ASUS Releases Z170 Signature Motherboards for Intel Skylake

Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2015 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: Z170-Deluxe, motherboards, LGA 1151, Intel Z170, deluxe, asus

We previously reported news of the new Maximus lineup for the Z170 platform, but ASUS had more to announce today.


The new signature motherboard lineup (click here for the full comparison chart) includes new Z170 versions of the familiar models from previous chipsets, and they have specifically detailed quite a bit about their new high-end Z170-Deluxe model.

The Z170-Deluxe is crammed with proprietary goodies such as:

5-Way Optimization: "The unbeatable combination of automated overclocking, advanced fan controls, enhanced efficiency, digital power and per-app performance profiles"

 ASUS Pro Clock: "A dedicated base-clock (BCLK) generator designed for 6th-generation Intel processors that allows overclocked base clock frequencies up to 400MHz"

Water Pump Header: "Self-contained and custom water cooling systems now have a dedicated fan header to connect to that provides the required 1A of power for both DC- or PWM-controlled pumps"

Dual PCIe M.2 x4: "The Hyper M.2 x4 card supports a full range of M.2 lengths up to 22110, while providing flexibility to install M.2 drives away from heat-generating sources"

USB 3.1: "With both Type A and Type C USB 3.1 ports onboard, the Z170-Deluxe is capable of handling well as up-and-coming devices"

Crystal Sound 3, Intel Ethernet & Turbo LAN: "Pairing best-in-class integrated audio with low-latency networking on both hardware and software fronts"


And the Deluxe also features advanced cooling capability, with onboard headers individually controllable by assigment to different temp diodes on the motherboard. (The board also supports the awesome-looking "ASUS Fan Extension card" which I feel strangely compelled to purchase - depending on price of course).

Lastly, what modern motherboard would be complete without full RGB lighting? If you said "no motherboard is complete without that!" then you won't be disappointed. The Z170-Deluxe, like the Maximus series, contains just this kind of lighting:

"All the Z170 Signature Series motherboards have a 256-color LED that lets users customize the lighting of their builds. This LED can also be set to reflect the CPU temperature or pulse to the beat of the music playing through the system."


The Z170-Deluxe and the rest of the Signature motherboards are said to be available immediately, so keep checking your favorite outlets as they are gradually appearing for sale.

Source: ASUS

ASUS Releases New ROG Maximus VIII Lineup for Intel Z170

Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2015 - 10:44 AM |
Tagged: Skylake, Maximus VIII, LGA 1151, Intel Z170, ASUS ROG, asus

The 6th-generation Intel Core processors and Z170 chipset are here, and to support Skylake for the enthusiast ASUS has added three new motherboards to their Republic of Gamers ‘Maximus’ lineup: The Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene.


For those unfamiliar, ASUS includes just about everything (possibly including the kitchen sink, I haven't seen the exact box contents yet) in these Maximus boards, and calling them feature-rich would be an understatement. In addition to the premium construction and overclocking focus there is now a greater emphasis on ease-of-use, with feaures inherited from the company's signature series motherboards. This "5-Way Optimization" includes "all of the enhancements enjoyed by ASUS signature motherboards...complete with award-winning automated overclocking and unmatched fan controls".

There are interesting additions to the new Z170 Maximus lineup, including customizable RGB LED lighting, which can be set to change color based on CPU temperature or “pulsate in time to the beat of your favorite tunes”. Who doesn’t want their motherboard to do that?


The micro-ATX variant: ASUS Maximus VIII Gene

While silent PC enthusiasts might not think aabout a motherboard that's engineered for overclocking performance, fan headers and speed control are a focus with the lineup. In addtion to what's installed on the motherboard ASUS is offering this nice little accessory (as a separate purchase) connects to a header on the motherboard to add an additional three PWM fans with full control.


The ultimate accessory for the enclosure enthusiast? I think so

You could already create some very quiet system builds with Maximus motherboards and the option of adding additional fans with a "Fan Extension card" is a thoughtful one.

The Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene will be available immediately from the usual retailers, and ASUS states that “other Maximus VIII models will arrive soon”. Pricing was not immediately available at time of publication but I would assume this will mirror that of the existing Maximum VII lineup as in past generations.

Source: ASUS
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Our Intel Skylake launch coverage is intense! Make sure you hit up all the stories and videos that are interesting for you!


ASUS used the introduction of the Z170 chipset and Intel LGA1151 processors to revamp their new motherboard product lines, updating the aesthetics and features with the latest innovations. We are giving you a preview of what to expect from the ASUS Z170 chipset boards, using the Z170-A board provided for evaluation. A more detailed evaluation of the ASUS Z170-A will be released in the coming weeks as we receive evaluation samples from other manufacturers with which we can compare it.


Courtesy of ASUS


Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS updated the aesthetics of the channel series boards, changing the previous generation's black and gold design to a much more eye-catching black and white with blue accents. The Z170-A motherboard even comes with an integrated rear panel cover and large black-chromed heat sinks for its VRMs. The board offers full support for Intel's new line of LGA1151 "Skylake-S" processors, paired with dual channel DDR4 memory.


Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS integrated their latest overclocking technology into the Z170-A motherboard, giving their "entry-level" model the same overclocking potential as offered with their flagship board. ASUS uses a tri-chip design to ensure the board's overclocking capabilities - the Pro Clock control chip, the TPU chip, and the EPU chip. The three chips work in concert to unlock ultra-high frequencies for pushing you Skylake processor to its limits.


Courtesy of ASUS

The Z170-A motherboard also has the latest ASUS sound technology integrated - Crystal Sound 3. Like its predecessors, Crystal Sound 3 integrates the audio components on a isolated PCB from the other main board components minimizing noise generation caused by those other integrated devices. ASUS designed the audio subsystem with high-quality Japanese-sourced audio and power circuitry for a top-notch audio experience.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Z170-A motherboard!

Which 980 Titanium should you put on your card?

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 4, 2015 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: 980 Ti, asus, msi, gigabyte, evga, GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING, GTX 980 Ti STRIX OC, GTX 980 Ti gaming 6g

If you've decided that the GTX 980 Ti is the card for you due to price, performance or other less tangible reasons you will find that there are quite a few to choose from.  Each have the same basic design but the coolers and frequencies vary between manufacturers, as do the prices.  That is why it is handy that The Tech Report have put together a round up of four models for a direct comparison.  In the article you will see the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti SC+, Gigabyte's GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming, MSI GTX 980 Ti Gaming 6G and the ASUS Strix GTX 980 Ti OC Edition.  The cards are not only checked for basic and overclocked performance, there is also noise levels and power consumption to think about, so check out the full review.


"The GeForce GTX 980 Ti is pretty much the fastest GPU you can buy.The aftermarket cards offer higher clocks and better cooling than Nvidia's reference design. But which one is right for you?"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

ASUS Announces the X99-M WS Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 1, 2015 - 11:54 PM |
Tagged: X99, MicroATX, asus

The X99-M WS combines the Haswell-E platform with extra certification for workstation computers, and it does so in a microATX form factor. The WS line goes through extra QA against a variety of accessories and add-in boards, which should lead to less situations where something like a user's wants to install two different video capture cards in their system, but ends up getting random blue screens.


As expected, the motherboard uses the X99 chipset, which allows Core i7 and Xeon processors with up two eighteen cores. It can accept up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory, which can be aligned in a quad-channel formation. It allows dual graphics cards from both AMD and NVIDIA, even though it has three PCIe 3.0 lanes. I assume this is because a dual-slot graphics card would cover up the third x16 bus -- this is a microATX motherboard, after all.

Beyond being a small, workstation-certified motherboard, it also has USB 3.1 (which brings 10 Gbps of bandwidth to external devices). This is obviously useful for external storage, and that has a lot of uses for workstation applications.

The ASUS X99-M is available now for $279.99 MSRP. It is currently listed on Newegg at $275.99 with a three year warranty, but I cannot find an official warranty listing from ASUS to confirm that.

Source: ASUS

Valve's The International 2015

Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2015 - 10:55 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, esports, valve, DOTA, DOTA 2, asus, ASUS ROG

Each year, Valve Software puts on a giant DOTA2 tournament where teams compete for literally millions of dollars. As of this writing, the prize pool currently sits at $17.9 million USD, which is divided between a 6.5 million USD first place prize, down to just under $54,000 USD for 13th through 16th place. Granted, these are per-team prizes, so individual players and their organizations will split the earnings from there how they see fit. It will take place between August 3rd and end with the Grand Finals on August 8th.


Last year, the event was broadcast on ESPN3. While it does not seem to be mentioned on the official website, although the online streaming WatchESPN is listed, ESPN's calendar has The International on its ESPN3 calendar for all six days. That said, you could always watch it online like you obviously watch every episode of the PC Perspective podcast. Right? Live and participating in the chat?

You can also check out an ASUS RoG contest at the JoinDOTA website. The top prize is an ROG G751 Gaming Laptop, a mouse with mousepad, and t-shirt. Second prize gets the mouse, mousepad, and t-shirt. Third and fourth place gets a different mouse (without a mousepad) and a t-shirt. Fifth place has been there, done that, but only gets a t-shirt.

And for the rest of us, maybe someone will snap a picture of a Valve workstation while they're aren't looking... again.

Source: Valve

Introduction and Technical Specifications



Courtesy of Bitspower

The Bitspower AIX99R5E Nickel Plated water block set is a set of full cover blocks for cooling the X99 chipset and CPU VRMs on the ASUS Rampage V Extreme motherboard. The block set is split into two parts, a block for the CPU VRM circuits and a block / cover plate for the chipset area. Each block has two G1/4" threaded ports for coolant inlet/outlet.


Courtesy of Bitspower


Courtesy of Bitspower

The blocks are held to the board using screws through the board bottom and using the pre-existing cooler mounting holes. Thermal tape is used in between the VRM chips and the block. The chipset block uses thermal paste to interface with the board's chipset surface. The chipset block covers the left side of the board with fingers that sit in between the PCIe ports.

Technical Specifications (taken from the Bitspower website)

Dimension N+S
( LxWxH )
212m x 161mm x 26mm
Dimension MOS
( LxWxH )
104.7mm x 23.5mm x 26mm
Thread G1/4" x 2
Included 1. Backup O-Ring x 1Set.
2. Thermal PAD Included.
3. Mounting Screws/Accessories.

Continue reading our review of the Bitspower AIX99R5E Nickel Plated Full Cover Block!

Huh. Someone Installed Windows 7 on an ASUS ZenFone 2.

Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2015 - 09:04 PM |
Tagged: zenfone2, zenfone, asus

So this is kind-of cool. The ASUS ZenFone 2 is based around an Intel Atom processor, which uses an x86 processor. Its performance is not comparable to a Haswell PC with discrete graphics, but the machine language will correctly guide voltages through the appropriate logic and end up in the proper memory locations. This means software that doesn't require high performance (or access to more advanced hardware) can run without translating the instruction set, which is harsh on performance.

Note that “more advanced hardware” could refer to something as simple as a floppy drive, which is not required to be classified as an x86 device but might be required for seemingly trivial software.


In this case, someone decided to load Windows 7 on ASUS' smartphone. It technically runs in an emulator but, as stated before, it does not need to translate the underlying instruction set. Even though it's a cute project, I wonder if it's possible to boot some version of Windows on an Intel mobile platform. Of course, it's not enough curiosity to make me research the BIOS standards and make an actual informed statement.

Meet ASUS' DirectCU III on the Radeon Fury

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 13, 2015 - 03:34 PM |
Tagged: Fury, DirectCU III, asus, amd

The popular ASUS STRIX series has recently been updated with the DirectCU III custom cooler, on both the GTX 980 and the new Radeon Fury.  This version uses dual-10mm heatpipes and Triple Wing-Blade fans which are billed as providing 220% larger surface area as well as an increase in air pressure of 105%, which provide a claimed 40% reduction in temperature.  We cannot directly compare the cooling ability directly to the retail model, however [H]ard|OCP's tests show you can indeed cool a Fury on air, 71C at full load is lower than the 81C seen on a GTX 980.  Even more impressive is that fans were only at 43% speed and operating almost silently, at the cost of increased noise you could lower those temperatures if you desired.  Check out their full review to see how the card did but do take note, [H] does not at this time have access to the new GPU Tweak II utility required to overclock the card.

-update - now with less X's


"AMD's Radeon Fury X is here, the AMD Radeon R9 Fury presents itself and we evaluate a full retail custom ASUS STRIX R9 Fury using ASUS' new DirectCU III technology. We will compare this to a GeForce GTX 980 using the new drivers AMD just released and find out what kind of gameplay experience the R9 Fury has to offer."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Asus Launches New Mini ITX Motherboards With Braswell-Based Intel Celeron Processors

Subject: Motherboards | July 4, 2015 - 10:52 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini ITX, fanless, Braswell, Airmont, asus

Asus has introduced two new small form factor motherboards featuring soldered Intel “Braswell”-based Celeron processors. The Asus N3150I-C and N3050I-C are Mini ITX form factor boards with decent connectivity and lower power draw with the processor options topping out at 6 watts.

Asus Braswell-Based Celeron Mini ITX Motherboards N3150i-c and N3050i-c.jpg

The two SFF motherboards are essentially the same, with the main difference being the bundled processor (see below). The boards have 24+4 pin ATX power inputs, two full-size DDR3 memory slots, two SATA 6 Gbps ports, a single PCI-E 2.0 x4 slot (open ended), and one mini PCI-E connector. The Intel processors on both boards are passively cooled by a large rectangular gold-colored aluminum heatsink.

The rear of the board includes the following I/O ports.

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x RS232
  • 3 x Audio outputs

The N3150I-C board uses an Intel Celeron N3150 while the N3050I-C uses an Intel Celeron N3050. Both chips are 14nm and based on the newer Airmont architecture. These “Braswell” chips have incremental improvements in CPU performance and more significant graphics performance boosts with the inclusion of up to 16 execution units.

Specifically, the N3150 is a quad core chip clocked at 1.6 GHz base to 2.08 GHz burst with Intel HD Graphics (12 EUs up to 640 MHz) and a 6W TDP. On the other hand, the Celeron N3050 is a dual core chip – also with a 6W TDP – clocked at 1.6 GHz base and 2.16 GHz burst paired with Intel HD Graphics (12 EUs) clocked at up to 600 MHz.

These new boards could be used as the base for a NAS box, home media server, or a router and wireless AP by using those PCI-E and mPCI-E slots. Pricing and availability have not yet been announced, however.

Source: Asus