Computers

ASUS ROG Huracan (G21) makes other gaming desktops look bad

Flippin’ good gaming

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While building your own desktop PC is both easy and cost-saving, going for a pre-built machine can provide you with some premium additions.

That’s the case with the ROG Huracan (G21), which is a standard gaming rig on the inside, but with one of the most unique and functional enclosures we’ve seen in a while.

I’m already familiar with ASUS’ slim gaming desktops — having played around with the ROG GR8 in the past — but this one takes the form factor to another level.

It may look like an unassuming gaming PC at first…

… but raise the flap on the side…

… and it activates Turbo Gear!

Yes, that means better cooling and faster performance

If that’s not enough, you may easily swap components for better ones

Add more RAM

Replace the HDD

Boost the SSD storage

Install a newer graphics card

Update to a more modern CPU and cooler if you’re brave enough

Its port selection is complete, too

USB-C, USB-A, and audio ports in front

Ethernet, S/PDIF, and loads more USB-A ports at the back

DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI through the GTX 1080 graphics card

And even an optical disk drive!

But is it all just for show?

It’s easy to dismiss the ROG Huracan as an overpriced, extravagant piece of gaming machinery, but there are some legit components inside that justify the high price tag.

For one, it has Intel’s eighth-generation Core i7-8700 processor which provides six cores with a total of 12 threads; that’s more than enough to handle the latest AAA games, plus it’s one of the best mainstream chips you can get for video editing and other heavy tasks.

Coming along for the ride are 16GB of memory, a 1TB HDD, and 512GB SSD, all of which can easily be replaced or expanded as mentioned earlier. Even the graphics card it comes with — a more than capable NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 — may be swapped for one of those yummy RTX cards launched recently.

It’s also important to mention that the ROG Huracan is equipped with 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, so bringing this machine from one spot to another won’t mean dealing with cumbersome cables during each setup.

In addition, you can add a 2.5-inch SATA SSD from the top (without the need to open up the entire side panel) if the built-in storage isn’t enough for you. Considering how resource-hungry the newest games have been getting, this is certainly a welcome sight.

Do the numbers speak for themselves?

This wouldn’t be a proper review without benchmark scores to show off. Since Turbo Gear is a thing on the ROG Huracan, it’s vital to include numbers with and without the flap on.

In ASUS’ own words, opening the magnetic side cover improves airflow and, in effect, enables a boost in both CPU and GPU performance. The whole process is pretty much a fancy way to overclock the gaming rig, and it shows whenever the RGB lighting begins dancing once the flap is raised.

While that seems like a straightforward way to kick things into overdrive, the output was quite mixed depending on where it’s applied. See the data for yourself:


Unigine Superposition

Turbo Gear on, 1080p Extreme, DirectX: 4002, 29.93fps

Turbo Gear off, 1080p Extreme, DirectX: 3961, 29.63fps

Cinebench R15

Turbo Gear on: 1391 (CPU), 128.33fps (OpenGL)

Turbo Gear off: 1374 (CPU), 131.76fps (OpenGL)

Final Fantasy XV benchmark

Turbo Gear on, High Quality, 1080p: 8011

Turbo Gear off, High Quality, 1080p: 7628

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided benchmark

Turbo Gear on, Ultra settings, 1080p: 66.4fps

Turbo Gear off, Ultra settings, 1080p: 66fps

GPU temperature under full load

Turbo Gear on: 73 degrees Celsius

Turbo Gear off: 83 degrees Celsius


For pure benchmarking apps, the difference in scores are either so minuscule or backwards that we can’t give a proper analysis. The boost in actual gaming performance is equally minor, though more significant in comparison.

Where the Huracan’s Turbo Gear feature does excel at is in keeping the system cool. By allowing more air to enter the side, you get a dip in temperature by as much as 10 degrees Celsius for the GPU. That’s seriously good for something that feels like a gimmick at first.

In short, it’s safe to say that leaving the side flap open at all times would theoretically lengthen the PC’s lifespan, at the expense of letting lots more dust come in. The performance boost isn’t anything to write home about, so it’s up to you if you prefer a cool system or a clean one.

Any drawbacks?

Of course, grand performance comes at a grand cost. Not only do you have to spend a pretty penny to own one, but you also have to plug in two power adapters — one 180W and one 230W — to give this beast its juice. That means your electric bill will experience its own shock every month.

On top of that, taking the slim rig around isn’t as seamless as it may seem at first. Carrying the 8.3kg system is already a challenge; bringing two heavy power bricks along only adds to the overall weight. I haven’t even mentioned the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, which aren’t integrated like what a gaming laptop offers.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For the price, it’s tempting to simply go for a high-powered gaming notebook that can do as much with less effort to carry around. ASUS has a fine line of Zephyrus laptops that can match the performance of the ROG Huracan — pricier, yes, but then you wouldn’t have to spend for a monitor anymore.

The value of the ROG Huracan depends solely on how long its novelty would last. How badly do you want to go into overdrive with the flip of a magnetic flap and lots of RGB lighting? Truth be told, any other gaming PC can do the same, if not better, with a few clicks of the mouse through software.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s certainly a cool-looking desktop and is built to be future-proof. This is the gaming rig you want if design, upgradeability, and raw starting power matter to you. Yes, building a custom PC would be far cheaper, but it likely wouldn’t look as sharp as this.

The ROG Huracan retails for at least US$ 2,000, depending on which configuration you choose. For the same price, you could afford a high-end gaming laptop like the aforementioned Zephyrus line. Which style you prefer ultimately hinges on how mobile you are as a hardcore gamer — and how deep your pockets go for added accessories.

Computers

ASUSPRO D340MC is designed with budget-conscious workers in mind

Prioritizes security and endurance

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ASUSPRO is known for producing reliable laptops, but did you business-grade desktop computers are part of its portfolio, too?

The D340MC is an example of this, and it delivers on several fronts. It may seem like a standard boxy PC at first, but most of the features are on the inside.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; this is how it looks:

It definitely has a strong presence on any desk

Check out that port selection and DVD drive

The keyboard and mouse are part of the package

There’s lots of ventilation for cooling

Here’s a closer look at its ports

It’s easy to upgrade as needed

This is certainly a no-frills, get-the-job-done type of PC. Fortunately, it comes with good specs to show off: an Intel Core i7-8700 processor, up to 32GB of memory, 1TB of HDD storage, and a simple GeForce GT 720 graphics card to get you going.

But should really interest you are the reliability and endurance. The company claims the unit goes through rigorous quality tests in diverse environments, uses solid capacitors to lengthen lifespan, and produces little noise thanks to the thermal design.

The ASUSPRO D340MC starts at around US$ 600, but with its upgradability, it’s easy to give it more power when needed.

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Computers

Microsoft says you need a real computer, not an iPad

‘Don’t run out and buy an iPad’

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You’re probably familiar with Samsung teasing Apple and its iPhones through humorous commercials. But did you know Microsoft does the same against iPads?

Like Sammy, Microsoft loves to promote its products while humiliating those of close competitors. The latest attempt comes with this short holiday ad for the Surface Go.

Check it out:

The very first line — “Grandma, don’t run out and buy an iPad” — is already a clear dig at Apple. The little girl’s lyrics continue with, “It was fine when I was six, but now I’m 10. My dreams are big so I need a real computer to do all the amazing things I know I can.”

Yes, a real computer. If you’ve been following Apple’s promotions for the recently launched iPad Pro, you’d know that they tout it as a laptop replacement in a sense. Consumers and techies have since been debating whether the claims are true or not.

Well, Microsoft doesn’t think so, and instead believes that you need a Surface Go to cater to all computing needs. It runs desktop-class Windows 10 and is quite flexible productivity-wise when used together with the stylus and keyboard.

It seems like Microsoft’s goal here is to take away some of Apple’s strong younger market for iPads. Kids traditionally choose an iPad because of its portability, ease of use, and strong library of apps.

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Computers

Samsung 860 QVO SSD offers up to 4TB storage for your laptop

Available beginning January 2019

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Solid-state drives (SSD) have always been the faster storage option compared to hard disk drives (HDD), but it was only recently when SSDs caught up in terms of storage capacity. Samsung in particular is pushing for more digital space in its latest model, the 860 QVO.

Using a high-density 4-bit multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash architecture, this SSD is able to go up to 4TB in capacity, which is great for a mainstream product.

Samsung claims 550MB/s read and 520MB/s write speeds for the 860 QVO, thanks in part to the integrated Intelligent TurboWrite technology and MJX controller.

Because of its 2.5-inch form, it’ll fit perfectly inside any laptop or desktop setup.

The Samsung 860 QVO will go on sale beginning January 2019 with a starting price of SG$ 299 for the 1TB variant. You may also spend SG$ 659 for the 2TB model or SG$ 999 for the top-end 4TB model.

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