Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2011 - 06:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: zenbook, ux31, ultrabook, asus
Finally a reviewer has managed to get their hands on an Ultrabook; The Tech Report gives the low down on ASUS' Zenbook UX31 in their lateset article. It is every bit as pretty as the pictures implied and is not too bad looking on the inside with a Core i5-2557M, 4GB DDR3-1333 on Intel's QS67 chipset with a 128GB Adata XM11 SSD for storage with the 1600x900 TN display powered by the SandyBridge processors onboard graphics engine. Interestingly, The Tech Report finds its physical characteristics to match or beat the 13" Macbook Air, which costs $200 more so perhaps there is hope for this form factor. Throughout the review are the inevitable comparisons to Apple, who have already mastered this form factor, as well as mention of the soon to be available IvyBridge books which should be about half the price.
"The first 13" ultrabook from Asus looks extremely tantalizing on paper—not to mention visually. Is it as good as it seems, and is it worth the $1,099 asking price?"
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- HP ProBook 4430s Review @ TechReviewSource
- ontemporary Netbook Platforms Comparison @ X-bit Labs
- Dell Vostro V131: A Budget Business Laptop @ AnandTech
- Asus Zenbook UX31 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Spire Cassi SP316PL @ CoD
- hermaltake Massive23 GT & Cooler Master NotePal U Stand Cooler @ kitguru
- Tablets of 2011: Holiday Season Update @ Techspot
- Rooting Sony PRS-T1 lets you get at the Android goodies @ Hack a Day
- HTC Titan Review: Windows Phone 7.5 on a Giant Screen @ techspot
- Samsung Galaxy SII Android Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Samsung Galaxy Fit Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Nokia Lumia 800 hands on @ The Inquirer
- Griffin Beacon Universal Remote for iPhone Review @MissingRemote
Subject: Motherboards | October 27, 2011 - 06:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, Crosshair V Formula, FX 8150, 990fx, am3+
As sometimes happens when one sets out to write a review, at some point it turns out you aren't reviewing what you had originally intended to. Such happened at Legit Reviews when they tested the ASUS Crosshair V Formula AM3+ board with an FX-8150 as well as an X6 1100T. The motherboard is very interesting; just hard to make out through the wreckage of a big yellow machine lying in front of it. If you can manage to make out the motherboard through the Phenom-enal holes punched in the 'dozer you can see three PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16, x8, x8), a PCIe 2.0 x16 in x4, a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot and even a legacy PCI slot. There are also four USB 3.0 ports and an equal number of USB 2.0 ports (one can be made into an ROG port) and a slew of others including a clear CMOS button for your cat or child to play with.
"This particular article, we went a little bit of a different route. We compared the ASUS Crosshair V Formula with the latest AMD FX-8150 'Bulldozer' processor, to itself with an AMD Phenom II X6 1100T. We wanted to see if there was much of a difference in performance between the two core architectures on the AMD 990FX chipset. The article inadvertently felt more like a shoot out between the two processors, when the focus was meant to be on the ASUS Crosshair V Formula. The performance between the two systems was entirely too similar for my tastes. The AMD FX-8150 didn't run the circles around the Phenom II X6 1100T that I had hoped it would..."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI 990FXA-GD80 AM3+ Motherboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- Foxconn A75M FM1 Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- Zotac A75-ITX WiFi Motherboard Review @ TechwareLabs
- ASUS E35M1-M Pro Review - Anyone For Fusion? @ AnandTech
- BIOS Option Of The Week - MPS Control Version For OS @ TechARP
- Mini-ITX Face-Off: Asrock Z68M-ITX-HT vs. Asrock A75M-ITX @ Techspot
- Zotac Z68 ITX WiFi Supreme @ Bjorn3D
- Zotac Z68-ITX WiFi: Mini-ITX Mainboard That Can Overclock LGA1155 Processors @ X-bit Labs
- MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3) – One of the First Mainboards with PCI Express 3.0 Support @ X-bit Labs
- Gigabyte Z68AP-D3 @ OC3D
- Gigabyte Z68XP-UD5 Motherboard Review @ OCIA
- Gigabyte G1.Sniper2 Z68 Motherboard Review @ eTeknix
- Zotac Z68ITX-B-E WiFi Supreme Motherboard Review @Hi Tech Legion
- ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 Intel Motherboard @ TechwareLabs
Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2011 - 04:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: x79, sabertooth x79, ROG Rampage IV Extreme, p9x79 deluxe, asus
Fremont, California (October 25, 2011) ― ASUS, the world’s leading motherboard maker, is excited to release a complete roster of Intel® X79 Express Chipset-based motherboards with the new LGA 2011 The new ASUS X79 motherboard offerings cover a wide gamut of PC users with the mainstream P9X79 Series, built-rugged TUF Series, feature laden Work Station (WS) Series and the pinnacle of gaming and enthusiast level motherboard design with the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rampage IV Extreme. This impressive series of motherboards highlight best-in-class performance, stability, features and a user experience that is unmatched.
P9X79 Series ― Impressive Control Features for Absolute Performance and Reliability
Several exclusive ASUS features make this series of motherboards the ideal choice for PC users who require a combination of performance, enhanced flexibility and incredible system control. This series offers an update to ASUS’ award winning UEFI graphical user interface for system options and the next-generation Dual Intelligent Processors 3 architecture, featuring the latest DIGI+ Power and new Digi+ DRAM technology. ASUS’ exclusive Digi+ technology offers the industry’s leading all-digital power control design that older analog solutions cannot match in performance, stability and control options.
Users will benefit from ASUS SSD Caching, which uses solid state drive speeds to intelligently accelerate frequently-accessed tasks and applications. Offering speeds up to three times faster than mechanical hard drives in most applications, ASUS SSD Caching features an exclusive user interface and storage control options that boosts performance with one click.
Other user enhancements include ASUS USB BIOS Flashback that allows for quick and easy BIOS flashing without the need for a video card, CPU or hard drive attached to the system. BT GO 3.0! with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi onboard enables faster connectivity and convenience without extra adapters, making wireless devices instantly accessible with improved compatibility and versatility on select boards.
TUF SABERTOOTH X79 ― Ultimate in Control and Stability
Ruggedized and server-grade tested TUF boards have quickly garnered a reputation for the best cooling and stability in their class. The TUF Sabertooth X79 continues this tradition with a new generation of TUF Thermal Armor and new DIGI+ Power technology that is perfect for non-stop commercial use and demanding 24/7 applications. New Thermal Radar technology consists of 12 embedded sensors that detect heat levels across the board, adjusting fan speeds automatically or manually to ensure optimized cooling for improved reliability and stability.
ROG Rampage IV Extreme – The Best Platform for Gaming or Overclocking
The new ROG Rampage IV Extreme motherboard puts the new Intel® X79 to perfect use for the highest-spec overclocking or gaming performance available to PC enthusiasts. It offers the ultimate enthusiast platform, providing gamers or enthusiasts with a rich selection of exclusive technologies that will be revealed shortly.
Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2011 - 03:33 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
Subject: Mobile | October 25, 2011 - 12:32 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
More Mobile Articles
- ASUS Zenbook (UX21) @ AnandTech
- Dell Inspiron 14z Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Dell XPS 14z Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- HP Pavilion dv7-6195us Review @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS 14z @ AnandTech
- Cooler Master Notepal X-Slim Notebook Cooler Review @ Neoseeker
- Hanjung Grip100-S and Grip110-U2 Notebook Cooling Pads Review @ FrostytechE
- Amazon Kindle (4th Gen) @ AnandTech
- HTC Sensation Android Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus takes aim at the Iphone 4S @ The Inquirer
- Android USB Tethering Shared Internet Access @ Benchmark Reviews
- Sony Reader Wi-Fi (PRS-T1) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Iphone 4S vs Galaxy S II head to head @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | October 21, 2011 - 07:28 PM | Ryan Shrout
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!!!
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!!
Subject: Motherboards | October 18, 2011 - 06:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- EVGA X79 Classified E779 Motherboard Pictured At GeForce LAN 6 @ Legit Reviews
- Biostar TZ68K+ - Energy-Efficient LGA1155 Mainboard for Thrifty Users @ X-bit Labs
- ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 Review @ Kitguru
- BIOS Option Of The Week - PCI Clock Synchronization Mode @ Tech ARP
- ASUS M5A99X EVO Motherboard Review @ OCIA
- Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum Review @ OCC
- Gigabyte GA-A55-DSP3 Motherboard Review @ HardwareHeaven
- GIGABYTE Super4 A75-UD4H Socket FM1 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
Introduction and Design
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.
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:
- 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.
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.
Subject: Motherboards | October 14, 2011 - 04:09 PM | Ryan Shrout
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.