Subject: Graphics Cards | November 19, 2015 - 01:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, strix, Radeon R9 380X, tonga
The full serving of Tonga in the AMD Radeon R9 380X has 32 compute units, 2048 stream processors, 32 ROPs and 128 texture units which compares favourably to the 23CUs, 1792 stream processors, 32 ROPs and 112 texture units of the existing R9 380. Memory bandwidth and amount is unchanged, 182GB/sec of memory bandwidth at the stock speed of 5.7GHz effective and the GPU clock remains around 970MHz as well. The MSRP is to be $230 for the base model.
With the specifications out of the way, the next question to answer is how it fares against the direct competition, the GTX 960 and 970. That is where this review from [H]ard|OCP comes in, with a look at the ASUS STRIX R9 380X DirectCU II OC, running 1030MHz default and 1050MHz at the push of a button. Their tests at 1440p were a little disappointing, the card did not perform well until advanced graphics settings were reduced but at 1080p they saw great performance with all the bells and whistles turned up. The pricing will be key to this product, if sellers can keep it at or below MSRP it is a better deal than the GTX 970 but if the prices creep closer then the 970 is the better value.
"AMD has let loose the new AMD Radeon R9 380X GPU, today we evaluate the ASUS STRIX R9 380X OC video card and find out how it compares to a 4GB GeForce GTX 960 and GeForce GTX 970 for a wide picture of where performance lies at 1440p or where it does not at 1440p considering your viewpoint."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD's Radeon R9 380X @ The Tech Report
- ASUS Strix R9 380X DirectCU II OC @ Kitguru
- XFX Radeon R9 380X DD Review @ Neoseeker
- AMD Radeon R9 380X Technology Report @ Tech ARP
- XFX AMD Radeon R9 380X @ Hardwareheaven
- ASUS Radeon R9 380X Strix 4GB @ techPowerUp
- Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP Extreme 6GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti SEA HAWK @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2015 - 12:47 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, hdmi stick, hdmi, chromebit, chrome os, asus, arm
Small form factor PCs are big this year, and Google is about to get into the game with its own HDMI dongle PC running Chrome OS. Google has partnered with Asus to release the Chromebit CS10 which is now avaialble for $85.
The small stick PC weighs 75 grams (2.6 ounces) and will come in black, orange, and eventually blue colors. The Chromebit is about the size of a flash drive with an HDMI port on one end, DC power input on one side, and a single USB 2.0 port on the other end. A removeable cap protects the HDMI output. It is small enough that you can toss it into a bag or tuck it behind a monitor or kiosk permanently. Asus includes an AC power adapter (18W, 1.5 amps) and a flexible HDMI connector (or a short extension cable depending on the region) along with velco stickers in the box.
The Chromebit CS10 is powered by a quad core Rockchip 3288-C SoC featuring four ARM Cortex A17 CPU cores and a Mali T624 GPU. The SoC is paired with 2GB of LPDDR3 memory and 16GB of eMMC storage. Connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 radios along with the USB 2.0 port. Users can hook up a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and use the USB port for extra storage, or hook up even more devices using a USB hub.
So far, reviews are positive and generally state that (for example) while the Rockchip ARM processor is no racehorse, it is good enough for basic web browsing, media streaming, and document editing.
Of course, the Chromebit runs the Chrome web browser, but it also can run any of the apps from the Chrome Web Store including Netflix, Office, and any number of free games. Asus is aiming the Chromebit at digital signage, kiosk, thin clients for schools, and for on-the-go travelers.
The Chromebit CS10 is available soon (it is listed as out of stock on Newegg and has not shown up on Amazon or other sites yet) for $85 in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Taiwan. Business customers can further purchase the ability to use the Chromebit in a locked down single-app kiosk mode for $24 per user, per year from CDW.
Subject: Networking | November 17, 2015 - 12:56 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nitroQAM, mu-mimo, gigabit router, broadcom, asuswrt, asus, 802.11ac
Asus has officially launched the RT-AC5300, a massive
replicator tri-band wireless router. The new router is fenced in by eight large antennas that allow the device to support 4 x 4 MU-MIMO wireless on two 5 GHz and one 2.4 GHz bands.
The menacing high-end wireless router supports the latest wired and wireless consumer networking technologies and runs the AsusWRT firmware. The RT-AC5300 is clad in black with red accents. The top of the router is mesh to facilitate cooling. In addition to the eight antennas, there are five gigabit Ethernet ports (up to two ports can be configured as WAN ports), a USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, and physical buttons for WPS, Wi-Fi, and LED on/off.
Powered by a Broadcom chipset, the router supports 802.11ac as well as older N/G/B Wi-Fi standards. Using NitroQAM technology, the two 5 GHz bands each support up to 2,167 Mbps speeds while the 2.4 GHz band tops out at 1,000 Mbps. This is a boost over the usual 1,734 Mbps for 5 GHz and 600 Mbps for 2.4 GHz wireless bandwidth numbers. Asus claims that the router can run all three bands simultaneously along with beamforming to improve the signal to devices by focusing the signal. Note that the combined advertised "5334 Mbps" of the router includes all three bands but a single device would max out at the 2,167 Mbps theoretical maximum of a single band. The router is capable of automatically figuring out and using the optimal band to communicate with each device based on its capabilities and signal strength.
When it comes to wired connections, the router has four 1 Gbps LAN ports. It also supports 802.3ad link aggregation which allows using two of the gigabit ports to create a single 2 Gbps link to supported devices like network attached storage (NAS) and workstations.
Asus is using ASUSWRT firmware along with AiRadar beamforming, AiProtect security, and a subscription to WTFast GPN which is a service aimed at gamers that reportedly delivers decreased pings and lower latency connections to game servers.
Pricing and availability have not been announced, but CNET is reporting an expected price of $400 USD.
To say that this router is overkill for most is an understatement, but it is packed with features and is ready to stream a Stargate SG-1 marathon to all your devices!
Subject: Systems | November 13, 2015 - 10:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Zen AiO Pro, UHD, its display, Intel RealSense, desktop computer, Core i7-6700T, asus, all-in-one, AIO, 4k
ASUS has announced their newest all-in-one desktop PC, the Zen AiO Pro, featuring a 24-inch 4K IPS display and 6th-gen Intel Skylake processors.
"The Zen AiO Pro is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and design, with a slim unibody shell and integral stand forged from aluminum. The sophisticated appearance is enhanced by a layer of edge-to-edge glass covering the display, while the rear cover has a brushed-metal finish that complements the spun-metal concentric circles on the front fascia. A vision of elegance, the Zen AiO Pro’s exterior is anodized a stylish yet subtle Icicle Gold color that adds a touch of beauty to any space."
Beyond the (very gold) industrial design this PC features some pretty impressive specs depending on how you choose to configure it. The 23.8" IPS screen is available both 1920x1080 and a multi-touch 4K (UHD) 3840x2160 as well. CPU options include the Intel Core i7-6700T, a 4 core/8 thread part, and the AiO Pro features discrete graphics up to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. The inclusion of an Intel RealSense camera allows features like facial recognition, with plenty of rear I/O connectivity that includes USB 3.1 Type-C.
Zen AiO Pro Specifications:
- Display: 23.8in IPS 4K/UHD 3840×2160 with 10-point capacitive multi-touch; 23.8in IPS Full HD 1920x1080
- Processor: Intel Core i5-6400T; Intel Core i7-6700T
- Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 950M, 1GB GDDR5; NVIDIA GTX 960M, 2GB GDDR5
- Memory: 8GB or 16GB dual-channel DDR4 at 2133MHz
- Storage options: 512GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD; 1TB SSHD; 1TB HDD
- Wireless: 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4 (M.2, 2T2R), supports Intel WiDi
- Ethernet: 10/100/1000Mbit/s
- Cameras: Intel RealSense camera, 1MP 720P webcam
- Audio: 8W Stereo Speakers
- I/O ports: 1x USB 3.1 (Type-C); 4x USB 3.0; 1x USB 2.0; 1x microphone; 1x headphone; SD card slot; 2x HDMI; LAN
- Power Supply: 180W
- Operating System: Windows 10
The Zen AiO Pro starts at $999 (which includes a matching wireless keyboard and mouse) and is available now, with additional configurations to follow.
Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 02:47 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, qualcomm, snapdragon 820, Lenovo, yoga 900, be quiet!, amd, r9 380x, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, 14nm, FinFET, nvidia, asus, Maximus VIII Extreme, Thrustmaster, T300
PC Perspective Podcast #375 - 11/12/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the Snapdragon 820, Lenovo Yoga 900, R9 380X 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 Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:22:11
Week in Review:
0:29:30 This week’s podcast is brought to you by Casper. Use code PCPER at checkout for $50 towards your order!
News item of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Motherboards | November 11, 2015 - 08:07 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Skylake, Intel Skylake, Intel B150, asus
Asus has a bright new option for budget gamers with a Skylake compatible motherboard based around the B150 chipset. The Asus B150 Pro Gaming D3 is a cheaper alternative that sacrifices some expandability while still incorporating several enthusiast-friendly features.
Intel’s B150 chipset is a cheaper alternative to the Z170 which has received a lot more attention this year.
The Asus B150 Pro Gaming D3 features a LGA 1151 socket ready for up to Core i7 Skylake processors that is powered by the company’s “Digi+” VRMs. On the memory front, Asus has opted for four DDR3 slots supporting up to 64GB dual channel DDR3 modules at 1,866 MHz. This is a departure from most of the Skylake motherboards that have launched this year which use DDR4. Opting for DDR3 means slightly less potential performance but at welcome cost savings.
For storage, this motherboard has six SATA 6Gbps ports and a single M.2 slot for solid state drives (albeit limited to 2 lanes of PCI-E).
The lower-left of this budget board is dominated by a slew of expansion slots as well as Asus’ SupremeFX (Realtek ALC1150 codec) audio hardware. The B150 chipset powers a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot and the board further includes a second PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, two PCI-E x1 slots, and two PCI slots for legacy expansion cards.
To help this board stand out, the company has added LED lighting above the PCI-E slot and along the right edge of the board. These LEDs can be configured as a solid color, to cycle colors, or to respond to changes in CPU temperature or load (which could help accentuate a custom case mod or simply act as more "bling").
Rear I/O is decent with the following options:
- 2 x PS/2
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x VGA
- 4 x USB 3.0 (Intel B150)
- 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A (ASMedia)
- 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (ASMedia)
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet (Intel)
- 5 x Analog audio (300 ohm headphone support, Realtek codec)
- 1 x S/PDIF
There are some limitations with this board, however. The major downgrade from Z170 to B150 is the number of PCI Express lanes from 20 on Z170 to 8 with B150. As such, when using the second physical x16 slot (max electrical x4) with a x4 or faster device the two physical x1 slots will be disabled. Further, when using the M.2 slot for your SSD in SATA mode, one of the physical SATA ports will be disabled. There is only so much bandwidth to go around here as well as the loss of overclocking ability with the cheaper chipset.
Naturally, Asus has not released specific pricing or availability for the B150 Pro Gaming D3. Expect it to undercut existing Skylake compatible boards, though. And if you have been thinking about upgrading, this is a cheaper upgrade path (you can re-use your DDR3 memory) that is an alternative to the Biostar board that can support both DDR3 and DDR4.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | November 9, 2015 - 10:49 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ROG, Republic of Gamers, Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly, Matrix GTX 980 Ti, Headphone Amp, E9018K2M, DAC, asus, 10GbE, 10 Gbps Ethernet
ASUS has announced two new products for their Republic of Gamers lineup today, and while we saw the Matrix GTX 980 Ti at IFA in September (and the Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly was also on display), there are further details for both products in today's press release.
ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly motherboard with Matrix 980 Ti
The motherboard in question is the Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly, a Z170 board with an external headphone amp and 10Gb/s Ethernet add-in card included. This board could run into some money.
The ROG 10G Express expansion card
While other Maximus VIII series motherboards have high-end audio support, the Extreme/Assembly further differentiates itself with an included 10Gb/s Ethernet card. ASUS has partnered with Tehuti Networks for the card, which in addition to 10Gbps also operates at conventional 100/1000 Ethernet speeds, as well as new 2.5/5Gbps over CAT5e.
“ROG 10G Express is the enterprise-speed Ethernet card, powered by Aquantia® and Tehuti Networks: these key partners are both members of the NBASE-T™ alliance, and are working closely to create the new 2.5Gbit/s and 5Gbit/s standards that will be compatible with the existing Category 5e (Cat 5e) cabling and ports. With PCI Express 2.0 x4 speed, it equips Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly gamers for next-generation LAN speeds of up to 10Gbit/s — or up to ten times (10X) faster than today’s fastest onboard consumer Ethernet.”
This will certainly add to the cost of the motherboard considering a 10GbE card (without the 2.5/5Gbps feature) currently sells for $239.99 on Amazon.
The ROG SupremeFX Hi-Fi amplifier
If you’re an audio enthusiast (like me) you’ll be impressed by the attention to audio, which begins with the audiophile-grade ESS E9018K2M DAC chip found on other members of the Maximus VIII family, and capable of not only native PCM 32-bit/384kHz playback, but up to dual-rate DSD (DSD128). The external headphone amplifier features the Texas Instruments TPA6120A2, and has a very high 6V output to drive the most challenging headphone loads.
What about the Matrix GTX 980 Ti? Full specifications were announced for the card, with boost GPU clock speeds of up to 1317 MHz.
- Graphics Engine: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
- Video memory: 6GB GDDR5
- CUDA cores: 2816
- GPU clock (boosted):
- 1317MHz (OC mode)
- 1291MHz (gaming mode)
- GPU clock (base)
- 1216MHz (OC mode)
- 1190MHz (gaming mode)
- Memory clock: 7200MHz
- Memory interface: 384-bit
- Display Output: 3x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x Dual-link DVI
- Dimensions: 11.62 x 5.44 x 2 inches
Availability and pricing information for these new ROG products was not released.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 6, 2015 - 04:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: ROG Swift, refresh rate, pg279q, nvidia, GTX 980 Ti, geforce, asus, 165hz, 144hz
Last month I wrote a story that detailed some odd behavior with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX graphics cards and high refresh rate monitors, in particular with the new ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q that has a rated 165Hz refresh rate. We found that when running this monitor at 144Hz or higher refresh rate, idle clock speeds and power consumption of the graphics card increased dramatically.
The results are much more interesting than I expected! At 60Hz refresh rate, the monitor was drawing just 22.1 watts while the entire testing system was idling at 73.7 watts. (Note: the display was set to its post-calibration brightness of just 31.) Moving up to 100Hz and 120Hz saw very minor increases in power consumption from both the system and monitor.
But the jump to 144Hz is much more dramatic – idle system power jumps from 76 watts to almost 134 watts – an increase of 57 watts! Monitor power only increased by 1 watt at that transition though. At 165Hz we see another small increase, bringing the system power up to 137.8 watts.
When running the monitor at 60Hz, 100Hz and even 120Hz, the GPU clock speed sits comfortably at 135MHz. When we increase from 120Hz to 144Hz though, the GPU clock spikes to 885MHz and stays there, even at the Windows desktop. According to GPU-Z the GPU is running at approximately 30% of the maximum TDP.
We put NVIDIA on notice with the story and followed up with emails including more information from other users as well as additional testing completed after the story was posted. The result: NVIDIA has confirmed it exists and has a fix incoming!
In an email we got from NVIDIA PR last night:
We checked into the observation you highlighted with the newest 165Hz G-SYNC monitors.
Guess what? You were right! That new monitor (or you) exposed a bug in the way our GPU was managing clocks for GSYNC and very high refresh rates.
As a result of your findings, we are fixing the bug which will lower the operating point of our GPUs back to the same power level for other displays.
We’ll have this fixed in an upcoming driver.
This actually supports an oddity we found before: we noticed that the PG279Q at 144Hz refresh was pushing GPU clocks up pretty high while a monitor without G-Sync support at 144Hz did not. We'll see if this addresses the entire gamut of experiences that users have had (and have emailed me about) with high refresh rate displays and power consumption, but at the very least NVIDIA is aware of the problems and working to fix them.
I don't have confirmation of WHEN I'll be able to test out that updated driver, but hopefully it will be soon, so we can confirm the fix works with the displays we have in-house. NVIDIA also hasn't confirmed what the root cause of the problem is - was it related to the clock domains as we had theorized? Maybe not, since this was a G-Sync specific display issue (based on the quote above). I'll try to weasel out the technical reasoning for the bug if we can and update the story later!
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 3, 2015 - 02:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Strix GTX 950 DC2OC, strix, gtx 950, factory overclocked, asus
At $165 currently the ASUS Strix GTX 950 DC2OC sports the same custom cooler higher end Strix cards use and is overclocked by 141MHz right out of the box. That cooler helped Bjorn3D get the Boost Clock on the card up to 1425MHz and the memory to 6900MHz effective, not too shabby for such an inexpensive card. The real question is if that boost is enough to allow this card to provide decent performance while gaming at 1080p. See if it can in the full review.
"Naturally NVIDIA wants to cover all price points so they did a snip and clip on the GM206 Maxwell core and trimmed 256 Cuda cores off the GTX 960 leaving 768 Shaders on the GTX 950. You still have the same 2GB GDDR5 running across a 128-bit bus and 32 ROPS but GTX 960 gets 85 TMUs while GTX 950 gets 64 and those are really the hardware trade offs NVIDIA had to do to field a $160 video card."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- NVIDIA GTX 950 SLI @ eTeknix
- MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning 6GB @ techPowerUp
- 4K AMD/NVIDIA High-End GPU Comparison On SteamOS @ Phoronix
- Are The Open-Source Graphics Drivers Good Enough For Steam Linux Gaming? @ Phoronix
- Intel Broadwell/Skylake Graphics Performance For Steam Linux Gaming @ Phoronix
- AMD Radeon Software Crimson Editon Technology @ TechARP
- AMD’s New Radeon Software: Crimson @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD Radeon Fury X PCI-Express Scaling @ techPowerUp
- XFX R9 380 4G Double Dissipation Black Edition @ Bjorn3d
- XFX R9 390X Double Dissipation Core Edition @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Displays | November 2, 2015 - 05:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, ROG Swift, swift PG27AQ, ips display, 4k, 60hz
The 165Hz G-SYNC compatible ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q was recently on the PCPer review bench, garnering a Gold Award for its performance. Kitguru recently wrapped up a review of a slightly different model, the ROG Swift PG27AQ. Like the other model it is a 27" IPS display which supports G-SYNC, however only to 60Hz as it is a 4K (3840×2160) monitor. The bandwidth required to provide adaptive refresh at higher than 60Hz on a 4K display just isn't really available yet, so you have to make a choice between a high resolution or a high maximum refresh rate. Next year we will see monitors capable of this as the DisplayPort interface is updated. For now take a look at the review to see which you prefer between resolution and refresh rate.
"The ROG Swift PG27AQ is a 4K gaming monitor from Asus that supports Nvidia G-Sync up to 60Hz. It’s a 27-inch IPS display with a 4ms response time and a 10-bit colour panel. Add on a flexible stand with pivot, tilt and rotate support, with a redesigned software interface, and it could be a contender for the best gaming display on the market."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- LG 34UC87C 34" Curved Monitor Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Philips 227E6EDSD 22-inch IPS @ Kitguru
- Philips BDM4065UC 40 4K @ eTeknix
- Philips Brilliance 241P6EPJEB IPS @ Kitguru
- Acer Predator XB280HK 4K display with Nvidia G-Sync @ Kitguru