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ASUS Unveils New Laptop Lineup with 11th Generation Intel Core Processors and Premiers First Laptop Verified as an Intel Evo Platform Design

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 2, 2020 by itnerd

ASUS today announced a full lineup of new and upgraded PCs at the Built for Brilliance virtual launch event, including laptops featuring the power of 11th Generation Intel® Core™ processors and the debut laptop verified as an Intel® Evo™ platform laptop design. Groundbreaking laptops in the lineup include ZenBook Flip S (UX371), the world’s thinnest OLED convertible laptop and the first ASUS laptop to be verified on the Intel Evo platform; ZenBook S (UX393), world’s thinnest and lightest 3:2 3.3K laptop; ZenBook 14 (UX435), the world’s smallest 14-inch laptop with ScreenPad; ZenBook Pro 15 (UX535), the world’s smallest 15-inch 4K OLED laptop; and ExpertBook B9 (B9450CEA), one of the world’s lightest 14-inch business laptops. The 2020 PC lineup incorporates ASUS and industry leading-edge solutions to provide ultimate productivity and user experience. 

Equipped with 11th Generation Intel Core processors and new Intel® Iris® Xe graphics, the latest ASUS laptops break the boundaries of performance for thin and light laptops and empower users with ultimate experiences in productivity, creativity, gaming, entertainment, and collaboration. The 11th Generation Intel Core processors harness the power of AI technology to enable unparalleled speed and intelligent performance for everyday PC users, and integrated Intel® Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt™ 4 provide fast, reliable connectivity. New Intel Iris Xe graphics deliver discrete-level graphics performance for next-generation media experiences. 

ASUS is dedicated to delivering incredible laptop experiences for users. During the launch event, ASUS debuted ZenBook Flip S (UX371, FHD LED-backlit 1W panel version), which is verified as an Intel Evo platform laptop design, ensuring it meets the second edition specification and Key Experience Indicators of Intel’s Project Athena innovation program. Other laptops in the 2020 lineup are targeted for verification based on these standards, pending further tuning and testing. Laptops with Intel Evo verification bring together the perfect combination of premium performance and responsiveness, efficient battery usage, and stunning visuals to create a new class of laptops that provide an exceptional experience, anywhere. In addition to 11th Generation Intel Core processors, Intel Evo platform-based laptops feature Intel Iris Xe graphics, support for Intel Wi-fi 6, and Thunderbolt 4. 

ASUS combines the performance of the latest Intel processors, exceptional user experiences based on the Intel Evo platform, and pioneering technology to deliver unstoppable laptops that empower users in an ever-evolving world.

ASUS and industry leading-edge technology in new PCs

In addition to premiering a laptop verified on the Intel Evo platform and providing laptops with 11th Generation Intel Core processors, this year’s lineup of laptops empowers users with cutting-edge solutions from ASUS, including several that accommodate the rise of remote work. 

ASUS laptops with OLED displays provide exceptionally detailed and realistic visuals with eye-friendly panel lighting. Each display offers ultra-vivid colors and blur-free motion with 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and 0.2 ms response time, deep blacks that are certified as VESA DisplayHDR™ 500 True Black, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and PANTONE® Validated certification for true-to-life color accuracy. They are also certified by TÜV Rheinland as having reduced blue light and being flicker-free for enhanced eye care. 

The ASUS ScreenXpert 2.0 user interface on ASUS ScreenPad provides enhanced productivity and capabilities with an intuitive interface design, smoother processing between screens, personalized multitasking workflows, and compatibility with multiple ASUS utility apps. MyASUS is a one-stop software portal that provides easy access to ASUS apps and software designed to help users maintain their system, optimize PC performance, and contact ASUS for after-sales service and support. A wide range of system controls can be personalized in MyASUS, including the new and enhanced Fan Profile, which is a fan control setting that optimizes fan speeds based on usage scenarios. Fan Profile allows users to set to Whisper Mode for a quieter working space, Performance Mode for significantly improved power and heat dissipation, or Standard Mode for everyday tasks. 

For enhancing user experiences when working from home or remotely, ASUS also provides ASUS Wi-Fi Master technology and AI noise-canceling audio. ASUS Wi-Fi Master technology, which includes Wi-Fi SmartConnect, Wi-Fi Stabilizer, and Wi-Fi RangeBoost, ensures that users enjoy stable connections, filters out wireless interference for fast connection speeds, automatically selects the best Wi-Fi signal, and uses multiple antennas to enhance signal throughput. AI noise-canceling audio employs next-level machine learning in order to remove unwanted noise from human speech during conference calls. Available via MyASUS, the ClearVoice Mic and Speaker feature filters out ambient noise, isolates and focuses on each individual voice received by the mic, and filters out ambient noise from the speaker—providing users with incredibly clear audio.

Introducing ASUS laptops with 11th Generation Intel Core processors 

ASUS ZenBook Flip S (UX371)

The ultracompact ZenBook Flip S is the first ASUS laptop to be verified as an Intel Evo platform laptop design. It is effortlessly portable, measuring just 13.9 mm thin and weighing a mere 1.2 kg. The superb ultra-vivid 4K UHD OLED NanoEdge PANTONE® Validated color-accurate touchscreen has a wide 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, and is VESA DisplayHDR 500 True Black-certified for deep blacks and exceptional contrast. It is also TÜV Rheinland-certified for eye care, and for intuitive input it supports the new ASUS Pen active stylus with 4096 pressure levels.

ZenBook Flip S has a luxurious premium design, featuring a Jade Black finish with contrasting Red Copper diamond-cut highlights and a brushed-aluminum deco bar. The durable precision-engineered 360° ErgoLift hinge allows the laptop to be used in laptop, tablet, stand and tent modes — or anything in between. The ASUS NumberPad 2.0 enables fast data entry, and the new edge-to-edge keyboard design provides space for convenient extra function keys.

Incredible on-the-go performance is provided by up to an 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics, combined with up to 16 GB RAM and up to a 1 TB PCIe® 3.0 x4 SSD. For ultimate connectivity, ZenBook Flip S offers two Thunderbolt™ 4 USB-C® ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, and an HDMI port. The high-capacity battery in ZenBook Flip S lasts for up to an amazing 15 hours, enough for even the longest working day.

ASUS ZenBook Flip 13 (UX363)

Measuring just 13.9 mm thin and weighing only 1.3 kg, the compact ZenBook Flip 13 has a precision-engineered 360° ErgoLift hinge that allows versatile usage modes: laptop, tablet, tent, stand, or anything in between. It also automatically lifts and tilts the new edge-to-edge keyboard for comfortable typing and improved system cooling.

With a high-capacity 67 Wh battery that can deliver up to 14 hours of operation on a single charge, ZenBook Flip 13 is perfect for today’s work-anywhere lifestyles. ZenBook Flip 13 supports fast charging with the supplied 65-watt charger, and ASUS USB-C®Easy Charge allows users to take advantage of a wide range of standard USB-C or USB-C Power Delivery (PD) chargers. 

ZenBook Flip 13 features up to a sleek NanoEdge FHD OLED touchscreen that is fully compatible with the newly designed ASUS Pen. The display supports 4096 pressure levels, ensuring enhanced precision and sensitivity for more natural-feeling stylus input. 

For silky-smooth performance, ZenBook Flip 13 is powered by up to an 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor with Intel Iris Xegraphics and 16GB of RAM. For storage, it supports up to a 1 TB PCIe 3.0 SSD.

ASUS ZenBook S (UX393)

The ZenBook S is a premium ultraportable 13.9-inch laptop with a brand-new 3:2 aspect-ratio form factor. It is 15.7 mm thin, 1.35 kg light, and exquisitely constructed, with a compact, tough all-metal unibody that premieres an exciting new productivity-enhancing shape. It is built around an amazing 3.3K (3300 x 2200) NanoEdge PANTONE® Validated touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio that fits more on the screen, providing a larger visual workspace and reducing the need for scrolling. A high-capacity 67 Wh battery with fast-charge support gives ZenBook S up to 12 hours of autonomy.

The elegant new Jade Black livery features contrasting Red Copper diamond-cut highlights, and a special off-center ASUS logo on the lid adds to the visual appeal of the design. A precision-engineered ErgoLift hinge ensures a comfortable typing position on the spacious edge-to-edge keyboard, along with improved cooling airflow.

For outstanding on-the-go performance, ZenBook S is powered by up to an 11th Generation Intel Core™ i7 processor, with up to 16 GB RAM and up to a 1 TB PCIe 3.0 x4 M.4 SSD. It features full-size HDMI and USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, along with two ultrafast and versatile Thunderbolt™ 4 USB-C® ports and a MicroSD card reader. 

The latest version of the MyASUS software portal allows users to get the most out of their laptop and smartphone, and the ASUS NumberPad 2.0 provides easy numeric data entry. An infrared (IR) camera allows convenient face login with Windows Hello.

ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450CEA)

The ExpertBook B9 (B9450CEA) features a sleek precision-crafted minimalist chassis that is 1005g light for premium portability. It is built for travel with all-day battery life, and the dual-storage design, a full set of I/O ports, innovative ASUS NumberPa8, and proximity sensor improve on-the-go work efficiency. Constructed solidly with magnesium-lithium alloy and extra structural rigidity, it meets ultra-demanding US MIL-STD 810H US military standards, and enterprise-grade security ensures that confidential data is kept safe.

The ExpertBook B9 is powered by up to an 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics and superfast Intel® Wi-Fi 6, providing quick and responsive computing, network, and graphical performance. Dual SSDs support RAID 0 and RAID 1 technology (on select models), providing options for faster data transfer or secure data backup. Advanced video conferencing solutions include AI noise-canceling audio for crystal-clear sound and ASUS Wi-Fi Master technology for stable network connections. The ExpertBook B9 includes a user-friendly accessory box that can also be used as a laptop stand. Highly portable, powerful, and tough, the ExpertBook B9 is the ideal partner for the corporate world.

ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX435)

ZenBook 14 is an all-new ultraportable laptop that combines superb performance and effortless portability with timeless good looks. Weighing as little as 1.19 kg, ZenBook 14 includes the revolutionary ASUS ScreenPad for enhanced productivity, and is powered by up to 11th Generation Intel® Core™ processors with NVIDIA® GeForce® MX450 discrete graphics (UX435EG). 

This latest addition to the ZenBook Classic series also boasts a full array of I/O ports: two Thunderbolt™ 4 USB-C®, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, standard HDMI 2.0, microSD card reader, and an audio jack. ZenBook 14 provides a four-sided frameless NanoEdge display with a remarkable 92% screen-to-body ratio, and is available in two distinctive new shades – Pine Grey and Lilac Mist.

ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (TP470)

VivoBook Flip 14 is a boldly styled convertible touchscreen laptop with a 360° hinge that allows it to be used in laptop, stand, tent and tablet modes — or anything in between. It also supports the ASUS Pen active stylus for accurate input and writing with a natural, responsive feel.

Everything is a breeze with VivoBook Flip 14, thanks to the power of up to an 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics, up to 16 GB of memory, up to a 1 TB PCIe® SSD, and comprehensive I/O connectivity—including Thunderbolt™ 4 USB-C®. It is also full of personality, sporting a sleek Indie Black and Transparent Silver finish and a color-blocked Enter key with yellow edges and text. The compact VivoBook Flip 14 is the perfect on-the-go laptop for productivity or entertainment, anywhere.

ASUS ZenBook 13/14 (UX325EA/UX425EA)

ZenBook 13 (UX325EA) and ZenBook 14 (UX425EA) are two new-generation 13.3-inch and 14-inch ultraportable laptops in the ZenBook Classic series. ZenBook 13 and ZenBook 14 are even thinner and lighter than the previous generation. ZenBook 13 weighs just 1.07 kg and both models are a mere 13.9 mm thin, but uniquely for such an ultrathin design they offer comprehensive I/O capabilities, including full-size HDMI and USB Type-A ports in addition to Thunderbolt 4 USB-C® and a microSD card reader. They are the world’s thinnest 13.3-inch and 14-inch laptops to offer such comprehensive and versatile connectivity[xiii]

Compact four-sided NanoEdge displays offer up to a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio for immersive visuals, with the option of an ultra-low power 1-watt display that maximizes battery life. The user experience is also fully updated, featuring ASUS NumberPad 2.0, up to 21 hours of battery life, a new edge-to-edge keyboard design, ErgoLift hinge mechanisms, and IR cameras for fast face-recognition. ZenBook 13 and 14 are available in two sophisticated new colors, Pine Grey and Lilac Mist.

Powered by 11th Generation Intel® Core processors with up to 32 GB RAM, ZenBook 13 and ZenBook 14 make light work of multitasking, productivity, and entertainment. Up to 1TB PCIe® 3.0 x2 SSDs and the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) round off the specifications for superb all-round performance.

ASUS VivoBook S13/S14/S15 (S333EA/S433EA/S533EA)

VivoBook S13 (S333EA), S14 (S433EA), and S15 (S533EA), are a series of ultraportable 13-inch, 14-inch, and 15-inch laptops that strike the perfect balance between personality and performance, and feature a new and bolder look. VivoBook S laptops are distinctively styled with diamond-cut edges and metallic textured finishes, and are available in multiple colors that have been chosen to reflect the user’s personality. They also provide style on the inside with an Enter key with color-blocked edges. In addition to a unique design and sleek looks, the new VivoBooks are powered by up to 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16 GB RAM, and a large-capacity PCIe® SSD with Intel® Optane™ Memory H10 that provides superfast storage. It also offers comprehensive I/O connectivity, including Thunderbolt™ 4 USB-C®.

ASUS VivoBook 14/15 (K413EQ/K513EQ/F513EA)

The VivoBook 14/15 series features vivid, colorful laptops built for productivity and entertainment. VivoBook F513EA models offer an all-plastic chassis in Dreamy White, Cobalt Blue, or Bespoke Black, while K413EQ and K513EQ models have a metal lid design and come in Hearty Gold, Indie Black, or Transparent Silver. Powered by up to 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16 GB RAM, Wi-Fi 6, and a large-capacity PCIe® SSD, VivoBook 14 and 15 laptops empower users with supreme productivity. The unique ASUS NumberPad 2.0 on the VivoBook 14 makes number-crunching tasks easy and efficient, a color-blocked Enter key adds a touch of style, and the dual-storage design of VivoBook 15 delivers the superfast data-access speeds of an SSD combined with the large capacity of an HDD.

ASUS laptops with 10th Generation Intel® Core™ processors

ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 (UX535)

The ZenBook Pro 15 is the latest model in the ZenBook Pro series of ultraportable creative laptops, and is also the world’s smallest 15.6-inch laptop to feature a 4K UHD OLED touchscreen.

The elegant ZenBook Pro 15 allows casual creators to work on their projects anywhere, thanks to a compact design that is enabled by the slim bezels on the bright and clear NanoEdge 4K UHD OLED touchscreen. A wide 100% DCI-P3 color gamut ensures vivid hues, and the 88% screen-to-body ratio delivers expansive visuals.

ZenBook Pro 15 is powered by 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 and i5 H-series processors, 16 GB of RAM, and up to an NVIDIA®GeForce® GTX 1650 Ti discrete graphics for powerful on-the-go creative performance, as well as up to a 1 TB PCIe® 3.0 x4 SDD for ultrafast storage.

For enhanced productivity, ZenBook Pro 15 includes the latest ASUS ScreenPad™, a 5.65-inch secondary color touchscreen built into the glass-covered touchpad that allows easy interaction via the new and intuitive smartphone-like ScreenXpert 2.0 interface. 

Designed for on-the-go convenience, ZenBook Pro 15 features a high-capacity 96 Wh battery and comprehensive set of I/O ports, including Thunderbolt™ 3 USB-C®, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, standard HDMI 2.0, an audio jack, and a SD card reader. The precision-engineered ErgoLift hinge creates a comfortable typing position, and there is an IR camera for hands-free face login with Windows Hello. Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) offers ultrafast wireless connectivity, enhanced by ASUS Wi-Fi Master Premium technology for rock-solid connection stability.

AVAILABILITY 

  • ASUS ZenBook Flip S (UX371) will be available starting from October 2020 in North America. 
  • ASUS ZenBook Flip 13 (UX363EA) will be available starting from October 2020 in North America. 
  • ASUS ZenBook S (UX393) will be available starting from October 2020 in North America. 
  • ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450CEA) will be available starting from late Q4 2020 in North America.
  • ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX435) will be available starting from November 2020 North America. 
  • ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (TP470) will be available starting from October 2020 in North America. 
  • ASUS ZenBook 13/14 (UX325EA/UX425EA) will be available starting from October 2020 in North America. 
  • ASUS VivoBook S13/S14/S15 (S333EA/S433EA/S533EA) will be available starting from October 2020 in North America. 
  • ASUS VivoBook 14/15 (K413EQ/K513EQ/F513EA) will be available starting from October 2020 in North America. 
  • ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 (UX535) will be available starting from late October 2020 in North America. 

ASUS Republic Of Gamers Announces Meta Buffs Product Lineup

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 1, 2020 by itnerd

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced an all-new lineup of gaming gear at the Meta Buffs online launch event. Aligning with the event theme, the new products are all meta buffs: status enhancements that are lighter, faster and more powerful for taking gaming experiences to a new level. 

The lineup features the new ROG Strix GeForce RTX™ 30 Series graphics cards, which unleash an amped-up thermal design and chart-topping performance with the NVIDIA® Ampere architecture. The new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs, the 2nd generation of RTX, feature new RT Cores, Tensor Cores and streaming multiprocessors, bringing stunning visuals, amazingly fast frame rates and AI acceleration to games and creative applications. Powered by the NVIDIA Ampere architecture, which delivers increases of up to 1.9 times performance-per-watt over the previous generation, the RTX 30 Series effortlessly powers graphics experiences at all resolutions, even up to 8K at the top end. The GeForce RTX 3090, 3080 and 3070 represent the greatest GPU generational leap in the history of NVIDIA.

ROG also introduced the ROG Swift PG329Q, ROG Swift 360 Hz PG259QN and ROG Swift 360 Hz PG259QNR gaming monitors for ultrafast and ultrasmooth visuals; the ROG Strix XF 120 fan for low-noise cooling performance and versatility; ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000, the world’s first Wi-Fi 6E router; the ROG Strix Scope RX gaming keyboard, which debuts the responsive, reliable and durable ROG RX Red Optical Mechanical Switches; the ROG Keris Wireless mouse for compact and nimble control; the ROG Delta S headset for crystal-clear audio; and ROG Scabbard II, an extended gaming mouse pad with a protective nano-coating that repels water, oil and dust. 

By providing gamers with this lineup of meta buffs for optimal gameplay and potent status enhancements, ROG is delivering ultimate gaming experiences and the power to conquer the competition.

ROG Strix GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards

From top to bottom, ROG Strix GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards deliver the next wave of innovations in thermal design and accommodate the dynamic NVIDIA Ampere architecture. A new shroud with metal accents encompasses a trio of Axial-tech fans that have been tuned to fulfill specialized purposes. The center fan leverages a full-height barrier ring and 13 fan blades to provide boosted static pressure that drives air through the heatsink fins and onto the GPU heat spreader. The two outer fans feature 11 blades each and half-height barrier rings to allow for more lateral dispersion and to provide better airflow through the cooling array. Turbulence between fans is reduced due to a reversal of the center fan’s rotational direction. 

A larger heatsink that fills most of the card’s 2.9-slot footprint was designed to leverage the increased airflow. To get heat up off the die and into the heatsink array, MaxContact technology has been utilized to polish the surface of the heat spreader and improve smoothness at the microscopic level. The extra flatness allows for better contact with the die for enhanced thermal transfer. Not only has the cooling array been enhanced, but top-shelf capacitors, chokes and power stages effortlessly deliver hundreds of watts at a millisecond’s notice. ROG Strix GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards feature Super Alloy Power II components that have been soldered to the PCB using Auto-Extreme technology — an industry-exclusive automated manufacturing process — to ensure each card meets rigorous ROG specifications for quality and reliability.

Also included are FanConnect II headers that allow PWM fans to be tuned based on CPU and GPU temperatures, providing extra intake or exhaust for demanding 3D tasks and compute workloads. Builders looking for a quick and simple way to adjust the card’s default behavior can flick an onboard Dual BIOS switch to choose between “performance” and “quiet” profiles without software. Another ease-of-use feature is an onboard voltage sensing circuit that monitors PSU rail voltage. The circuit is fast enough to catch any transients that result in the rail voltage dropping too low. If that happens, a red LED will light up to indicate a power supply issue, making it easier to debug the source of crashes during gameplay. 

The front side of the GPU has also been buffed up. An addressable RGB element can be customized with the Armoury Crate software utility and the graphics card’s reinforced metal frame adds a literal layer of durability. Flipping the card around reveals a metal backplate with a wide vent. The vent allows hot air to escape towards chassis exhaust fans instead of being recycled back into the GPU cooler. Beneath the GPU, a bracket provides consistent mounting pressure between die and heat spreader. Stainless steel is used for the I/O bracket to protect ports and provide a more secure mount. 

The sum of all the design enhancements found on ROG Strix GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards results in a massive leap forward in thermal design. Paired with the outstanding performance of NVIDIA Ampere architecture, gamers now have access to fresh experiences ranging from insane frame rates in competitive titles to smooth high-resolution gameplay in immersive AAA games.

ROG Swift 360 Hz PG259QN and PG259QNR gaming monitors

ROG Swift 360 Hz PG259QN and PG259QNR are the world’s fastest esports gaming monitors with refresh rates of up to 360 Hz. The astounding 360 Hz refresh rate offered by ROG Swift 360 Hz PG259QN and PG259QNR delivers up to 50 percent more frames per second than 240 Hz gaming monitors, giving gamers an edge over the competition. The 24.5-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) display features Fast IPS panel technology. The liquid crystal elements in the display turn on and off up to four times faster than conventional IPS panels for a superfast 1 ms gray-to-gray (GTG) response time. The display is also HDR10 compatible for color and brightness that exceed that of ordinary monitors, treating gamers to ultrarealistic graphics. A built-in NVIDIA® G-SYNC®processor provides full variable refresh rate (VRR) range and variable overdrive for ultrasmooth gaming visuals with no tearing, stuttering or input lag.

Reflex Latency Analyzer is a revolutionary system latency measurement tool integrated in new ROG Swift 360 Hz PG259QNR NVIDIA G-SYNC Esports displays. PC performance for competitive gaming is about responsiveness—how quickly the display updates after mouse clicks or movements. The Reflex Latency Analyzer detects clicks coming from the mouse and then measures the time it takes for the resulting pixels (i.e. a gun muzzle flash) to change on screen. This type of measurement has been virtually impossible for gamers to do before now, requiring over $7,000 in specialized high-speed cameras and equipment. Reflex Latency Analyzer provides a much more complete and accurate understanding of mouse, PC and display performance. Now with Reflex Latency Analyzer, gamers can start a match with confidence, knowing their system is operating exactly as it should be.

In addition to the Reflex Latency Analyzer, the ROG Swift 360 Hz PG259QNR also comes with an ROG Desk Mount Kit that saves ample desk or table space. ROG Desk Mount Kit can be switched with the monitor stand in only three simple steps and has a C-clamp that opens up to 80 mm wide for compatibility with most desks. 

ROG Swift PG329Q gaming monitor

ROG Swift PG329Q is a 32-inch (2560 x 1440) 175 Hz gaming monitor that features Fast IPS panel technology and is the world’s first NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible gaming monitor with variable overdrive. The liquid crystal elements in the display turn on and off up to four times faster than conventional IPS panels for a superfast 1 ms gray-to-gray (GTG) response time. Quantum-dot technology with factory color pre-calibration, DisplayHDR™ 600 certification, DCI-P3 98% and sRGB 160% provide wide color space for stunning color fidelity. ASUS Extreme Low Motion Blur Sync (ELMB Sync) technology eliminates motion blur without sacrificing variable refresh rates, and customized variable overdrive on ROG Swift PG329Q takes smooth visuals to the next level by dynamically adjusting pixel response to accommodate an entire range of refresh rates for razor sharp images in the heat of battle.

ROG Strix XF 120 cooling fan

ROG Strix XF 120 is a versatile 120-mm 4-pin pulse-width modulation (PWM) cooling fan that has been tested and verified to deliver optimized acoustic profiles across a range of performance demands. It delivers 62.5 cubic feet per minute (CFM) airflow and 3.07 mm H2O static pressure, which provides the flexibility to use ROG Strix XF 120 for static pressure applications, including as a CPU cooler or radiator, or for chassis cooling. For further cooling power, its small fan hub allows greater space for airflow, and the aerodynamic fan blades and curvature of the frame struts help direct air throughput to minimize turbulence and maximize airflow. 

ROG Strix XF 120 features magnetic-levitation technology that reduces friction when the fan rotates for a quiet acoustic profile and 400,000-hour longevity, while the specially grooved blades and an anti-vibrating design further reduce noise. With an extensive operating range of 250 to 1800 RPM, the fan can be adjusted to as low as 250 RPM and even automatically turns off when set to 0% PWM duty cycle for an ultralow noise profile and super-efficient cooling. 

ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 gaming router

ASUS is an established leader in the networking market and was the first to launch a Wi-Fi 6 router. Now ASUS is delivering the wider bandwidth and increased 160 MHz channels of Wi-Fi 6E with ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000, the world’s first Wi-Fi 6E router. With a tri-band design and 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 supports speeds of up to 11,000 Mbps and features WAN aggregation for WAN speeds of up to 2 gigabits per second. With 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 and a 2.5 gigabit-per-second LAN port, both wired and wireless networks can achieve speeds of more than 1 gigabit per second, bringing true multi-gigabit performance to life. GT-AXE11000 is powered by a quad-core 1.8 GHz 64-bit CPU with 1 gigabyte of RAM, so it can handle heavy traffic in Wi-Fi 6E networks. The router also uses the latest 6 GHz power amplifier to improve both the signal coverage and quality. 

Wi-Fi 6E technology takes advantage of the newly available radio spectrum in the 6 GHz band, which has three-times more bandwidth than the 5 GHz band. It also adds seven extra 160 MHz channels to the current Wi-Fi 6 standard, provides lower latency, and will be dedicated to Wi-Fi 6E devices for maintaining high speeds that will not be affected by legacy devices.

ROG Strix Scope RX keyboard

ROG Strix Scope RX is the first mechanical RGB gaming keyboard to debut ROG RX Red Optical Mechanical Switches, which are the first in the world to feature a hollow-square stem design with embedded RGB LEDs for all-round per-key lighting. The unique design of each switch delivers a near-zero debounce delay to ensure instantaneous activation the moment a key is pressed. The hollow-square stem and X-stabilizer mechanism provide consistent wobble-free keystrokes, while the 100-million-keypress lifespan ensures extreme durability. 

ROG Strix Scope RX provides an alloy top cover and IP56 water and dust resistance to further ensure durability and longevity. It comes ready for the action of first-person shooter (FPS) games with an extended Ctrl key for ‘Crouch,’ and other commands. A USB 2.0 port can be used as a passthrough for device charging and external storage. The Stealth key hides all apps and mutes audio for instant privacy, and the quick-toggle switch quickly changes between functions and media inputs. The keyboard also features a backlit ROG logo and customizable lighting effects. The Armoury Crate software utility allows users to customize user profiles, map keys, record macros and even track hardware stats during gameplay.

ROG Keris Wireless mouse 

ROG Keris Wireless is an incredibly light and nimble gaming mouse at just 79 grams, providing increased grip comfort during extended gameplay. The mouse is the product of ROG’s close collaboration with a professional esports team to create the ultimate gaming mouse for pro gamers. After six months and numerous prototypes, ROG Keris Wireless offers gamers the perfect mouse shape. 

Featuring tri-mode connectivity, ROG Keris Wireless gives gamers a choice of using an ultrafast 2.4 GHz wireless, energy-efficient Bluetooth® LE, or wired USB when the battery needs to be topped up. The high-speed sensor has been specially tuned by ROG to have 16,000 dpi sensitivity, 400 ips and 40 g acceleration for premium precision and swiftness. ROG Keris Wireless also features the ROG-exclusive push-fit switch-socket design with the new ROG Micro Switch, which offers 70-million-click durability and a gold-plated electro junction for longevity. 

Equipped with the firm texture of L/R buttons made of PBT, ROG Keris Wireless offers exceptional durability. The rounded, 100 percent TPFE mouse feet provide a smooth glide across any mousepad. ROG Keris Wireless also includes swappable side buttons that come in different colors for more customization options and an extremely soft ROG cable to reduce friction for unimpeded gameplay. 

ROG Delta S headset

ROG Delta S gaming headset delivers impeccably clear, detailed audio to give serious gamers the edge to win. It features the industry-leading, hi-fi-grade ESS 9281 CODEC with QUAD DAC™ technology, and is the first gaming headset with Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology, which is an award-winning technology that delivers studio-quality audio files to reveal every detail of the original recording. Embedded MQA Renderer technology in ROG Delta S can connect to an MQA core signal and complete the final “unfold” of an MQA file for incredible audio quality. The ASUS AI noise-canceling microphone on ROG Delta S delivers crystal-clear in-game voice communication, and exclusive ASUS Essence drivers, an airtight chamber design and audio signal diversion technology work in unison for incredibly immersive audio. 

ROG Delta S weighs just 300 grams and has ergonomic D-shaped ROG Hybrid ear cushions for unmatched comfort during extended gaming sessions. Its USB-C® connector allows users to play on a PC and then jump to a gaming console or mobile device without having to change headsets. Customizable, circular RGB lighting can be used with other Aura Sync-enabled gear and unique soundwave lighting effects flash in tune with the user’s voice.

ROG Scabbard II mouse pad

ROG Scabbard II is an extended gaming mouse pad that offers ample space for a keyboard, mouse and other gaming gear, making it the ideal battle stage for gaming. It is made out of durable fabric with a military-grade nano-coating that repels water, oil and dust, giving gamers an optimal mouse gliding surface. Featuring anti-fray, narrow-stitched edges and a non-slip rubber base, ROG Scabbard II is a gamer’s best ally. 

AVAILABILITY 

  • The ROG Strix GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards will be available starting from September 2020 in North America. 
  • The ROG Swift 360 Hz PG259QN and PG259QNR monitors will be available starting from September 2020 and November 2020 respectively in North America. 
  • The ROG Swift PG329Q monitor will be available starting from October 2020 in North America. 
  • The ROG Strix XF 120 fan will be available starting from December 2020 in North America. 
  • The ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 gaming router will be available starting from December 2020 in North America. 
  • The ROG Strix Scope RX keyboard will be available starting from October 2020 in North America. 
  • The ROG Keris Wireless mouse will be available starting from late Q4 2020 in North America. 
  • The ROG Delta S headset will be available starting from late Q4 2020 in North America. 
  • The ROG Scabbard II mouse pad will be available starting from Q4 2020 in North America. 

ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces All-New Peripherals For Mobile Gaming

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 22, 2020 by itnerd

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced all-new gaming peripherals that deliver the ultimate mobile gaming experience: the ROG Falchion gaming keyboard, ROG Cetra RGB in-ear gaming headphones, and the ROG Strix XG16 gaming display.

The ROG Falchion wireless mechanical keyboard offers a space-saving layout that is 65 percent of the size of a standard keyboard, a user-friendly multi-use interactive touch panel, and wireless Aura Sync lighting. ROG Cetra RGB in-ear gaming headphones feature active noise cancellation (ANC) technology and customizable RGB lighting. To round out this all-new peripheral lineup, the ROG Strix XG16 is a 15.6- inch portable gaming display with a built-in battery and user-friendly kickstand design that supports an up to 144Hz refresh rate and 1080p HD resolution. These gaming peripherals deliver the high-caliber portable controls, audio, and graphics needed to take mobile gaming to the next level.

ROG Falchion: An ultra-portable wireless mechanical keyboard

ROG Falchion is a wireless mechanical keyboard with an innovative design that’s 65 percent of the size of a standard keyboard. It offers a versatile cover case and an interactive touch panel that can adjust volume, play and pause music, and zoom the screen in and out. The touch panel can also be programmed for use as a macro key, and the RGB LEDs inside the touch panel indicate battery status in real time. It provides gamers with ultrafast 1ms response time, 2.4GHz connectivity and up to 400 hours of battery life. With a cutting-edge design and user-friendly features, ROG Falchion empowers gamers with next-level control and performance.

ROG Cetra RGB: In-ear gaming headphones with active noise cancellation technology and RGB lighting

The ROG Cetra RGB in-ear gaming headphones support multiple platforms via a USB-C® connection, including mobile phones, PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch . The active noise cancellation (ANC) technology

and innovative Ambient mode on the earbuds enable users to adjust their listening experience, allowing them to either fully immerse themselves in games, music and other media without distraction, or tune into their surroundings and external sounds. Exclusive 10mm ASUS Essence drivers deliver optimized gaming audio and strong bass. Users have a choice of three sizes of silicone tips and ear fins, as well as a pair of foam ear tips ― all to provide flexibility to ensure a comfortable fit. The customizable RGB lighting on the headphones allow users to enjoy high-quality audio in style.

ROG Strix XG16: The ultimate portable gaming display

ROG Strix XG16 is a 15.6-inch portable gaming display with a built-in battery that supports an up to a 144Hz refresh rate and 1080p HD resolution. Its IPS panel enables wide viewing angles and displays high- quality colors and brightness. For I/O options, the XG16 offers two USB-C® ports and one Micro HDMI port, which provide flexible connectivity and the ability to charge during gameplay. The user-friendly kickstand on the back can be opened up to 70 degrees and provides the display with stability on a flat surface in landscape or portrait orientation for comfortable viewing on-the-go. Underneath the kickstand is a mesh design with cybertext patterning, which adds to its futuristic aesthetic. The ROG Strix XG16 is also compatible with ROG Tripod, which allows gamers to position the display above a laptop for use in a portable dual-screen setup.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

The ROG Falchion will be available in Q4 2020 in North America.
The ROG Cetra RGB will be available in September 2020 in North America. The ROG Strix XG16 will be available in December 2020 in North America.

Review: ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

Posted in Products with tags on July 6, 2020 by itnerd

Before I get to the review, let me tell you a funny story. So I had a Netgear router for the longest while. However their security issues made me switch to another router. Specifically the ASUS ZenWiFi AC (CT8) model which ASUS sent over for me to review. I set it up and locked it down and I declared all to be well with the universe.

Two days after that, ASUS called and wanted their router back. After all, it was a press loaner that they had kind of forgotten about during the pandemic.

Craptastic.

That meant that I had to get a replacement in a hurry. While I could have gone with more of the same, I figured that I would take opportunity to future proof my network. Which meant that after a quick trip to Amazon.ca, and a screw up in terms of delivery by Purolator Courier in terms of delivery, I got this:

This is the ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) mesh WiFi router. You get two nodes in the box which will cover 5500 square feet. It supports a variety of standards including the following:

802.11a: 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54 Mbps
802.11b: 1, 2, 5.5, 11 Mbps
802.11g: 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54 Mbps
802.11n: up to 300 Mbps
802.11ac (5GHZ-1): up to 867 Mbps
802.11ac (5GHZ-2): up to 3466 Mbps
802.11ax (2.4GHz): up to 574 Mbps
802.11ax (5GHZ-1): up to 1201 Mbps
802.11ax (5GHZ-2): up to 4804 Mbps

So in short, you get every standard available including WiFi 6/802.11ax. That pretty much future proofs your network by allowing you to use any device including the latest MacBooks, Surface devices, and iPhones with WiFi 6. What also is cool is that you get three bands. A 2.4 GHz band, and two 5 GHz bands. Though when used in a mesh setup, the second 5 GHz band is used for a dedicated backhaul between the nodes. Thus you effectively have 1 2.4 GHz band, and one 5 GHz band,

Here’s a look at one of the nodes:

It looks exactly like the ones that come with the AC version of this mesh router. But the black version looks way better than the white version. For the record, both the AC and the AX versions come in black and white.

On the back you can see that each node comes with three gigabit Ethernet ports for your devices, one 2.5 gigabit port for your Internet connection which is handy as many Internet Service Providers are now offering above gigabit speeds. Which means that you don’t want your router to be the bottleneck. There’s also a USB port for a printer.

The setup process of the ZenWiFi AX is absurdly simple by using the ASUS Router app. The app can automatically detects the mesh WiFi system over a Bluetooth connection. Just connect one unit to the modem from your ISP and turn both units on. Once both units are booted up, you can use the ASUS Router app to setup the system. It’s a wizard driven setup that if you want to just go the easy route, it will have you set up in minutes. But I like to do a lot more in terms of setting up a router, which means that I have to go to the web based interface to do things like disable WPS and UPnP for security reasons.

I configured the ZenWiFi AX (XT8) to be used in my condo with one node in my den and another one in the living room. The result was that I had 100% coverage in terms my 800 ish square foot condo. The other thing that I noticed is that I was able to get roughly get this speed in my condo using my MacBook Pro:

Now this speed is consistent with the AC version of router. If I had any WiFi 6 devices, I suspect that this speed would be faster. I was getting these speeds regardless of where I was in my condo. I also noticed that the experience was seamless. I was able to walk through my condo and the ZenWiFi AX seamlessly switched between nodes. So if it works in my use case, it will work for houses up to 5500 square feet in size.

Now like the ZenWiFi AC, this router is highly configurable and the nodes are accessible via the router app, or via a web page which is really good for nerds like me as the advanced features are available via the latter. You also get a pile of security to keep you safe via AiProtection Pro. And it supports Amazon Alexa and IFTTT.

Gripes? Well the only thing that was an issue was that I had to set up the 2.4 GHz band according to this FAQ as not setting it up this way was causing my wife’s Joule not to connect to WiFi. This was something that I did not encounter with the AC version of this router which is a side effect of the fact that this is a 802.11ax/WiFi 6 router. This is something that I will keep an eye on.

That brings me to another gripe. It also would be nice to have the Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports to be bondable so that you can get extra speed from a NAS or something like that. But I will have to admit that I am really being nerdy at this point.

The ZenWiFi AX is a great product which you can pick up for roughly $680CDN for two nodes from Amazon. That’s not cheap. But if you need WiFi across your home, and you want something that is future proof, the ZenWiFi AX deserves a good hard look.

Replacing My Netgear Router With The ASUS ZenWiFi (CT8)

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 24, 2020 by itnerd

I’ve been reporting recently that networking gear maker Netgear has had a massive security #fail where 79 of their router models are affected by a security flaw that allows for the complete takeover of the router. If that isn’t bad enough, exploit code and tools to find these routers out on the Internet were already in the wild. Meaning that the bad guys are likely trying to exploit this and that users of Netgear products are not safe.

That’s not good.

Now while Netgear seems to be trying to roll out fixes for this security #fail, I’ve argued that because of their past history when it comes to security issues, and the fact that they sat on these new issues since January of this year and only started doing something about it when the issues were made public, you should pull any Netgear routers from service and replace them with something that is far more secure. Oh year, you should also never spend a penny on their products again. Now I am not saying lightly. The fact is that this specific security issue is not trivial. And even if you take Netgear’s advice and disable remote administration (which for the record, you shouldn’t be using any form of remote administration if you want to be completely secure), it is only a mitigation. Netgear won’t go as far to say that this will make you completely safe until fixes come out for this issue. Thus this router had to go as I take the security of my network very seriously.

For the last few years I’ve been running an R8500 which is also known as the Nighthawk X8. It has been a pretty fast router with features such as aggregate ports that I do appreciate, but it is on the list routers that were affected by this issue. So I shut it down and in it’s place went the ASUS ZenWiFi AC (CT8) mesh WiFi system which I recently reviewed. Now in theory, I am giving up two things by going to the ZenWiFi AC. Specifically:

  • There’s no ability to aggregate ports. Which means that accessing my NAS for media streaming and backup purposes should be a bit slower.
  • The Zen WiFi has a pair of 802.11ac bands. One is for the dedicated backhaul between the nodes that runs at up to 1733 Mbps. The other is for devices which runs at 867 Mbps. That’s a drop from the R8500 which did  2.1 gigabits for each band that it has. Though as it is a classic router, it doesn’t have a backhaul connection.

But in reality, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The speed differences are very slight from my testing. For example, doing a backup of my MacBook Pro over 802.11ac to my NAS was five minutes slower. And surfing the net, playing games, doing Zoom calls, doing remote access doesn’t feel any different. So perhaps my fears were unfounded.

Now by using the ASUS ZenWiFi (CT8), I was able to clean up a few things:

  • When Rogers installed my cable modem years ago, they dropped it in the living room. I then had to run a long Ethernet cable from the cable modem to the den which is where my NAS and router live so that I could connect it to the router. Because this is a mesh WiFi system, that cable is no longer required as the node in the living room plugs into the cable modem, and then that node connects over the dedicated backhaul to the other node that is in the den.
  • Since I have a TCL 4K TV and a PC that I use for Zwift in the living room, I plugged those into the node in the living room via the gigabit Ethernet ports on the node. That node is also plugged into my Rogers gigabit Internet connection.
  • In my den, I plugged in my NAS which has two Ethernet ports on it into the node that lives in there.

Top tip: For best results with the ASUS ZenWiFi (CT8), make sure that the light that is on the front of each node is white and not yellow. White indicates that the backhaul is operating in an optimal manner. In my case, the original location in my den that the second node was going to placed on made that node light up yellow. Which meant that the backhaul connection was not at its best. Though my testing indicated that it was still plenty fast. Thus because I am OCD about these things, I had to play around with the location of each nodes to get it to light up white.

But what about security you ask? Well this is what I typically do when setting up a new router:

  • I disable UPnP for the reasons I outlined here.
  • I also disable WPS for the reasons outlined here.
  • If the router supports it, I use WPA3 for authentication.
  • I never use any sort of cloud management for the router nor do I expose the admin page to the outside world as those are great ways to get pwned by hackers.
  • I make sure that the firmware is up to date.
  • I use a third party DNS service rather than Rogers DNS service.
  • I disable PING, Telnet, SSH, and HNAP to make sure that the router isn’t accessible or seen from the Internet.

The only thing I haven’t done is done a penetration test on this setup. I’ll do that in the coming days and update this post with the results. I don’t expect anything out of the oBut other than that, everything has been positive so far. All my devices work, everything is fast. I have no complaints and I can sleep better knowing that my network is as safe as possible.

UPDATE: I got around to scanning my network from the outside using a tool called Nmap. It allows you to scan for open TCP or UDP ports and it has predefined profiles that allow you to scan for as little or as much as you want. I spent about 30 minutes scanning for open ports or services across the TCP/IP spectrum and found nothing open. Thus I am confident that my network is properly locked down.

ASUS Has Some Top Shelf Father’s Day Gift Suggestions For You

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 10, 2020 by itnerd

With Father’s Day less than 2 weeks away, ASUS has a few suggestions for dad that will be sure to make an impact.

  1. For dads embracing WFH: A portable monitor is a great addition to any home office set up, giving you the benefits of a second screen without the added clutter. Consider the ASUS ZenScreen MB16AC portable monitor, which features Low Blue Light technologies to ease eyestrain and a hybrid-signal solution – so it only needs a single USB cable to connect to almost any laptop. ($319 @ Bestbuy.ca)
  2. For those looking to get MMOre out of RPGs: Whether you’re getting ready for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands or looking to blow off steam with friends in Rainbow Six Siege, the ASUS TUF Gaming K5 Gaming keyboard delivers uncompromising performance and durability. Key switches are engineered to deliver crisp tactility with every press and housed in a spill-resistant frame. ($69 @ Bestbuy.ca)
  3. Take it even further by pairing it with the ASUS ROG Chakram. ($219 @ Canada Computers)
  4. For the home media connoisseur: Beyond improving a connectivity in your home, a router – likethe ASUS ZenWiFi AC – can double as a media bridge to improve the reception and performance of any home entertainment system, helping you squeeze more out of your smart TV, streaming hardware, gaming consoles and smart speakers. ($449 @ Canada Computers). I reviewed the ZenWiFi AC and you can read the review here.
  5. For dads that just need a new, no-fuss laptop: Combining good looks, solid build quality, performance and battery life, the convertible 2-in-1 ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 takes Chromebook design to the next level. ($699 @ Bestbuy.ca). I reviewed the Chromebook Flip C434 and you can read the review here.

ASUS ROG Announces New Gaming Laptop Lineup

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 2, 2020 by itnerd

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the top-to-bottom refresh of its gaming laptops with new 10th Generation Intel® CoreTM processors. Striking new chassis designs and thoughtful quality-of-life additions raise the bar for gamers and content creators, while the latest Intel CPUs, NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX SUPERTM graphics, and custom Intelligent Cooling solutions set a new performance standard.

The ROG Spring 2020 collection is headlined by the Zephyrus Duo 15 and its unique secondary ROG ScreenPad Plus touchscreen, along with refreshed Zephyrus S, M, and G models that are more portable and powerful than ever. For those seeking esports glory, ROG Strix SCAR laptops are built for top-flight competition with up to RTX 2080 SUPER GPUs and 300 Hz panels, while the bold colors of the ROG Strix G15 Electro Punk laptop and its bundle of matching accessories open new possibilities for personal expression.

The very latest components are on full show, from the liquid metal thermal compound rolling out across ROG’s entire 10th Gen Intel lineup, to high-speed DDR4 RAM and blazingly fast displays.

ROG Zephyrus Duo 15

The new ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 integrates the innovative ROG ScreenPad Plus, a secondary touchscreen for innovative multitasking that brings gaming, streaming, working, and chatting together in one portable device. The 14.1-inch 4K (3840 x 1100) IPS ROG ScreenPad Plus sits above the Duo 15’s forward-set keyboard and below its main panel, making for easy second-monitor style interaction or a dramatic continuation of the primary screen.

As the lid opens, a hinge tilts the secondary display up at a 13-degree angle for viewing comfort while exposing a massive 28.5 mm air intake that draws in cool air from above the laptop. This Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) arrangement means that the Zephyrus Duo can house powerful components in a slender chassis, including Intel’s 10th Gen Core i9 CPU and NVIDIA’s trailblazing RTX 2080 SUPER GPU.

The Zephyrus Duo ships with two high-end display options: a lightning-fast 300 Hz FHD display or a 4K UHD display with 100% Adobe RGB coverage for people who split their time between AAA gaming and content production. NVIDIA G-SYNC® technology keeps gaming visuals smooth and tear-free, while ROG GPU Switch technology enables swapping between G-SYNC and NVIDIA’s battery-saving Optimus mode.

With its one-of-a-kind secondary display, premium components, and sleek design, Zephyrus Duo 15 takes over as the flagship ROG Zephyrus laptop. From its thin all-metal chassis to its powerful ThunderboltTM 3 port, from its RAID 0 storage array to its top-of-the-line displays, this laptop embodies ROG’s ruthless drive for excellence.

ROG Zephyrus S17

The new Zephyrus S17 offers an expansive 17.3- inch display with super-narrow bezels in a svelte 18.7- millimeter-thin chassis. With a 300 Hz refresh rate and 3 ms grey-to-grey response time, the screen is a speed demon that can be paired with up to a RTX 2080 SUPER GPU and 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU. It shares GPU Switch benefits with the Zephyrus Duo 15 and S15 models, as well as PANTONE® Validated color accuracy making it ideal for creative work and gaming alike.

Zephyrus S17’s chassis gave ROG engineers room to include a few premium extras, including a full desktop-style keyboard with per-key RGB LED backlighting, NumberPad — a combination touchpad and numeric keypad — and an integrated volume roller complete with backlight brightness. System thermals benefit from a unique AAS cooling solution that opens a large intake vent beneath the system when the lid is raised.

Zephyrus S17 proves that big doesn’t have to mean bulky. In a lean, portable chassis, the laptop exploits the expansive screen space while providing a premium ROG experience.

ROG Zephyrus S15

The new Zephyrus S15 was tailor-made to provide serious gamers the specs they need in a package that won’t weigh them down. The compact, 18.9-millimeter-thin chassis includes top-end S17-level components, with configurations maxing out at a RTX 2080 SUPER GPU paired with a 300 Hz / 3 ms display. The combination of G-SYNC technology, ROG’s pre-applied CPU-cooling liquid metal, and an ultrahigh refresh rate makes for silky-smooth visuals even in the midst of frenetic action.

Honeycomb reinforcements under the palm rest keep the S15 sturdy and resistant to flex, with soft- touch paint adding a smooth, fingerprint-resistant finish. Inside, dual M.2 SSDs can be configured in a blazingly fast RAID 0 array. GPU Switch technology makes an appearance here as well, allowing users to toggle between G-SYNC mode for smooth gaming and Optimus mode for extended battery life.

With its slim chassis, Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, and comfortable 15-inch size, Zephyrus S15 makes the dream of ultraportable gaming a reality. It’s the ultimate Zephyrus laptop for the traveling gamer.

ROG Zephyrus M15

The attractively priced ROG Zephyrus M15 offers a range of configurations that make it an easy choice for a wide audience, beginning with the eight cores and 16 threads of a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. Display options including 240 Hz and 144 Hz FHD panels and a 4K UHD panel let users pick the screen that best fits their needs, while GPU options range from the affordable yet capable GeForce GTX 1660 Ti up to the RTX 2070 GPU.

The Zephyrus M15’s slim, professional chassis is made of structurally reinforced magnesium alloy and finished with a classy, soft-touch skin. An ESS Sabre DAC drives a clear, powerful audio signal, and with two easily accessible M.2 slots, it packs the storage capacity to fit creative work alongside a loaded gaming library. The Zephyrus M15 offers a complete connectivity payload, including Thunderbolt 3, dual display outputs, and enough USB ports to connect a mouse, gamepad, and external storage.

ROG Strix SCAR 15/17

From the aluminum skin on the lid to the raised ridges that accent the ventilated 3D flow zone at the rear, ROG Strix laptops are unabashed gaming machines that shine in the spotlight of esports arenas.

ROG Strix SCAR 17 delivers unbridled gaming power built around a 300 Hz IPS-level panel. Thanks to its dizzyingly high refresh rate, this panel displays fast-paced action with unprecedented clarity, allowing gamers to react to on-screen events faster than they realized was possible. With an Intel processor up to the latest eight-core Core i9-10980-HK, up to 32 GB of 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM, and up to the e RTX 2080 SUPER GPU, the Strix SCAR 17 is prepped for peerless performance.

Those who prefer their competition-dominating hardware to be a bit more portable need look no further than ROG Strix SCAR 15. Its 15.6-inch display offers the same tournament-grade 300 Hz refresh rate with undeniable Strix SCAR look. It is powered by an Intel CPU up to a 10th Gen Core i9-10980-HK and up to the RTX 2070 SUPER GPU.

The SCAR series also boldly proclaims its gaming chops with customizable RGB LED lighting effects, including a wraparound light bar, keyboard backlighting, and illuminated RGB logo on the laptop’s lid, as well as the stand-out ROG Keystone II, an NFC-enabled device that docks into the side of the chassis. It can be customized to launch any game or app when inserted, provide access to a secret, encrypted Shadow Drive (exclusive to Windows 10 Pro), and trigger a stealth mode that mutes audio and minimizes all apps when removed.

ROG Strix G15/17

ROG Strix G15 and G17 are powered by 10th Gen Intel processors up to a Core i7. GPU options run up to the RTX 2070 SUPER GPU and drive high-refresh-rate displays built for today’s most popular esports titles. Strix G17 and Strix G15 have 144 Hz displays as standard, but both are also available with an even faster 240 Hz panel. personal style. In addition, Strix G laptops ship in three different color schemes to emphasize personal style.

Both models will be available in sophisticated Glacier Blue and Original Black. The Strix G15 Electro Punk is the real showstopper of the bunch. The contrast between its dark brushed metal and sizzling pink highlights is so striking that ROG gave it a complementary cast of gaming peripherals.

Each Electro Punk Strix G15 will include a 35 x 17-inch Electro Punk mouse pad large enough to cushion a full complement of gear. Certain regions will feature bundles of coordinating peripherals that includes the laptop and pad plus a ROG Strix Go Core Electro Punk Headset, ROG Impact II gaming mouse, and a ROG Ranger backpack, all of which sport the head-turning Electro Punk color scheme. It’s the complete PC gaming experience in one package.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

The ASUS ROG Spring 2020 collection of gaming laptops and peripherals will be available in North America starting from Q2/Q3 2020. Please contact your local ASUS representative for further information.

Review: ASUS ZenWiFi AC (CT8)

Posted in Products with tags on March 10, 2020 by itnerd

Mesh WiFi continues to be the go to type of WiFi router for consumers as you can ensure that you have complete coverage for your home. ASUS has a new product for those who need mesh WiFi in their home. That’s the ASUS ZenWiFi AC (CT8):

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Now unlike many of these devices, I like how good this node looks. It will fit in with any decor. You get two of these nodes in the box. The other thing that I notice is that it is very functional:

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The ZenWiFi AC comes with 3 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and a USB port. And both nodes have them. That allows you to use them in a variety of use cases. The USB port is for file sharing and/or printer sharing on the network.

The setup process of the ZenWiFi AC is very simple by using the ASUS Router app. The app can automatically detects the mesh WiFi system over a Bluetooth connection. Just connect one unit to the modem and turn both units on. Once both units are booted up, you can use the ASUS Router app to setup the system. I configured the ZenWiFi AC (CT8) to be used in my condo with one node in my den and another one in the living room. The result was that I had 100% coverage in terms my 800 ish square foot condo. The other thing that I noticed is that I was able to get roughly 600 Mbps sustained speeds regardless of where I was in my condo. And that speed consistently. I also noticed that the experience was seamless. I was able to walk through my condo and the ZenWiFi AC seamlessly switched between nodes. So if it works in my use case, it will work for houses up to 5400 square feet in size.

Now this router is highly configurable and the nodes are accessible via the router app, or via a web page which is really good for nerds like me as the advanced features are available via the latter. You also get a pile of security to keep you safe via AiProtection Pro. And it supports Amazon Alexa and IFTTT

Gripes? It would be nice to have the Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports to be bondable so that you can get extra speed from a NAS or something. But I will have to admit that I am really being nerdy at this point. The ZenWiFi AC is a great product which you can pick up for roughly $450 CDN for two nodes. If you need WiFi across your home, the ZenWiFi AC deserves a good hard look.

ASUS & Qnext Sign Partnership To Integrate FileFlex On ASUS Routers

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 4, 2020 by itnerd

Qnext Corp. today announced that ASUS will now globally integrate FileFlex with its most popular SMB router for the Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) – the RT-AC68U. This integration transforms the router into a 2-way smart hub that enables ultra-secure remote access, sharing and streaming of router-attached USB storage and the storage of the router-networked devices as well as a multi-media hub that automatically backs up and stores photos and videos from smart phones and tablets.

When combined with FileFlex, the ASUS router becomes a powerful, smart remote access gateway into all content that the router connects to.  Now an ASUS router can be used to securely access, share, stream and perform remote multi-device file management functions to any and all content that is on the router’s USB and the router’s network from anywhere the user is located. Every ASUS RT-AC68U router comes with a complimentary pre-paid one-year single user subscription (value $34.95).

The FileFlex integration also turns an ASUS router into a hub for multimedia and digital content. Users can set their tablets and smart phones to automatically back up photos and videos to whatever storage is attached or networked to the router. There is no limit to the number of mobile devices that can be backed up and the backup can be configured to only occur with connected via WiFi so as not to consume a user’s cellular data.

Selected as a Red Herring Top 100 Global winner for disruptive technology and recognition of the technology industry’s most exciting and innovative private companies, Qnext Corp. is an innovator in file sharing and collaboration software based on edge computing technology, including integration with the latest Intel SGX secure enclave technology. FileFlex Enterprise, an on-premise file sharing and collaboration solution, provides a highly secure hybrid point-to-point, software-only service that allows organizations to remotely access, share, stream, manage and collaborate 100% of their data from source locations.   For more information visit https://fileflex.com/.

ASUS ROG Announces New Lineup of Esports-Ready Strix Gaming Desktops

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 6, 2020 by itnerd

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced a new lineup of Strix gaming desktops, the GA35, GT35, GA15 and GT15, that offer tournament-ready performance for competitive esports and beyond. Debuting at CES 2020, the ROG Strix GA35 and GT35 as well as the GA15 and GT15 are gaming desktops engineered to sustain smooth gameplay under serious pressure, and offer the flexibility to do everything from producing top-quality streams to developing games.

 

The Strix GA35 and GT35: Boosted by RTX Graphics

Armed with up to a ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card, the GA35 and GT35 delivers reliably high frame rates for the latest games. The GPU in this top-of-the-line card is based on the NVIDIA Turing™ architecture, which mixes CUDA cores for traditional rasterization with RT cores for ray tracing, and Tensor cores for accelerated AI, including noise removal. When paired with compatible games, this combination enables faster antialiasing and higher-quality lighting, shadows, and reflections.

ROG Strix elevates the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti’s graphics prowess with a huge 2.7-slot heatsink capped by three Axial-tech fans that help the card maintain high clocks in the heat of battle. In internal tests, the Strix GA35 pushed Overwatch up to 188 FPS at 4K with Epic details, while Shadow of the Tomb Raider rendered at a smooth 73 FPS in rich 4K Ultra detail.

 

Serious 16-core power with the Strix GA35

The Strix GA35 offers powerful 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen processors up to the Ryzen 9 3950X CPU, with its cutting-edge 7nm technology doubling the number of cores of the previous generation. With 16 cores and 32 threads, the additional cores make the system more responsive under strenuous loads, and accelerate heavily multithreaded work like video encoding and 3D rendering. The Strix GT35 will feature the latest 10th generation of Intel Core processors for users looking for multitasking mastery when it comes to gaming and streaming.

The CPU sits in a ROG Strix X570-F Gaming motherboard with a fine-tuned VRM that delivers clean and reliable current. Substantial heatsinks keep the VRM cool, while closed-loop liquid cooling channels heat from the CPU to a dual-fan radiator that exhausts out the top of the chassis. The processor is unlocked for overclocking, so gamers can push for even higher performance.

With up to 64GB of high-performance DDR4-3200 memory, the GA35 can simultaneously handle smooth gameplay while live-streaming, recording, and multitasking. A NVMe SSD with up to 1TB of capacity offers plenty of space, and the Strix GA35 further accelerate throughput using the latest PCI Express® 4.0 interface.

For additional upgrades, GA35’s two PCIe x16 slots are connected directly to the CPU and support multi-GPU configurations. External hot-swap bays simplifies storage upgrades and allows for easy SSD removal in tournament settings, while one of the motherboard’s dual M.2 slots is available for a second SSD for more space. The chassis also has room for two 3.5-inch HDDs that can increase total storage capacity.

 

Superb gaming and streaming on the Strix GA15 and GT15

To run the latest titles at high resolutions or faster refresh rates, the Strix GA15 and GT15 are available with powerful graphics cards up to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX™ 2070 SUPER. In internal tests at ROG, these machines pushed 240 FPS with Full HD Epic details in Overwatch, and hit triple-digit frame rates with Ultra details at Full HD resolution in the richly detailed sandbox of Far Cry 5.

This performance is due in part to the NVIDIA Turing™ architecture behind the GeForce RTX series. Its new video encoder also improves the GA15 and GT15’s ability to stream and game simultaneously, delivering higher quality video with minimal performance impact.

The GA15 and GT15 use the latest 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen CPUs and upcoming 10th Gen Intel Core processors. The Strix GA15 is available with up to an AMD® Ryzen™ 7 3800X CPU that has 8 cores and 16 threads to easily handle demanding and varied workloads. Top configurations add up to 32GB of high-performance DDR4-3200MHz RAM, ensuring responsiveness even under heavy loads.

Storage options include a superfast M.2-based NVMe SSD up to 1TB, offering ample room for apps. For larger game libraries, the system is available with 2TB of mechanical storage. Users can download AMD StoreMI Technology to accelerate dual-drive configurations. StoreMI caches the frequently accessed data on the SSD, melding the responsiveness of solid-state storage with the massive capacity of mechanical drives to speed up load times.

 

Next-level cooling carries performance

The newest lineup of ROG Strix gaming desktops combine robust component cooling with a chassis optimized for superior airflow. The Wind Shear design on the GA35 and GT35 features widened air vents that help draw more air through the internal cooling system. Three internal chambers divide the CPU, graphics card, and power supply into separate zones to minimize thermal interference.

The internal storage also has dedicated cooling to facilitate reliable performance. The motherboard’s dual M.2 SSD slots feature heatsinks that can improve sustained throughput and long-term reliability. For even more strenuous storage loads, the Strix X570-F Gaming motherboard has a header for an M.2 fan that enables direct airflow through active cooling.

The GA15 and GT15 chassis is a more compact variation with a dual-chamber design of the airflow-enhancing Wind Shear design featured in the high-end Strix GA35 and GT35. The cooling is efficient enough that the Strix GA35 and Strix GA15 generated noise levels under 35 dB in an internal gaming test with Metro Exodus.

The full lineup of ROG Strix gaming desktops elegantly integrates a carrying handle into the top of the chassis that’s strong enough to bear sustained force of up to 30kgf, making them easier to carry. The slick hidden headphone hook helps keep tournament setups and battlestations clean; it’s tested to hold headsets up to 3kg, and can survive momentary force up to 10kgf.

 

Personalize to perfection

The Strix GA35 is the first ROG system to feature new Keystone II technology. Introduced with the ROG Strix III and Hero III gaming laptops introduced in Spring 2019, the Keystone is an NFC-enabled key can be docked in compatible devices to quickly access customized settings linked to a user’s ROG ID. Keystone II can also be configured to switch the system to a specific operating mode, launch an individual game or application, or unlock a hidden Shadow Drive for private files.

In terms of personalized lighting, the full lineup of new Strix gaming desktops feature customizable RGB lighting inside and out. Aura Sync lets users coordinate colors and effects across all compatible components, including ROG peripherals and components. The internal lighting showcases the components through the transparent EMI-shielded glass side panel.

ROG Armoury Crate software offers tons of tuning options for lighting, Keystones and other system settings. Users can create Scenario Profiles that automatically load personal preferences when they launch specific games and applications. Scenario Profiles detect the active application and adjust system performance, cooling, lighting, and other settings to ensure an ideal configuration for the task at hand. And for a more personalized audio experience, Sonic Studio III supports manual customization and offers five specially tuned modes for different kinds of games in addition to more immersive audio.

 

Gear up and go

While most peripherals connect around the back, front-panel ports provide convenient access for select devices. The GA35 and GT35’s dual USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports provide fast access to speedy external storage, while dual USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports are ready for more conventional devices. Around back, there are 6 additional ports, including one more USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C.

Dual HDMI 2.0b ports on the graphics card allows gamers to run a VR headset alongside a 4K monitor or TV for immersive virtual experiences. On GA35 and GT35 configurations with GeForce graphics cards, DisplayPort 1.4 outputs offer connectivity for NVIDIA G-SYNC™ gaming monitors that make gameplay even smoother. Intel® I211-AT Gigabit Ethernet offers a lower latency connections for multiplayer gaming, while Wi-Fi 5 provides fast wireless access for everyday streaming and web browsing. The Wi-Fi card also integrates Bluetooth 5 for compatible devices.

The GA15 and GT15 also offer fast charging and data transfer via one reversible Type-C™ (USB-C™) port with peak interface bandwidth of 10Gbps via USB 3.2 Gen 2. Five Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports make space for preferred peripherals and any other devices that benefit from fast data transfers. There’s an HDMI 2.0b port for gaming or streaming 4K video on the big screen at up to 60Hz. DisplayPort 1.4 outputs are also available to drive high-refresh gaming monitors, including those compatible with NVIDIA G-SYNC™ technology.

Gigabit-class networking manifests in two ways on the GA15 and GT15. Gigabit Ethernet offers a lower latency connection for multiplayer gaming, while Wi-Fi 5 provides fast wireless access for everyday streaming and web browsing. The Wi-Fi card also integrates Bluetooth 5 to cut the cord for compatible devices.

 

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

The ROG Strix GA35 and GA15will be available starting from Q1 2020. Please contact your local ASUS representative for further information.

The ROG Strix GT35 and GT15 launch timing will be announced later in 2020. Please contact your local ASUS representative for further information.