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

Apple announces 16-inch MacBook Pro

Most powerful MacBook Pro to date

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Image by GadgetMatch

2019 seems to be the year of ‘Pro’ for Apple with the launches of the iPhone 11 Pro, AirPods Pro, and the Mac Pro with Pro Display XDR. The 17-inch MacBook Pro was discontinued before but the newly announced 16-inch MacBook Pro seems to hit the sweet spot for Apple when it comes to big ‘pro’ notebooks.

Same design, larger footprint

The new MacBook Pro has a larger 16-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 3072 x 1920 at a brilliant 500 nits, replacing the older 15-inch models. It has a DCI-P3 color gamut, ideal for processing shots and grading films all together. This new display offers an immersive visual experience and larger screen real estate without the extra heft.

There’s a massive six-speaker sound system which brings high-fidelity audio experience not just for audiophiles and musicians, but for video editors and podcasters alike. It promises clearer and more natural audio, with the bass able to go half an octave deeper. The microphones also get an upgrade. There’s now less hiss and they deliver cleaner audio recordings.

To address the problems everyone had with the Butterfly keyboard that plagued previous models, Apple has announced a newer Magic Keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism and a more responsive key press. There’s now a separate, physical escape key since more and more users would find their escape keys frozen with the Touch Bar MacBook Pros. The Touch ID slash power button is also separate. It also brings back the inverted-T arrow keys.

Powerful specs for the power users

We all know the 15-inch MacBook Pro is already powerful, but this monster promises a significant performance boost of up to 2.1 times. This is configurable with the latest 6 / 8-core 9th Generation Intel processors. Turbo Speeds are also promised to reach up to 5GHz. For the first time, they offer a massive 64GB of memory and a spacious 8TB SSD option — the largest on a notebook yet.

There’s also a new AMD Radeon Pro 5000M graphics card, which is the first 7nm mobile discrete GPU for professionals. It’s also paired with GDDR6 video memory and an 8GB of VRAM option. This is beneficial for heavy filmmakers and 3D animators alike.

Gaming on Mac may not sound good but it also promises a smoother gameplay of up to 1.6 times. Game developers will also enjoy this machine as Unity will deliver 1.4 times faster fly-through performance than its competitors.

The highest configured 16-inch MacBook Pro promises a performance improvement of up to 80 times over the last highest-end 15-inch MacBook Pro.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro’s new thermal design enables intensive workload over long periods of time. The heat sink is 35 percent larger, resulting to a 28 percent increase in airflow and better heat dissipation. The battery is at its biggest at 100Wh. It promises 11 hours of battery life — one hour more than the previous model.

Pricing and availability

The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at SG$ 3,499 in Singapore or US$ 2,399 in the US, the same starting price as the previous 15-inch model. It’s available online and through the Apple Store app starting today. In-store availability will come later this week.

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Computers

Lenovo offers discounts for its budget laptops

Hurry before the promo is up

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Are you a student looking for a laptop that won’t break the bank? Lenovo is offering discounts for some of its budget laptops. The laptops eligible for the discounts are the Ideapad S145, S130, and the 330.

Here are the details:

  • Ideapad S130 81J1000WPH / 81J1000VPH / 81J1000XPH (11.6″ HD display; Celeron N4000; 2GB DDR4 / 500GB HDD) — from PhP 14,995 down to PhP 12,995
  • Ideapad S130 81J1000SPH (11.6″ HD display; Celeron N4000; 2GB DDR4 / 500GB HDD) — from PhP 15,995 down to PhP 13,995
  • Ideapad 330 81D0001SPH / 81D0001TPH (14″ HD display; Celeron N4100; 4GB DDR4 / 500GB HDD) — from PhP 17,995 down to PhP 15,995
  • Ideapad S145 81MU000NPH (14″ HD display; Celeron Gold 4205U; 4GB DDR4 / 500GB HDD) — from PhP 18,995 down to PhP 16,995
  • Ideapad 330 81D00040PH / 81D0001UPH (14″ HD display; Pentium N5000; 4GB DDR4 / 500GB HDD) — from PhP 19,995 down to PhP 17,995
  • Ideapad S145 81MU000MPH (14″ HD display; Pentium Gold 5405U; 4GB DDR4 / 500GB HDD) — from PhP 20,995 down to PhP 18,995

The discount is valid until August 30 in all Lenovo concept stores nationwide. Only cash payments are eligible. All laptops come with a standard two-year warranty.

All of the discounted laptops are Lenovo’s latest budget offerings. The Ideapad line is suitable for everyday needs of most users, including students. The Ideapad S145, which was released this July, features narrower bezels for interruption-free viewing and Dolby Audio for clearer sounds. And along with Ideapad S130, both RAM and storage on these laptops can be upgraded for a faster performance.

Along with these budget offerings, Lenovo also has a wide selection of laptops to suit the needs of different users To know more about the discount, visit Lenovo’s Facebook page.

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Computers

ASUS launches the ROG Elite Rewards Program

Official and exclusive ROG merch await you

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To celebrate its 30th year in the Philippines, ASUS is launching the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Elite Rewards program. The ROG Elite Rewards program allows ROG users and supporters to collect points in exchange of official and exclusive ROG merchandise by completing various tasks!

To join, users must sign-in through the ROG Elite website. After signing up, participants will be automatically delegated to the Bronze tier. There are 5 tiers in the program. As users collect more points, they climb up from Bronze to Silver, Gold, and eventually Platinum.

Only the best ROG Elite Rewards program participants can be chosen for the invite-only Diamond tier which grants them the privilege to try new products and attend special events.

Prizes Up For Grabs

For all the tiers, participants can snag limited edition accessories like ROG keycap, keychains and exclusive ROG shirts. Premium products such as the ROG Strix Fusion headset and even the flagship beast, ROG Phone, are up for grabs!

All they have to do is to complete tasks such as participating in laptop surveys, subscribing to the official ROG social media sites, or reviewing ROG products.

ROG products are marketed towards gaming. Their popular line up includes the innovative ROG Mothership which redefines what a gaming laptop could be. There is also Zephyrus S, which includes top-notch hardware for a premium price. For the more affordable option, ROG also offers the Strix Scar III and Hero III. They also offer the flagship gaming phone, ROG Phone II, which features the beefed up Snapdragon 855 Plus.

All ROG products are sold by ASUS Philippines. They can be brought in all physical stores nationwide.

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