Archive for the Commentary Category

Facebook Might Be On The Hook For $5 Billion

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 24, 2019 by itnerd

The FTC has apparently been in negotiations with Facebook for a few months now. The idea being that both sides want to avoid a protracted legal fight over Facebook’s rather shambolic handling of user data. And the word on the street is that it could cost the social network $5 Billion:

Facebook said it expects a fine of up to $5 billion from the Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating whether the social network violated its users’ privacy.

The company set aside $3 billion in its quarterly earnings report Wednesday as a contingency against the possible penalty but noted that the “matter remains unresolved.”

I have mixed feelings about this. Facebook needs to be punished. And Facebook being able to negotiate to limit their damage seems wrong. Yes it’s potentially $5 billion. But still, they should be hammered out of existence and made an example of because of everything that they have done.

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Last Minute Tax Tips, Pay With PayPal

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 24, 2019 by itnerd

The tax deadline is fast approaching and If you’re putting together tax tip roundups, here are a few tips you might want to include.

Canadians want a way to pay their taxes quickly and easily and now they can with PayPal.

Paying with PayPal has many benefits:

  1. Trusted way to pay: PayPal doesn’t share customer financial information with merchants, so payment information is protected.
  2. Earn credit card rewards: Taxes can be paid with the credit card associated with a PayPal account and collect rewards points on that card.
  3. Canadians abroad can now stay on top of paying taxes online: About 2.8 million Canadian citizens live abroad. Canadian expatriates who have to file their taxes and owe money to the CRA can pay online easily while abroad.
  4. Use your PayPal balance: More than 250,000 Canadian small businesses use PayPal. Now, these entrepreneurs can simply use the existing balance in their PayPal account to pay income taxes, creating a seamless flow for busy business owners. Of course, anyone can also choose to pay with other options in their PayPal account, including bank account, Visa Debit or credit card.

Taxpayers can beat the deadline by visiting www.paysimply.ca/paypal.

Amazon Employees Not Only Listen To What You Say To Alexa, They Know Where you Live Too

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 24, 2019 by itnerd

You might remember this story about Amazon employees having access to what you say to your Amazon Alexa. Well, this story has just taken a bit of a creepy turn. Bloomberg is now reporting the following:

An Amazon.com Inc. team auditing Alexa users’ commands has access to location data and can, in some cases, easily find a customer’s home address, according to five employees familiar with the program.

The team, spread across three continents, transcribes, annotates and analyzes a portion of the voice recordings picked up by Alexa. 

And:

Team members with access to Alexa users’ geographic coordinates can easily type them into third-party mapping software and find home residences, according to the employees, who signed nondisclosure agreements barring them from speaking publicly about the program.

Well that’s delightful. Actually it’s not. And even though this information doesn’t appear to have been used for anything nefarious, the fact that this team has access to this data is problematic if you’re the privacy minded sort.

Now if you’re the least bit bothered by this…. And you should be bothered by this… Amazon has this handy page that will allow you to tweak your privacy settings so that you only allow Amazon to hear and see the information that you want them to see. I would suggest that all Alexa owners give this page a read and act accordingly.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update Won’t Install On Your PC If You Use “External Storage”

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 24, 2019 by itnerd

As further proof that Microsoft really needs to up its quality assurance game, news has filtered out via a support article that if you use SD cards, external USB hard drives or USB sticks, you will be blocked from installing the Windows 10 May 2019 update. The reason as Microsoft puts it is “inappropriate drive reassignment”:

Inappropriate drive reassignment can occur on eligible computers that have an external USB device or SD memory card attached during the installation of the May 2019 update. For this reason, these computers are currently blocked from receiving the May 2019 Update. This generates the error message that is mentioned in the “Symptoms” section if the upgrade is tried again on an affected computer.

Example: An upgrade to the May 2019 Update is tried on a computer that has the October 2018 update installed and also has a thumb drive inserted into a USB port. Before the upgrade, the device would have been mounted in the system as drive G based on the existing drive configuration. However, after the upgrade, the device is reassigned a different drive letter. For example, the drive is reassigned as drive H.

Why does this matter? Apparently a whole lot of software is out there that is designed to look for specific drive letters. Thus this is not good. The problem will only really affect users who have booted Windows from external storage. Raspberry Pi users for example. Fortunately the workaround is pretty simple, eject your external storage drives first until this is fixed in a future update.

You have to wonder how many times Microsoft can serve stuff like this up that are complete head scratchers before Windows 10 users run to the Apple Store to buy Macs…. Again.

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rolls Out The ROG Strix G

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 24, 2019 by itnerd

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) introduces the ROG Strix G, which embodies streamlined design, and offers a formidable core experience for serious gaming at an affordable price point. Available in different sizes with refresh rates up to 144Hz, the 15.6” Strix G GL531 and 17.3” Strix G GL731 wrap key elements of a great gaming laptop in carefully designed chassis filled with the latest Intelligent Cooling technology. Featuring the latest 9th Gen Intel Core processors, up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX™ GPUs, it brings impactful gaming performance to a wide audience. It includes a comfortable keyboard tuned for gaming, stronger Wi-Fi via ROG RangeBoost, and easy personalization with Aura Sync RGB lighting.

While the Zephyrus family dominates the ultra-slim segment, and the ROG Mothership and G703 are designed as desktop replacements, the latest Strix series represents the evolution of traditional gaming laptops. The Strix SCAR III and Hero III target esports professionals and serious players with bigger budgets, while the new ROG Strix G laptops were created for affordability without compromise.

Taking a leaf out of the luxury playbook

Lots of people use the same computer for work and play, the ROG Strix G series was created to serve both worlds. Inspired by a collaboration with the BMW Designworks Group to imagine the future of gaming laptops, the Strix G mixes elements of the classic ROG aesthetic with a stealthy vibe that’s stylish enough for any setting. Its understated design melds form and function for a low-key, almost professional feel is still eye-catching.

Raised and carefully sculpted ridges on the laptop’s spine draw attention to the extra vents atop the rear exhausts. They rake across the back and down the right side, adding dramatic flair reminiscent of the gills on the “Face Off” concept produced by the collaborative project. Silky, scissor-door hinges are shifted forward to make more room for the extra ventilation at the back. They disappear into the laptop’s frame when closed, reducing exposure that can lead to cracking.

A brushed finish cuts diagonally across the lid with fine lines that flow toward the edges at contrasting angles. The unique pattern accentuates an asymmetrical cut-out between the hinges that allows unrestricted airflow around the additional vents. This offset element channels a design element explored during brainstorming workshops for the concept project.

Lifting the lid reveals similar styling echoed across the keyboard and palm rests. RGB lighting is implemented via an optional light bar that wraps around the front and side edges of the machine, casting a gentle glow onto the surrounding surface. More LEDs illuminate the keyboard to improve visibility for late-night play, and the all-important WASD keys have transparent caps to immediately distinguish them from the rest.

Winning graphics provided by RTX and high refresh

Beyond a striking design, ultimately it’s what’s on the inside that counts; especially when on a budget. The GPU is the most important component for gaming performance, so the Strix G is available with the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs. Based on the new Turing™ architecture, these discrete GPUs blend CUDA, RT, and Tensor cores that allow developers to combine programmable shading, ray tracing, and artificial intelligence in real time.

Select games are already leveraging GeForce RTX hardware for more realistic lighting, reflections, and shadows. Titles with conventional effects can also benefit from optimizations to Turing’s CUDA cores, which offer improved performance with more traditional rendering. The top Strix G configuration features GeForce RTX 2070 GPUs with ROG Boost up to 1440MHz at 115W, surpassing the spec and performance of many laptops based on the same GPU.

ROG Boost provides an extra kick that helps users play their favorite games at higher frame rates, but even if the GPU pumps out more than 60 FPS, users won’t see all of those frames unless the panel can keep up. The Strix G offers display options with refresh rates up to 144Hz, which is fast enough for frame rates into the triple digits. Whether users are playing casually or competitively, they can experience smoother gameplay that improves input response and makes it easier to track moving targets in the thickest action.

The display is surrounded by super-narrow bezels that melt into the background for deeper immersion. Shrinking the frame also reduces the footprint of the chassis as a whole. The 15.6” Strix G GL531 offers a more compact body for easier portability, while a 17.3” Strix G GL731 is available for those who prefer a larger panel.

Striking a balance between work and play

The Strix G’s gaming prowess is balanced by serious computing power with up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor. This new CPU can reach Turbo speeds up to an impressive 4GHz, ensuring excellent performance with most games and applications. It also boasts six cores with the ability to execute 12 parallel threads via Hyper-Threading, which expanding options for heavy duty work.

Not that long ago, users had to choose between gaming and streaming, or between rendering a 3D project and working on a paper, but Intel’s latest chips are primed for multitaskers with diverse and demanding workloads. Paired with up to 32GB of dual-channel memory, they make the Strix G well-equipped for power users who want to do more with their machines.

Dual drive bays allow users to enjoy the best of both worlds even on a tight budget. The M.2 slot can be configured with an NVMe SSD that loads games in a snap and ensures the system stays responsive even under heavy loads. There’s also a 2.5” bay with options for a standard 1TB hard drive or an SSHD with an integrated, flash-based cache that accelerates access to frequently used data.

ROG Intelligent Cooling for maintaining peak performance

Laptops can struggle to hold high clock speeds with sustained workloads. Their cooling systems can easily clog with dust over time, which compromises efficiency and makes faster frequencies even more difficult to maintain. The ROG Intelligent Cooling philosophy helps the Strix G avoid these issues by mixing the right hardware and software for the system configuration and scenario at hand.

The 3D Flow Zone at the rear increases airflow through 181 individual perforations in the 15” GL531 and 236 holes in the 17” GL731. Thermals are dissipated by up to three heatsinks with 189 fins; the exact numbers vary depending on the GPU configuration, though all the fins are only 0.1mm thick. Their ultra-thin profile allows for a higher fin density and total surface area of the heatsinks while also lowering the air resistance through them.

Dual 12V fans can reach higher speeds than conventional 5V units. With 83 blades each, they are the densest n-Blade fans yet. The liquid-crystal-polymer blades are 33% thinner than regular designs, which allows an increase in airflow by fitting more blades onto each fan without sacrificing the strength required to spin at high RPMs. The intakes are carefully shaped with curved edges and raised guides to pull in more air into the blades, and each fan housing incorporates an anti-dust tunnel that catches particles and channels them out the back. This self-cleaning design helps keep dust and other debris from clogging the heatsinks and fans, leading to higher cooling efficiency and more consistent performance over time.

Underneath the keyboard sits an extended heat spreader with up to five heat pipes depending on the GPU configuration. The most robust version absorbs and distributes heat from the CPU, GPU, and VRM supplying them with power. Carefully-placed vents in the CoolZone keyboard ensure enough airflow around the WASD keys to reduce surface temperatures by 2° Celsius compared to the previous generation.

The carefully configured cooling hardware is aided by smart software that optimizes settings for the scenario. Cooling and performance requirements vary based on what the user is doing, so multiple modes are offered, which are tuned for different needs. “Silent mode” minimizes acoustics for less demanding tasks like light work and entertainment, while “Performance mode” strikes a balance between system speed and fan noise that’s ideal for gaming. When optimal performance is required, “Turbo mode” opens the taps and turns up the fans to help maintain higher speeds.

Users can shift between operating modes on demand with a simple keyboard shortcut. ROG Armoury Crate software also includes Scenario Profiles that can be configured to automatically switch modes and adjust other system settings based on the active application, so the right mode is always activated for the right moment.

Ensuring every keystroke counts

The Strix G’s keyboard has a familiar desktop-style layout. Dedicated hotkeys provide convenient access to volume controls and microphone mute, while strategic spacing between the function keys makes common shortcuts faster to find. Highlighted WASD keys identify crucial controls, offset directional keys speed up navigation, and the extended space bar is easier to hit with thumb presses. The 17.3″ versions have a dedicated number pad to the right of the keyboard, while the 15.6″ models integrate one into the touchpad that lights up when Num Lock is tapped.

ROG Overstroke technology raises each key’s actuation point to halfway through its travel, which means presses register a little faster than on common keyboards that only trigger when they’re depressed three quarters of the way down. N-key rollover ensures simultaneous presses register accurately, and the keys are built to withstand over 20 million presses, so even regular gamers can count on the keyboard’s durability over time.

While the overall design provides a subtle style that doesn’t look out of place at work or school, the Strix G can still light up when needed. Aura Sync RGB lighting is available across up to four distinct zones in the keyboard, and it can be coordinated to match the optional light bar beneath the chassis as well as compatible peripherals for a consistent look across any gaming setup.

Powerful connectivity paired with a variety of I/O ports

Reliable connectivity is a must when on the go. Losing a connection in the middle of an important match or when there’s urgent work to deliver can mean the difference between winning and losing, or pass and fail. The Strix G uses ROG RangeBoost multi-antenna Wi-Fi to ensure connections remain strong; it evaluates the signal strength of four internal antennas and selects the best ones to use depending on the surrounding environment. This smart antenna switching can extend wireless range by up to 30% to keep users online longer. When not on the move, users can switch from the Intel® 802.11ac (2×2) Gigabit Wi-Fi to wired Gigabit Ethernet with lower latency for serious multiplayer gaming and other activities that are sensitive to network performance.

If hard-wired in at home, the ROG Strix provides the option to connect an external monitor. Gaming on a bigger screen is easy via the HDMI 2.0b output, which is good for resolutions up to 4K UHD at 60Hz. Models with GeForce RTX GPUs also offer DisplayPort over USB Type-C, including support for external monitors that vary their refresh rate to make gameplay smoother and more immersive.

There are three USB Type-A ports for connecting preferred peripherals like a gaming mouse, gamepad, and external storage. The audio combo jack and surround sound virtualization adds positional cues to give provide an edge when gaming.

In addition, the Strix G’s dual speakers pump out plenty of volume. Smart Amp tech monitors and adjusts audio output in real time to ensure the speakers stay within their thermal and excursion limits. This cuts down on distortion at higher volume and improves dynamic range and bass response.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

The ASUS ROG Strix G will be available starting in Q2. Pricing and configurations will be announced at launch. For more detailed information contact your local ROG representative.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Showcases Latest Strix Laptops

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 24, 2019 by itnerd

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) introduced its latest lineup of Strix gaming laptops at RE:DEFINE 2019. The all new ROG Strix SCAR III and Hero III models are designed to deliver the speed, precision, and responsiveness required for high-level play. Users can catch every nuance of battle with the smooth, crystal clear graphics that pros demand on ultrafast displays up to 240Hz.

The high refresh rate and quick response time take full advantage of the triple-digit frame rates pushed out by powerful NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX™ GPUs. Equipped with the latest 9th Generation Intel® Core™ processors and a comprehensive Intelligent Cooling system that tweaks settings for the current scenario, these machines power through graphically-intensive games and anything else that comes their way.

Dual personas driven by innovation

The distinctive Strix SCAR III and Hero III personas are each available in 15-inch (G531) and 17-inch (G731) sizes to suit the gamer’s preference. They combine a sturdy, portable chassis with an upgraded aluminum lid. The FPS-inspired SCAR III wears a Gunmetal Grey finish with subtle carbon-weave styling on the inner deck, while its futuristic Hero III counterpart is finished in midnight black with a stealthy cyber-text pattern on the interior.

Both styles are based on the same forward-thinking design inspired by a collaboration between ROG and the BMW Designworks Group to imagine the future of gaming laptops. The sculpted surfaces echo a key element of the Face Off concept that resulted from the collaboration, with raised ridges that artfully accent the ventilated 3D Flow Zone at the back. The asymmetrical cut below the display also borrows a design cue explored during brainstorming workshops for the final concept.

Evoking a deeper physical connection with the machine was another key theme of the BMW Designworks Group collaboration. Strix SCAR III and Hero III channel this idea with the new ROG Keystone, which docks neatly with the chassis and offers a more personalized link to your laptop. These NFC-enabled devices act like physical keys: docking one can transform system lighting and other settings based on Armoury Crate profiles, and grant access to a secret Shadow Drive that hides and encrypts important files. In addition to offering new capabilities today, Keystones lay the groundwork for additional functionality in the future.

Game-changing graphics

Delivering the frame rates needed for the fast pace of high-level esports is a serious business. With NVIDIA GPUs up to the GeForce RTX™ 2070, Strix SCAR III and Hero III have the firepower for all the favourite titles. With ROG Boost, the GPU outperforms slower GeForce RTX™ 2070 configurations by clocking up to 1540MHz at 115W, offering incredibly smooth gameplay for action-packed encounters.

High frame rates need a display that can deliver them. ROG works closely with professional esports teams and top tournaments that require a refresh rate of 240Hz, which is four times the speed of conventional screens. Displays this fast have traditionally been limited to high-end desktop monitors, but Strix SCAR III and Hero IIII can be configured with a 15.6-inch display that makes 240Hz gaming portable. The timely availability of this ultrafast option further cements ROG’s leadership at the forefront of gaming laptop displays.

Strix SCAR III and Hero III are also available with a 144Hz refresh-rate display, or with a more expansive 17.3-inch display that enhances visual immersion. All displays have 3ms grey-to-grey response times to provide the crisp, clear visuals needed to track targets in the heat of battle. They’re also framed by ultraslim bezels that offer a more seamless view of the screen and enable a more compact body that fits into any bag.

Power through anything

Games are just the beginning with up to the latest Intel Core i9-9880H CPU. This processor pushes frequencies as high as 4.1GHz with a single core, and its eight-core design can execute up to 16 parallel threads to power through demanding workloads like video editing and 3D rendering.

Heavy multitasking is fast and efficient, especially with up to 32GB of DDR4-2666 memory. Gamers can play, chat, and stream simultaneously, while content creators can run all the apps they need for maximum productivity. They can also get the best of both worlds for speed and capacity with a mix of superfast SSD and spacious SSHD storage. The M.2 NVMe SSD significantly speeds up load times and transfer speeds for the most critical programs and files.

Visible cooling

A comprehensive Intelligent Cooling system sustains the potent performance of Strix SCAR III and Hero III by melding the right mix of hardware for the chips and chassis, along with software that adapts to the current scenario.

The striking structural design is not just a treat for the eye; it’s designed to carve out multiple cooling advantages. Scissor-door hinges are shifted forward, opening up additional room for the 3D Flow Zone at the back. Inside, dual 12V n-Blade fans deliver maximum cooling. Made from a special liquid-crystal polymer, their blades are 33% thinner than conventional designs yet still strong enough to hold up at high RPMs.

Cooling and performance requirements vary based on the usage scenario, so there are multiple modes tuned for different needs. Silent mode minimizes acoustics for less demanding everyday tasks like web surfing and video streaming. Balanced mode is ideal for gaming, with the power to deliver high frame rates without stressing the fans. Turbo reaches even higher performance, offering maximum speed for more intense projects and tasks.

Gain an illuminated edge

Aura Sync accents add RGB shine to the distinctive structural design. A new wraparound light bar glows under the front and side edges of the chassis, extending illumination into the environment and complementing the backlit ROG logo on the lid. Plenty of USB ports provide connectivity for a collection of compatible Aura Sync devices that let gamers match RGB colours and effects across a mouse, headset, and other peripherals to make the gaming environment feel like home.

The lighting on the keyboard offers per-key control that can be used to highlight critical bindings and shortcuts for your favourite games and frequent workflows. Versions of Strix SCAR III and Hero III are also available with four-zone keyboard lighting that uses transparent caps on the WASD keys to provide a quick visual guide to standard in-game movement controls.

 The right connections for maximum versatility

Whether expanding a home battlestation at home or taking games on the road, Strix SCAR III and Hero III have connectivity covered. Maintaining a stable Wi-Fi connection stable enough for on-the-go gaming can be tricky, but RangeBoost eliminates makes it easy by using a smart, quad-antenna system that regularly evaluates the environment and chooses the right pair of antennas to maximize signal strength for the surroundings.

Multitasking can be made more efficient with multiple monitors. The USB Type-C™ (USB-C™) port has DisplayPort technology that supports a second external desktop monitor. To enjoy media and games at higher resolution, gamers can connect a 4K UHD monitor or big-screen TV via HDMI.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR III and Hero III will be available in Q2 2019. Please check with your local ROG representative for details on pricing and configurations.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces ROG Mothership

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 24, 2019 by itnerd

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) has announced the availability of ROG Mothership (GZ700), a new desktop replacement laptop that redefines the form factor for portable gaming machines.

Instead of sitting flat like a normal laptop, ROG Mothership has an upright chassis that draws more air into its advanced cooling system. Its keyboard detaches and folds to fit different scenarios, giving gamers the freedom to find the perfect position, and the innovative design leaves enough room to put all the speakers right below the screen.

The exquisitely machined aluminum chassis contains an ultrafast and ultra-detailed NVIDIA® G-SYNC® display powered by the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs, and also houses an eight-core Intel® Core i9 processor coated with liquid metal thermal compound. Better cooling enables the CPU and GPU to be pushed beyond stock speeds and still sustain exceptional performance with demanding workloads. The factory‑overclocked core is complemented by an insanely fast RAID 0 disk array with three NVMe SSDs, plus next-gen networking that enables greater than gigabit speeds for both wired and wireless connections.

A radical concept made real, ROG Mothership caters to connoisseurs who appreciate the engineering and craftsmanship that goes into premium PC hardware. This groundbreaking desktop replacement redefines what’s possible for portable gaming machines that take hardcore horsepower to go.

 Revolutionary design

ROG Mothership introduces a detachable keyboard with a folding design that dramatically reduces the system’s overall footprint. This grants the flexibility to not only position the keyboard to suit the user’s stance, but also replace it entirely without wasting desk space. Separating the keyboard and display makes it easier to situate the screen in multi-monitor arrays or on a shelf to achieve the optimal height for comfortable extended use.

When the bottom edge of the chassis touches a surface, a stepless kickstand pops out automatically to allow one-handed deployment. The hinge offers a range of angles for different setups, from standing straight and leaning back.

The unique design is so much better at cooling that the final thickness of the ROG Mothership chassis was reduced to only 29.9 mm — over 10 mm thinner than the first prototype.

The motherboard is meticulously shaped and painstakingly populated to make the most of the limited space on the circuit boards and maximize open space for the cooling, battery, and speakers. There are even cutouts to make room for the mechanism behind the kickstand hinge.

The main body pieces are machined from solid slabs of aluminum using a precise CNC milling process that ensures a perfect fit. The process steps through 114 individual tooling stages and takes nearly 20 hours to carve every little detail. Most of the keyboard housing is machined aluminum as well, wrapping ROG Mothership in a protective metal jacket that’s strong enough to survive everyday knocks and bumps. Each piece is brushed and anodized for a flawless finish that’s guaranteed to turn heads.

 Advanced cooling

Compared to a typical laptop, the standing design lowers CPU and GPU temperatures by 14°C and 10°C, respectively. Outlets flanking the top corners blow warm exhaust away from the user, while putting the components behind the screen keeps the keyboard cool even after hours of continuous gaming. A special shield prevents heat from the CPU and GPU from affecting the display.

Thermal Grizzly liquid metal is used to coat the CPU instead of standard thermal paste to reduce CPU temperatures by up to 13°C. The block that sits on the CPU also has a special internal fence that prevents liquid medal from leaking out over time.

A network of eight heat pipes linked to the CPU, GPU, graphics memory, and voltage-regulator module (VRM) transfer thermal energy to the heatsinks at the edges. They stretch across four heatsinks lined with 375 ultrathin copper fins. The fins are just 0.1 mm thin, allowing for more to be packed into each heatsink without impeding airflow. They combine for a surface area of nearly 200,000 mm2.

The standing orientation lifts the air intakes off the table, exposing them to less dust, and particles that do enter the cooling system are drawn into anti-dust tunnels that shoot them out of the chassis.

Fan speeds are governed by expertly tuned system profiles that can be adjusted via keyboard shortcuts. Turbo mode uses the highest frequencies and fan speeds to reach maximum performance, while Balanced mode optimizes performance and cooling to drop noise levels for gaming. Silent mode goes even further to reduce acoustics for lighter workloads and less demanding games. It’s also possible to create a custom profile with chosen fan speeds and frequencies.

ROG Armoury Crate software can also take charge of cooling duties. The system utility includes new Scenario Profiles that allows the association of applications with specific operating modes and other system settings, like lighting effects. Once configured, Scenario Profiles seamlessly switch between modes based on the task at hand. They’re the product of a larger Intelligent Cooling philosophy that uses tailored hardware and smart software to improve performance and optimize acoustics.

 Factory overclocked, with RAID

ROG Mothership pushes its CPU and GPU into overclocked territory right out of the box. The Intel Core i9-9980HK CPU usually runs at up to 4.2GHz with all eight cores and 16 threads engaged, but is boosted to 4.7GHz in Turbo mode. Having fast clocks and 33% more cores than the previous generation prepares the system for a wide range of heavy workloads, from rendering complex 3D scenes and effects-laden videos to pairing hardcore gaming with simultaneous streaming, recording, and voice chat.

The CPU features up to 64GB of power-efficient DDR4 memory for content creators working on big projects and power users with compulsive multitasking tendencies. It’s also linked directly to an industry-leading NVMe RAID 0 array. SSDs normally connect to the chipset, which is constrained by a DMI link to the CPU with only four lanes of PCI Express 3.0 bandwidth — the same as a single high-end M.2 drive. The three-drive HyperDrive Extreme array in ROG Mothership connects two SSDs directly to the CPU, bypassing the DMI bottleneck and enabling peak throughput up to a staggering 8700MB/s. All three drives are covered by a heat spreader that improves cooling for sustained storage loads.

 The next visual frontier

Graphics duties are handled by a GeForce RTX 2080 GPU that’s factory overclocked to 1880MHz at 200W. The GPU cooperates closely with the G-SYNC display, which matches its refresh rate with the frame rate in real time. And when the user’s not gaming, they can take advantage of the proprietary ASUS GPU switch technology to extend battery life. With a few clicks and a reboot, it’s possible to switch between the RTX 2080 driving the display for a better gaming experience and NVIDIA Optimus® technology for longer battery life.

ROG Mothership is available with a choice of two 17.3-inch displays. One focuses on speed by scaling up to 144Hz with a 3ms response time. The high refresh rate enables impeccably smooth gaming visuals in FHD. The picture looks incredibly crisp thanks to the quick pixel response, which helps to focus on fast-moving targets.

The other display option uses a 4K UHD panel that runs at up to 60Hz. It produces incredibly detailed images and lets video editors view full-size 4K UHD footage at native resolution. This display also draws from a larger palette thanks to full coverage of the Adobe RGB colour gamut.

Both panels are based on IPS-level AHVA technology with wide viewing angles that take full advantage of the detachable design, whether it’s to glance at a chat to the side while playing on an external monitor, or to prop up the system on a shelf to binge-watch with a bunch of friends.

 Soak in the soundscape

The standing form factor gives ROG Mothership impressive sound from four front-facing speakers directed right at the user. The speakers are powered by smart-amplifier technology that boosts the total output to an effective 16W while also monitoring temperatures and excursion to prevent distortion and damage to the cones. The speakers provide louder output, more bass, and greater dynamic range.

The audio is further enhanced by a premium ESS SABRE DAC and headphone amp with Hi-Res Audio certification up to 24 bits and 192kHz. The output has greater range, less distortion, and a more accurate frequency response than conventional alternatives. Sonic Studio III software adds surround sound virtualization for headphones and other devices like VR headsets and even external USB DACs.

Recording is handled through a microphone input or by the array mic that sits next to the webcam. The built-in solution filters out background noise like typing and game audio to capture voice more clearly, while the webcam captures 1080p / 30 fps footage fit for streaming and Windows Hello facial recognition.

Have the keyboard your way

The detachable keyboard flips down to sit at a comfortable angle for typing. In seconds, it pulls away from magnetic anchors and folds to reduce the footprint by half. Hiding the hinge inside the machined aluminum keyboard frame was one of the most difficult aspects of the project. When separated, the keyboard connects over low-latency 2.4 GHz wireless for maximum flexibility or via the included USB Type-C (USB-C) cable.

Each key has 2.5 mm of travel enhanced by fast-firing Overstroke technology. The underlying switches are built to last and rated to survive 20 million presses. Curved caps keep fingers centered, while a wider space bar provides a larger target for thumbs. The function keys are separated for easier recognition, and the touchpad on the right transforms into a backlit numeric keypad at the touch of a button.

Per‑key backlighting opens up a world of options for customizing colours and effects for different games and applications. A few clicks in the Armoury Crate software are all that’s required to highlight important keys and clusters. The same software controls the RGB lighting embedded below the display and behind the kickstand, and it can synchronize with compatible peripherals via Aura Sync.

 Connect to the next generation

ROG Mothership features a 2.5G Ethernet controller that more than doubles the speed of typical wired ports. It’s paired with a next-generation Intel Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) module that pushes peak throughput up to 2.4 Gbps under ideal conditions.  In addition to boosting flat-out speed, it borrows techniques from the cellular industry to improve traffic management and overall efficiency for busy networks.

Patented ROG RangeBoost tech augments the Wi-Fi by constantly scanning surroundings and shifting between two pairs of antennas to maximize signal strength. The antennas are arranged to cover each other’s dead spots to improve reception and extend range.

Users can connect up to three displays via HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, and USB‑C. The latter comes directly from the GPU. With three USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports and one Gen 1, there’s enough connectivity to power a complete desktop experience.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

ROG Mothership GX700GX will be available starting in Q2. Check with your local ROG representative for details about availability, configurations, and pricing in your region.