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.

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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

The birth of the $600 gaming laptop; thank you AMD

Subject: Mobile | September 28, 2011 - 06:10 PM |
Tagged: llano, amd, A6-3400M, HD 6720G2, HD 6650M, HD 6520G, asus, A53T

Asus' A53T is powered by the Llano A6-3400M and 6GB of DDR3-1333 with graphics from the discrete HD6520G and the built in HD 6650M, which is apparently labelled as the HD6720G2.  A 15.6" 1366x768 LCD gives you decent resolution on the road and the HDMI and D-Sub out give you better resolution when you are at home.  The Tech Report were not incredibly impressed with the battery life, during movie playback it died after a bit over 3 hours, though still long enough to get through Avatar.  Gaming was more than satisfactory at the native resolution of the monitor and will handle higher resolutions with the video out acceptably well.  Head on over for the full review.

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"Here we have our first example of a genuine, honest-to-goodness consumer laptop powered by AMD's latest and greatest accelerated processing unit. How does it perform?"

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ASUS Unveils a New Series of Innovative and Powerful All-in-One PCs

Subject: Systems | September 26, 2011 - 12:11 PM |
Tagged: asus, all-in-one, AIO, ET2410 Series

Fremont, California (September 26, 2011) — Designed to offer versatile performance for a wide variety of users, ASUS is excited to unveil three new All-in-One (AIO) models featuring the 21.5” ET2210, 23.6” ET2410, and 27” ET2700. All three models feature vibrant 1080P LED backlit touchscreens, 2nd generation Intel Core processors, USB 3.0 and e-SATA connectivity, 802.11 N wireless LAN, Digital camera, SonicMaster Audio and VESA-mount points. Options including hard drive storage capabilities up to 1TB, Blu-ray combo optical drive, 8GB of DDR3 memory and more — are all housed inside an elegant yet modern designed enclosure.

All-in-One Form Factor is the latest trend in PC technology
The popularity of the All-in-One form factor continues to grow in both the consumer and business markets as they deliver a smaller, more efficient footprint with a similar level of performance as traditional desktops yet with expanded multimedia and collaborative work features. “The new ASUS All-in-One PC series is the perfect technology tool to meet this increased market demand. ASUS continues to be an innovation leader with the release of these all-new AIOs, which offer premium features, stylish design, immersive multi-touch technology, and affordability in an energy efficient platform,” said Margaret Chen, President of Open Platform Business (OPBG) Group for ASUS Computer International.

Convenient and rich in usability
The first to market ET2410 Series comes with a multitude of convenient features including the touch-optimized ASUS Cinema software, making it easier and more comfortable to surf the web, browse through movies and music, or edit photos. The power of Intel’s 2nd generation Core Processor technology ensures that creating media content or handling demanding workloads is smoother and quicker than ever. The touchscreen models feature multi-touch controls for an intuitive and immersive touch experience in addition to the standard wireless keyboard/mouse inputs.

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Connectivity is not a problem with two USB 3.0 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, a 3-in-1 card reader, e-SATA port and 802.11 N wireless capabilities. A HDMI input port turns the ET2410 into a brilliant 23.6” display for gaming consoles or for use as a second monitor with a desktop or notebook computer. Engineered by audio experts, SonicMaster technology delivers crystal-clear, immersive audio that is perfect for music, movies or presentations. DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC further enhances audio enjoyment by offering incredible surround sound options. Its VESA mount allows the slim (2.36”) all-in-one PC to be placed almost anywhere, making it ideal for small living areas or professional offices where space is at a premium.

The ASUS ET2410 is available now through leading resellers with prices starting at $899 (MSRP). The 21.5” ET2210 will be available in October and the 27” ET2700 in November. To learn more about the ET2410 or other ASUS products, visit http://usa.asus.com/ for further details. Pricing, availability and specifications are subject to change.

Source: ASUS

Everyone's favourite Transformer

Subject: Mobile | September 21, 2011 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: asus, eee pad transformer, Transformer

You had better not think this refers to Bumblebee.  The real Transformer you shold be be thinking about comes from ASUS, the ARM based Tegra 250 T20 powered Eee Pad Transformer.  More than a tablet thanks to the special dock, which turns the tablet into a netbook with a full keyboard, this device has received a lot of positive press.  TechSpot had a chance to use one, powered by Honeycomb 3.2, and they agree with the other reviewers; considered as a simple tablet it isn't quite as good as the iPad but the real selling point of the Transformer is the keybaord.  Read on.

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"The Eee Pad Transformer goes beyond what most tablets are capable of by doubling as a Honeycomb-based netbook. Based on that premise and an attractive price since launch, it quickly became one of the most attractive Android tablets around.

If you are willing to look past the widely dominant iPad, we are paying another visit to Android Honeycomb (currently on version 3.2) along with one of the most popular and well regarded tablets under its umbrella."

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Source: TechSpot

A home for your Bulldozer, the ASUS Crosshair V Formula

Subject: Motherboards | September 16, 2011 - 03:27 PM |
Tagged: asus, Crosshair V Formula, am3+

The ASUS Republic of Gamers is already waiting for Bulldozer to arrive as the Crosshair V Formula was designed for it.  Seven SATA III 6Gb/s ports in total, a dozen USB 2.0 and a half dozen USB 3.0 ports will give you as much connectivity as you want.  SupremeFX X-Fi 2 8-channel HD audio codec provides sound and four PCIe 16x slots will ensure even multiple GPUs will be running full out.  There will even be a Thunderbolt version, though that was not the one that took Gold at [H]ard|OCP.

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"The Crosshair V Formula is ASUS' ROG-based answer for the next generation AMD silicon, codenamed "Bulldozer." Built with all the bells and whistles you've come to expect from a Republic of Gamers' motherboard, the Crosshair V Formula looks to be the perfect companion for any AMD processor."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP