Asus Shows Off New X79 Republic Of Gamers Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2011 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: x79, socket 2011, sandy bridge-e, ROG, asus

Asus recently unveiled a new X79 socket 2011 motherboard specifically for Sandy Bridge-E, and it looks rather impressive. The new motherboard is a red and black affair that hold several overclocking friendly features and plenty of expansion options. Dubbed the Rampage IV Extreme, the X79 motherboard is part of Asus' Republic of Gamers lineup.

The new motherboard supports Intel's new socket 2011 CPU, eight DDR3 quad channel RAM slots, five PCI-E 3.0 slots (one rated at PCI-E x16 speeds and four at X8 speeds), one further PCI-E 3.0 x1 (physical) slot, and a host of SATA ports. Specifically, the X79 chipset powers two SATA 3 6Gbps and four SATA 2 3Gbps ports while the ASMedia controller powers an additional two SATA 3 6Gbps ports.

Asus Rampage IV Extreme.jpeg

Rear IO on the board includes eight USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, ROG Connect and CMOS reset buttons, four USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA 6Gbps ports, Gigabit LAN, Realtek audio powered 5.1 surround sound via five 3.5mm jacks or an optical output. The motherboard further supports Bluetooth version 2.1+EDR.

While the basic specifications of the motherboard are really nice, the most important aspects of the republic of gamers Rampage IV Extreme board are the overclocking features and diagnostics, and there are quite a few. Around the processor socket, there are chokes rated up to 50 amps and have VRMs cooled by a large black heatspreader. The RAM power circuitry, CPU VRMs, and chipsets are all cooled by heatspreaders and connected by aluminum heatpipes. The only issue that some people might run into is with CPU coolers that have wide bases as the heatpipe connecting the VRMs and chipset heatspreader is close to the processor socket, though most coolers will likely work fine.

Moving to the right of the Sandy Bridge-E socket, Asus has provided several handy overclocking tools including the "MEMOK!" RAM diagnostic button that will either reset the settings to get the board to boot or switch to overclocked profiles if activated after the motherboard has gotten past POST. Above that is a set of 4 dip switches to enable or disable the various PCI-E slots. A power and reset button are above those switches and will come in handy for overclocking the board outside of a typical case. Further, there is a diagnostic LED display in the upper right as well as a switch to enable a slow boot mode when using LN2 (liquid nitrogen) cooling. On the voltage front, there are numerous measurement points for CPU, RAM, and chipset voltages. Finally, next to the SATA ports is a odd looking four slot block that allows enthusiasts to measure temperatures of the various physical temperature diodes on the motherboard using "K-type thermocouple" device.

Needless to say, this new X79 based motherboard looks to be living up to its Republic of Gamers heritage thanks to its slew of overclocking and expansion features. If you're interested in seeing more pictures of this shiny bit of hardware, check out this VR-Zone story.

Source: VR-Zone

Ultrabook Prime; they're here

Subject: Mobile | October 25, 2011 - 12:32 AM |
Tagged: Zenbook UX311, Zenbook UX21, acer, ultrabook, asus, Aspire S Series

 Those of you who are strangers to the PC Perspective Podcast, or who do not remember the CULV may be disappointed by the retail release of the Ultrabook form factor from Intel.  Those of you who have watched us describe the woes of the manufacturers who needed to design and retail the Ultrabook for under $1000 probably already know the ending of this tale.  There are Acer models available at $900 and though they lack an ethernet port they certainly carry a citrus aura. ASUS seems to have put together a slightly better version with a fair choice of ports available, though with more dongles required than necessary (>0),  but still too many sacrifices have been made for an aluminium clad ultra-thin form factor.  Both companies produce better notebooks at a much lower price if you are willing to squeeze in a few extra milimetres.

 

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"You know a product is a dog when it is available widely in stores long before reviewers get sent some. Ultrabooks are no exception, the only thing they have is hype and consumer ignorance."

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Source: SemiAccurate

Blizzcon 2011 Day 1 Photos

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | October 21, 2011 - 07:28 PM |
Tagged: wow, starcraft, nvidia, LG, diablo iii, diablo, blizzcon 2011, blizzcon, asus, antec

Hey everyone!  I am still busily collecting information at Blizzcon 2011 but I thought I would share with you some of the photos I took from the first half of the first day of the show.  If you haven't experienced Blizzcon before (and I hadn't) this is one hell of a celebration of PC gamers.  Even if you aren't a fan of StarCraft, World of Warcraft or Diablo, this is an impressive event with a main stage area seating 15,000!!!

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Check out all the photos on our Facebook page here (available to public as well!)  I'll have some coverage of the Antec, ASUS and NVIDIA booth as well later in the evening so be sure to check back.

Here are a couple more samples, but be sure you check out the link above for ALL of the the photos!!

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The many faces of Sandybridge motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | October 18, 2011 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: Z68XP-UD3, x68, sapphire, sandybridge, Pure Platinum Z68, p67, Maximus IV Extreme B3, Intel, gigabyte, G1.Sniper, asus

When building a SandyBridge system you have several types of motherboard chipset to choose from, some with more capabilities than others.  The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme B3 is the odd duck in this roundup, being the only P67 board in an Z68 round up which means that it loses out on Intel SRT, which is not a drawback for those planning on using an SSD with a high enough capacity to be used as a main drive.  The two Gigabyte boards and the Sapphire board are Z68 and therefore sport all of the bells and whistles that come with that chipset.  In terms of pure performance and overclocking ability it is not the feature set that matters, it is the ability of the board its self.  Check out which of these 4 boards reigns supreme in Neoseeker's benchmarks here.

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"A quartet of motherboards based the Intel P67 and Z68 chipsets arrives at Neoseeker's labs, covering both the value and enthusiast market spectrums. There just might be something for everyone with a Intel LGA 1155 socket CPU in our latest motherboard roundup."

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Source: Neoseeker
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Design

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Sound. It seems to be one of the new battlefields on which notebook computers are fighting, which is odd, because audio quality has until recently been so rarely a central focus of notebook manufacturers. Today, the artillery is clearly placed. HP arrived first with Beats Audio, but others have responded, such as MSI with its Dynaudio branded laptops and now ASUS with this Bang & Olufsen tagged N55, which comes with an external subwoofer by default.

Yep, that’s right. It’s not a large subwoofer (that’s the point - it’s small enough to potentially be transported in same bag as the laptop), but clearly ASUS is taking sound seriously with this laptop. Yet there’s so much more to a laptop that its sound, and that’s particularly true with a system such as this. Everywhere you look, the N55’s specification scream performance. A Core i7 quad-core mobile processor is the heart of the machine, and snuggles up with an Nvidia GT 555M graphics processor. What else is there to be had? Have a look.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS N55 Notebook!!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

You don't have 3D Vision 2? Loser.

In conjunction with GeForce LAN 6 current taking place on the USS Hornet in Alameda, NVIDIA is announcing an upgrade to the lineup of 3D Vision technologies.  Originally released back in January of 2009, 3D Vision was one of the company's grander attempts to change the way PC gamers, well, game.  Unfortunately for NVIDIA and the gaming community, running a 3D Vision setup required a new, much more expensive display as well as some glasses that originally ran $199.

While many people, including myself, were enamored with 3D technology when we first got our hands on it, the novelty kind of wore off and I found myself quickly back on the standard panels for gaming.  The reasons were difficult to discern at first but it definitely came down to some key points:

  • Cost
  • Panel resolution
  • Panel size
  • Image quality

The cost was obvious - having to pay nearly double for a 3D Vision capable display just didn't jive for most PC gamers and then the need to have to purchase $200 glasses made it even less likely that you would plop down the credit card.  Initial 3D Vision ready displays, while also being hard to find, were limited to a resolution of 1680x1050 and were only available in 22-in form factors.  Obviously if you were interested in 3D technology you were likely a discerning gamer and running at lower resolutions would be less than ideal.  

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The new glasses - less nerdy?

Yes, 24-in and 1080p panels did come in 2010 but by then much of the hype surrounding 3D Vision had worn off.  To top it all off, even if you did adopt a 3D Vision kit of your own you realized that the brightness of the display was basically halved when operating in 3D mode - with one shutter of your glasses covered at any given time, you only receive half the total output from the screen leaving the image quality kind of drab and washed out.  

Continue reading our preview of NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 technology!!

ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe GEN3 Board Spotted with PCI Express 3.0 Support

Subject: Motherboards | October 14, 2011 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: z68, pcie 3.0, gen3, asus

Spending time the San Francisco bay area usually results in some interesting finds.  The first one I can talk about?  An upcoming launch of refreshed Z68 motherboards from ASUS that include support for PCI Express 3.0 technology coming next year.

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At first glance the board doesn't appear to be anything really different - it looks much like the Z68 boards currently on the market and the P67 boards before that.  The heatsink and blue/black color scheme and the Deluxe moniker has been in use by ASUS since the initial Sandy Bridge processor releases.  There are still 4 DIMM slots, 8 SATA ports, USB 3.0, Bluetooth, dual Gigabit Ethernet and more sitting right there, easy for us to see.

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But unlike previous boards from ASUS, this one is the first we have seen to offer and validate support for the upcoming PCI Express 3.0 standard rated at 32GB/s rather than 16GB/s.  ASUS is actually the last to market with the so-called "PCIe 3.0 ready boards" as we have seen boards from MSI, Gigabyte, ASRock and others on PC Perspective previously.  In fact, we just published a review of the MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3) board yesterday that offers the same feature. 

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Still, ASUS isn't one to sit by and let the competition pass so they built their own Z68 board that is now 100% ready for PCIe 3.0 devices and the pending Ivy Bridge processor from Intel.  The board will support full speed PCIe 3.0 speeds in both single GPU and SLI/CrossFire configurations.  In fact, ASUS says that both the BIOS and PCIe switches are ready, out of the box, with this new P8Z68 Deluxe GEN3 model, something that some other vendors' boards may not actually be.  That would mean the necessity to have a Sandy Bridge processor on-hand to flash the BIOS before an Ivy Bridge CPU would POST.  Just something to keep in mind.

asus04.jpg

ASUS is hesitant to call the PCIe 3.0 support anything but future-proofing for consumers worried about the next-generation of graphics solutions from NVIDIA and AMD, though I would point out to our readers that any cards that come out in 2012 that do run PCIe 3.0 will still work just fine on PCIe 2.0 boards. 

That being said, an ASUS rep did mention in passing that they MIGHT have found another benefit to PCIe 3.0 on current systems and graphics cards: a reduction in microstuttering in PC gaming.  Now, I have yet to see this benefit in person and my initial thought was that this was simply a placebo effect, but I am eager to try it out when I get this board at the labs.  

Source: ASUS

A tale of two tiny Llano motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | October 11, 2011 - 04:47 PM |
Tagged: mITX, llano, amd, asus, F1A75-I Deluxe, zotac, A75-ITX WiFi

If you are planning a microITX Llano build, it will be well worth your time to drop by The Tech Report as they are comparing two different mITX A75 boards.  The ASUS F1A75-I Deluxe and Zotac A75-ITX WiFi boards have many similarities, a pair of DDR3 slots, a single PCIe 16x slot, 4 SATA 6Gbps slots, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs with audio from the Realtek ALC892.  The differences lie in the outputs, where ASUS only has a pair of USB 3.0 ports, Zotac managed to squeeze a half dozen in at the cost of lowering the USB 2.0 port count.  To find out if there are any performance differences, you will have to read the full article.

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"The tight integration of AMD's Llano platform is perfectly suited to Mini-ITX motherboards. We test two of 'em from Asus and Zotac to see what's what."

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Just Delivered: Asus HD 6770 DirectCU Silent

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 5, 2011 - 12:49 AM |
Tagged: silent, Passive, HD 6770, cooling, asus, amd

Something nice was dropped off at the house today, and I thought I would share.

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Passive, eh?  HD 6770?  Sure enough...

How long has it been since I last saw a passive midrange video card?  Well, I would guess it would be in 2007 with the Gigabyte 8600 GTS Silent Pipe.

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Don't worry, I have permission from the owner of that site to use this picture.

Read more about this delivery here.

Source: Asus

How do you surpass the ASUS Maximus III? Add a V and go for four

Subject: Motherboards | October 3, 2011 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: asus, maximus iv extreme, lga1155, p67, NF200, x68

The ASSU Republic of Gamers is a fast growing family line, the newest arrival being the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme.  That pairs the Intel X68 chipset with the nForce 200 MCP to give you additional PCIe lanes.  In fact you can manually tweak the PCIe lanes assigned to the PCI3 16x slots, a feature that experienced overclockers will probably use frequently.  Speaking to the overclockers, [H]ard|OCP wanted to stress two very important capabilities of the board, not only did it hit 5.1GHz at a CPU voltage of 1.475v, it also boasted the lowest temperatures that [H] saw on their watercooling rig.  This board is not for the plug and play crowd but for the enthusiast crowd it will shine.

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"ASUS expands its Intel based Republic of Gamers line once again with the Maximus IV Extreme. This motherboard has a lot to live up to as each Maximus before this was nothing short of excellent and quite possibly the best motherboards available at the time of release. The Maximus IV Extreme continues the tradition and exceeds expectations."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP