Computers

Water-cooled ROG GX800 is ASUS’ latest mobile gaming behemoth

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Just as you thought water-cooling in a gaming notebook was overkill with last year’s ROG GX700, ASUS has upped the ante once again with its successor, the ROG GX800. Built with the same monstrous cooling system, the latest gaming laptop is now equipped with Intel’s most powerful Core i7 mobile processor and a pair of graphics cards that work together.

ASUS hasn’t specified which NVIDIA cards are being offered, but it’s safe to assume they’ll come from the recently launched GeForce GTX 1080 series. With the ability to overclock the notebook’s components using the bundled water-cooling unit, this would make the GX800 the most powerful gaming notebook on the market by several miles.

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ASUS’ GX800 has two graphics cards inside and one clever way to cool them off.

The Taipei-based company already claims the GX800’s dual-GPU setup is 236 percent more powerful than a single GTX 980 graphics card. We’ll have to see how real-world tests hold up to the benchmarks, but it’ll most likely blow away whatever you’re playing on right now.

What makes the ASUS notebook extra tempting – and a lot more expensive – is the inclusion of a full-fledged mechanical keyboard complete with colorful LED lighting. It’s quite a rare feature to have in any kind of laptop, and will provide much more responsive inputs while gaming, bringing the experience closer to an actual PC gaming setup.

Oh, and it comes with two 330W adapters, meaning it’ll draw more power than most desktop computers. Don’t think for a second that such a setup would consume only as much juice as your everyday notebook.

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The ROG G31 resembles the insides of an alien mothership.

Speaking of dual graphics card setups, ASUS also unveiled its latest gaming desktop PC, the ROG G31 Edition 10.

Like the GX800, the tenth-anniversary edition G31 follows up on last year’s similarly compact ROG G20 gaming PC by adding another graphics card to the setup. You now get the newest Intel Core i7 processor and two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards in a space-efficient 20-liter case.

You’ll have to hook up the G31 to a separate keyboard, mouse, and monitor like any other desktop computer, but once everything is in place, you’ll be treated to competitively smooth gaming in resolutions up to 4K.

Full specifications and pricing are still out of reach for both gaming devices. If they’re anything like their predecessors, expect the ROG GX800 to go beyond P250,000 and the G31 Edition 10 to cost way more than the G20’s average price of P65,000.

Computers

ASUS Vivo AiO (V272) review: All-in-one goodness?

A complete desktop PC that simply works

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As a person who builds his own desktop computers and thrives on portable laptops for his on-the-go lifestyle, I admit there are times I just want a PC that can do it all — minus all the hassle of plugging accessories in and finding wall sockets for charging.

That’s exactly what an all-in-one computer aims to do, and the ASUS Vivo AiO is the latest example.

Much like the Zen AiO Pro I reviewed last year, this model only needs a single power cable to get things running. Everything else is already built in or simply wireless. Now, that’s convenience!

Here’s what it can do

Make no mistake about it: This AiO PC is quite big. With a 27-inch LCD on its adjustable base, it takes some effort to take this 8.5kg computer out of its box and setting it on a table. From there, however, the rest of the setup becomes pleasantly easy.

All you have to do is plug in the power cable, insert the wireless keyboard and mouse’s dongle into an open USB port, and you’re all set! Powering the unit on happens by pressing a somewhat hidden button at the back of the display.

You’ll then be greeted by a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, which isn’t that dense for a 27-inch panel, but it does allow the system to run more smoothly since fewer pixels have to be pushed at a given time. ASUS claims it has a 100 percent sRGB color gamut, which is great for editing photos and videos more accurately.

Some variants of the Vivo AiO come with a touchscreen. This is kinda unusual to have on a desktop computer, but if it’s already there, then why not, right? Still, I would stick to using the keyboard and mouse, and leave the touch gestures to your laptop or smartphone.

I’m saying this because the bundled wireless mouse and keyboard are actually quite good. While not mechanical or gaming-optimized in any sense, they’re ergonomic and work well on all sorts of surfaces with no noticeable input lag.

Despite having everything in one solid piece, there are enough ports to go around.

Underneath the display, you get a single USB port, which I found to be a perfect spot to plug in the keyboard-mouse receiver, as well as a 3.5mm audio port for your headphones or external speakers.

At the back is a decent selection of ports, from USB 3.1 to HDMI and Ethernet. The only head-scratching omission is USB-C, which is becoming increasingly common on smartphones and thin notebooks. Even ASUS’ own phones and laptops are committed to the port, so it’s strange to see it missing here.

Design-wise, my main complaint is the location of the webcam. It’s situated on the bottom bezel, allowing it to look up your nose during video calls. ASUS brags about the display’s 81 percent screen-to-body ratio, but I would’ve been fine with some bezel up top to house the front camera instead.

Even though you can tilt the unit by a few degrees to find your sweet spot, you sadly can’t adjust the height to remedy the poorly placed webcam.

What exactly can it run?

One look at the specifications sheet, and you can tell what this machine is meant for.

My review unit is equipped with an Intel Core i7-8550U, 8GB of memory, and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics chip. This setup means the Vivo AiO can handle light workloads such as Microsoft Office, Chrome, and Photoshop with ease, but anything visually heavy will make it struggle a bit.

Like most AiO computers, upgrading components is a pain, so you’ll have to settle for whatever configuration you pay for from the start, so choose wisely.

During my time with this unit, I didn’t experience any lag while browsing websites, writing articles, and editing photos — all at the same time. That’s largely thanks to the quad-core Core i7 processor with Hyper-threading, giving you eight logical cores in total.

It’s only when I fired up a couple of graphically demanding games when the system couldn’t keep up.

For kicks, I played some Final Fantasy XV on this thing. As expected, I was forced to endure the lowest graphics settings on 1080p. However, to my surprise, the game managed to run at a consistent 30 frames per second, which made it totally playable. Any title less power-hungry than Final Fantasy XV such as Fortnite or PUBG — will definitely run more smoothly.

Video editing on Premiere Pro is enjoyable on the large monitor and its powerful stereo speakers, but don’t expect rendering to be seamless. Still, I highly recommend getting a configuration with both an SSD and HDD to speed up the processing and provide you with enough storage, respectively. My setup has a standard 128GB M.2 SSD and 1TB HDD.

All in with the all-in-one?

In a nutshell, this is pretty much the Windows equivalent of an iMac. And like an Apple product, the Vivo AiO simply works. There’s no cumbersome setup process or annoying cables and dongles to deal with; plug it in and you’re set.

Who is this for other than iMac users wanting to jump ship? I’d say Windows users who want more screen real estate than what a laptop offers, yet need to save as much desk space as possible. An AiO like this is by far easier to transfer from one point to another compared to a traditional desktop PC with its separate monitor and multitude of cables.

Of course, this costs more than a custom-built PC spec-for-spec. You may buy a Vivo AiO with a starting price of US$ 1,000, but you could assemble a more powerful rig for less.

It ultimately comes down to convenience versus power. Which one will it be for you this time? Take a long look at your work space and decide from there.

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Computers

AMD unveils powerful 32-core Threadripper 2

More cores for more powerful performance

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AMD announced the arrival of its new CPU at Computex 2018, and it promises to bring more power to modern computers out there. We’re talking about Threadripper 2, a more powerful update than its predecessor — bringing with it 32 CPU cores. That’s more than enough for multitasking, photo and video editing, and gaming, too!

Threadripper 2 features the latest 12mm Zen+ architecture from AMD, the same architecture found in the latest Ryzen CPUs. Desktops running Threadripper 2 are expected to consume less power when running a ton of applications all at once. The Zen+ architecture also allows for better security and compatibility with the latest hardware available.

AMD says that Threadripper 2 will work on motherboards with an X399 architecture with its 250W power requirement, much more than its predecessor at 180W. However, older X399 motherboards might not be able to meet the power requirement for the new CPU, especially if you plan to maximize the CPU through overclocking. AMD’s partners are expected to launch newer X399 motherboards to accommodate the greater demands of the Threadripper 2.

AMD says that the new Threadripper 2 will clock in at 3.0GHz, less than the 3.4GHz the original Threadripper had. These are still subject to changes as more tests and benchmarks will be done before its official launch. At this speed, however, AMD caters to users who want to maximize the CPU for heavy workloads.

Threadripper 2 will be available in both a 24-core CPU and its flagship 32-core CPU for heavier workloads. Although AMD has not yet announced prices for the new CPU, the company expects its launch to be in the third quarter of 2018.

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Computers

Intel reveals Core i7-8086K Limited Edition for its anniversary

And you can win one for yourself!

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When you celebrate your anniversary, you gotta go all out. If you’re a major brand, you need to release something that loyal fans want — even better if it’s given away for free!

That’s exactly what Intel is doing. Today at Computex 2018, the chipset maker unveiled its limited edition Core i7-8086K processor for desktop computers. Sure, it may not be a higher-end Core i9 model, but this one is fast, fast, fast.

On top of its base frequency of 4GHz, it can be boosted up to 5GHz. And since it’s a desktop chipset, it owns six cores with hyper-threading, providing you with 12 logical cores on the system.

This announcement comes at a perfect time: 40 years after the original Intel 8086 chip was released. It was the first processor with the x86 architecture, which is still being used today. This is also Intel 50th year in existence.

Because this is a “K” model, you can overclock it for even crazier clock speeds. Expect PC enthusiasts to try this as soon as the product goes on sale on June 8.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but there’s better news: Intel will be giving away 8,086 units of its limited edition processor! This is a real promotion, and you can join the sweepstakes right here.

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