NVIDIA G-Sync DIY Kit For ASUS VG248QE Monitor Now Available for $199

January 17, 2014 - 06:35 PM |
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NVIDIA's new G-Sync variable refresh rate technology is slowly being rolled out to consumers in the form of new monitors and DIY upgrade kits that can be used to add G-Sync functionality to existing displays. The first G-Sync capable monitor to support the DIY upgrade kit path is the ASUS VG248QE which is a 24" 1080p 144Hz TN panel. The monitor itself costs around $270 and the you can now purchase a G-Sync DIY upgrade kit from NVIDIA for $199.

The upgrade kit comes with a replacement controller board, power supply, HDMI cable, plastic spudger, IO shields, and installation instructions. Users will need to take apart the VG248QE monitor, remove the old PCBs and install the G-Sync board in its place. According to NVIDIA the entire process takes about 30 minutes though if this is your first time digging into monitor internals it will likely take closer to an hour to install.

The NVIDIA G-Sync DIY kit below the ASUS VG248QE monitor.

For help with installation, NVIDIA has posted a video of the installation process on YouTube. If you find text and photos easier, you can follow the installation guides written up for PC Perspective by Allyn Malventano and reader Levi Kendall. Both DIY kit reviews stated that the process, while a bit involved, was possible for most gamers to perform with a bit of guidance.

You can order the DIY upgrade kit yourself from this NVIDIA page.

Alternatively, ASUS is also releasing an updated version of the VG248QE monitor with the G-Sync board pre-installed in the first half of this year. This updated G-Sync monitor will have an MSRP of $399.

With the G-Sync kit at $199, will you be going the DIY path or waiting for a new monitor with the technology pre-installed?

Read more about NVIDIA's G-Sync display technology at PC Perspective including first impressions, installation, and more!

Source: NVIDIA
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Manufacturer: Asus
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A Refreshing Change

Refreshes are bad, right?  I guess that depends on who you talk to.  In the case of AMD, it is not a bad thing.  For people who live for cutting edge technology in the 3D graphics world, it is not pretty.  Unfortunately for those people, reality has reared its ugly head.  Process technology is slowing down, but product cycles keep moving along at a healthy pace.  This essentially necessitates minor refreshes for both AMD and NVIDIA when it comes to their product stack.  NVIDIA has taken the Kepler architecture to the latest GTX 700 series of cards.  AMD has done the same thing with the GCN architecture, but has radically changed the nomenclature of the products.

Gone are the days of the Radeon HD 7000 series.  Instead AMD has renamed their GCN based product stack with the Rx 2xx series.  The products we are reviewing here are the R9 280X and the R9 270X.  These products were formerly known as the HD 7970 and HD 7870 respectively.  These products differ in clock speeds slightly from the previous versions, but the differences are fairly minimal.  What is different are the prices for these products.  The R9 280X retails at $299 while the R9 270X comes in at $199.

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Asus has taken these cards and applied their latest DirectCU II technology to them.  These improvements relate to design, component choices, and cooling.  These are all significant upgrades from the reference designs, especially when it comes to the cooling aspects.  It is good to see such a progression in design, but it is not entirely surprising given that the first HD 7000 series debuted in January, 2012.

Click here to read the rest of the review!

CES 2014: Intel Keynote with Their Dual OS and Edison

January 10, 2014 - 03:32 AM |
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Monday, the opening day of CES, was full of keynotes and announcements from Audi to Valve (Yahoo! was the day after). Okay, so that is probably not the complete alphabetical range, but keep reading regardless. The Intel speech had a few surprises including Gabe Newell re-announcing Steam Machines just a couple of hours after his own keynote.

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Possibly the most surprising to me was the "Dual OS platforms" announcement. Frankly, I am fine with using BlueStacks for whatever little Android use that my desktop experiences. I did see a demo of the ASUS Transformer Book Duet, however, which was able to switch between Android and Windows 8.1 with the touch of a button and about 3 seconds of black screen. It seems to be more than emulation and it is pretty clearly not rebooting.

To be clear, the following is speculation (and not even confident at that). I am hypothesizing... not reporting. Unfortunately, Intel (and ASUS) have been very silent on the actual implementation as far as I can tell. Since this is clearly branded as "Android and Windows can be friends", it would not surprise me if this was a baked solution for the two platforms and maybe even special hardware.

One possibility is that hardware or software loads both operating systems into memory or hibernation state. In this way, when the user signals their desire for a change, the former operating system is slept (or hibernated) and the processor is then pointed to the others memory space.

Video credit: PCMag

If the above is the case then I hope popular Linux distributions can get their hands on it. Rebooting is far too annoying for me to try out alternative operating systems and virtualization is also too problematic (at least for now). If I can just suspend and switch, especially with native performance on either end, then I will definitely be willing to play around. Honestly, how expensive are RAM and storage these days?

But, if it is user-accessible, then it would be a major consideration for a future upgrade.

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The other cute little announcement is Edison, a dual core PC in an SD card form factor. The hope is that this device will power wearable computing and make other devices smarter. It is based on 22nm silicon and even includes WiFi. One use case they presented was a bottle warmer which warms the milk before you even get your child.

Despite the late coverage, it was a very interesting keynote. Ars Technica still has their live blog published if you would like to skim through a play-by-play.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Ars Technica

CES 2014: NVIDIA Shows Modified ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor with G-Sync

Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | January 8, 2014 - 04:01 AM |
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Just before CES Allyn showed you the process of modifying the ASUS VG248QE to support NVIDIA G-Sync variable refresh rate technology.  It wasn't the easiest mod we have ever done but even users without a lot of skill will be able to accomplish it.  

But at the NVIDIA booth at CES this year the company was truly showing off G-Sync technology to its fullest capability.  By taking the 3840x2160 ASUS PQ321Q monitor and modifying it with the same G-Sync module technology we were able to see variable refresh rate support in 4K glory.

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Obviously you can't see much from the photo above about the smoothness of the animation, but I can assure you that in person this looks incredible.  In fact, 4K might be the perfect resolution for G-Sync to shine as running games at that high of a resolution will definitely bring your system to its knees, dipping below that magical 60 Hz / FPS rate.  But when it does with this modified panel, you'll still get smooth game play and a a tear-free visual experience.

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The mod is actually using the same DIY kit that Allyn used in his story though it likely has a firmware update for compatibility.  Even with the interesting debate from AMD about the support for VRR in the upcoming DisplayPort 1.3 standard, it's impossible to not see the ASUS PQ321Q in 4K with G-Sync and instantly fall in love with PCs again.

Sorry - there are no plans to offer this upgrade kit for ASUS PQ321Q owners!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2014 Podcast Day 2 - ASUS, Lucid, Valve, Seagate and more!!

Subject: General Tech | January 7, 2014 - 05:21 AM |
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CES 2014 Podcast Day 2 - 01/06/14

It's time for podcast fun at CES!  Join us as we talk about the second day of the show including new products from ASUS, Lucid, Valve, Seagate and more!!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Ken Addison

Program length: 57:03

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2014: Asus Announces the PadFone X (AT&T Exclusive) and PadFone mini for US

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 08:29 PM |
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Asus’ PadFone is a cool idea that’s never yet made it stateside—but that’s all about to change with the advent of the PadFone X, which will be headed exclusively to AT&T at some point in the future (TBA).  The PadFone was a concept first introduced in 2011 that involves a smartphone which docks with a larger tablet for seamless transition between screen sizes.  Everything is also constantly and instantly synced between the two gadgets via independent Wi-Fi and cellular data connections without the need to manually invoke synchronization.  Any applications which are currently running on either device will automatically resize to fit the other screen when the PadFone is docked or undocked.

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It’s a really clever design that we’re happy to see is coming to the US.  Pricing and detailed specifications are still up in the air, but here’s what we do know about it:

  • 5-inch 1080p screen
  • Docks with a 9-inch 1080p companion tablet station
  • Brushed metal frame with soft-touch back cover
  • Dual front speakers

A “large” battery in the companion tablet station also allows for charging of the 5-inch PadFone when docked, providing “2 times longer” battery life.

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The PadFone X supports a couple of new technologies on AT&T’s network as well to help improve voice quality:

  • Voice over LTE (VoLTE): This is a new technology which allows for much better quality voice transmission using a codec referred to as HD Voice (technically called Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband).
  • Carrier Aggregation: A part of LTE Advanced, this allows for the grouping of up to five separate 20 MHz bands to produce up to a maximum aggregated bandwidth of 100 MHz.  Essentially, it translates to better voice quality for the PadFone X.

More details about the PadFone X will be announced soon.

In the meantime, Asus also unveiled the PadFone mini, which is not tethered to any particular carrier.  It’s essentially a more basic version of the PadFone X, and judging by the screen resolution alone (800x480 for the phone and 1280x800 for the tablet), it’s clear that it’s intended more for the mainstream market than tech enthusiasts.

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The full specs are as follows:

  • CPU: Intel Atom Z2560 processor
  • RAM: 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • Storage: 8 GB internal w/ Micro SD slot for expansion
  • Screen:
    • Phone: 800x480 IPS
    • Station: 1280x800 IPS
  • Camera: 8 MP rear camera (f/2.0) and 2 MP front-facing camera
  • Battery:
    • Phone: 4.5Wh, 1170mAh, non-removable polymer battery
    • Station: 8.3Wh, 2100mAh, non-removable polymer battery
  • Weight/Dimensions:
    • Phone: 116g; 124.42 (L) x 61.44 (W) x 6.3-11.2 (H) mm
    • Station: 260g; 199.85 (L) x 119.43 (W) x 13.91 (H) mm
  • Five color choices: Black, White, Red, Blue, and Yellow
  • Dual-SIM support
  • New ZenUI interface layered atop Android OS, which provides new apps, visual tweaks, and some useful extras.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more on both devices as it’s announced!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Asus

ASUS Announces VivoTab Note 8 Windows 8.1 Tablet with Professional Wacom Digitizer Stylus

January 6, 2014 - 04:18 PM |
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Better late than never, finally a Windows 8.1 tablet has been created which is fully compatible with Wacom's digitizer stylus and is powered by a BayTrail Z3740.  The ASUS VivoTab Note 8 ships with Microsoft Office Home already installed to let you get to work immediately, either with your fingers or  the Wacom stylus; too bad there is no USB port to attach a keyboard to.  Storage is taken care of by an SSD of up to 64GB of capacity and with a free year of unlimited ASUS WebStorage you can store even more. 

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Las Vegas, NV (January 6th, 2014) — ASUS today announced the VivoTab Note 8, a Windows 8.1 tablet featuring a professional Wacom digitizer stylus, making it the best pen-based tablet for productivity or creativity. Designed for professionals and students alike the VivoTab Note 8 is bundled with Microsoft Office Home and Student, which includes Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. VivoTab Note 8’s lightweight and the ability to use it one-handed make it an ideal mobile productivity tool. With slim bezels, a high-definition IPS display and an elegant design it deserves pride of place in any business or educational environment.

Powerful Quad-Core Processor
The VivoTab Note 8 is powered by the latest Intel Atom Z3740 processor for a perfect balance between multitasking performance and outstanding energy efficiency. With up to 8 hours battery life, VivoTab Note 8 can last for a working day. And with 2GB of memory, up to 64GB of solid-state storage plus the ability to use up to 64GB microSD cards, there is all the storage space you need for your apps and files. Accessing your data on the move is simple, too, thanks to a free year of unlimited ASUS WebStorage.

Precise input with Wacom technology
Designed for one-handed user with ultra-slim bezels, the VivoTab Note 8 is ideal for highly mobile consumers. Its professional digitizer pen sits neatly in its holder along the bottom edge of the tablet, so it is always on hand when you need it. Based on premium Wacom technology, the digitizer stylus affords the best possible accuracy, speed, and responsiveness. This, combined with over 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity, provides an extremely natural writing or drawing experience, meaning you really can leave your sketchpad or notebook at home: the VivoTab Note 8 is all you need!

Serious About Audio
Developed by the team of experts in the ASUS Golden Ear team, SonicMaster audio technology uses a tailored mix of hardware and software to enhance sound quality to a level far above what you might expect from such a small device. Its rear-facing stereo speakers with large resonance chambers give rich, rounded bass, and sophisticated audio processing tools boost the frequency range to make music, movies and games sound fantastic.

SPECIFICATIONS - VivoTab Note 8 

  • Windows 8.1 
  • 8-inch HD (1280 x 800) IPS display
  • Intel Atom Z3470 processor
  • Integrated Professional Wacom Digitizer Stylus
  • 2GB memory
  • 5MP rear camera and HD front-facing camera
  • Up to 64GB internal storage, up to 64GB microSD card slot and bundled unlimited ASUS WebStorage (1 year) 
  • 15.5Whr battery
  • 220.9 x 133.8 x 10.95mm
  • 380g
  • MSRP – 32GB starts at $299, 64GB starts at $349
  • Availability - Late Q1, Early Q2 

 

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2014: ASUS ThunderboltEX II Expansion Card

January 6, 2014 - 04:01 PM |
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It has been a rocky road for the ASUS Thunderbolt EX expansion card(s). Development was not a problem. They were created but could not be released because of Intel certification woes (because those never happen). The specific reason was never identified but they did hold back releases until after Intel designed a reference add-in card (AIC) for select Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) partners.

No need to stew over my alphabet soup.

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ASUS has now announced the ThunderboltEX II expansion card which is the first Intel-certified AIC providing a single Thunderbolt 2 port. Despite the multitude of delays, ASUS should still be first to market albeit a market where USB 3.0 became fairly ubiquitous (a lot can happen in a one-year exclusivity). The Thunderbolt EXII is rated at 20 Gbps. The card will be compatible with certain 8-series motherboards from ASUS.

A dual-port AIC, the ThunderboltEX II/DUAL, is also announced.

Still not much on pricing or availability. All we know is that the ThunderboltEX II should be the first to market and the DUAL will come at some point after that.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2014: ASUS S1 Mobile LED Projector & SBW-S1

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 04:00 PM |
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And now, for a much different display.

This one has nothing to do with 4K or G-Sync. This is a relatively tiny DLP projector with a built-in rechargeable battery. It is designed to be portable and even connect to MHL-compliant tablets and smartphones. The enclosed battery is expected to last three hours on a single charge or, if using the phone has more need for power than the projector, it can charge your mobile device from its battery.

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The projector is capable of producing a 41-inch image with only 3 feet of throw distance. It also has an integrated speaker. The SBW-S1 Blu-Ray drive is a companion product to playback high-definition optical disks with the projector (and maybe other devices?). It includes a Xonar sound card and headphone amplifier although I am not sure the use case for a playing Blu-Rays on a 41-inch projector wearing headphones.

The S1 Projector has an MSRP of $319. No availability information yet. Also, no pricing or availability on the Blu-ray drive, either.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

ASUS ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel

January 6, 2014 - 04:00 PM |
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The ASUS ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel is a multi-bay command center housing system ports and a 4 inch integrated display for all your gaming and system needs in an easy to access location.

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Courtesy of ASUS

As part of the ASUS ROG product line, the ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel integrates seamlessly with any of the ASUS Z87-based ROG Maximum VI motherboard offerings in addition to the Rampage IV Black Edition motherboard. The command panel includes support for sound configuration in conjunction with the ROG SupremeFX sound technology, as well as fan and overclocking configuration.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel supports the following features:

  • Quick EQ Switch with five equalization modes
  • Integration with SupremeFX Audio board with included dual-line analog-audio front-panel cable
  • Overclocking and fan control through integrated display and control buttons
  • Temperature monitoring capabilities
  • USB fast charging with system powered off
  • Escape Mode button that automatically returns user to system desktop and mutes sound volume

More after the break.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS