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

[irp posts=”10098″ name=”ASUS ZenBook 3 review”]

Computers

Intel 9th-Gen Core processors feature ‘world’s best gaming processor’

Headlined by the Core i9-9900K

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Intel’s latest lineup of desktop processors, dubbed the 9th generation, were unveiled earlier today in an event in New York. They’re headlined by the Core i9-9900K, which Intel calls the “world’s best gaming processor.”

It’s definitely a powerful chip, owning eight cores and 16 threads with a single-core turbo frequency of 5GHz and base speed of 3.6GHz. It offers all sorts of speed boosts compared to the previous generation, but you’ll need a Z390-based motherboard to reach its full potential.

Included in the lineup are the Core i7-9700K and i5-9600K, which are equipped with eight and six cores, respectively — no extra threads here. All three chips, unfortunately, are still based on the 14nm process introduced years ago, with Intel releasing an updated 10nm process only in 2019.

Pricing is as follows: US$ 488 for the Core i9-9900K, US$ 374 for the Core i7-9700K, and US$ 262 for the Core i5-9600K. Pre-orders begin today with a rollout happening later in October.

In addition, Intel announced seven new Intel Core X-series processors, which include the Core i9-9980XE (US$ 1,979), i9-9960X (US$ 1,684), i9-9940X (US$ 1,387), i9-9920X (US$ 1,189), i9-9900X (US$ 989), i9-9820X (US$ 898), and i7-9800X (US$ 589). All will become available by November.

Built on Intel’s Mesh Architecture, the top-of-the-line model holds 18 cores with 36 threads to handle the most demanding tasks needed by professionals. Even wilder is the upcoming Intel Xeon W-3175X and its 28 core and 56 thread count, but it has no price yet —  only a release date of December 2018.

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Computers

NAIA caught using a pirated copy of Windows

No Windows seats available

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As the famous idiom goes, death and taxes are the only constants in our lives. Given the abject nature of death, you’d think that taxes would, at least, work for everyone’s benefit. However, as every taxpayer knows, taxes don’t always end up for the common good.

Ever since taxes were invented, we wondered if our hard-earned money ended up contributing to government projects. At the very least, we hoped that it improved our government’s facilities.

Unfortunately, here’s one thing that our taxes are definitely not funding: government computers. As spotted on Reddit, NAIA’s computer screens are running illegitimate copies of Windows 7.

Around the Philippine airport, massive monitors update travelers on current flight times and statuses. Pictured by the eagle-eyed u/LyraStark, one monitor snuck out of full-screen mode and erroneously unveiled the taskbar. More than blocking out the flights, the taskbar also revealed the oddity with NAIA’s computers.

As most are probably familiar with, Windows notifies users when the system detects anomalies with the installation. If Windows figures out that your copy is pirated, you’ll get more than your fair share of reprimands. As you might expect, Microsoft isn’t keen on piracy.

Strangely, neither is the Philippine government. Despite having one of the world’s largest markets for it, the government has notoriously frowned upon pirated media and software. As such, NAIA’s blunder comes as an ironic shock.

Through comments, users have started wondering whether the illegitimate install took a slot in the airport’s budget. Some speculate that most government institutions run pirated software as well. Meanwhile, a few people think that genuine copies can mistakenly show the same notification.

Regardless, at the very least, the issue is something we can laugh about. Like the everyday user, the government doesn’t see the point in paying huge fees for Windows products.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft recalls Windows October update due to deleting issues

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Computers

Microsoft recalls Windows October update due to deleting issues

Don’t update your PC yet!

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For most Windows users, installing the latest update represents a paramount concern for different reasons. To some, new updates add much-needed security patches to their beloved operating system. To the rest, Windows’ incessant reminders are just a chore.

Regardless of where their users place, Windows updates are an important part of Microsoft’s ecosystem. As such, a single hitch can collapse an unprecedented chunk of Microsoft’s users.

Now, that eventuality is upon us. This October, the latest Windows update is reportedly deleting a user’s files out of the blue. According to Windows support forums, some users’ Documents folders have completely vanished, replaced by a fresh one.

In response, Microsoft has pulled the update from its downloads section. Unfortunately, the update promised its fair share of new features. This included a new dark mode, optimized screen functionality, and better mobile-to-PC connectivity. With the recall, these new features will have to wait.

According to Microsoft, the company will investigate these “isolated reports” before launching a new update rollout.

Strangely, this issue has popped up even before the rollout. Some user reports date as early as three months ago. This time frame corresponds to users who signed up for the early-access Windows Insider Program. At the time, only a few users reported the issue. On launch, the few ballooned into a concerning number. Essentially, Microsoft failed to fix the issue before it cascaded into a bigger problem.

At the very least, the company has acknowledged the issue’s gravity. Instead of carrying on business as usual, Microsoft is undergoing steps to fix a crucial mistake. Hopefully, this results to a cleaner update launches in the future.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft refreshes product lineup with Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2

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