Computers

ASUS Zen AiO Pro review

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ASUS has this all-in-one desktop computer that may seem kinda expensive at first (it’s $2,000!), but it’s as easy to use and set up as a regular laptop, plus it’s much more powerful. Check it out!

This is the Zen AiO Pro, which goes by the model name Z240IC. Like its name implies, it has everything you need in the package: a full-fledged Windows 10-powered computer within a large 23.8-inch 4K monitor, and both a wireless keyboard and mouse bundled inside.

Sounds a lot like an Apple iMac or Microsoft’s new Surface Studio, right? Well, ASUS does some things better and is targeting different needs, which we’ll get into now.

Look at how big and spacious the display is!

Being made of solid aluminum and weighing 7.3kg doesn’t make this travel-friendly, though

There’s more than enough room on the screen for multiple windows 

A 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) on a bright 23.8-inch display is no joke!

The back is sleek too, and has all the ports you need

Let’s see: SD card reader, microphone and headphone ports, Ethernet, two HDMI ports, four USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, and a single USB-C port — whew!

Here’s a closer look at some of the ports

The old-school USB 2.0 port (the black one) seems out of place, but it’s perfect for the receiver of the wireless keyboard and mouse

The keyboard and mouse are as basic as they come, but get the job done

The keyboard is squishy and the mouse is bland, but you can always replace them with something better

So, what exactly is powering this thing?

Our unit came with a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M to run everything. Not a bad setup, but the components are nearly two years old, and the newer chipsets from Intel and NVIDIA smoke their predecessors. Still, this configuration is enough to edit videos and photos, and even play visually intensive games on medium settings.

I was curious, so I ran The Witcher 3 and the new Doom game to see just how well they run on ASUS’ AiO PC. The Witcher 3 with its strong demand for processing power worked smoothly enough on medium settings with the more advanced options like shadows and hair effects toned down. Doom was a little more forgiving on medium settings, and would let me turn up some graphics options to pull off prettier visuals at around 40 frames per second. Not something a hardcore gamer would like to hear, but definitely satisfactory for casual gamers who enjoy the newer 3D games.

Do note that these games were played on a downscaled Full HD 1080p resolution to handle the intense graphics. A GTX 960M is in no way good enough to take on 4K gaming, which is better left for real desktop graphics cards like the GTX 1080. On the bright side, the downward-firing speakers have a strong punch to them, and are generous in the bass department — perfect for Netflix and YouTube watching, as well.

But the most impressive pair of components in the Zen AiO Pro are the 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD. If you read our explainer on the two storage mediums, you’d know this is the most optimized setup you can get. By having the operating system run on the faster SSD, boot-ups and navigating through the system are consistently fast, and you still have 1TB of space on the HDD for all your personal files and large apps.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

This is one of those instances when you have to think long and hard before making a purchase. On one hand, the Zen AiO Pro is built for nearly every sort of task and is complete out the box; on the other hand, it’s far more expensive than conventional desktop computers and you could easily build one for a fraction of the price with even better components.

You’re paying for the convenience here; being able to plug in this computer with a single cable and nothing more is such a relief in a small office space or tight apartment. It’s so well made too, and the fact you don’t have to go out and buy a separate keyboard-mouse combo makes the deal even sweeter.

Then again, you could buy a premium laptop like the ZenBook 3 for less than this, and it would also save space and run through apps nearly as well — you’d just have to give up the desktop-level display and gaming performance.

The model we reviewed is available in the Philippines for PhP 99,995, which matches the average international price of $2,000. There are more affordable configurations out there with slower processors and weaker graphics cards, but it totally depends on where you reside.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenBook 3 review

Computers

Samsung’s latest 2.5-inch SSD has record 30TB of storage

Yet another world record by Samsung

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We were already impressed by the 512GB microSD card and 2TB flash drive, so you can imagine our collective jaws dropping when we found out Samsung released a 30TB solid state drive (SSD).

Yes, this an SSD and not the slower mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) that normally reaches this storage level.

Labeled as the PM1643, it’s the most spacious 2.5-inch SSD in the world. The previous record holder happened to be Samsung as well when the company launched a 15.36TB SSD back in 2016.

The exact amount is 30.72TB coming from 32 units of 1TB NAND flash. Its 2,100MB/s sequential read and 1,700MB/s write speeds outdo most consumer SSDs thanks to 40GB of built-in RAM.

As you can obviously tell, this is meant for enterprise users and will cost a sum as crazy as the storage itself — exactly how much is not yet known.

And because it uses the newer Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface, don’t expect this to connect to your desktop PC or notebook.

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Computers

Steam Lunar New Year Sale is live!

Hold on to your wallets and pray it survives

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It’s time to roll up our sleeves, hold on to our bleeding and weeping wallets, and pray for the almighty Gaben because the Steam’s Lunar New Year Sale has officially begun.

The sale will run until February 19. Some of the discounted titles include:

Cuphead

US$ $16.99 19.99

BUY HERE

NBA 2K18

US$ 38.99 59.99

BUY HERE

Pyre

US$ 9.99 19.99

BUY HERE

Nioh: Complete Edition

US$ 34.99 49.99

BUY HERE

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege – Complete Edition

US$ 90.99 129.99

BUY HERE

Sniper Elite 4

US$ 20.39 59.99

BUY HERE

The Evil Within 2

US$ 29.99 59.99

BUY HERE

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Game of the Year Edition

US$ 19.99 49.99

BUY HERE

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

US$ 29.99 59.99

BUY HERE

Tekken 7

US$ 24.99 49.99

BUY HERE

Steam also rolled out improvements to Steam Wishlists. The update includes more ways to filter and categorize your options, as well as customizing relevant information. Viewing Early Access and review scores have also been tweaked to notify you as soon as changes have been made. The patch was released just today here.

SEE ALSO: Top 9 Steam Holiday Sale Deals

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Computers

Integral Memory announces world’s first 512GB microSD card

When you want more space

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How much storage do you need for your Android device? Most phones nowadays start at 32GB of internal storage and go up to 256GB depending on the configuration. But, what if that’s not enough? If your phone supports storage expansion via microSD card, this might satisfy your need for more bytes.

UK-based Integral Memory just announced the world’s first 512GB microSDXC card. We’ve reached the point where our phones have more storage than our slim notebooks.

The tiny memory card is fully compatible with Android smartphones and tablets. It’s guaranteed to avoid bottlenecks, especially when used with apps, unlike other cheap memory cards in the market. It’s not only for phones though, it’s also for digital cameras, action cameras, drones, camcorders, and PCs that accept microSDXC cards.

With this large storage, what’s the catch? Unfortunately, it’s the speed. The 512GB microSDXC card only meets the Video Class 10 standard for Full HD recording. To be specific, the card has a V10, UHS-I Class 1 specification and can handle transfer speeds up to 80MB/s. This means high bit rate 4K video recording might be challenging for the card.

The 512GB microSDXC card will be available some time in February 2018. No pricing info yet, but the full specifications of the card is available on Integral Memory’s website.

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