Subject: Motherboards | July 17, 2013 - 08:34 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Pentium II, Pentium !!!, pentium, P2B, Intel, hardware flashback, asus, 440 BX
Retro hardware is so much fun. Today we have the Asus P2B, and while it was not a game changer for the time, it was a popular board. This popularity sprang from its excellent compatibility with older Pentium II processors and a wide variety of AGP cards. It was one of the last series of boards that Asus released that did not feature the jumperless BIOS options that we take for granted these days.
3 ISA ports staring us in the face! ATA-33? Oh yeah!
There are some things that really spring out when looking at the board. Having 3 ISA slots seems pretty much overkill as most people used perhaps two of them (modem and sound card), but I can see this being popular with people who also utilize older SCSI cards (such as those used with scanners of the time). Having 3 ISA meant that there were only 4 PCI slots. Remember, ISA and PCI slots situated next to each other would share the same backplate slot, so PCI and ISA could not be used adjacent to each other. Remember as well that we often saw issues with the first PCI slot as it shared resources with the AGP slot. This essentially gives only two usable PCI slots if a user was full up on ISA cards.
The board features 3 DIMM slots at a time when it was popular to use a buffer chip to allow up to four DIMM slots. These buffer chips were often a big performance hit in memory operations and they quickly fell out of favor with most enthusiasts and power users. Having 3 DIMM slots did lower the maximum potential installed memory, but not by all that much. The performance benefits of slightly less memory but better performance often outweighed having that fourth DIMM.
These old boards look so bare even compared to current low-end motherboards. Excellent for someone who needs two serial ports, though!
The BX boards supported the 100 MHz bus speed for the latest Pentium IIs and upcoming Pentium !!!s. This particular board was quite popular with people that had older Pentium IIs with the 66 MHz FSB. Running these at 3 x 100 or 3.5 x 100 would give a nice overall boost for these aging processors. Users who were early implementers of Pentium II CPUs were stuck with the old 440FX chipset which did not feature SDRAM or AGP support. This would have been a nice upgrade in performance and functionality for those users as they could pop in their Pentium II 266 or 300 and tweak their way to performance nirvana.
This board was released before we saw the change to the colored peripheral connections, so every plug on the back of the board is black. Color coding was for wimps anyway. It also does not include integrated sound. So there goes one of those ISA slots. Users of the time would have probably installed a soundcard, modem, PCI Ethernet card, and their AGP card. So where would the Voodoo 2 go? How about two of them? Things would get awful crowded very quickly.
That dust may or may not have been deposited around 1999...
The AGP support on these boards was of course excellent. That is primarily because Intel was the main driver of the specification and everyone else developed their cards to run in these slots. VIA, SiS, and others of course had compatibility issues with a wide variety of cards. This is why we saw other folks like 3dfx make their products run at below AGP specs. For instance, the Voodoo 3 was essentially a PCI 66 MHz device in the AGP slot. This disabled features like sideband addressing and reading textures from main memory.
This was still a popular board even in the face of competition with superior features. The Asus brand and name goes far. Plus it was a fast board for the time that was a bit no-frills. Recipe for success? I guess so. This particular board and CPU were running in a homebuilt server for around 10 years until it was replaced. I guess it was money well spent.
Some more 4K love!
This morning Fedex dropped off a new product at our offices, one that I was very eagerly awaiting: the ASUS PQ321Q 31.5-in 4K 60 Hz monitor!
While we are far from ready to post a full review of the display and have lots of more game testing to get to, we did host a live stream for the unboxing and initial testing of the PQ321Q that I think is worth sharing.
In this video we do a walk around the $3500 4K display, hook it up to both NVIDIA and AMD test bed at 60 Hz and then proceed to install 3-Way SLI Titans to see how it games! Enjoy this quick preview before our full review of the ASUS PQ321Q.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 10, 2013 - 01:48 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Overclocked, nvidia, just delivered, gtx 780, gtx 770, gtx 760, GTX 670 Mini, DirectCU II, DCII, asus
Returning home on Monday, I was greeted by several (slightly wet) boxes from Asus. Happily, the rainstorm that made these boxes a bit damp did not last long, and the wetness was only superficial. The contents were perfectly fine. I was pleased by this, but not particularly pleased with FedEx for leaving them in a spot where they got wet. All complaints aside, I was obviously ecstatic to get the boxes.
Quite the lineup. The new packaging is sharp looking and clearly defines the contents.
Inside these boxes are some of the latest and greatest video cards from Asus. Having just finished up a budget roundup, I had the bandwidth available to tackle a much more complex task. Asus sent four cards for our testing procedures, and I intend to go over them with a fine toothed comb.
The smallest of the bunch is the new GTX 670 DC Mini. Asus did some serious custom work to not only get the card as small as it is, but also to redesign the power delivery system so that the chip only requires a single 8 pin PCI-E power connection. Most GTX 670 boards require 2 x 6 pin connectors which would come out to be around 225 watts delivered, but a single 8 pin would give around 175 watts total. This is skirting the edge of the official draw for the GTX 670, but with the GK104 chip being as mature as it is, there is some extra leeway involved. The cooler is quite compact and apparently pretty quiet. This is aimed at the small form factor crowd who do not want/need a overly large card, but still require a lot of performance. While the GTX 700 series is now hitting the streets, there is still a market for this particular card. Oh, and it is also overclocked for good measure!
We see a nice progression from big to little. It is amazing how small the GTX 670 DC Mini is compared to the rest, and it will be quite interesting to see how it compares to the GTX 760 in testing.
The second card is the newly released GTX 760 DCII OC. This is again based on the tried and true GK104 chip, but has several units disabled. It has 1152 CUDA cores, but retains the same number of ROPS as the fully enabled chips. It also features the full 256 bit memory bus running at 6 Gbps. It has plenty of bandwidth to provide the card in most circumstances considering the amount of functional units enabled. The cooler is one of the new DirectCU II designs and is a nice upgrade in both functionality and looks from the previous DCII models. It is a smaller card than one would expect, but that comes from the need to simplify the card and not overbuild it like the higher priced 770 and 780 cards. As I have mentioned before, I really like the budget and midrange cards. This should be a really fascinating card to test.
The next card is a bit of an odd bird. The GTX 770 DCII OC is essentially a slightly higher clocked GTX 680 from yesteryear. One of the big changes is that this particular model foregoes the triple slot cooler of the previous generation and implements a dual slot cooler that is quite heavy and with a good fin density. It features six pin and eight pin power connections so it has some legs for overclocking. The back plate is there for stability and protection, and it gives the board a very nice, solid feel. Asus added two LEDs by the power connections which show if the card is receiving power or not. This is nice, as the fans on this card are very silent in most situations. Nobody wants to unplug a video card that is powered up. It retains the previous generation DCII styling, but the cooler performance is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It also is less expensive than the previous GTX 680, but is faster.
All of the cards sport dual DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI outputs. Both DVI ports are dual-link, but only one is DVI-I which can also output a VGA signal with the proper adapter.
Finally we have the big daddy of the GTX 700 series. The 780 DCII OC is pretty much a monster card that exceeds every other offering out there, except the $1K GTX Titan. It is a slightly cut down chip as compared to the mighty Titan, but it still packs in 2304 CUDA cores. It retains the 384 bit memory bus and runs at a brisk 6 Gbps for a whopping 288.4 GB/sec of bandwidth. The core is overclocked to a base of 889 MHz and boosts up to 941 MHz. The cooler on this is massive. It features a brand new fan design for the front unit which apparently can really move the air and do so quietly. Oddly enough, this fan made its debut appearance on the aforementioned GTX 670 DC Mini. The PCB on the GTX 780 DCII OC is non-reference. It features a new power delivery system that should keep this board humming when overclocked. Asus has done their usual magic in pairing the design with high quality components which should ensure a long lifespan for this pretty expensive board.
I do like the protective plates on the backs of the bigger cards, but the rear portion of the two smaller cards are interesting as well. We will delve more into the "Direct Power" functionality in the full review.
I am already well into testing these units and hope to have the full roundup late next week. These are really neat cards and any consumer looking to buy a new one should certainly check out the review once it is complete.
Asus has gone past the "Superpipe" stage with the GTX 780. That is a 10 mm heatpipe we are seeing. All of the DCII series coolers are robust, and even the DC Mini can dissipate a lot of heat.
The GPU Midrange Gets a Kick
I like budget video cards. They hold a soft spot in my heart. I think the primary reason for this is that I too was once a poor college student and could not afford the really expensive cards. Ok, so this was maybe a few more years ago than I like to admit. Back when the Matrox Millennium was very expensive, I ended up getting the STB Lightspeed 128 instead. Instead of the 12 MB Voodoo 2 I went for the 8 MB version. I was never terribly fond of paying top dollar for a little extra performance. I am still not fond of it either.
The sub-$200 range is a bit of a sweet spot that is very tightly packed with products. These products typically perform in the range of a high end card from 3 years ago, yet still encompass the latest features of the top end products from their respective companies. These products can be overclocked by end users to attain performance approaching cards in the $200 to $250 range. Mind, there are some specific limitations to the amount of performance one can actually achieve with these cards. Still, what a user actually gets is very fair when considering the price.
Today I cover several flavors of cards from three different manufacturers that are based on the AMD HD 7790 and the NVIDIA GTX 650 Ti BOOST chips. These range in price from $129 to $179. The features on these cards are amazingly varied, and there are no “sticker edition” parts to be seen here. Each card is unique in its design and the cooling strategies are also quite distinct. Users should not expect to drive monitors above 1920x1200, much less triple monitors in Surround and Eyefinity.
Now let us quickly go over the respective chips that these cards are based on.
Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2013 - 06:08 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: igzo, asus pq321, asus, 4k
ASUS announced a new 4K montior last month called the PQ321. The montior will be available July 16th, and is currently up for pre-order at various online retailers. In a bit of good news, it seems that ASUS has managed to cut the MSRP by $300 to $3,499.99 since the original announcement. As a result, it is still fairly pricey, but this monitor and 4K in general is getting cheaper, and that's a good thing!
As a refresher, the ASUS PQ321 is a 31.5" monitor with a tilt, swivel, and height-adjustable stand. The 4K monitor features an LED-backlit IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) panel with a resolution of 3,840 x 2160. The screen has 10-bit RGB color, 176-degree viewing angles, 350 cd/m^2 brightness, and 8ms gray to gray (GTG) response times. ASUS has included 2W stereo speakers as well. The monitor is 35mm thick and weighs 13kg (just under 29 pounds). A 3.5mm audio jack, single DisplayPort input, and two HDMI inputs round out the connectivity options.
Using DisplayPort and its multi stream technology, users can get 60Hz at the panel's native resolution. This requires a dedicated card from AMD or NVIDIA or Intel integrated processor graphics from its 4th Generation Core "Haswell" generation or newer.
The ASUS PQ321 will be available on July 16th for $3,499.99.
ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Dominates Computex Overclocking Event, Used to Break Eight World Records
Subject: Motherboards | June 26, 2013 - 02:49 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: overclocking, computex 2013, ASUS ROG, ASUS Maximus VI Extreme, asus
During Computex 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan, Intel and Corsair sponsored the Computex OC Main Event where overclockers set out to push some of the latest hardware to the max. The ASUS Maximus VI Extreme motherboard was one of the pieces of hardware used at this event, and it was the board used in 10 out of 11 winning overclocking runs. Further, it was used in runs that ended up breaking a total of 8 world overclocking records.
Overclockers were able to achieve top spots for a number of benchmarking scores as well as CPU and GPU clockspeeds. The benchmarking records include new high scores for 3DMark01, 3DMark05, 3DMark06, SuperPi 32M, PiFast, and AquaMark3. The overclockers were also able to push an Intel "Haswell" Core-i7 4770K processor to an impressive 7092.68 MHz with HyperThreading disabled and two physical cores active. Considering how stubborn the new Haswell chips are when it comes to overclocking, hitting a bit over 7GHz is quite the feat. CPUs were not the only pieces of hardware that were pushed to the limits, however. Overclockers were also able to overclock four DDR3 DIMMs to 3957 MHz with 13-16-16-45 timings.
Left: CPU Overclock. Right: RAM Overclock. Click on image(s) for a larger version.
The breakdown of the new top benchmarking scores for the various software used at the OC Main Event (from systems using the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme board, Haswell CPU, and GTX TITAN) is listed below.
|SuperPi 32M||4m, 35s, 406ms|
|Haswell Clockspeed||7092.68 MHz (two cores)|
|DDR3 Clockspeed||3957 MHz (13-16-16-45)|
Naturally, ASUS is extremely pleased with the performance of its new motherboard, which proved stable enough to support some impressive CPU, GPU, and RAM overclocking under LN2 and extreme clockspeeds. I'm looking forward to see what Morry is able to achieve using the board in a more real world 24/7 overclock scenario in our upcoming OC review using this ASUS board!
Check out our full review of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme (overclocking performance details coming soon, as per the new review format).
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
The Z87-Pro was among the first offerings from ASUS designed around the Intel Z87 chipset and offering support for the forth generation Intel Core CPU line, code named Haswell. The board sports the yellow/gold and black coloration common to ASUS' mainstream board line with more than enough features to satisfy most gamers and enthusiasts. At a retail MSRP of $209.00, the Z87-Pro becomes a hard proposition to turn down with its mix of features and performance.
Courtesy of ASUS
Under the hood, the Z87-Pro offer a massive 12+2 phase digital power system to keep the CPU juiced up and ready to go no matter what you decide to throw at is. ASUS integrated the following features into the Z87-Pro's design: eight SATA 6Gb/s ports; an Intel I217-V GigE NIC; Atheros 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots for dual or tri-card support; four PCI-Express x1 slots; onboard power, CMOS MemOK!, BIOS Flashback, and DirectKey buttons; 3-way TPU and EPU switches; 2-digit LED diagnostic display; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.
Courtesy of ASUS
Courtesy of ASUS
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 25, 2013 - 03:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: GTX 760 DirectCU, asus, gtx 760
Although it does not yet seem to be available for purchase the ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II OC should be ready for purchase in the very near future. Our testing has show the effectiveness of the custom cooling solution and in combination with the other tweaks ASUS has added to this card it should be high on your list of preferred GTX 760s.
Fremont, CA (June 25, 2013) - ASUS is excited to announce the new gamers’ sweet spot, the GTX 760 DirectCU II OC, based on the latest 28nm NVIDIA GPU technology. This graphics card offers 1152 CUDA cores, along with a 256-bit memory interface and 2GB of 6GHz blazing fast GDDR5 video memory. ASUS pushes the performance of the GTX 760 even further and surpasses the reference design with our exclusive and award-winning DirectCU heatsink and fan assembly. In addition the ASUS GeForce GTX 760 DirectCU II OC offers superior power delivery, enhanced reliability, and stability. The non-reference PCB design provides lower operating temperatures and uses an advanced high quality power design which includes Super Alloy Power components and Direct Power architecture. ASUS’s GTX 760 DirectCU II OC graphics cards offers up to 20% cooler operation, up to 2x quieter operation, improved reliability and long-lasting stability ensuring an amazing gaming experience.
ASUS GeForce GTX 760 DirectCU II OC: The Gamer’s Sweet Spot Just Got Better
Powering the latest DirectX 11 PC gaming, the GeForce GTX 760 DirectCU II OC offers customers excellent value, offering impressive performance in 1080P and QHD ( 2560 ) resolutions. Gamers can experience huge performance upgrades when coming from previous generation GPUs and through the use of GeForce Experience software, they can have the best performance and image quality settings in the click of a button. ASUS DirectCU II graphics cards offer even faster performance compared to reference designs by using a highly optimized heatsink and fan assembly allowing the card to consistently achieve higher boost clocks. Supporting SLI technology, gamers can also take advantage of outstanding scaling performance by joining together multiple cards.
The exclusive DirectCU II cooler has 4 direct GPU-contact copper heatpipes allowing for quick and efficient heat conduction and dissipation into a large finned heatsink assembly. When combined with our dual fans which are carefully tuned for near silent operation, the GTX 760 DirectCU II offers up to 20% cooler operation. Its dual 80mm fans have been carefully tested and tuned to ensure minimum noise even while under full gaming load, allowing for operation up to 2X quieter than reference designs. The fans are also Dust Proof: designed to reduce dust, debris and dander accumulation. This exclusive feature allows the fans a much higher level of reliability and improved performance compared to non-Dust Proof based fans.
The card also employs ASUS’ award-winning exclusive Direct Power architecture, which widens power delivery to offer greater graphics card stability and improved performance while reducing power latency and impedance. The PCB also operates at lower temperatures thanks to the power being routed through more channels than on traditional graphics card designs.
Rounding out the non-reference design, the card features ASUS’ award winning Super Alloy Power components which include 5K solid state capacitors, alloy based chokes, and MOSFETs that use durable materials to easily withstand high temperatures and heavy loads. They extend average graphics card longevity by 2.5 times compared to reference components. In addition, Super Alloy components offer various improved metrics of performance such as higher voltage thresholds or superior efficiency, and lower operating temperatures. When combined, the DirectCU II heatsink and fan assembly, the Direct Power architecture and the SAP VRM components ensure superior stock performance along with outstanding overclocking capability.
The Perfect Tweaking and Tuning Partner to the GTX 760 – GPU Tweak!
ASUS-exclusive GPU Tweak utility brings customers a unified and intuitive control center for tweaking, tuning and information. Users can set up performance profiles for favorite games, adjust GPU and memory speeds, regulate fan operation, and define power consumption and heat thresholds. Last but not least, users can easily modify voltage and performance parameters to easily overclock their graphics cards for faster and smoother gameplay.
Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2013 - 04:48 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: seiki, se50UY04, SE39UY04, asus, 4k, 39
It's apparent that the 4K war is really starting to heat up. Just a few months ago we looked a the $1300 50" SEIKI SE50UY04 TV, and were impressed for the low price. Then, at Computex this year, ASUS announced both 31.5" and 39" 4K monitors. While the $4000 price tag of the ASUS 31.5" display was the most inexpensive 4K monitor we had seen, a new competitor was announced today.
Although SEIKI is still in the TV business, the 39" 4K display (SE39UY04) they are announcing today is quite an interesting option. At $699, this display ends up being cheaper than most of the current 2560x1600 30" monitors currently on the market. Unlike the ASUS monitors however, this TV will be once again limited to a 30Hz refresh rate, which is disappointing. Regardless, we are extremely excited about this new TV option from SEIKI.
Preorders are set to start on June 27th at Sears online, but should expand to other retailers soon after.
SEIKI also announced a 65" 4K display, which they hope to ship by Fall 2013.
We are always excited for low cost, high resolution displays, so stay tuned to PC Perspective for more coverage on this display and others!
Subject: Motherboards | June 17, 2013 - 06:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, z87, Z87-A
You have a lot of choice in motherboard if you are thinking of moving up to Haswell as there are a huge amount of models available. At their core the different implementations of the Z87 are very similar, it is the materials used for construction and the add-ons which make a board stand out. ASUS added 5k long life capacitors, rust proofing on the I/O panel, the new Realtek ALC1150 onboard audio and an ASMedia USB controller to increase the number of available ports, to name just a few features. Head over to [H]ard|OCP for the performance review of the $150 ASUS Z87-A motherboard.
"We start today with reviewing new Z87 chipset motherboards, which we will surely see a lot of, with ASUS' new Z87-A motherboard. Before we even got the box open we had to stop for a second and enjoy the simplicity of the name. But don't let the name fool you. There is plenty going on here to keep your enthusiast attention."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte's Z87X-UD3H @ The Tech Report
- MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX Motherboard Review @ HiTech Legion
- Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H @ eTeknix
- Asus Z87-A @ Kitguru
- MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming Review @ OCC
- Overclocking Haswell on ASUS' 8-Series Motherboards @ AnandTech
- Asus Z87 Gryphon and Armor Kit @ LanOC Reviews
- ASUS Z87-DELUXE Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ASUS GRYPHON Z87 (Intel LGA 1150) @ techPowerUp
- ASRock Z87 Extreme 6 @ Kitguru
- Exclusive Asus Z87 Pro @ Kitguru
- ASUS Z87-A Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ASUS Z87-DELUXE Motherboard Review @ HiTech Legion
- Asus' Z87-PRO @ The Tech Report
- ASUS Maximus VI HERO Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- MSI Z87 MPower @ LanOC Reviews
- MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX @ Kitguru
- ASUS Republic Of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- Gigabyte Z77X-UP5-TH @ [H]ard|OCP
- BIOS Option Of The Week - PCI-E Compliance Mode @ TechARP
- Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3 Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets