Retail Card Design
AMD is in an interesting spot right now. The general consensus is that both the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and the R9 Fury graphics cards had successful launches into the enthusiast community. We found that the performance of the Fury X was slightly under that of the GTX 980 Ti from NVIDIA, but also that the noise levels and power draw were so improved on Fiji over Hawaii that many users would dive head first into the new flagship from the red team.
The launch of the non-X AMD Fury card was even more interesting – here was a card with a GPU performing better than the competition in a price point that NVIDIA didn’t have an exact answer. The performance gap between the GTX 980 and GTX 980 Ti resulted in a $550 graphics card that AMD had a victory with. Add in the third Fiji-based product due out in a few short weeks, the R9 Nano, and you have a robust family of products that don’t exactly dominate the market but do put AMD in a positive position unlike any it has seen in recent years.
But there are some problems. First and foremost for AMD, continuing drops in market share. With the most recent reports from multiple source claiming that AMD’s Q2 2015 share has dropped to 18%, an all-time low in the last decade or so, AMD needs some growth and they need it now. Here’s the catch: AMD can’t make enough of the Fiji chip to affect that number at all. The Fury X, Fury and Nano are going to be hard to find for the foreseeable future thanks to production limits on the HBM (high bandwidth memory) integration; that same feature that helps make Fiji the compelling product it is. I have been keeping an eye on the stock of the Fury and Fury X products and found that it often can’t be found anywhere in the US for purchase. Maybe even more damning is the fact that the Radeon R9 Fury, the card that is supposed to be the model customizable by AMD board partners, still only has two options available: the Sapphire, which we reviewed when it launched, and the ASUS Strix R9 Fury that we are reviewing today.
AMD’s product and financial issues aside, the fact is that the Radeon R9 Fury 4GB and the ASUS Strix iteration of it are damned good products. ASUS has done its usual job of improving on the design of the reference PCB and cooler, added in some great features and packaged it up a price that is competitive and well worth the investment for enthusiast gamers. Our review today will only lightly touch on out-of-box performance of the Strix card mostly because it is so similar to that of the initial Fury review we posted in July. Instead I will look at the changes to the positioning of the AMD Fury product (if any) and how the cooler and design of the Strix product helps it stand out. Overclocking, power consumption and noise will all be evaluated as well.
Introduction and First Impressions
The ASUS PB258Q is a "frameless" monitor with a full 2560x1440 resolution from a fairly compact 25-inch size, and at first glance it might appear to be a bare LCD panel affixed to a stand. This attractive design also features 100% sRGB coverage and full height/tilt/swivel and rotation adjustment. The price? Less than $400. We'll put it to the test to see just what kind of value to expect here.
A beautiful looking monitor even with nothing on the display
The ASUS PB258Q came out of nowhere one day when I was looking to replace a smaller 1080p display on my desk. Given some pretty serious size constraints I was hesitant to move up to the 27 - 30 inch range for 2560x1440 monitors, but I didn't want to settle for 1920x1080 again. The ASUS PB258Q intrigued me immediately not only due to its interesting size/resolution of 25-inch/1440p, but also for the claimed 100% sRGB coverage and fully adjustable stand. And then I looked over at the price. $376.99 shipped from Amazon with Prime shipping? Done.
The pricing (and compact 25-inch size) made it a more compelling choice to me than the PB278Q, ASUS's "professional graphics monitor" which uses a PLS panel, though this larger display has recently dropped in price to the $400 range. When the PB258Q arrived a couple of days later I was first struck by how compact it is, and how nice the monitor looked without even being powered up.
Subject: Displays | August 17, 2015 - 09:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: video, monitor, mg279q, lcd, ips, freesync, display, asus, 90Hz, 2560x1440, 144hz, 1440p
The response to Al's review of the ASUS MG279Q was, to be polite, somewhat energetic. While not much was learned a lot of opinions were voiced and occasionally they were even on topic. The Tech Report, not dissuaded by the response just posted a 10 minute video offering their thoughts on the new Freesync technology in general and this monitor specifically. The Closed Caption feature offers some rather amusing translations of what is being said but you should pay attention to what is actually being said as the video offers a good overview of what FreeSync is.
"Asus' MG279Q is a 27" FreeSync monitor with a 144Hz, 2560x1440 IPS panel for an appealing price. Our own Gyromancer, Nathan Wasson, has spent some quality time with the MG279Q, and he's collected his impressions in video form."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Asus MG278Q FreeSync Game Monitor @ Kitguru
- BenQ GW2765HT @ Kitguru
- BenQ RL2755HM @ Kitguru
- SilverStone SST-MR01 Aluminium Monitor Riser @ eTeknix
Subject: Motherboards | August 14, 2015 - 05:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170-Deluxe, skylake-s, lga1151, Intel Z170, asus
Morry offered you a preveiw of the ASUS Z170 Deluxe and now [H]ard|OCP have posted their opinion of the new motherboard. One new feature you might not have realized was incorporated on this board involves the 5 fan headers, all are 4-pin PWM and can be controlled in the UEFI BIOS. As well there is a dedicated waterpump header that is defaulted to full power, another handy new feature. The plastic shrouds are striking and will make this board popular with modders and those with glass cases who like to show off. During their testing [H] tried to push their i7-6700k past 4.7GHz but could not do so, they will be looking to source additional chips to see what difference, if any, exists.
"Today we review ASUS’ new Z170-Deluxe which is based on the new Intel Z170 Chipset supporting Skylake processors. We overclock Skylake and push the Z170-Deluxe to its limits. We find out about this solid new motherboard platform and we have to say we come away impressed."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Review @ OCC
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6+ @ Kitguru
- MSI Z170A GAMING M7 @ eTeknix
- ASUS Z170-A Skylake Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI Z170A GAMING M7 @ TechPowerUp
- Intel Z170 Chipset Summary @ [H]ard|OCP
- GIGABYTE X99-SLI LGA 2011v3 @ [H]ard|OCP
- Biostar N3150NH Mini-ITX Motherboard @ Modders-Inc
- MSi 970A SLI Krait Edition @ eTeknix
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 12, 2015 - 09:29 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: STRIX R9 Fury, Radeon R9 Fury, overclocking, oc, LN2, hbm, fury x, asus, amd
What happens when you unlock an AMD Fury to have the Compute Units of a Fury X, and then overclock the snot out of it using LN2? User Xtreme Addict in the HWBot forums has created a comprehensive guide to do just this, and the results are incredible.
Not for the faint of heart (image credit: Xtreme Addict)
"The steps include unlocking the Compute Units to enable Fury X grade performance, enabling the hotwire soldering pads, a 0.95v Rail mod, and of course the trimpot/hotwire VGPU, VMEM, VPLL (VDDCI) mods.
The result? A GPU frequency of 1450 MHz and HBM frequency of 1000 MHz. For the HBM that's a 100% overclock."
Beginning with a stock ASUS R9 Fury STRIX card Xtreme Addict performed some surgery to fully unlock the voltage, and unlocked the Compute Units using a tool from this Overclock.net thread.
The results? Staggering. HBM at 1000 MHz is double the rate of the stock Fury X, and a GPU core of 1450 MHz is a 400 MHz increase. So what kind of performance did this heavily overclocked card achieve?
"The performance goes up from 6237 points at default to 6756 after unlocking the CUs, then 8121 points after overclock on air cooling, to eventually end up at 9634 points when fully unleashed with liquid nitrogen."
Apparently they were able to push the card even further, ending up with a whopping 10033 score in 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme.
While this method is far too extreme for 99% of enthusiasts, the idea of unlocking a retail Fury to the level of a Fury X through software/BIOS mods is much more accessible, as is the possibility of reaching much higher clocks through advanced cooling methods.
Unfortunately, if reading through this makes you want to run out and grab one of these STRIX cards availability is still limited. Hopefully supply catches up to demand in the near future.
A quick look at stock status on Newegg for the featured R9 Fury card
Subject: General Tech | August 6, 2015 - 07:04 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Z170-A, z170 deluxe, Z170, video, Skylake, podcast, nvidia, maxwell, logitech g29, Lenovo, lavie-z, Intel, gigabyte, asus, 950ti, 6700k
PC Perspective Podcast #361 - 08/06/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K, Logitech G29 Racing Wheel, Lenovo LaVie-Z and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:45:17
Week in Review:
News item of interest:
1:21:45 Valve's The International 2015
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2015 - 07:30 PM | Sebastian Peak
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 current...as 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.
Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2015 - 02:44 PM | Sebastian Peak
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.
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!
- The Intel Core i7-6700K Review - Skylake First for Enthusiasts (Video)
- Skylake vs. Sandy Bridge: Discrete GPU Showdown (Video)
- ASUS Z170-A Motherboard Preview
- Intel Skylake / Z170 Rapid Storage Technology Tested - PCIe and SATA RAID
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.
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 4, 2015 - 10:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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:
- MSI GTX 980 Ti Gaming 6G Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Palit GTX 980 Ti Super JetStream 6 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G @ [H]ard|OCP
- Maxwell Hits The Workstation: NVIDIA Quadro M6000 Graphics Card Review @ Techgage
- NVIDIA's Tegra X1 Delivers Stunning Performance On Ubuntu Linux @ Phoronix
- The AMD Radeon R9 Fury Is Currently A Disaster On Linux @ Phoronix
- Sapphire Nitro R9 390 8G D5 Review, Playing With Nitro @ Bjorn3d