, and the Sapphire TOXIC.
Subject: Mobile | October 29, 2013 - 01:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, transformer t100, transformer book
The ASUS Transformer Book T100 is two devices, a 10.1" 1366 x 768 tablet powered by a quad-core BayTrail based Atom Z3740 @ 1.33GHz base speed and Intel's HD graphics and 2GB of RAM. Storage is dependent on the model, both 32GB and 64GB models are available and you can expand that with up to another 64GB with an additional SD Card. The dock adds a keyboard as well as more connectivity options such as USB 3.0. If you want to see how it performs you can see The Tech Report's full review here.
"Despite its low $350 starting price, the Transformer Book T100 offers a quad-core Bay Trail SoC, a 10" IPS touchscreen, 10+ hours of battery life, a USB 3.0-equipped keyboard dock, and the full-fat version of Windows 8.1. We take a closer look at the most uniquely compelling notebook/tablet hybrid to date."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Alienware 18 Gaming Notebook @ Kitguru
- HP Chromebook 11 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus Review @ TechReviewSource
- Nextbook Premium 8 HD Tablet Review @ TechwareLabs
- Best Tablets of 2013: Fall Edition @ TechSpot
- Cooler Master NotePal XL Laptop Cooler Review @ Madshrimps
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (Verizon Wireless) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple iPhone 5s @ TechSpot
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphone Review @ ModSynergy
- Z30: The classiest BlackBerry mobe ever ... and possibly the last @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | October 23, 2013 - 06:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Xonar Essence STU USB, xonar, op-amps, headphone amplifier, DAC, audio, asus
Fremont, CA (October 22nd, 2013) - ASUS today announced the Xonar Essence STU USB external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier, based on the acclaimed design and quality of Xonar Essence ST/STX internal sound cards and going beyond their already high standards. Offering audiophile-grade performance, Xonar Essence STU delivers USB connectivity and accessible external controls.
It offers clear sound with a 120dB signal to noise ratio (SNR), strong 600ohm headphone amplifier, asynchronous USB audio and swappable Op-Amps for DIY sound modification. Precision clock tuning technology further enhances audio fidelity, making Xonar Essence STU a great choice for discerning music lovers who need a quality DAC and headphone amplifier to drive the full capabilities of high-end headphones.
"We received considerable positive feedback from customers regarding the excellent sound quality of Xonar Essence ST/STX sound cards, which led us to develop Xonar Essence STU as a USB device that offers even more premium audio quality plus easy controls and connectivity to notebooks. This is another example of ASUS listening to the community and acting on consumer demand”, said Ives Chiu, Audiovisual Product Manager at the ASUS Multimedia Business Unit.
High quality precision audio
Xonar Essence STU delivers clean, clear, and low distortion sound with 120dB SNR. It achieves this thanks to exacting hardware design, which includes balanced (or mirrored) PCB layout for accurate reproduction of all sound sources and minimal component crosstalk, or interference.
ASUS uses audio industry-leading components such as the Texas Instruments PCM1792A DAC and TPA6120A2 headphone amplifier, which supports up to 600ohm impedance. Also included are audiophile-approved WIMA FKP2 and Nichicon Finegold capacitors for balanced and rich sound.
To satisfy the most demanding users, Xonar Essence STU features precision clock tuning technology and asynchronous audio transfer. Both ensure accurate and jitter-free sound fidelity, allowing customers to enjoy music in its purest form. Bit-perfect playback is aided by support for ASIO audio drivers.
Complete ease of use
As an external device, Xonar Essence STU offers readily-accessible controls with no need to go into software menus. Customers can switch between low and high gain settings, accommodating better listening experiences across a wide range of headphones, from in-ear headsets (typically 16ohm-32ohm) to premium full-size headphones (up to 600ohm). This is especially useful with the increasing popularity of mobile devices, which normally ship with low impedance/high sensitivity headsets.
Dual volume controls help users change speaker and headphone sound levels simultaneously, similar to features offered by dedicated audio decks. The USB interface means connectivity with USB-compliant devices, while I/O ports include stereo RCA out, a 6.3mm headphone jack, two digital inputs, and auxiliary in.
Xonar Essence STU can be placed horizontally and vertically with a bundled stand, giving customers more space-saving flexibility for different locations and situations.
Tonal tuning and advanced controls
Texas Instruments NS-LME49720 and NS-LM4562NA Op-Amps (or operational amplifiers) deliver acoustics fine-tuned by audio engineers to support livelier and more detailed spacious sound.
Xonar Essence STU has room for three swappable Op-Amps, which can be replaced by users to adjust tonal performance based on personal taste. This open-ended and customizable design is inherited from previous Xonar Essence audio products, and remains true to the series’ commitment to accommodating as many customer preferences as possible.
Additional advanced features are a jumper switch that re-routes sound via Xonar Essence STU, allowing it to be used as a pre-amplifier in conjunction with a dedicated power amplifier. Customers can opt to adjust master volume directly on the power amplifier without having to reach Xonar Essence STU controls. Also, a selectable DC servo headphone output can be activated to minimize pop noise which may occur when powering on.
AVAILABILITY & PRICING
The ASUS Xonar Essence STU will be available from late October worldwide with an MSRP of US$399.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 23, 2013 - 06:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, overclocking, asus, ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP, r9 280x
Having already seen what the ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP can do at default speeds the obvious next step, once they had time to fully explore the options, was for [H]ard|OCP to see just how far this GPU can overclock. To make a long story short, they went from a default clock of 1070MHz up to 1230MHz and pushed the RAM to 6.6GHz from 6.4GHz though the voltage needed to be bumped from 1.2v to 1.3v. The actual frequencies are nowhere near as important as the effect on gameplay though, to see those results you will have to click through to the full article.
"We take the new ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP video card and find out how high it will overclock with GPU Tweak and voltage modification. We will compare performance to an overclocked GeForce GTX 770 and find out which card comes out on top when pushed to its overclocking limits."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte R9 280X OC 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X2 Turbo Boost Clock 3GB Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
- AMD Radeon R9 290X Versus NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Benchmarks @ Legit Reviews
- XFX R9 280X Black OC Edition @ Kitguru
- AMD Radeon R9 280X Video Card Review w/ ASUS, XFX and MSI @ Legit Reviews
- HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X² Turbo and R9 270X IceQ X² Turbo @ Legion Hardware
- Sapphire Radeon R9 270X Vapor-X @ Benchmark Reviews
- MSI R9 270X Hawk Review @ OCC
- Asus Matrix R9 280X Platinum @ LanOC Reviews
- ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS Radeon R9 280X IceQ X2 @ Benchmark Reviews
- Sapphire Toxic Edition R9 270X Video Card Review @HiTech Legion
- MSI Radeon R9 270X Gaming Video Card Review @ Ninjalane
- Sapphire Toxic R9 270X @ LanOC Review
- AMD Radeon 7000 and Radeon R200 Series Mixed CrossFire Testing @ Legit Reviews
- AMD Radeon R9 270X Graphics Card Review @ Techgage
- MSI R9 270X HAWK 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS Radeon R9 270X IceQ X2 Turbo Boost @ Benchmark Reviews
- Asus R9 270X DirectCU II Top @ LanOC Reviews
- Diamond Multimedia Radeon 7870 7870PE52GV Review @ HCW
- AMD Radeon R9 270X On Linux @ Phoronix
- ASUS GTX760 DirectCU Mini OC @ Hardawre.info
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 OC / GTX 780 OC @ Hardware.info
- MSI N660 Gaming Review: affordable and silent GeForce GTX 660 @ Hardawre.info
- Asus GTX 670 Direct CU Mini @ LanOC Reviews
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 On Linux @ Phoronix