Alienware strikes back?

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2018 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: dell, Lenovo, acer, asus, msi, gaming laptop, hp

The gaming laptop market is going through some big changes, with the two market leaders seeing their dominance challenged by companies more frequently associated with business models.  While ASUS and MSI still account for half of the entire market, both with over a million units sold in the first half of 2018, Dell has already hit 500K and DigiTimes predicts Lenovo to hit 800-900K units by the end of the year

It will be interesting to see how the market changes now that you can once again buy a GPU for less than the price of one of these gaming laptops; not to mention what this competition will do to pricing and design.

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"But their market leaderships are being undermined by Dell, Lenovo, HP and even Acer, all of which are strengthening their shipment momentum via pricing competition in the first half of 2018, with both ASP and gross margins for gaming notebooks driven down as a result."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Deathwish RAID racing; hit single channel DDR4 transfer rates with WD Black NVMe drives

Subject: Storage | June 19, 2018 - 04:13 PM |
Tagged: wd black nvme, RAID-0, raid, kingston, Hyper M.2 X16 Card, deathwish, ddr4-2400, asus

This will cost you a bit to set up but will provide you with almost unbelievable transfer rates.  Simply combine eight 1 TB WD Black NVMe SSDs at roughly $400 a pop with a pair of ASUS' Hyper M.2 expansion cards at $60 each and build up a deathwish RAID of doom!  TechARP just posted a look at how Andrew Vo managed to pull this off. 

As pointed out by several readers who ... well, actually watched the video instead of just reading the article ... this was done on Threadripper, which makes far more sense than a PCIe lane starved Intel system.   Ignore me and make your Threadripper roar.

Unfortunately this trick will not work the same on AMD platforms, it is limited to Intel Skylake or Coffee Lake with VROC support.  It will be interesting to see how a properly configured Threadripper system would compare.

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"To hit 19 GB/s, you need to create a RAID 0 array of those eight 1 TB WD Black NVMe SSDs, but you can’t use the motherboard’s RAID feature because you would be limited by the 32 Gbps/4GB/s DMI bottleneck."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: TechARP

He's a VII time Crosshair Hero!

Subject: Motherboards | June 8, 2018 - 04:36 PM |
Tagged: asus, x470, amd, ryzen, crosshair vii hero, AM4

Even after years of suggestions and beratement, CMOS battery placement remains a sore spot for a variety of reveiwers.  The Crosshair VII Hero is no exception, where the battery will be buried under you GPU; what is exceptional is that this is the sole shortcoming to this AM4 board.  [H]ard|OCP were duly impressed by the features and performance of this board, as well as the price tag, which is nicely under $300.   Whether you plan on taking advantage of Precision Boost 2 or manually overclocking, this is a board worth checking out.

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"Along with the second generation AMD Ryzen CPUs, we are getting the new and somewhat improved X470 chipset motherboards. We have been beating on the Crosshair VII Hero for about a month now and have figured out what we like about, outside of it being an excellent overclocker for the Ryzen 7 CPUs."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: ASUS

Is it a usable feature?

EDIT: We've received some clarification from Intel on this feature:

"The feature is actually apart of RST. While this is a CPU-attached storage feature, it is not VROC. VROC is a CPU-attached PCIe Storage component of the enterprise version of the product, Intel RSTe. VROC requires the new HW feature Intel Volume Management Device (Intel VMD) which is not available on the Z370 Chipset.

The Intel Rapid Storage Technology for CPU-attached Intel PCIe Storage feature is supported with select Intel chipsets and requires system manufacturer integration. Please contact the system manufacturer for a list of their supported platforms."

While this doesn't change how the feature works, or our testing, we wanted to clarify this point and have removed all references to VROC on Z370 in this review.

While updating our CPU testbeds for some upcoming testing, we came across an odd listing on the UEFI updates page for our ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-E motherboard.

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From the notes, it appeared that the release from late April of this year enables VROC for the Z370 platform. Taking a look at the rest of ASUS' Z370 lineup, it appears that all of its models received a similar UEFI update mentioning VROC. EDIT: As it turns out, while these patch notes call this feature "VROC", it is officially known as "Intel Rapid Storage Technology for CPU-attached Intel PCIe Storage " and slightly different than VROC on other Intel platforms.

While we are familiar with VROC as a CPU-attached RAID technology for NVMe devices on the Intel X299 and Xeon Scalable platforms, it has never been mentioned as an available option for the enthusiast grade Z-series chipsets. Could this be a preview of a feature that Intel has planned to come for the upcoming Z390 chipset?

Potential advantages of a CPU-attached RAID mode on the Z370 platform mostly revolve around throughput. While the chipset raid mode on the Z370 chipset will support three drives, the total throughput is limited to just under 4GB/s by the DMI 3.0 link between the processor and chipset.

Like we've seen AMD do on their X470 platform, CPU-attached RAID should scale as long as you have CPU-connected PCI-Express lanes available, and not being used by another device like a GPU or network card.

First, some limitations.

Primarily, it's difficult to connect multiple NVMe devices to the CPU rather than the chipset on most Z370 motherboards. Since the platform natively supports NVMe RAID through the Z370 chipset, all of the M.2 slots on our Strix Z370-E are wired to go through the chipset connection rather than directly to the CPU's PCIe lanes.

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To combat this, we turned to the ASUS Hyper M.2 X16 card, which utilizes PCIe bifurcation to enable usage of 4 M.2 devices via one PCI-E X16 slot. Luckily, ASUS has built support for bifurcation, and this Hyper M.2 card into the UEFI for the Strix Z370-E.

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Aiming to simplify the setup, we are using the integrated UHD 620 graphics of the i7-8700K, and running the Hyper M.2 card in the primary PCIe slot, usually occupied by a discrete GPU.

Continue reading our look at CPU-attached NVMe RAID on Z370 motherboards from ASUS!

Podcast #502 - Computex coverage and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2018 - 11:50 AM |
Tagged: xTend, xps, video, Vega, Threadripper, Snapdragon 850, seasonic, scmd, ROG, qualcomm, podcast, Optane, nvidia, microsoft, logitech, Killer Wireless, Isaac, InWin, Intel, i7-8086k, git, fortnite, EPYC, dell, crystal, corsair, CaseKing, asus, aorus, amd, 7nm

PC Perspective Podcast #502 - 06/07/18

Join us this week for discussion on Computex 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!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:45:27

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 1:00:40 ASUS all the things
  3. Picks of the Week:
  4. Closing/outro
 
Source:

ASUS reveals the new ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 at Computex

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2018 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: xenbook, UX580, thunderbolt 3, pantone, asus

ASUS revealed their new Xenbook, with its new ScreenPad and NanoEdge bezels, which give this laptop an 83% screen-to-body ratio.  You will be able to get a variety of models, including a 4k alternative for those who can't stand 1080p anymore. 

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Inside you will find a processor of up to an i9-8950HK, 16GB of DDR4-2400, a GTX 1050 Ti and a 1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD.  The 15.6" screen is PANTONE vaildated with guaranteed Delta-E colour difference of less than 2.0 for the 4K display model and less than 3.0 for the 1080p, as well as 100% Adobe RGB and 132% sRGB coverage. 

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The ScreenPad is a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display, replacing a standard touchpad with support for up to to four finger gestures.  As it is more capable than the run of the mill touchpad, ASUS included a configureable menu at the top of the ScreenPad, which can perform a variety of tricks.  If you are using a compatible Microsoft Office product the menu will offer you various ribbon commands, or you can control your YouTube and Spotify sessions.  If you prefer you can also use it as a secondary monitor or use the ASUS Sync app to display and control your smartphone.

This adds up to a powerful little machine, with a reported MSRP of $2300.   Now have some PR ...

Source: ASUS

Computex 2018: ASUS Unleashes ROG Phone for Serious Mobile Gamers

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 5, 2018 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, gaming, mobile gaming, game streaming, Gigabit LTE, computex 2018, computex

In addition to the usual Republic of Gamers branded gear, ASUS unveiled the new ROG Phone at Computex which is a high-end Android device aimed at gamers that extends the ROG brand to mobile devices. The new ROG Phone packs a ton of hardware into a six-inch smartphone that can double as a portable gaming machine and is complete with the requisite aggressive ROG aesthetics especially around back where, yes, there is even configurable RGB.

Asus ROG Phone.jpg

ASUS’ new smartphone measures 158.8mm x 76.2mm x 8.6mm (6.25”x3”x0.34”) and weighs in at 200g (0.44 lbs). The device is black with white accents drawing aggressive angles on back along with vents for cooling and both Republic of Gamers branding and a configurable RGB ROG logo. The front of the phone looks fairly standard with a large 6” 18:9 AMOLED display taking up most of the front face and surrounded by dual front facing SmartAmp speakers that can reportedly get quite loud according to the various hands on videos online. The display has a resolution of 2160 x 1080, a refresh rate of 90 Hz, a 1ms response time, 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and is rated at 108.6% of the DCI-P3 color space. A dedicated image processing chip handles HDR support and the ability of the display to boost the local contrast of certain areas of the display.

As for cameras, there is an 8MP camera in front and dual cameras around back with a main 12MP camera and a 8MP 120-degree wide angle camera.

One interesting thing as far as I/O is that the phone has two USB-C ports with one in the usual spot on the bottom edge and one on the left edge to make using it in landscape mode easier. The included AeroActive cooler can plug into this port and blow air onto the back of the phone to help cool it and your fingertips while also breaking the USB-C port out into a USB-C and 3.5mm headphone jack. As far as audio, ASUS’ ROG Phone supports Dolby DTS Headphone 7.1 virtual surround sound and Qualcomm aptX for wired and Bluetooth headphones respectively.

Asus has also placed ultrasonic buttons around the edges with two on the left edge corners and one on the bottom right edge that can be used as triggers while in landscape mode for gaming or to do usual Android stuff like taking photos or launching an app.

As far as internal specifications, Asus managed to work out a deal with Qualcomm for binned Snapdragon 845 chips that can run all eight Kryo 385 CPU cores at 2.96 GHz (+160 MHz over stock). The Snapdragon 845 processor also contains the Adreno 630 GPU, Hexagon 685 DSP, Spectra 280 ISP, Qualcomm SPU, Aqstic audio, Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, and 802.11ad Wi-Fi. The chip also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 though I’m not sure which level Asus has enabled as Asus is calling it HyperCharge (up to 20W with the charging IC in the adapter to reduce phone temps). The SD845 is paired with 8GB of LPDDR4X memory and either 128GB or 512GB of UFS 2.1 internal storage. The ROG Phone is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery that can be charged to 60% in 33 minutes or 85% in an hour with the included charger. The USB-C ports reportedly only support USB 2.0, however so no USB 3 speeds when transferring files – I suppose Asus needs to at least try to keep the pricing in check! Wireless I/O includes 802.11ad 60GHz Wi-Fi, 802.11ac 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz 2x2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and Gigabit LTE.

ASUS ROG Gaming Phone.jpg

ASUS is using a copper heat spreader as well as a 3D vapor chamber to keep the phone cool while gaming and to keep the Snapdragon 845’s CPU and GPU clocked as high as possible for as long as possible. For the serious mobile gamer wanting to keep the frame rates up there is also the clip on AeroActive cooler or “enhanced cooling” in the TwinView dock.

Speaking of docks, ASUS wants gamers to be able to get serious with the ROG Phone by plugging it into docks that will be sold separately. The TwinView dock adds a second display (that is reportedly identical to the AMOLED on the phone itself), physical trigger buttons, and a 6,000 mAh battery while the Mobile Desktop Dock turns the ROG Phone into a portable computer by allowing you to hook it up to a 4K display, keyboard and mouse, Gigabit Ethernet, 5.1 channel speakers, and other USB peripherals. For those wanting to game on the big screen to share games with friends there is also a WiGig dock and compatibility with the third-party Game Vice controller that turns the ROG Phone into something resembling the Nintendo Switch with joystick and physical buttons on either side.

The ROG Phone is packed with enough hardware to make it competitive with other high-end smartphones as well as the other gaming-focused phone offerings from Razer, Xiaomi, and other entrants to this market. At launch Asus has the docks and accessories down, but pricing is going to be a major concern as the phone itself is not going to be cheap and after adding the docks it might be equivalent to a budget DIY PC build (well before the GPU and RAM price spikes I guess)! On the other hand, it would be a powerful mobile device for running emulators and Fortnite and PUBG are on mobile now (heh) so maybe there is a market serious enough about mobile gaming willing to pay a premium for the ROG Phone.

What do you think? Will you be picking up the ROG Phone?

If you are curious Hardware Canucks and Austin Evans were able to get some hands-on time with the phone and some of the accessories in Taipei, Taiwan.

The ROG Phone is slated for release later this summer with specific pricing not yet available.

Source: Asus

ASUS shows off three new monitors, including a double wide 32:9

Subject: Displays | June 4, 2018 - 04:13 PM |
Tagged: VG49V, ultrawide, PA34V, freesync, computex 2018, CG32UQ, asus, 3840x1080, 144hz

ASUS is showing off three very different displays at their Computex booth, one designed specifically for console games, one for those who like their 1080p displays doubled up and curved and one for those who use their monitor for creative purposes.

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The CG32UQ is a 31.5" 4k display with HDR10 support and VESA DisplayHDR 600 compliance as well as 10bit colour, assuming your console can provide a compatible source.  In addition to this list of features, the display uses FreeSync to vary the refresh rate between 40 to 60Hz to prevent tearing when you are pushing the console to the limits of its ability to send video to the display.  As it is a gaming display there are a couple of unique features, two USB charging ports on the base to make sure your wireless controllers are always juiced, with two additional USB ports available for peripherals.  Last, it comes with a remote which can control the displays OSD so you don't have to get up from the couch to change your settings.

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Next up we have the professional ASUS ProArt PA34V IPS display, a 21:9 aspect ratio 31.9" monitor with a resolution of 3440x1440 and a 1900R curvature.  The slightly lower resolution offers a wide adaptive sync window, from 40 to 100Hz.   More important to the professional is this monitors ability to display the entirety of the Adobe sRGB gamut as well as letting you save colour profiles on the monitor itself, as opposed to your computer.  Connections on this monitor include a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, offering an impressive variety of ways to connect devices to your monitor.

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The third one is the one you have been waiting for, as ASUS outdoes the Samsung C49HG90 Ken was so impressed by.  The VG49V is also 49" of 32:9, 3840x1080 VA panel glory but it sports a proper 1800R curvature, no straight ends here!  This monitor's FreeSync range covers 48 to 144Hz, perfect for high end gaming, with ASUS' Extreme Low Motion Blur kicking in at 85, 100, or 120Hz.  The PR also mentions GameFast technology, which ASUS claims to have delivered input lag of 11.9ms when they tested the monitor.

 

Source: ASUS

Computex 2018: ASUS ROG Ryujin & Ryuo Water Coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 4, 2018 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: water cooler, ROG, asus

ASUS / Republic of Gamers (ROG) is branching out into new markets with this year’s Computex. The company’s typical portfolio included things like video cards, motherboards, monitors, laptops, desktops, mice, and keyboards, which left some other markets seemingly unserved, such as internal coolers.

We now have a couple of water coolers from the device, and ASUS is trying something a little different with the Ryujin model: air cooling…?

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The ROG Ryujin comes in 240mm and 360mm variants. ASUS, who knows a lot about motherboards, designed the pump housing (the block that attached to the CPU) to push a bit of air around it (cooling the VRMs, etc.). This is done with a single, 60mm fan. How loud this fan is will determine who might be interested in this cooler. If it’s quiet, it would be a cute addition for those interesting in water cooled PCs as silent powerhouses. If it’s not quiet, however, then it would be kind-of limited to those who use water coolers strictly to remove as much heat as possible.

So there’s two possible stories with this: It would be interesting if they intentionally made a water cooler less silent. It would also be interesting if they addressed a limitation with water coolers without affecting ambient noise. I have no idea which of the two possibilities is true. We’ll need to see reviews when it launches.

Moving on… the Ryujin’s radiator uses big fans from Noctua to ultimately remove the heat from the system. This should mean that it will remove a lot of heat silently – again, if the pump housing isn’t noisy. They don’t say what CPUs it will work on, but they mention “newer CPUs with even-higher core counts” so here’s hoping we can put these on a ThreadRipper.

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The other product is the ROG Ryuo, which comes in 240mm and 120mm variants. This is a smaller heatsink that is like other factory-sealed all-in-one coolers. ASUS ROG designed fan blades for their graphics cards, and they make an appearance here too. ASUS claims that their design optimizes airflow versus noise.

These components will arrive in the second half of this year, which is really any time after July. Pricing is not yet available.

Source: ASUS

Computex 2018: ASUS ROG Thor 1200W Platinum PSU

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 4, 2018 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: ROG, PSU, asus, 80 Plus Platinum, 1200W PSU, 1200w

ASUS ROG is also getting into power supplies. The ASUS ROG Thor 1200W Platinum PSU is the first from the company, which is based on a Seasonic design. As mentioned in the Ryuo water cooler announcement, ASUS created their own fan blades to increase airflow, and the Thor power supply uses them. Of course, it also has Aura Sync lighting, but it also has an OLED panel that states how much wattage is currently being drawn by your components – in real time.

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One of the best parts of this announcement, however, is that ASUS ROG is protecting it with a ten-year warranty. While Corsair gives the same ten-year guarantee with their HX1200, ASUS at least matches what their competitor offers. This particularly makes sense for power supplies because they are likely to stick around from build to build. I mean, if it provides clean power at a certain wattage (which isn’t getting any higher for a desktop that plugs into a single, standard outlet) and it has very high efficiency, then there’s no real reason to change it up from build to build. It won’t “make your slower” or anything.

It will be available in the second half of this year, but pricing has not yet been announced. A 850W model has also been announced to be announced at a later date.

Source: ASUS