Gaming

ASUS ROG Strix G review: Power that’s just ice cool

Looks pretty damn good in Glacier Blue

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I normally get gaming laptops in some matte black finish. Something about that color screams “gamer” to me, especially with its subdued vibe. Getting it in any other color just draws too much attention, especially when you want to game in peace.

Then I turn to the ASUS ROG Strix G G531, and no the “G” does not stand for “Glacier Blue. It comes in two colors: the usual black finish and a special Glacier Blue variant — which I have. Let’s face it, underneath this icy cold Glacier Blue variant is one powerful machine from the hardware to a wide selection of ports.

But is this really all for show?

This particular unit comes in a special Glacier Blue finish

It comes with an NVIDIA RTX 2060 inside

It has an RGB-lit system, from the bottom to the keyboard panel

Connectivity, display and power input ports are placed at the back

Power beneath aesthetics

As expected, overall performance for the ASUS ROG Strix G is phenomenal. For working professionals like myself, 16GB of RAM is already a huge luxury to have. All that power enables greater productivity, especially when you need multiple applications opened all at once. It’s an excellent choice for productivity enthusiasts.

Coupled with a 512GB SSD storage plus 1TB of added storage further bolsters this machine. All that storage can handle applications for professionals, content creators, and gamers alike. Fast read times on the hard disk complements the 16GB RAM nicely. Basically, I get to open 30 tabs of Google Chrome, Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro, and the system is still fast enough to run.

Gaming with ice in your veins

It’s no surprise that an NVIDIA RTX 2060 is powerful. I don’t even have to go into detail just how great its power can be. On this device, however I have mixed feelings over it. First off, it plays your usual graphic-heavy games pretty well. Fortnite: Battle Royale records close to xx FPS set on Epic, while Apex Legends peaks at 57 FPS set close to maximum. 

Even on games with minimal graphical power required, the GPU performs above and beyond. Frames load smoothly especially during high leverage moments when you’re really into the game. My eyes kept up with what’s happening every time I get into some intense build battle with sweaty players online.

However, I felt that the RTX 2060 could do more with other hardware present. This laptop only comes with a 120Hz refresh rate, which is pretty decent. However, it literally caps a lot of your games to a threshold for your frame rate. ASUS actually has laptops similar in hardware to the ROG Strix G that offer displays with higher refresh rates. It would have been nice to offer a 144Hz refresh rate to this laptop instead of just to its 17-inch brother.

Properly cooled so you don’t accidentally burn yourself

With gaming laptops like the ROG Strix G, a great cooling system is a must. I’ve tested a lot of cooling systems for gaming laptops in the past, so I’m already expecting a hot mess. Except that, well the ROG Strix G actually proved me wrong.

The dual-fan cooling system blasts hot air at the back and at the right side (the side without any ports). The device heats up as expected when you’re going full on gamer mode or when you open heavy duty applications. What I found great about it is that the moment you stop using those applications, the device cools down relatively fast.

On most gaming laptops, I waited for an hour to an hour and 25 minutes before I wouldn’t accidentally burn myself a bit. With the ROG Strix G, it cools down in a matter of 30 to 45 minutes. Furthermore, only the top portion of the main chassis heats up, leaving your keyboard to remain cool. It stays as cool as its Glacier Blue color suggests, and to me it’s fantastic that ASUS designed it this way.

Other features that are either red hot or ice cool

For this device, anything cool is preferably how you want it. For example, I’m personally a fan of the way they integrated RGB into the laptop. From the keyboard to the three sides of the device, this device demands attention. Not everyone would like it, especially when you’re out in a Starbucks somewhere. You can dial the colors down — as long as you get the black one.

Another thing I liked about the ROG Strix G is its overall build. Putting all the display, power, and connectivity ports at the back of the device was a nice touch. To me, it keeps a lot of the wires out of the way on a normal desk setup. Also, I love the way they did the hinge for the lid and body.

But, there is one thing that proves to be red hot, it’s close to being a red flag — the laptop’s battery life. I only got around close to five hours for productive use, with that time cut in half when gaming. I literally need to bring the charger around if I want to work for longer hours. 

Putting it all together

At PhP 99,995, the ASUS ROG Strix G G531 in Glacier Blue fuses aesthetic and performance together. Performance-wise, this gaming laptop provides just the power you need for any task. Gaming on it full time is where it truly excels, all thanks to the NVIDIA RTX 2060 inside.

On top of all of that, it cools down faster after playing for a long time, something not a lot of gaming laptops possess. The overall build supplements proper cooling for the device so you don’t have to worry about things heating up unexpectedly.

Overall, this is one wonderful device to have for productive and gaming use. If you don’t mind adding a little style to your gaming habit, consider getting this cool Glacier Blue variant.

Computers

LG UltraGear 25” Gaming Monitor review: Enough to get you started

Comes with key features for your first gaming PC build

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I’ve seen a ton of people purchase full gaming PC setups since the pandemic took center stage in our lives. I’m pretty sure a lot of these people spent the past few months saving every peso they could for it. Of course, I also did it with all the money I saved up and planned every purchase very carefully.

In getting your gaming PC build, one of the more important peripherals to consider is your monitor. Most people will tell you that any monitor is okay, but experts will say that you shouldn’t just get any monitor. Apart from color accurate and bright displays, your monitor should have a high enough refresh rate to keep up.

It’s exactly what the LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor brings to the table, at least on paper. But is this worth checking out, especially for first time PC setup builders? Here’s a rundown of the specs:

It has a 23.6-inch TN FHD panel, with a 144Hz refresh rate

It comes with two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort

The design, on its own, is nothing spectacular

The LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor comes in a package you normally expect from most lightweight gaming monitors. A hardened-plastic enclosure covers the display, and the monitor even comes with a metal stand in gray and red accents. Upon unboxing, I found it relatively easy to set up and position alongside my PC setup.

Immediately, the first and only thing I noticed was the thick bezel surrounding the display. To be honest, it’s a relatively minor issue for me ever since other brands started reducing theirs. Although I would have appreciated a little more screen space, especially while playing games.

A display that meets expectations for the most part

Most gaming monitors come with high refresh rates to keep up during pressure situations. Fortunately, the LG UltraGear Gaming Monitor comes with a 144Hz panel which is more than enough. Also, it even sports a 1ms response rate so you’re able to stay at the top of your game. 

Most games I tried with this monitor performed with relative ease and no visible sign of image tearing. FPS games like CS:GO and Valorant, in my opinion, work best with this setup given that you can run these games on low-end setups.

Also, it’s quite bright and color accurate which is great for content creators. Although, in some cases, I felt that it didn’t handle dark color areas well. I tried to compensate by simply adjusting the brightness, but it didn’t do anything significantly different. At least it’s an anti-glare TN panel, so you don’t have to worry about the sun.

Comes with features that works depending on the other hardware

This monitor supports AMD’s FreeSync technology which further improves gameplay experience. Honestly, I felt this should be a standard for most gaming monitors — including those that support NVIDIA GSync. Also, there are other optimizations like Dynamic Action Sync (DAS) and motion blur reduction.

However, this monitor actually benefits you only if you’re currently rocking an AMD Radeon graphics card. Ideally, it would still work pretty well when you plug it to an NVIDIA card but expect some image tearing. It wasn’t a big issue for me since I could still apply the reduced motion blur and DAS.

Port selection for this monitor is more than enough for a normal PC setup. Two HDMI ports are available at your disposal, which is great if you want to use it for your consoles. The added DisplayPort provides more connectivity, especially since most graphics cards support it. Keep in mind though: if you plan to plug your console, don’t expect the 144Hz refresh rate.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 12,599 (US$ 257), the LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor ticks all the necessary boxes. What you have is a high refresh rate monitor with good color accuracy, and fully optimized for gaming. Combined with a great selection of ports, this monitor is a great option for your first PC build.

However, if you have strict preferences for your monitor, this might not be what you’re looking for. If you’re not a fan of thick bezels or you’re more conservative with your money, I wouldn’t practically recommend this. Also, you wouldn’t be able to fully maximize its potential if you don’t own an AMD graphics card.

All things considered, it’s enough to get you started on your gaming PC setup. Even with cheaper alternatives out there, I still recommend you give this a shot.

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Gaming

2K Sports shows off NBA 2K21 running on current-gen consoles

The first of many reveals leading up to the game’s launch

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NBA 2K21 is set for release next month, so why not start a hype train towards that? Earlier this week, 2K Sports released a full trailer showing off its latest NBA 2K title running on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. And honestly, it’s a good way to start the hype.

What they showed us was a “lights-out” gameplay trailer, which is somewhat an ode to the current NBA bubble situation. As the trailer goes, lights are out and arenas were quiet but a ton of focus still shines on basketball. The majority of the trailer showed off highlights from some of the brightest NBA stars — most of whom currently reside in the bubble.

There’s even a portion that shows off gameplay with the Black Mamba himself, donning the number 8 from his first few years with the Lakers. From high-flying dunks to the now-famous Logo Lillard buzzer-beater, this trailer has me hyped for what’s to come.

NBA 2K21 will be available on September 4, 2020 for both the Standard and Mamba Forever Edition. It will be playable on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and the Nintendo Switch upon launch. For those who will purchase the current-gen Mamba Edition, you will also receive a copy of the next-gen Standard Edition.

You can view the full trailer below:

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Gaming

Nintendo made five-fold profit thanks to Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Why are we not surprised!

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Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

While most companies are ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic, digital or internet-based companies are posting record-breaking profits. Popular game maker Nintendo is one of them. The Japanese company’s quarterly profit jumped a whopping 428 percent year-over-year.

It reported an operating profit of 144.7 billion yen (US$ 1.4 billion) in the April-June quarter, beating all street estimates and predictions. Much of the credit for this massive jump goes to its new game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The game directly contributed to increased Nintendo Switch sales.

The financial announcement noted that out of all the new Switch units that were bought and played on for the first time, more than half played ACNH on the first day. For a game, that’s a lot of demand, and this indirectly encouraged more Switch sales.

The game single-handedly contributed a 167 percent rise in new members who joined the Switch community. In total, the company managed to sell more than 3 million Switch and 2.6 million Switch Lite.

Nintendo also confirmed that it’s having delivery and supply chain issues due to the ongoing pandemic. However, it meant that supply is running slightly behind schedule and the company should be able to meet the full demand soon. Supply was hit in March but the company was able to bridge the gap in the coming weeks.

Due to the global lockdowns and travel restrictions, gaming companies have noticed a huge surge in games as well as console sales. Nintendo too benefited from this with a 230 percent rise in revenue from digital sales, accounting for about 56 percent of total software sales.

Japanese conglomerate Sony, which manages the PlayStation lineup, also reported positive results earlier this week.

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