Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

Overview

It feels like forever that we've been hearing about 802.11ad. For years it's been an up-and-coming technology, seeing some releases in devices like Dell's WiGig-powered wireless docking stations for Latitude notebooks.

However, with the release of the first wave of 802.11ad routers earlier this year from Netgear and TP-Link there has been new attention drawn to more traditional networking applications for it. This was compounded with the announcement of a plethora of X299-chipset based motherboards at Computex, with some integrating 802.11ad radios.

That brings us to today, where we have the ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe motherboard, which we used in our Skylake-X review. This almost $500 motherboard is the first device we've had our hands on which features both 802.11ac and 802.11ad networking, which presented a great opportunity to get experience with WiGig. With promises of wireless transfer speeds up to 4.6Gbps how could we not?

For our router, we decided to go with the Netgear Nighthawk X10. While the TP-Link and Netgear options appear to share the same model radio for 802.11ad usage, the Netgear has a port for 10 Gigabit networking, something necessary to test the full bandwidth promises of 802.11ad from a wired connection to a wireless client.

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The Nighthawk X10 is a beast of a router (with a $500 price tag to match) in its own right, but today we are solely focusing on it for 802.11ad testing.

Making things a bit complicated, the Nighthawk X10's 10GbE port utilizes an SFP+ connector, and the 10GbE NIC on our test server, with the ASUS X99‑E‑10G WS motherboard, uses an RJ45 connection for its 10 Gigabit port. In order to remedy this in a manner where we could still move the router away from the test client to test the range, we used a Netgear ProSAFE XS716E 10GigE switch as the go-between.

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Essentially, it works like this. We are connecting the Nighthawk X10 to the ProSAFE switch through a SFP+ cable, and then to the test server through 10GBase-T. The 802.11ad client is of course connected wirelessly to the Nighthawk X10.

On the software side, we are using the tried and true iPerf3. You run this software in server mode on the host machine and connect to that machine through the same piece of software in client mode. In this case, we are running iPerf with 10 parallel clients, over a 30-second period which is then averaged to get the resulting bandwidth of the connection.

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There are two main takeaways from this chart - the maximum bandwidth comparison to 802.11ac, and the scaling of 802.11ad with distance.

First, it's impressive to see such high bandwidth over a wireless connection. In a world where the vast majority of the Ethernet connections are still limited to 1Gbps, seeing up to 2.2Gbps over a wireless connection is very promising.

However, when you take a look at the bandwidth drops as we move the router and client further and further away, we start to see some of the main issues with 802.11ad.

Instead of using more traditional frequency ranges like 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz like we've seen from Wi-Fi for so many years, 802.11ad uses frequency in the unlicensed 60GHz spectrum. Without getting too technical about RF technology, essentially this means that 802.11ad is capable of extremely high bandwidth rates, but cannot penetrate walls with line of sight between devices being ideal. In our testing, we even found that the given orientation of the router made a big difference. Rotating the router 180 degrees allowed us to connect or not in some scenarios.

As you can see, the drop off in bandwidth for the 802.11ad connection between our test locations 15 feet away from the client and 35 feet away from the client was quite stark. 

That being said, taking another look at our results you can see that in all cases the 802.11ad connection is faster than the 802.11ac results, which is good. For the promised applications of 802.11ad where the device and router are in the same room of reasonable size, WiGig seems to be delivering most of what is promised.

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It is likely we won't see high adoption rates of 802.11ad for networking computers. The range limitations are just too stark to be a solution that works for most homes. However, I do think WiGig has a lot of promise to replace cables in other situations. We've seen notebook docks utilizing WiGig and there has been a lot of buzz about VR headsets utilizing WiGig for wireless connectivity to gaming PCs.

802.11ad networking is in its infancy, so this is all subject to change. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for continuing news on 802.11ad and other wireless technologies!

Asus Cerberus V2 headset, perfect for obscure references

Subject: General Tech | June 16, 2017 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: gaming headset, cerebus, audio, asus

The ASUS Cerberus is a little different from other headsets, for instance it uses 53mm drivers and two microphones, a removable boom microphone and an in-line microphone pemanently attached.  For audiophiles, the headset has a 32 Ω impedance and 20-20,000 Hz frequency response and a somewhat muddy sound; for gamers it has very heavy bass which can make explosions quiet startling.  TechPowerUp were not in love with the audio performance but found the headset to be extremely comforatable so it can be perfect for those who prefer comfort over a beautiful audio space.

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"Asus Cerberus V2 is the successor to the company's bestselling headset. Now equipped with a stainless steel headband and the new "Essence drivers", it's supposed to be sturdier and better sounding. However, with its $75 price tag, it faces some stiff competition and doesn't necessarily come out as the victor."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: TechPowerUp

Podcast #453 - More Computex, WWDC, 3D Xpoint, and more

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2017 - 11:22 AM |
Tagged: X399, x370, x299, wwdc, video, shield, podcast, plex, pixel, macbook, Mac Pro, Logitech G413, Lian-Li, gigabyte, computex, asus, asrock, apollo lake, 3D XPoint

PC Perspective Podcast #453 - 06/07/17

Join us for talk about continued Computex 2017 coverage, WWDC '17, 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, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:33:54
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. Computex Continued
  3. WWDC 2017:
  4. News items of interest:
  5. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  6. Closing/outro
 

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Source:

A Hero has Ryzen; the new ASUS ROG Crosshair VI

Subject: Motherboards | June 5, 2017 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero, asus, x370

[H]ard|OCP have posted a review of ASUS new Ryzen board, the X370 ROG Crosshair VI Hero.  The board offers AMD users a lot of choices, three PCIe 3.0 16x slots and three PCIe 2.0 1x slots for daughter cards, eight SATA 6Gbps port as well as an M.2 slot for those who have embraced the new storage form factor.  On the back are an impressive dozen USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, one Type-A and one Type-C.  For testing they ran the DDR4 at 2133MHz during regular testing and at 2800MHz for overclocked testing, unfortunately it seems that we are returning to the days when you need to research RAM compatibility before you buy.  That is nothing we haven't seen before, it simply means you should do a little research before you set up your system.

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"It’s been years since we’ve reviewed an ASUS ROG offering that was designed for AMD CPUs. That’s not to say that those haven’t existed, those just weren’t worth a look as the AMD side of things has not been compelling for the better part of the last decade. Thanks to AMD Ryzen, we have a reason to take the ASUS Crosshair VI Hero for a test drive and tell you how it fared in the tumultuous sea of AM4 motherboards."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS Shows Off Flagship ROG Zenith Extreme X399 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | June 3, 2017 - 08:09 PM |
Tagged: X399, tr4, Threadripper, computex, ASUS ROG, asus, amd

Asus is showing off its flagship motherboard for the AMD X399 Threadripper platform at Computex this week, and it is quite the RGB laden beast. The Asus Republic of Gamers Zenith Extreme measures 12” x 10.9” and is powered by a 24-pin ATX, two 8-pin EPS12V, and a molex connector for extra PCI-E power. The power is conditioned by an 8+2 power phase for the CPU and both banks of DDR4 memory. Overclocking should not be an issue, and even appears to be encouraged with the inclusion of usual array of various ROG overclocking features (LN2 and overclocking buttons, an OLED readout, on board start and reset buttons, ect)

Asus X399 ROG Zenith Extreme.jpg

The top half of the board is dominated by the massive TR4 socket and the eight DIMM slots that surround it (128GB maximum). Above the CPU sits the power phases under a small aluminum heat spreader that has a heat pipe to connect it to the heasink above the rear IO connectors. The bottom half of the board holds four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x8/x16/x8), one PCI-E 3.0 x1 slot, one PCI-E 3.0 x4 slot, one M.2 slot under the X399 chipset heatsink, one U.2 connector, and six SATA 6Gbps ports. There is also a riser board by the rightmost DIMM slot that reportedly holds two M.2 22110 connectors.

Networking support includes Intel I211-AT Gigabit Ethernet, ROG 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11AD Wi-Fi. Further, the Zenith Extreme features SupremeFX audio (S1220 codec and ESS901BQ2C DAQ). Fans of RGB will be happy to see Asus is using RGB LEDs on the I/O and chipset heatsinks as well as a configurable OLED display on the I/O heatsink.

Rear I/O includes two USB 2.0, 12 USB 3.1 Gen 1, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps, one Type-A and one Type-C), and six audio ports. There are also external antenna connectors for the built-in Wi-Fi.

This is one monster of a motherboard, and it should allow users to take full advantage of AMD’s Threadripper processor. Unfortunately, there is no word on exact pricing or availability beyond that it is expected sometime in August following the estimated launch date of Threadripper.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming

Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2017 - 06:20 PM |
Tagged: x370, Strix X370-F Gaming, Strix B350-F Gaming, ryzen, b350, asus, amd

ASUS just announced two new members of their Strix motherboard series for AMD's Ryzen, the Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming.

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The boards offer similar features, they support up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 in their four DIMM slots and offer ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A with two headphone jacks.  You will find four USB 3.1 ports on the back panels along with HDMI 1.4b and DP 1.2 out and an Intel I211-AT powered gigabit NIC.  Storage options do vary, both have an M.2 slot however the X370 has twice as many SATA ports, eight to the B350's four. 

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The Strix X370-F Gaming

Depending on which model you choose you could have up to three PCIe 3.0 16x slots, one capped at 8x along with support for Crossfire and SLI.  The slots are branded as SafeSlots which are made using an injection molding process that integrates metal framing to support todays monstrous GPUs. 

Those who want their system to stand out can take advantage of the AURA Sync RGB lighting and 3D printer friendly heat shields to make their build unique.  You can compare the boards directly at ASUS and check out the PR just below.

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The Strix B350-F Gaming

Fremont, CA (June 2, 2017) -- — Since its release back in April, AMD’s Ryzen platform has quickly established itself as a viable option, delivering exemplary performance for daily computing and gaming. ASUS was ready for the early unveil, releasing an array of motherboards for value-packed PCs to models geared for high-end rigs. However, pressing demand for Ryzen-based systems shows a need for more options in the middle of the ASUS product stack. So today, we’re bolstering our portfolio with two new AM4 motherboards aimed squarely at gamers who wish to utilize Ryzen performance in their next PC build.

Based on the latest AMD X370 and B350 chipsets, the ATX-sized Strix X370-F and Strix B350-F include all the core ROG enhancements that make system setup a breeze, while offering performance that stands out from the crowd. To read more about these motherboards, please visit ASUS ROG. ROG B350-F Motherboard

AVAILABILITY
ASUS ROG Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming Motherboards will be available in early June at leading resellers in North America.

 

Source: ASUS

Podcast #452 - Computex Special

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 12:33 PM |
Tagged: x299, WD, VROC, video, Vega, toshiba, Threadripper, snapdragon 835, ryzen mobile, qnap, podcast, nvidia, msi, max-q, Killer xTend, Intel, evga, Core i9, asus, asrock, arm, amd, agesa, a75, A55

PC Perspective Podcast #452 - 01/01/17

Join us for talk about Computex 2017 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, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 2:07:12
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. Intel news
    2. AMD news
      1. 0:55:00 RX Vega pushed to end of July (SIGGRAPH), FE on June 27th
    3. NVIDIA news
    4. ARM news
    5. Storage news
    6. New notebooks
  3. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

ASUS X299 Enables Intel Virtual RAID on CPU - RAID-0 up to 20 SSDs!

Subject: Storage | May 31, 2017 - 08:58 PM |
Tagged: x299, VROC, Virtual RAID on CPU, raid, Intel, asus

Ken and I have been refreshing our Google search results ever since seeing the term 'VROC' slipped into the ASUS press releases. Virtual RAID on CPU (VROC) is a Skylake-X specific optional feature that is a carryover from Intel's XEON parts employing RSTe to create a RAID without the need for the chipset to tie it all together.

Well, we finally saw an article pop up over at PCWorld, complete with a photo of the elusive Hyper M.2 X16 card:

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The theory is that you will be able to use the 1, 2, or 3 M.2 slots of an ASUS X299 motherboard, presumably passing through the chipset (and bottlenecked by DMI), or you can shift the SSDs over to a Hyper M.2 X16 card and have four piped directly to the Skylake-X CPU. If you don't have your lanes all occupied by GPUs, you can even add additional cards to scale up to a max theoretical 20-way RAID-0 supporting a *very* theoretical 128GBps.

A couple of gotchas here:

  • Only works with Skylake-X (not Kaby Lake-X)
  • RAID-1 and RAID-5 are only possible with a dongle (seriously?)
  • VROC is supposedly only bootable when using Intel SSDs (what?)

Ok, so the first one is understandable given Kaby Lake-X will only have 16 PCIe lanes direclty off of the CPU.

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The second is, well, annoying, but understandable once you consider that some server builders may want to capitalize on the RSTe-type technology without having to purchase server hardware. It's still a significant annoyance, because how long has it been since anyone has had to deal with a freaking hardware dongle to unlock a feature on a consumer part. That said, most enthusiasts are probably fine with RAID-0 for their SSD volume, given they would be going purely for increased performance.

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The third essentially makes this awesome tech dead on arrival. Requiring only Intel branded M.2 SSDs for VROC bootability is a nail in the coffin. Enthusiasts are not going to want to buy 4 or 8 (or more) middle of the road Intel SSDs (the only M.2 NAND SSD available from Intel is the 600p) for their crazy RAID - they are going to go with something faster, and if that can't boot, that's a major issue.

More to follow as we learn more. We'll keep a lookout and keep you posted as we get official word from Intel on VROC!

Source: PCWorld

Computex 2017: The ASUS ROG Swift PG35VQ Is an UltraWide, 200Hz Display With HDR and G-Sync

Subject: Displays | May 31, 2017 - 04:36 AM |
Tagged: ultrawide, hdr, gaming monitor, g-sync, computex 2017, ASUS ROG, asus

After first teasing HDR monitors earlier this year at CES, ASUS is using Computex to announce a new high-end gaming monitor that incorporates nearly all of the latest display technologies into one impressive package. The ROG Swift PG35VQ is a 35-inch curved UltraWide display with a 3440x1440 resolution, HDR support, a 200Hz refresh rate, and NVIDIA G-Sync technology.

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ASUS is using Quantum Dot technology to power the PG35VQ, which results in a display that handles the DCI-P3 color space, conforms to the HDR10 standard, and can reach a "retina-searing" 1000 nits maximum brightness. Thanks to an array of 512 individual LED backlights, the PG35VQ can also utilize local dimming for significantly better black levels than you'll find on previous generation displays. This is the same approach ASUS utilized on the 27-inch PG27UQ that it announced back at CES, there are just more LEDs to accommodate the larger screen area of the PG35VQ.

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Fans of RGB lighting will happy to hear that the PG35VQ also offers support for the ROG Aura lighting platform, allowing users to control and sync RGB lighting effects between all of their compatible devices. Want the RGB lights on your new UltraWide monitor to pulse in sync with your keyboard, motherboard, and headset? ASUS has you covered.

ASUS has not yet provided an official release date, but a blog post over at NVIDIA's website claims that the PG35VQ will hit retailers in the fourth quarter. As for pricing, don't expect this flagship display to come cheap. ASUS's current high-end UltraWide gaming monitor, the ROG PG348Q, retails for about $1200, but is an inch smaller diagonally, has half the refresh rate (100Hz), and lacks local dimming and HDR support. So plan accordingly and expect to pay a premium for these cutting edge features.

Source: ASUS

Computex 2017: ASUS, HP, Lenovo to Build Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Windows 10 Machines

Subject: Processors, Mobile | May 31, 2017 - 03:30 AM |
Tagged: snapdragon 835, snapdragon, qualcomm, Lenovo, hp, Gigabit LTE, asus

Back in December of 2016, Qualcomm and Microsoft announced a partnership to bring Windows to platforms based on the Snapdragon platform. Not Windows RT redux, not Windows mobile, not Windows Mini, full blown Windows with 100% application support and compatibility. It was a surprising and gutsy move after the tepid response (at best) to the ARM-based Windows RT launch several years ago. Qualcomm and Microsoft assure us that this time things are different, thanks to a lot of learning and additional features that make the transition seamless for consumers.

The big reveal for this week is the initial list of partners that Qualcomm has brought on board to build Windows 10 system around the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform. ASUS, HP, and Lenovo will offer machines based around that SoC, though details on form factors, time frames, pricing and anything else you WANT to know about it, is under wraps. These are big time names though, leaders in the PC notebook space, and I think their input to the platform is going to be just as valuable as them selling and marketing it. HP is known for enterprise solutions, Lenovo for mass market share, and ASUS for innovative design and integration.

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(If you want to see an Android-based representation of performance on a mobile-based Snapdragon 835 processor, check out our launch preview from March.)

Also on the show floor, Qualcomm begins its marketing campaign aimed to show the value that Snapdragon offers to the Windows ecosystem. Today that is exemplified in a form factor difference comparing the circuit board layout of a Snapdragon 835-based notebook and a “typical” competitor machine.

board1.jpg

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Up top, Qualcomm is showing us the prototype for the Windows 10 Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform. It has a total area of 50.4 cm2 and just by eyeballing the two images, there is a clear difference in scope. The second image shows only what Qualcomm will call a “competing commercial circuit board” with an area of 98.1 cm2. That is a decrease in PCB space of 48% (advantage Qualcomm) and gives OEMs a lot of flexibility in design that they might not have had otherwise. They can use that space to make machines thinner, lighter, include a larger battery, or simply to innovate outside the scope of what we can imagine today.

Continue reading about the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform with Windows 10 announcement!

Source: Qualcomm