Archive for August 22, 2019

ASUS Republic Of Gamers Hosts Intelligent Evolution Event At Gamescom 2019

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 22, 2019 by itnerd

ASUSRepublic of Gamers (ROG) today opened the doors on its Intelligent Evolution press event at Gamescom 2019 to demonstrate the latest innovations resulting from the ASUS Design Thinkingphilosophy — our holistic product-development cycle that sees user feedback result in R&D that leads to iteration in the form of new products.

“Gamers and media are the inspiration for ROG’s fast-paced and passionate product development, because they drive us to push the limits of every feature to enhance every aspect of the gaming experience. Every user comment and product review feeds into this intelligent evolution of ROG products, triggering ever-new and exciting innovations” said Jackie Hsu, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Worldwide Sales for the ASUS Open Platform Business Group.

This year ROG unveiled seven intelligently evolved products. These include the bar-raising ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore motherboard for dream PC rigs and the ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II motherboard for overclocking without extravagance. Three new gaming monitors were also revealed, including the 43-inch ROG Strix XG43UQ and 27-inch ROG Strix XG27UQ, both supporting Display Stream Compression (DSC) technology for native 4K resolution with 144 Hz refresh rates, and the 17.3-inch ROG Strix XG17 with a 240Hz IPS panel and ROG Tripod for serious on-the-go gamers.

We also took the wraps off ROG Chakram, a new 16,000-dpi gaming mouse with a built-in joystick for ultimate control; and ROG Strix Go 2.4, a wireless gaming headset with a USB-C™ 2.4GHz and an AI-powered noise-canceling mic.

 

ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore gaming motherboard

Designed to raise the bar for dream builds, ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore follows the pedigree of the popular ROG Rampage Extreme and Omega motherboards. This latest board makes many powerful statements, from intelligent tuning, robust power design and cutting-edge ROG technology, to give the most discerning gamers, enthusiasts and overclockers everything they need to push the limits. This includes 16 power stages and a comprehensive thermal design that comprises an active heatsink with two integrated VRM fans, a PCIe-zone M.2 aluminum heatsink and a one-piece aluminum backplate.

It also benefits from all the latest connectivity, including USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (Type-C), Intel®Wi-Fi 6 AX200, onboard Aquantia®10Gbps LAN and Intel Ethernet, plus unmatched personalization with a 1.77-inch LiveDash colour OLED, and second-generation addressable RGB headers.

 

ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II motherboard

Many enthusiasts and gamers in particular often have a specific set of requirements for a motherboard: solid performance, ease of overclocking, stylish looks, and a set of features that’s still upmarket but doesn’t delve into extravagant excess. ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II is absolutely perfect for all these tasks, and more.

It features 12 power stages and a pre-installed 40mm fan, plus a great aesthetic design with an I/O cover that has a unique dual-layer design to display a laser-engraved ROG logo against a lighted backdrop of cybertext patterns. ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II offers superb connectivity, with three M.2 slots, Intel®Wi-Fi 6 AX200 and both Realtek 2.5Gbps and Intel Ethernet on board. It also has a 1.3-inch LiveDash OLED, a second-generation addressable RGB header and DIY-friendly designs that include FlexKey and BIOS Flashback.

 

ROG Strix XG43UQ DSC gaming monitor

Display Stream Compression (DSC) technology is an industry-wide compression standard for transporting ultra-high definition video streams across a single interface at high speed with no perceptible loss of visual quality. It also allows support for variable refresh rate (VRR) and high dynamic range (HDR) from the single connection. With DSC technology, ROG Strix XG43UQis able to display incredibly detailed and smooth visuals at native 4K resolution with a 144 Hz refresh rate via a single DisplayPort 1.4 connection without chroma sub-sampling, and without the need to use dual DisplayPort.

Strix XG43UQ’s 43-inch non-glare HDR display has achieved DisplayHDR™ 1000 compliance and supports 90% DCI-P3 professional colour gamut for exceptional contrast and colour performance, and also works flawlessly with AMD Radeon™ FreeSync 2 HDR technology for buttery-smooth gameplay, low latency, and better brightness and contrast.

 

ROG Strix XG27UQ DSC gaming monitor

ROG Strix XG27UQ is a 4K UHD gaming monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate for buttery-smooth gameplay. This 27-inch IPS display with quantum-dot technology heralds a new generation of gaming. It provides a wide 90% DCI-P3 colour gamut and DisplayHDR 400 compliance and offers the same DSC support as its Strix XG43UQ stablemate.

 

ROG Strix XG17 portable gaming monitor with ROG tripod

Designed for competitive gamers that wish to hone their skills while on the move, ROG Strix XG17 is a 17.3-inch IPS Full HD portable gaming panel that delivers a blistering 240Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time — making it the fastest portable display in the world. It weighs just 1 kg and has a built-in battery that supports up to 3 hours of 240Hz operation off a single charge. Thanks to its fast-charging system, a one-hour charge will power the panel for 2.7 hours. Other salient features include adaptive-sync that operates between 48-240Hz, making it easier to derive smooth gameplay from modest GPUs. There’s also a built-in speaker, for those times when a headset just won’t do.

ROG Strix XG17 also comes with a ROG tripod accessory that enables the gamer to set ROG Strix XG17 at various angles and heights, making it perfect for almost any gaming scenario. For example, ROG Tripod makes it easy to position Strix XG17 directly above a gaming notebook, effectively creating an expansive extended screen and play area. It also serves to support XG17 as an on-the-go monitor for console gamers, or as an extended display for mobile gaming.

 

ROG Chakram wireless gaming mouse

ROG Chakram is an all-new ergonomic, optical gaming mouse with Qi wireless charging and an integrated joystick for ultimate control. In addition to Qi, charging Chakram by wire for just 15 minutes provides enough power for up to 12 hours of gameplay. The joystick is both programmable, enabling personalized settings and superior control, and removable for when it’s not needed. The new mouse also packs an advanced 16,000-dpi, 400-ips sensor, and offers three connectivity methods — wired, 2.4GHz and Bluetooth (BLE). It also features detachable magnetic covers, an exclusive push-fit switch-socket design and a customizable badge for effortless DIY.

ROG Chakram is also loaded with thoughtful and exciting control, design and aesthetic features. These include a one-touch button for switching DPI on the go, a pivoted button mechanism for rapid response and accurate performance with a clean, tactile feel, and integrated Aura Sync lighting for instead illuminated style. These combined with the many other features elevate ROG Chakram to the ultimate gaming mouse, ready for any battlefield,

 

ROG Strix Go 2.4 wireless gaming headset

ROG Strix Go 2.4 is the world’s first wireless gaming headset that can be used with Nintendo Switch in handheld mode and also works with mobile phones and PCs. The headset connects via an included USB-C 2.4GHz wireless adapter that provides a more stable connection with less latency than Bluetooth, making it a better choice for gaming. ROG Strix Go 2.4 features an integrated AI-powered noise-cancelling microphone for clear communications, and large, Hi-Res Audio-certified 40mm drivers with a ROG-exclusive airtight-chamber design for lifelike audio reproduction, all in a lightweight, foldable design that tips the scales at a mere 290 grams.

 

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

ASUS ROG products are available worldwide. Please contact your local ASUS representative for further information.

Advertisements

ASUS Reveals Trio of New X299 Motherboards

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 22, 2019 by itnerd

ASUS today announced three new X299 motherboards to support upcoming Intel®CoreX-series processors. Many computing itches can only be scratched by processors with that magical combination of plenty of cores and sizable amounts of cache and memory bandwidth. The latest refresh of Intel’s high-end desktop platform upgrades maximum RAM capacities to 256GB and adds support for more PCIe connectivity directly from the CPU — just the ticket for multi-GPU rigs and massive NVMe solid-state drive arrays.

Baseline features for the upgraded boards include improved power circuitry with additional power stages, support for faster RAM, Intel Virtual RAID on CPU (VROC) support, and better networking and USB connectivity. All three models also include our AI Overclocking intelligence for automatically turning the knobs on the CPU to find the optimum frequency and voltage settings for the system.

ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore

ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore is one sharply dressed board in the EATX form factor. Right from the get-go, Infinity Lighting holographic accents dazzle and impress atop stylish aluminum ROG Armor. We fortify the primary M.2 slots, I/O shield, and audio signal components with the same material. A 1.77-inch LiveDash OLED display can present POST codes, system information or custom graphics. For those who prefer a stealthy look, the display and onboard lighting can be shut off entirely. Around the back, a single-piece backplate covering most of the board allows for extra heat dissipation and structural reinforcement. All the main PCIe®slots are clad in SafeSlot metal reinforcement, so heavier graphics cards can be plugged in without worry.

Extreme Encore has the ability to handle and overclock the most powerful chips in the Intel Core X-series family. That’s where its humongous 16 power stages come in. Since Intel Core X-series processors can draw a lot of power when overclocked, we used ProCool II auxiliary power connectors with solid pins to maximize current capacity and minimize conduction loss. The VRM sits underneath heatsinks connected by a heat pipe and cooled by two compact fans that will only spin up when needed. Our space-saving DIMM.2 module employs a heatsink to chill NVMe devices also installed there.

One of the reasons to acquire a high-end desktop chip is the copious amount of memory bandwidth it can tap. Extreme Encore lets users take advantage of 256GB of RAM across the quad-channel controller, clocked at blistering speeds as high as 4266MT/s. Our exclusive OptiMem III enhancements help extreme overclockers find the limits of their RAM.

The extra lanes available in the upcoming Intel Core X-series enabled us to increase the onboard NVMe storage device support to four, meaning it’s possible to run massive NVMe RAID arrays with optional Intel VROC technology and push gigabyte-per-second transfers to double digits. Two M.2 slots rest underneath the main heatsink, while the DIMM.2 slot can take in two drives up to 110 mm long on a riser card. And with compatible chips, the three x16 PCIe slots can be run in a x16/x16/x8 configuration for high-speed multi-GPU action, massive deep-learning tasks, and heavy-duty 3D rendering. A USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 connector provides 20Gbps of bandwidth to compatible devices.

To ensure multi-terabyte data sets can be easily delivered over the network, Extreme Encore comes with an Aquantia 10Gbps Ethernet controller humming alongside a tried-and-true Intel Gigabit Ethernet chip. When it’s time to let go of wires and send bits through the atmosphere, an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 adapter pushes throughout up to 2.4Gbps.=

Extreme Encore has a total of four RGB LED strips: two on standard headers, and another two on addressable Gen 2 RGB headers that can detect how many LEDs are present in an attached device to preconfigure effects accordingly and make for easier customization. The included ASUS Fan Extension Card II has three extra RGB strip headers, as well as NODE input and output ports for further expansion. The extra RGB LED headers on this card naturally support RGB LED fans with the proper cabling, as well. Our proprietary NODE connector enables the connection of compatible hardware for control and monitoring.

Extreme Encore’s SupremeFX S1220 audio circuitry includes a dedicated headphone amplifier, Japanese-made capacitors, and its own PCB layers for improved signal integrity. We’ve included DTS Sound Unbound enhancements, so that when a compatible game is played, the player takes a dive deep into a soundscape where every object has a pinpoint-accurate aural location, even if it’s above or below.

ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II=

The majority of enthusiasts and gamers in particular often have a specific set of requirements for a motherboard: solid performance, ease of overclocking, good looks, and a set of features that’s still upmarket but doesn’t delve into extravagant excess. ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II fits that bill.

The board’s cybertext motif, sleek angular lines and smooth finishes all meld together to create a distinctive style that looks fantastic whether on its own or under RGB LED lighting. A translucent ROG logo on the I/O shield can light up to reveal more cybertext embedded in the acrylic nameplate. A 1.3-inch LiveDash OLED display sits just underneath the CPU socket for at-a-glance view of system information or just to show off.

To feed and overclock the CPU, Strix X299-E Gaming II uses a 12-power-stage VRM. The power-delivery cooling system has a two-piece heatsink with a heat pipe running through it, and it’s further chilled by a 40-mm fan that’ll only kick in under high power draw. For those choosing to overclock their processor, the AI Overclocking function will intelligently figure out the best settings.

Power plugs can get a little toasty when overclocking CPUs to their limit, so the auxiliary 12V ProCool II connectors have solid-core pins to deliver more current. Two columns of four DIMMs can take in a total of 256GB of RAM. Sticks clocked at 4266MT/s and beyond will slot right in with ease.

Strix X299-E Gaming II features SafeSlots on all three PCIe slots to easily support multi-GPU setups. Three M.2 slots are ready to take in fast NVMe devices as long as 110mm and have dedicated heatsinks, all using PCIe x4 connectivity. Intel VROC support enables multi-drive NVMe action for the fastest storage transfer rates this side of a server. USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports in both Type-Cand Type-A flavors grace the back panel, and there’s a header available for an extra front-panel port.

For networking, a Realtek 2.5Gbps and Intel gigabit Ethernet adapter handle communications. There’s also Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX200 adapter for up to 2.4Gbps of wireless bandwidth, plus Bluetooth®5.0 support.

Strix X299-E Gaming II comes with two standard RGB LED strip headers, plus another pair of connectors for addressable Gen 2 RGB LED strips. A NODE port also lets the board monitor and control compatible components.

Strix X299-E Gaming II has an additional set of handy niceties. The FlexKey allows the reset button to toggle lighting effects on/off, or boot directly into the firmware. SupremeFX S1220A audio includes its own shielding alongside the usual niceties like Japanese capacitors, and it comes bundled with Sonic Studio III and DTS®Sound Unbound.

Prime X299-A II

Our Rampage and Strix boards have the looks and over-the-top luxury to match their performance, but some users prioritize straightforward results over a flashy appearance and a mile-long feature list. However, not every PC has to be a lavish affair – even if it’s using a high-end Intel Core X-series chip. There are plenty of times when the most important aspects are stability, horsepower and subtlety. For those looking for a simple and solid X299 motherboard, we have ASUS Prime X299-A II.

While X299-A II is the most affordable model in our refreshed trio, it’s not bare-bones by any stretch of the imagination. After all, it’s got a 12-power-stage, all-digital VRM ready to juice up even top-end Intel Core X-series processors, along with ProCool II auxiliary power connectors. Much like on our higher-end boards, three PCIe x16 SafeSlots can deal with multiple graphics cards in SLIor CrossFireXarrays. Likewise, eight RAM slots in a quad-channel topology can take in as much as 256GB clocked at 4266 MT/s, and there are three PCIe x.4 M.2 slots. This model supports Intel VROC arrays with the necessary hardware key, as well.

White-and-silver accents and heatsinks lend the X299-A II a subdued look that’ll blend with any build. For those looking to add RGB LED flair, the board’s neutral shades will look fantastic under coloured light. Standard LED strips can be hooked up to a pair of available headers, and extra-fancy illumination is possible thanks to an addressable Gen 2 RGB header for compatible addressable strips.

Prime X299-A II does upstage its fancier brethren in one way, though. Since professional users are more likely to pick out this model, we fitted it with a Thunderbolt3 header so opening up the option of next-gen peripherals with the optional ASUS ThunderboltEX3 card. Audio and video gear in particular makes great use of Thunderbolt 3’s low latency and massive bandwidth, and the X299-A II will happily become the centerpiece of any AV studio. Naturally, USB 3.2 Gen 2 and USB 2.0 peripherals can go into any of the several ports in those formats. Sonic delectation emanates from the Realtek S1220A codec enhanced by DTS:X®Ultra  3D audio positioning.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

Check with your local ASUS representative for details on availability and pricing in your region.

For further information, product images and specifics on these new motherboardsplease check out our article at Edge Up ASUS.

Review: 2019 Jeep Cherokee North – Part 4

Posted in Products with tags on August 22, 2019 by itnerd

he technology in the 2019 Jeep Cherokee North isn’t the longest list that I’ve had to cover given that I have the base model at my disposal, but there’s tech here that’s worth talking about. On the safety front, there’s this:

  • 8 standard airbags
  • Rear backup camera.

Options like blind spot mounting, autonomous emergency braking and the like are available as options.

A highlight in terms of the tech are the LED headlights. Not only are they bright and illuminate the road in front of you very well, but when you corner they direct extra light toward the direction that you are turning. This is a very good feature that I wish was on more vehicles.

Now to the UConnect system. Seeing as it has been a couple of years since I have reviewed a Fiat Chrysler product, UConnect has undergone some refinement as the graphics are better and the system seems more fluid. Most notably it now comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay which are welcome additions. But what hasn’t changed is the ease of use. It took me seconds to pair my iPhone via Bluetooth everything worked the way I expected. Plugging in my iPhone via USB allowed use of CarPlay. There are redundant controls that are well designed and easy to reach. When it comes to the design part, I’ll use the controls on the steering wheel as an example. Individual buttons have their own feel so that once you know what the functions are, you can use them purely based on feel. It’s excellent system to use. The one thing that I will mention as a negative is that I found that the 7″ screen made the UConnect user interface feel kind of cramped. If it were me buying this vehicle, I’d be opting for the 8.4″ screen which is just a joy to use from previous experience. Related to this, the audio system was decent. But people who care about audio will likely want to upgrade to the Alpine sound system that’s available as an option.

In the last part of my review, I’ll wrap up some loose ends and I will give you my final verdict.

 

Research: Is Employee Experience Falling Short?

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 22, 2019 by itnerd

Perks at work have become a source of pride and a competitive differentiator for companies vying for top talent. Stocked fridges, catered meals, on‑site fitness facilities, laundry services and complimentary transportation are just a handful of popular perks companies offer to lure new employees. But according to new research by ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW), the company that makes work, work better for people, an effective way to build an engaged and productive workforce is giving employees a better employee service experience during big moments and even small ones in between.

ServiceNow’s “The Employee Experience Imperative” Report, which studies the service experience at work, reveals that employee enthusiasm for work peaks at the start of a new job, but wanes by 22% shortly thereafter. Where are employers missing the mark? The findings tell us that employers aren’t supporting employee’s basic needs on a day‑to‑day basis during the employee lifecycle: 41% still struggle to obtain information and answers to basic questions, like finding a company policy or resolving an issue with their equipment. Furthermore, only 41% believe their employers make it easy to select their equipment before their first day and only 51% of employees believe their employers make it easy to receive equipment necessary to perform their job responsibilities at the onset of their job.

Where Can Employers Improve? Mobile Work Experiences

One‑third of our lives is spent at work. And, employees want their experiences at work to be more like their experiences at home – like having mobile technology at their fingertips to make finding information and accomplishing tasks simple, easy and convenient. In fact, more than half (54%) of employees expect their employers to offer mobile‑optimized tools at work. Yet, the majority (67%) report not finding it easy to complete necessary paperwork on a mobile device before their first day and only about half (52%) of employees have been allowed to use a smartphone or tablet to access employee tools from HR or other departments. However, those who do have such access self‑report higher productivity than those without these mobility tools. This is a miss for employers who haven’t yet introduced mobile self‑service to their workforce, especially for those aiming to retain and attract millennials, as over half (59%) expect employers to provide mobile‑optimized tools.

A Generation Gap? It’s Smaller at Work Than You’d Think

Baby boomers and millennials aren’t so different at work, after all. Across the four generations that comprise today’s workforce – baby boomers, Gen‑Zs, millennials and Gen‑Xs – employees want a better experience at work. The research found that, across generations and departments, employees are losing faith in their employers to deliver positive employee experiences:

  • Less than half (48%) of employees believe that employers are invested in improving the employee experience;
  • More than half (61%) of employees rate their employers poorly based on a negative experience with personal leave;
  • Less than half (45%) of employees feel that their opinions and perspective matter to their employer. However, millennials (43%) are more optimistic that employers will address feedback when compared to baby boomers (35%);
  • Only 37% of employees believe that employers automate processes to improve the worker experience; and
  • Less than half (44%) of employees believe employers provide them with easy access to information from HR and other departments; the same number felt they did not have access to the information vital to their job on day one.

A positive experience at work strongly correlates high employee net promoter scores (eNPS)– meaning, employees that create great employee experiences are likely to have more loyal, satisfied employees. That’s real business value.

For more findings from the survey, check out ServiceNow’s “The Employee Experience Imperative” Report and download it here.

 The Employee Experience Imperative Research Methodology

The Employee Experience Imperative” Report, which studies the service experience at work, was conducted in June 2019, via qualitative and quantitative research methods. A total of 1,400 people responded to the survey, all 18+‑year‑old full or part‑time employees at companies with 2,000+ employees. Of the respondents, 57% were located in North America (United States, Canada), 29% were located in Europe (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands) and 14% in Asia‑Pacific (Australia, Japan, Singapore).

Waze Adds YouTube Music As Their Newest Audio Player Partner

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 22, 2019 by itnerd

Waze, the platform bringing together communities on and off the road, today announced YouTube Music is their newest Audio Player partner, giving drivers a new way to listen to music while safely driving.

dddd

 Originally launched in October 2018, Waze’s full service audio player caters for every taste and genre by partnering with the world’s leading audio platforms to seamlessly deliver music, podcasts, audiobooks, news, and more. Since then, Waze users have driven almost 11 billion kilometers while listening to content from one of Waze’s Audio Player partners.  By partnering with YouTube Music, from today drivers can safely listen to their favourite albums, playlists, personalized mixes, and more from directly within the Waze app where they get their navigation directions.

YouTube Music Premium subscribers can listen on Waze by simply opening the Waze app and tapping the music note icon to select YouTube Music as their audio player. They can start enjoying audio content directly from Waze right away, including playlists, radio and more.

 Waze initially launched with seven partners: Deezer, iHeartRadio, NPR, Pandora, Scribd, Stitcher, and TuneIn joined Spotify, which has been available on Waze since March 2017. Since then, Waze has also introduced integrations with Audiobooks.com, Radio.com, Castbox and NRJ Radio, who integrated their audio experience into Waze by using the Waze Audio Kit. .

 The YouTube Music integration for Waze Audio Player will begin rolling out from today, and will be available for all users globally in the coming weeks. You can download Waze here, and to integrate your audio app with Waze, apply for the Waze Audio Kit here.