Subject: Storage | April 19, 2013 - 10:10 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trim, ssd, sandforce 2281, sandforce, ROG, raidr, raid, PCIe SSD, asus
ASUS is reportedly adding two new PCI-E Solid State Drives (SSD) to its Republic Of Gamers lineup. Dubbed RAIDR, the new PCI-E SSDs use 19nm Toshiba MLC NAND flash driven by two SandForce 2281 controllers. In turn, the two SandForce drives are put into a hardware RAID 0 configuration for maximum speed. The RAIDR SSD internals are encased in a stylized EMI shield along with a ROG-branded back-plate. In all, ASUS’ RAIDR SSDs measure 157 x 120 x 20mm.
The ASUS RAIDR drives show up as a single disk driven by a standard AHCI controller, which allows the two RAID 0 SSDs connected via the PCI-E bus to be boot-able and support the TRIM command. Both RAIDR solid state drives also support Native Command Queuing (NCQ), SMART, Secure Erase, Windows 8 Secure Boot.
According to specifications provided by Sweclockers, ASUS is launching 120GB and 240GB versions of the PCI-E SSDs. Both capacities feature 100,000 IOPS, 128-bit AES encryption, and 620,000 MTBF ratings.
The 120GB RAIDR SSD supports up to 765MB/s sequential reads and 775MB/s sequential write speeds. On the other hand, the 240GB RAIDR drive supports up to 830MB/s sequential reads and 810MB/s sequential writes.
Additionally, ASUS is bundling its RAIDR drives with Kaspersky Antivirus 2013 and a number of ASUS utilities (including SSD TweakIt). The drives should be available sometime next month, but pricing is still unknown. Adding PCI-E SSDs is an interesting move by ASUS that should help the company diversify and expand its ROG branding. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing how the drives stack up when they are released (and hopefully a PC Perspective review)!
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 18, 2013 - 08:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, HD 7850 DirectCU II
With a custom cooler, 1 DP port, 2 DVI-I connectors, and 1 HDMI connector and only requiring a single PCIe 6 pin power connector the ASUS 7850 DirectCU II is a great blend of efficiency and flexibility for those looking for a card which costs around $200. On the other hand if you have no plans to overclock the card, the GTX660 which [H]ard|OCP compared this card to is slightly more powerful, costs the same and is a better choice for those who are planning on running dual GPUs. Check out the overclocked performance of this HD7850 in the full review.
"ASUS has refreshed its AMD Radeon HD 7850 DirectCU II video card with DirectCU and DIGI+ VRM with Super Alloy Power, poised to give you a robust video card with an improved overclocking experience. We will see whether this new revision brings new value to the Radeon HD 7850 GPU and we will compare it to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 PCS+ Review @ OCC
- Asus Radeon HD 7790 DirectCU II OC 1GB @ eTeknix
- XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition OC 1GB @ eTeknix
- XFX R7790 Black Edition OC @ LanOC Reviews
- Club3D Radeon HD 7790 13Series 1GB @ eTeknix
- GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7790 1GB & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Review @ Techgage
- ASUS Radeon HD 7790 DirectCU II OC Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- 23 AMD Radeon HD 7870 / 7950 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 / 660 Ti graphics card round-up @ Hardware.info
- AMD Radeon Gallium3D More Competitive With Catalyst On Linux @ Phoronix
- Diamond BizView 750 @ LanOC Reviews
- History of the GPU, Part 3: The Nvidia vs. ATI era begins @ Techspot
- History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 4: The GPGPU era arrives @ TechSpot
- iXBT Labs Review: i3DSpeed, March 2013
- ASUS GTX670 DirectCU Mini OC @ Hardware.info
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Roundup @ Hardware Canucks
- GTX 650 Ti Boost SLI @ LanOC Reviews
- Palit GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB OC @ Tweaktown
- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 650 TI Boost Edition @ Modders-Inc
- EVGA GTX 650 Ti Boost SC 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Twin Frozr Edition Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- MSI GTX 650Ti Boost Video Card Review @ Ninjalane
- Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost GS Dual & GTX 660 GS Dual @ Legion Hardware
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 8, 2013 - 11:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gk106, gtx660, asus, GTX 660 DirectCU II OC
Not everyone can afford to spend $400+ on a GPU in one shot but sometimes they can manage it if the purchase is split into two. For those considering a multi-GPU setup, it has become obvious from Ryan's testing that NVIDIA is the way to go. The 660 Ti is a favourite but even it might be too rich for some peoples wallets which is why it is nice to see the ASUS offer their GTX 660 DirectCU II OC for $215 after MIR. [H]ard|OCP just put up a review of this card covering both the FPS performance of the card as it was when it arrived as well as after they pushed the base clock up almost as high as the original boost clock. If you are on a limited GPU budget you should check out the full review.
"ASUS has delivered a factory overclocked GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II OC to our doorstep to run through the wringer. We match this ASUS video card up against AMD's Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and Radeon HD 7850 to see which will prevail in the battle of the mainstream cards. There are good values at this price point."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Radeon HD 7790 Crossfire vs. GeForce GTX 660 Ti @ Legion Hardware
- ASUS GTX 650 Ti Boost Direct CU II OC 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Video Cards in SLI @ Tweaktown
- ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU Mini 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SLI @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX Titan @ iXBT Labs
- Asus GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost OC Edition 2GB @ eTeknix
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost @ Tweaktown
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- Inside the second with Nvidia's frame capture tools @ The Tech Report
- Frame Capture and Analysis Tools Review @ OCC
Frametime tests 2.0: our take on the latest developments @ Hardware.info
- Club3D Radeon HD 7790 13Series CrossFire @ eTeknix
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 1GB Low Profile @ Tweaktown
- PowerColor PCS+ AX7850 2GBD5-2DHPP @ Bjorn3D
- Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD Review @ Neoseeker
- Radeon HD 7790 vs. GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Sapphire Radeon 7870 XT With Boost (Tahiti LE) Review & Bioshock Infinite Giveaway @ HCW
- ASUS Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II Review @ Custom PC Review
- Sapphire HD7850 OC @ FunkyKit
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
The P8Z77X-I Deluxe is ASUS' high-powered answer to the small form factor crowd. Through some unique design decisions and an upright daughter-board, ASUS was able to cram a full 10-phase digital power delivery system into this board without sacrificing any other integrated components. It's nice to see a manufacturer step up and design a mini-ITX board in the same vein as its full-sized counterpart. We put the board through our normal gamut of tests to see how well this mighty Mini-ITX board sized up with its full-sized brethren. At a retail list price of $219, the P8Z77-I Deluxe needs to prove its worth against the full sized boards.
Courtesy of ASUS
ASUS designed a full 10 phases of digital power, housed in the board's upright daughter card sitting parallel to the CPU cooler. The P8Z77-I Deluxe with its high-end power plant is packed full of features, including SATA 2, SATA 3, e-SATA, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0 ports for storage devices. Networking capabilities include an Intel GigE NIC, a Broadcom dual-port 802.11n adapter, and a Broadcom Bluetooth adapter. The board also features a single PCI-Express x16 slot for graphics cards and other expansion cards.
Courtesy of ASUS
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 3, 2013 - 02:14 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, mini-itx, gtx 670, GK104, directcu mini, asus
ASUS has finalized the design for its Kepler-based DirectCU Mini graphics card. The new card combines NVIDIA's GTX 670 GPU and reference PCB with ASUS' own power management technology and a new, much smaller, air cooler. The new ASUS cooler has allowed the company to offer a card that is a mere 17cm long. Compared to traditional GTX 670 graphics cards with coolers at approximately 24cm, the DirectCU Mini is noticeably smaller.
The DirectCU Mini features a GTX 670 GPU clocked at 928MHz base and 1,006MHz boost. It also has 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit bus. The card requires a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector. Video outputs include two DVI, one DisplayPort, and a single HDMI port. The ASUS cooler includes a copper vapor chamber and a single CoolTech fan. According to ASUS, the DirectCU Mini is up to 20% cooler and slightly quieter than previous GTX 670 cards despite the smaller form factor.
This new card will be a great addition to Mini-ITX-based systems where saving space anyway possible is key. It is nice to know that gamers will soon have the option of powering a small form factor LAN box with a GPU as fast as the GTX 670. Even better, water cooling enthusiasts will be happy to know that the card still uses a reference PCB, meaning it is compatible with existing water blocks made for the current crop of GTX 670 cards.
Pricing and availability have not been announced, but the small form factor-friendly GPU is now official and should be coming sometime soon.
Subject: Motherboards | April 3, 2013 - 03:27 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asus, p9x79-e, workstation, Sandy Bridge E, quad sli, quad crossfire, lga 2011
Earlier this year at CES, ASUS showed off a high-end workstation board called the P9X79-E WS. The board is meant for Sandy Bridge-E processors, but will likely be compatible with Ivy Bridge-E as well. Unlike Wolverine and Zeus, the P9X79-E WS is a motherboard that will actually see the light of day and has been officially launched. It will be available sometime in May at an as-yet-unannounced price.
The P9X79-E hosts a single LGA 2011 processor, up to 64GB of 2400MHz DDR3, the Intel X79 PCH, and support for 4-Way SLI or CrossFire on four of its seven total PCI-E 3.0 slots. The workstation board uses a 10-layer PCB, ASUS DIGI+ with 10+2 power phases, DR Power PSU monitoring, ASUS SSD Caching II, solid capacitors, and fanless heatsinks connected via copper heatpipes.
Storage options include six SATA 6Gbps ports, four SATA II 3Gbps ports, and two eSATA ports coming from the front panel header. The rear IO has changed a bit since the board seen at CES, however. The now-official ASUS P9X79-E WS includes the following rear IO options:
- 1 x PS/2 combo port
- 10 x USB 2.0 ports (one can be used for BIOS flashing)
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 2 x eSATA ports
- 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports backed by Intel i210 GbE controller
- 6 x Analog audio ports
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF port
The board can accommodate up to four dual slot graphics cards or seven single slot expansion cards (like PCI-E SSDs and RAID controllers). As a workstation board, it is likely to be pricey, but for those that need 4-way SLI and LGA 2011 (possibly for Ivy Bridge-E though its hard to say for sure if that will work yet) it is shaping up to be a good option. As mentioned above, the P9X79-E WS will reportedly be available for purchase in about a month. Sometime in early May or late April, according to Slash Gear.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of Oyen Digital
Oyen Digital, a popular manufacturer of portable storage enclosures and devices, provided us with its MiniPro™ eSATA / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive enclosure for testing USB 3.0 enhanced mode on the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe motherboard. This enclosure offers support for USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA ports in conjunction with a 2.5" hard drive. We put this enclosure on the test bench with the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe board to test the performance limits of the device. The MiniPro™ enclosure can be found at your favorite e-tailer for $39.95.
The MiniPro™ SATA / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive enclosure is a simple aluminum enclosure supporting any 2.5" form factor hard drive up to SATA III speeds. The enclosure itself supports USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA connections. Because of its use of the ASMedia 1053e chipset for USB 3.0 support, the enclosure supports both USB 3.0 normal mode transfer speeds and UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) mode transfer speeds. UASP mode is a method of bulk transfer for USB 3.0 connections that increases transfer speeds through the use of parallel simultaneous packet transfers. Per our sources at ASUS, UASP can be explained as follows:
The adoption of the SCSI Protocol in USB 3.0 provides its users with the advantage of having better data throughput than traditional BOT (Bulk-Only Transfer) protocol, all thanks to its streaming architecture as well as the improved queuing (NCQ support) and task management, which eliminated much of the round trip time between USB commands, so more commands can be sent simultaneously. Moreover, thanks to the multi-tasking aware architecture, the performance is further enhanced when multiple transfers occur.
The downside of UASP is that the receiving device (Flash drive/external hard drive etc) must also be UASP enabled for the protocol to work. This requires checking your peripherals before purchase. However since UASP is an industry standard, the device support for ASUS UASP implementation is not restricted to a particular controller manufacturer or device type, so the overall number of peripherals available should undoubtedly grow.
Technical Specifications (taken from the Oyen Digital website)
eSATA 6G (Up to 6.0 Gbps)
USB 3.0: (Up to 5.0 Gbps)
|SATA III (up to 15mm SATA 2.5" HDD/SSD)|
|Windows XP/Vista/7/8 & above; MAC OS 10.2 & above; Linux 2.4.22 & above|
Subject: Mobile | March 19, 2013 - 07:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, VivoBook S500, ultrabook, win8
The ASUS VivoBook is under $1000, lightweight with a touchscreen for Win8 and it does have an SSD, a small 24GB cache SSD but enough to trim down on boot times and resume from sleep all of which come close to the original specs for an Ultrabook. Legit Reviews tried out the 1366x768 Core i5-3317 powered Ultrabook, configured with 4GB RAM and a SanDisk cache drive. It lasted a reasonable 2 hours and 21 minutes in Futuremark Powermark, simulating heavy usage but when it came to the storage subsystem it really lagged behind the competition. Overall ASUS did make compromises to keept the price low, but if you are looking for an ultramobile touch device and don't need fast storage it is a decent choice.
"Are you looking for an affordable Intel Ultrabook that features Windows 8 with Touch? The ASUS VivoBook S500 just launched this week and is an entry level 15.4" Intel Ultrabook that is loaded with features and costs under $700 shipped. Read on to see how the ASUS VivoBook S500 Ultrabook performs with an Intel Core i5-3317U processor, 6GB DDR3 memory, 500GB 5400RPM hard drive and 24GB SSD for caching purposes."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Acer Aspire S7 13″ (S7-391) Ultrabook @ XSReviews
- Dell Inspiron 17-3721 Review @ TechReviewSource
- HP ENVY 4 TouchSmart (ENVY 4-1102xx) Ultrabook Review @ Custom PC Review
- Microsoft Surface RT review: the first Microsoft tablet @ Hardware.info
- Acer Iconia W510 Hybrid Tablet @ TechSpot
- Nextbook Premium7SE Tablet Review @ TechwareLabs
- DeepCool N9 Aluminum Notebook Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- Logitech T651 Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac Review @ Legit Reviews
- Antec PowerUp 6000 and Go Charger Mobile Accessory Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Benchmarking Ubuntu Linux On The Google Nexus 7 @ Phoronix
- Sony Xperia Z @ The Inquirer
- Sony Xperia Z review: Sony's flagship Full HD phone @ Hardware.info
- Mid-range smartphone round-up @ Hardware.info
- HTC One review: there can be only One @ Hardware.info
- Cygnett Aviator iPhone 4/4S Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Poetic Palette Nexus 4 @ LanOC Reviews
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 18, 2013 - 07:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 2560x1600, amd, hd7970 direct cu 2, asus, dell, 3007WFP
[H]ard|OCP has wanted to publish their review of the ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II for a while but ran into a compatibility issue during their testing and ended up being a perfect example of what sometimes happens to review sites and enthusiasts on the bleeding edge. [H] uses a Dell 3007WFP with a resolution of 2560x1600 which necessitates the use of a dual link DVI connection, which cause the issue you can see below. No other setup seemed to reproduce this problem, even the same monitor on a single link DVI at 1920x1080 or at the higher resolution on Display Port would not display the issue. So what began as a review of an HD 7970 with some nice extra features from ASUS became a long session of troubleshooting. Take a read through the review as these cards should be back in stock over the next few months, very likely with a solution to this problem already incorporated.
"Today we have the ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II strapped to our test bench for your reading pleasure. We will compare it to the AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 to determine whether the custom VRMs and DirectCU II cooling solution are the droids you are looking for in your next graphics card purchase."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- PowerColor PCS+ HD7870 GHz Edition 2GB GDDR5 @ LanOC Reviews
- HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB @ Tweaktown
- ASUS Radeon HD 7850 DirectCU On Ubuntu @ Phoronix
- AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition vs. Nvidia GeForce GTX 660: frametimes @ Hardware.info
- Powercolor HD 7870 Myst Edition @ Bjorn3D
- AMD vs Nvidia: Radeon 7870 vs GeForce 660 Using Frame Times @ HCW
- Prolimatech MK-26 GPU Cooler Review @ Pro-Clockers
- GELID Icy Vision Rev. 2 VGA Cooler Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Matrox DS1 review: a practical Thunderbolt dock @ Hardware.info
- Nvidia GeForce GTX TITAN 6 GB @ X-bit Labs
- Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan @ Techspot
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX Titan @ Legion Hardware
- EVGA GeForce GTX 670 FTW 2GB @ Hardware.info
- NVIDIA GTX TITAN vs. SLI & Crossfire @ Hardware Canucks
AM3+ Last Gasp?
Over the past several years I have reviewed quite a few Asus products. The ones that typically grab my attention are the ROG based units. These are usually the most interesting, over the top, and expensive products in their respective fields. Ryan has reviewed the ROG graphics cards, and they have rarely disappointed. I have typically taken a look at the Crosshair series of boards that support AMD CPUs.
Crosshair usually entails the “best of the best” when it comes to features and power delivery. My first brush with these boards was the Crosshair IV. That particular model was only recently taken out of my primary work machine. It proved itself to be an able performer and lasted for years (even overclocked). The Crosshair IV Extreme featured the Lucid Hydra chip to allow mutli-GPU performance without going to pure SLI or Crossfire. The Crosshair V got rid of Lucid and added official SLI support and it incorporated the Supreme FX II X-Fi audio. All of these boards have some things in common. They are fast, they overclock well, and they are among the most expensive motherboards ever for the AMD platform.
So what is there left to add? The Crosshair V is a very able platform for Bulldozer and Piledriver based parts. AMD is not updating the AM3+ chipsets, so we are left with the same 990FX northbridge and the SB950 southie (both of which are essentially the same as the 890FX/SB850). It should be a simple refresh, right? We had Piledriver released a few months ago and there should be some power and BIOS tweaks that can be implemented and then have a rebranded board. Sounds logical, right? Well, thankfully for us, Asus did not follow that path.
The Asus Crosshair V Formula Z is a fairly radical redesign of the previous generation of products. The amount of extra features, design changes, and power characteristics make it a far different creature than the original Crosshair V. While both share many of the same style features, under the skin this is a very different motherboard. I am rather curious why Asus did not brand this as the “Crosshair VI”. Let’s explore, shall we?