Introduction and Design
Ultrabooks are now on store shelves, but that doesn’t mean the more traditional ultraportables are dead - not by a long shot. Thin may be cool, but the high price premium attached to ultrabooks means that they will, at least for now, be a niche product. Meanwhile, the workhorse 13.3” ultraportable will remain popular.
One of the most accomplished manufacturers of this type of laptop is ASUS, which has been building U-Series ultraportables for several years now. We’ve generally given them high marks here, but now there is a new model to check out, the updated U36. Unlike the stylish U33 Bamboo, this model is a tough, simple laptop that seems to take ques from Lenovo’s ThinkPads. Has this compromised the series? Let’s find out.
Subject: Mobile | November 22, 2011 - 05:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: transformer prime, tegra 3, nvidia, ice cream sandwich, google, eee pad, asus
The world’s first quad-core mobile processor was recently made official with our announcement of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip, which will debut in the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android tablet. Following on Google’s release of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” (ICS) source code last week, we thought you’d like an early demo of ICS running on the Eee Pad Transformer Prime.
Google has done a great job on ICS and has made the platform open to the ecosystem and easy to develop on. Thanks to Google’s developer support, NVIDIA’s experienced software team was able to work with ASUS to quickly bring up Android 4.0 ICS on the Transformer Prime.
Recorded on November 16, only two short days after the source code for ICS was made publicly available, the video below shows the next-gen Android OS user interface looking clean and snappy on the Transformer Prime. This is just a sneak peak of things to come for the first Tegra 3-powered Android tablet.
This is just an early demo, but we think you’ll agree it’s extremely impressive that so much is already working well. Check out the flawless1080p video playback and quick demo of the quad-core optimized Riptide GP game in the video below.
Subject: Motherboards | November 22, 2011 - 05:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, ROG Rampage IV Extreme, socket 2011, x79, ROG
ASUS had the extreme overclocker in mind when they were building the Rampage III Extreme, not many people need two type-K Probe digital thermometers for operating below 0C nor 6 variable resistors, voltage sensors to monitor your GPUs exact current voltage nor an external device to monitor and tweak settings that doesn't need CPU cycles. If you are more of a casual overclocker you should not let that scare you off as there is a solid BIOS for more casual tweaking which you can even access using an iPhone/iPad over Bluetooth. It also sports what ASUS calls the X-Socket which will allow you to use an LGA1366 heatsink on this board. It might cost almost $500 but once you are done reading Hardware Canucks review you might be trying to find ways to put this board in your next system.
"You saw them in our i7-3960X review; the much anticipated Sandy Bridge Extreme launch along with the X79 code name Patsburg chipsets. Not only do we have a brand new socket (2011) but motherboard manufacturers have have been quick on the uptake and ASUS is trying to lead the pack with their X79 Rampage IV Extreme."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS Sabertooth P67 Motherboard Review @ OCIA
- ASUS TUF Sabertooth X79 @ Guru of 3D
- GIGABYTE G1.Assassin 2 @ Tweaktown
- ASUS P9X79 Pro Motherboard Review @Hi Tech Legion
- ASUS P9X79 Deluxe @ Tweaktown
- MSI X79A-GD65 @ Tweaktown
- Intel DX79SI Review: The Default X79? @ AnandTech
- ASRock A55 Pro3 Review @ OCC
- ASRock A55 Pro3 FM1 Motherboard @ Pro-Clockers
Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2011 - 04:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: X79A-GD65 (8D), X79-UD5, x79, P8X79 PRO, msi, lga2011, Intel, gigabyte, DX79SI, asus
If you want to run a Sandy Bridge E chip, you are going to need a new motherboard as they use a brand new socket. The upgrade isn't just about the socket though, as there is a noticeable increase in PCIe 3.0 lanes possible on the X79 chipset as well quad channel memory. At The Tech Report is a look at motherboards from four major vendors, the Asus P8X79 PRO, Gigabyte X79-UD5, Intel DX79SI, and the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D). Unfortunately Intel is plagued by issues with storage, while not the same as we saw in their previous chipset the port count is still lower than we expected and the RAID software is still labelled as a beta product. Indeed by the end of the review it seems that each board did at least one thing to disappoint The Tech Report, though they hold hope for future revisions.
"If you want to get in on Intel's new Sandy Bridge-E CPU, you'll need an LGA2011 motherboard. We've gathered four examples from Asus, Gigabyte, Intel, and MSI to see which one makes the best foundation for an Extreme Sandy build."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Sandy Bridge-E and X79 – The ASUS P9X79 PRO @ AnandTech
- ASUS Sabertooth X79 Motherboard Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Intel DX79SI Extreme Series Socket LGA 2011 Motherboard Review @Hi Tech Legion
- ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboard Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Gigabye GA-X79-UD5 @ OC3D
- ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF Motherboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS Rampage IV Extreme @ Tweaktown
- Intel DX79SI LGA2011 Desktop Motherboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS Rampage 4 Extreme @ OC3D
- ASUS P9X79 Pro Intel X79 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- Gigabyte X79 UD7 OC Motherboard Preview @ Ninjalane
- ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review @ ThinkComputers
- BIOS Option Of The Week - CPU On-Die Termination @ TechARP
- ASUS M5A97 Evo (AMD 970) @ Tweaktown
- MSI 990FXA GD-80 Review @ OCC
- Five Years with Bulldozer: Asus Sabertooth 990FX @ X-bit Labs
Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2011 - 12:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, x79, p9x79 deluxe, P9X79 PRO, P9X79, P9X79 WS, TUF SABERTOOTH X79, ROG Rampage IV Extreme
Fremont, CA (November 14, 2011) - ASUS, maker of the world’s best-selling and most innovative motherboards, is excited to release a wide range of new X79 motherboards. All feature the new Intel® X79 Express Chipset, with support for 2nd generation Core™ i7 processors in the new LGA 2011 Socket. The complete lineup includes P9X79 Series motherboards with total performance tuning and control, the enthusiast-centric ROG Rampage IV Extreme, the ultra-reliable TUF SABERTOOTH X79, and the professional P9X79 WorkStation Series supporting NVIDIA® 4-way SLI™ and AMD CrossFireX™.
All motherboards feature ASUS Dual Intelligent Processor 3 technology with the latest ASUS DIGI+ Power Control design providing three digital voltage controllers onboard, one for the CPU and two for DRAM. ASUS’ class-leading Digital Power designs result in better performance, greater stability, and enhanced overclocking for all users. All of the new motherboards ship with multi-GPU support, PCI Express 3.0 capabilities*, exclusive ASUS UEFI and up to 64GB of quad-channel DDR3 support via 8-DIMM slots.
P9X79 Series: The ideal choice for unmatched features and user-friendly innovation
ASUS has developed the best power, system, and BIOS tuning options available for users to ensure an optimized computing experience on the new P9X79 Deluxe, P9X79 Pro, and P9X79 motherboards. Each feature ASUS’ new DIGI+ Power Control and DIGI+ Memory voltage options that allow users to reach higher processor and DRAM overclocks with the upmost stability and reliability.
An 8-DIMM quad-channel design supports up to 64GB of DDR3 memory that takes full advantage of 64-bit applications. Additional memory capacity assists with intensive data, image, and video processing applications while users can also set up large RAM disks to greatly accelerate system performance. ASUS SSD Caching is extremely user-friendly with one-click speedup functionality that combines solid state drive speeds with mechanical hard drive capacities, providing up to three times faster storage performance.
The ASUS UEFI BIOS has won media and user acclaim for its intuitive and easy GUI interaction. The latest version has been upgraded with the industry first F12 BIOS snapshot hotkey, the F3 system info shortcut, and DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect), which offers advanced support for memory troubleshooting. USB BIOS Flashback enables true plug and play UEFI flashing with any USB storage device. It works even without powering up the PC, using only standby power without a CPU, Video card or memory installed. Optional BT GO 3.0! consists of an onboard Bluetooth v3.0 +HS module that offers wireless 802.11n support, adding instant access point detection and setup for Wi-Fi everywhere.
The exclusive ASUS BT suite includes several special functions, allowing users to easily sync and transfer files between PC and mobile devices, and even use smartphones to overclock or monitor their PC. ASUS USB 3.0 Boost adds new UASP support to accelerate USB 3.0 performance by almost three times over standard protocols with supported devices.
ROG Rampage IV Extreme: The best choice for gamers and enthusiasts
The Rampage IV Extreme supports 4-way NVIDIA® SLI™ and AMD CrossFireX™ and is designed to empower overclockers to reach new records while also offering the absolute best gaming performance and stability. It comes loaded with overclocking features well-suited to competitive benchmarking. Exclusive ROG X-Socket™ means LGA 1366 based CPU coolers and LN2 containers can be used as-is with the new board. OC Key™ is an ROG-designed device that connects to the DVI port of any graphics card to display performance and overclocking info on the screen independent of system resources. Users can make changes with no additional software, and without slowing their PC down.
For enhanced and modified cooling, ROG has developed Subzero Sense™, which detects cooling system temperatures as low as -193ﾟC. ROG Extreme Engine Digi+ II and specially sourced high-grade capacitors ensure long lasting and high-endurance power delivery demanded by gamers and competitive overclockers. The Rampage IV Extreme comes bundled with the hit game Battlefield 3™ from EA and DICE, which uses the Frostbite 2 engine to showcase the latest in DirectX® 11 technology and graphics effects.
TUF SABERTOOTH X79: The reliability choice for rugged engineering and long-life
The new TUF SABERTOOTH X79 ships with an intelligent thermal design, military grade-tested TUF components, and exclusive cooling features for enhanced system stability under the harshest conditions. TUF Thermal Armor with dual fans expands cooling and precise airflow for more effective heat dissipation, improving system reliability and performance. TUF Thermal Radar monitors real-time temps via 12 sensors in strategic locations on the board, automatically adjusting fan speeds to maintain extended stability and prevent overheating. Military-grade TUF components include capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs. Their heat and stress tolerance allows ASUS to offer an exclusive 5-year warranty on the SABERTOOTH X79. Additionally, the new model includes the new DIGI+ Power Control design and UEFI, giving it the same precision, performance, and user friendly options offered by the P9X79 Series.
The ideal professional choice for multi-GPU expandability Enhanced features and absolute stability is required from professional users and the P9X79 WS delivers, beginning with NVIDIA® 4-way SLI™ and AMD CrossFireX™ and dual hardware-accelerated Intel® LAN ports, which reduces CPU utilization for netcode processing by up to 71%. The P9X79 Work Station supports both Intel® Core™ i7 processors and the upcoming workstation-specific Xeon® family, and maintains compatibility with multiple memory, operating system, and RAID card selections. ASUS SSD Caching and USB BIOS Flashback are included along with ASUS’ DIGI+ Power Control design and award winning UEFI.
Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2011 - 02:51 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: x79, video, msi, Intel, gigabyte, asus
I am sure by now you have been reading our review of the new Sandy Bridge-E processors, in particular the Core i7-3960X, but we only had a brief mention of the various X79 motherboards we had in-house in that article. (Which if you haven't read yet, you definitely should!)
Over the course of the last 14 days or so, we have seen and played with:
- ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
- ASUS Sabertooth X79
- ASUS P9X79 Pro
- MSI X79A-GD65 8D
- Gigabyte X79-UD3
- Intel DX79SI
We will have reviews of all of these boards in the coming days, but I wanted to at least make sure you saw each of these motherboards in our video roundup and preview.
Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more on the X79 platform and Sandy Bridge-E!!
Subject: Processors | November 12, 2011 - 06:50 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Sandy Bridge E, microcenter, Intel, ddr3, core i7, asus
Sandy Bridge-E is almost upon us, and enthusiasts are no doubt salivating over the shiny new motherboards, quad channel memory, and PCI-E bandwidth that these chips offer. Naturally, there are bound to be price and information leaks as the launch date gets closer whether it is due to a PR move by Intel or a leak by a person or company on down the line. One such leak came to our attention recently via a leaked company bulletin. Microcenter, a US based computer electronics store has leaked the prices of some of the upcoming Sandy Bride-E processors.
While Sandy Bridge-E will not officially launch until the 14 of this month,Microcenter is already busy preparing for the launch by setting prices and organizing promotions. One such promotion has come to our attention recently, and involves two SB-E CPUs and a slew of supporting motherboards. The two processors in question are the Intel Core i7 3930K and the Core i7 3960X. The i7 3930K will be sold at $649.99 USD while the Extreme edition i7 3960X part will go for 1,149.99 USD. These prices are limited to one per customer and are in-store deals only. While the prices are a bit higher than expected, the retailer is trying to sweeten the deal by bundling a "free" Corsair H80 sealed loop water cooler with the purchase of any one of the Sandy Bridge-E CPUs. While the free H80's price is likely built into the processor's mark-up, it's at least a decent cooler (HardOCP has a review of the water cooler here). Whether it will be beneficial will depend on the user's existing cooler and whether it will be compatible/upgradeable to socket 2011.
The company will also have a "limited stock" of X79 motherboards available at launch, with more stock to become available in the coming weeks after launch. Throughout all Microcenter stores, the following motherboards will be available at the following prices.
- ASUS P9X79 PRO 2011 ATX $339.99
- ASUS Sabertooth PX79 2011 ATX $349.99
- ASUS P9X79 Deluxe 2011 ATX $389.99
Asus must be a crowd favorite over at Microcenter!
A bulletin containing the Microcenter leak ended with a positive note in stating "this launch should provide a tremendous opportunity for some very high end BYO builds for the most extreme enthusiast customer who is wanting the absolute latest and greatest from Intel!" Will you be hitting up a Microcenter at launch to get your Sandy Bridge-E on?
Subject: General Tech | November 10, 2011 - 12:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel, asus, acer
Ah, the Ultrabook; Intel's attempt to meet Apple on its own territory and playing by Apple's established rules. Since there has been so much news and speculation about the new ultramobile platform from Intel some of the information we have been given has degraded into noise. The original run was very limited, with about 50,000 units ordered by the major manufactures like ASUS. There seems to have been a second order placed with a much more respectable quarter million units requested by ASUS and Acer, though we don't know about the other players. However with the products launch resembling an attempt at flight by an under-powered, yet aerodynamically shaped chunk of metal these numbers have been reduced to under 200,000. DigiTimes predicts that this time next year the Ultrabook might be significantly more attractive, not just because of Ivy Bridge but also because of the release of Windows 8 which seems almost custom built for the Ultrabook.
"Asustek Computer and Acer have recently reduced their ultrabook orders from 250,000-300,000 units originally to 150,000-180,000 units by the end of 2011 due to the unsatisfactory sales during the initial month after their launch, according to sources from upstream ODMs.
Currently, Asustek is offering four Zenbook series ultrabook models in the retail channel, priced between NT$36,000-49,000 (US$1,194-1,625), while Acer is competing with its S3 series models with prices at NT$31,500-42,000. Because global notebook demand still has not yet seen any recovery, ultrabooks, which have a rather higher price range compared to mainstream models, did not see as strong sales as expected, causing Acer and Asustek to both drop their product orders by 40%."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft releases fix for Applocker bypass flaw @ The Register
- Intel’s Haswell chip will use a new socket @ The Inquirer
- Tegra 3 missed performance goals by wide margins @ SemiAccurate
- AMD reacts to Kepler news, 7000 series prepped and priced @ SemiAccurate
- A Quick Tour Of Oracle Solaris 11 @ Phoronix
- Real World Labs And OWC Joint Contest - 4 Days Left
- Contest: What Does Your Office Look Like? @ Computing on Demand
- Win a new DS212j NAS System with Synology and Kitguru
900 Series: Bulldozer Ready
The rumor on the street is that Asus makes a few motherboards. They may or may not be the world’s leading motherboard manufacturer. Asus may also have a pretty good reputation for quality and innovation in their products. It is tongue in cheek hour at PC Perspective. All joking aside, Asus anymore is the gold standard for quality manufacturing and design in motherboards.
Some months ago AMD released their AM3+ capable chipsets, though the release was not nearly as exciting as we had hoped. The AMD 900 series of chipsets are essentially the same silicon as those that power the non-integrated AMD 800 series. There are three SKUs that are currently available for the 900 series that Asus makes motherboards around.
Subject: General Tech | November 9, 2011 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, gigabyte, ECS, asrock, msi, market share
With HDD shortages come a reduced demand for most PC components as shipping a system without a hard drive tends to be frowned upon. This will be hitting motherboard makers fairly hard over the last quarter of 2011. DigiTimes reports an estimated 20% drop for Gigabyte; MSI, ECS and ASRock are expecting around a 10% decrease and ASUS projects somewhere in the neighbourhood of 5-10%. We can certainly hope that there will be discounts offered in the attempt to focus on upgraders. A nice price on some of the new motherboards that have just come onto the market might draw the attention of those who already have a fully functional PC but are considering a possible hardware refresh.
"Motherboard makers have been impacted by HDD shortages arising from flooding in Thailand since mid-October, and are expected to see their fourth-quarter shipments decrease 10-15% on quarter, according to industry sources.
Gigabyte Technology may see shipments falling 20-25% from five million in the third quarter to below four million in the fourth."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Looking at AMD amid layoffs and new directions @ SemiAccurate
- Adobe Abandons Mobile Flash: Report @ Wired
- Mozilla updates to Firefox 8, disables add-ons @ The Register
- Case Modding with Aquatuning Review @ XSReviews
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