We shot a lot of videos at PAX Prime. Everyone we talked to at the show signed a gaming laptop that we promised to give away soon after we got back from Seattle, and that time is now.
Gaming laptops are the perfect solution for a very specific group of people—they’re ideal for serious gamers who need a rig that can play demanding games while remaining somewhat portable for frequent travel or LAN parties. They aren’t slim battery life champions, and building a desktop will always get you more raw gaming power for less money, so gaming laptops aren’t the most practical solution for all gamers. That said, a great gaming laptop can play the latest games on high to ultra settings with a good 1080p screen, keyboard, and cooling system.
At $1800 (~£1130), the Asus G750JS-DS71 is our pick for best gaming laptop. The JS-DS71 configuration has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M graphics card, a quad-core Intel Core i7-4700HQ processor, and 16GB of RAM, along with a 256GB solid state drive and a 1TB hard drive to store games and other media.
It might seem pretty weird calling a £600 / $650 monitor ‘the budget option’ but that’s exactly what the Asus PB287Q is in the burgeoning 4K space. When the first 4K screens I tested cost six times as much you can probably see why I might get a bit excited about a ‘cheap’ 4K display hitting my testbench. This is the first realistically affordable monitor I’ve checked out, rocking that full 3840x2160 native resolution, and it’s lovely. I had my worries, but Asus has put together a 4K screen that can claim bargain status without looking anything like a budget monitor. How have they managed this feat when others are into four figure price tags?
My own laptop is several years old, weighs a little more than a cinder block and gives me enough time during boot-up to make a sandwich and watch a Barney Miller rerun. I am, therefore, perhaps a little more impressed by the new Asus GX500 gaming notebook revealed today at Computex 2014 than others might be. It packs a Core i7 CPU—and more importantly, a 4K display—into a laptop package less than two centimeters thick.
Surely it follows that with a new chipset should come new chips, right? And with Intel’s latest motherboard chipset, the Z97, having just launched promising support for both the Devil’s Canyon Haswell update and the next-gen Broadwell die-shrink, it’s hugely disappointing not to be sat here extolling the virtues of some fine new processors too.
But what can the new Z97 chipset offer in this first Republic of Gamers board from Asus? Well, to be fair to them quite a lot, but very little of it is actually related to Intel’s latest chipset. Right now these Z97 boards are going to live or die by their feature sets, and in typical RoG fashion Asus has thrown not just the kitchen sink, but an entire Magnet showroom at the Hero.
Asus have blinked first on the new 9-series motherboard launch, and their Z97-A is the first of the new boards to arrive in the labs. These new mobos are appearing in preparation for the launch of a slew of updated Intel processors, offering some key new features. The Asus Z97-A is one of their mid-range offerings, and should offer decent price/performance numbers.
Going to PAX East? Chances are pretty good that you'll run into the PC Gamer team. There's our panel, The (Incredible) Future of PC Gaming, happening on Friday at Noon. Evan, Tyler, and Cory will be on the show floor all weekend, just waiting for you to say hello. And if you somehow still can't find us, consider yourself invited to our very own party.
Asus are planning to expand their Republic of Gamers line-up with two new high-end Nvidia cards - The Poseidon GTX 780 and the GTX 780 Ti DirectCU II. The Poseidon will add a hybrid cooling solution to the GK 110 GPU at the core of the standard GTX 780.
Faster than Titan. That’s Asus’ claim for their latest bespoke graphics card, and by pairing up a couple of GK 104 GPUs, much like the GTX 690 before it, those claims have a certain validity.
The Asus Republic of Gamers Mars 760 graphics card is another dual-GPU monster, sticking a pair of the GTX 760’s own graphics processors onto a single slice of printed circuit board. That means it’s rocking 1,152 CUDA cores in each of its chips, for a total of 2,304 across the pair. That’s the same amount of cores as the vanilla GTX 780 and only a shade behind the GTX Titan.
Want to sail the high seas in style? We're giving away an ASUS ROG G75JH gaming notebook and a copy of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag to one lucky buccaneer. All you have to do to enter is fill out a quick survey, and like PC Gamer and Asus on Facebook. U.S. residents only.
Asus seem to be losing ground to their motherboard rivals, Intel at the moment, but they've sniped back at Intel's imposed restrictions on CPU overclocking. If you have any Asus 8-series mobo for the Haswell/4th Gen Core you can now upgrade the BIOS to allow full access to the overclocking features of Intel’s K-series processors.
These features were previously only accessible via the top-end Z87 chipset, but this was more of a marketing differentiation than a physical restriction. The unlocked CPU multipliers of the K-series Haswell CPUs - the i7-4770K and i5-4670K - can now be tweaked with abandon on all Asus’ H87 and B85-based boards as well as the Z87 mobos.
With Asus announcing pre-orders for their PQ321Q 4K PC monitor - at a wallet-sweating $3,500 - just how prepared are our rigs for 4K gaming? The answer, coming out of a quick benchmark test over at AnandTech, seems to be ‘not very.’
Well, unless you’re already rocking an ultra-enthusiast graphics card...or three.
Got three and a half thousand bucks weighing down your coin purse? There are lots of ways to lose it. Charitable contribution, perhaps, treating loved ones, paying off debts OR, if you want a sharp wall-sized flatpanel that will set your GPU on fire, you could put in a pre-order one of Asus' ginormous PQ3210 monitors.
As will probably be the way with 4K monitors for the foreseeable, the Asus PQ321Q is a pro-level 10-bit screen. That professional positioning will likely keep prices higher for 4K monitors than you’ll see in larger 4K TVs. You can already pick up - admittedly probably pretty weak - 4K TVs for around $1,200, for example.
The new 4th Gen Core processors from Intel are set to touch down around Computex time next month and in preparation Asus have announced their full line-up of Z87 motherboards. Along with a new range of gold-colouring on their standard Z87 boards, the real interesting stories are coming from the TUF (The Ultimate Force...sigh) and RoG (Republic of Gamers) ranges.
For the first time we’re going to see the RoG range dipping its techie toes into the more mainstream-priced area of the market with the slightly cut-down RoG Maximus VI Hero.
Whether you’re eager to dig around the insides of your PC or whether the mere sight of a screwdriver fills you with unearthly terror, Asus has got some seriously high-end soundcards for you. They’ve just announced the Xonar U7 and the Republic of Gamers Xonar Phoebus Solo to further strengthen their already impressive audio lineup. The Xonar U7 is a USB-powered external soundcard with a built-in headphone amp and the Xonar Phoebus Solo is an aggressive-looking PCIe internal soundcard. Both are high-end products with the updated Xonar Phoebus Solo just about edging it in terms of raw specifications.
I really, really want to love this diminutive new card from Asus. It’s fantastically well engineered and at once quicker, quieter and cooler than the reference design card from Nvidia itself. It also fits in with the recent trend of squeezing top-end gaming performance down into mini-ITX form factors.
A total graphics win, you’d have to say. Right?
Asus have unveiled their latest effort to squeeze performance components into a miniscule form factor. The diminutive GTX 670 DirectCU Mini has just landed on my desk and what they say is true; size doesn’t matter.
This card is a fully-fledged GTX 670 card measuring just 170mm tip to tail compared with just under 250mm for the reference version. But there’s no hint of compromise in order to squeeze this sort of performance into a pint-sized card, in fact Asus have managed to overclock the DirectCU Mini too.
Asus have dropped a few teaser images of their upcoming Gryphon and Z87-Deluxe motherboards on the Republic of Gamers minisite. The Z87 motherboards will house Intel’s 4th Generation Haswell Core processor architecture with the new LGA 1150 socket design. It's a few pins short of the LGA 1155, so we'll definitely need new motherboards if we want to take advantage of Intel's Haswell tech.
Has anyone in the history of computing ever wanted an 18.4-inch Android tablet? How about an 18.4-inch Android tablet that transforms into a dumb 18.4-inch display the moment you dock it into its Intel Ivy Bridge-powered stand?
Let's imagine for a moment that this was a pressing consumer demand. Well, good news, imaginary consumers! The Asus Transformer AiO (All-in-One) is the very thing you have hypothetically coveted.
The tablet portion is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU, running Android 4.1 with an as yet unnamed Ivy Bridge CPU and Nvidia GT 730M GPU sat in the PC Station stand.
This is the new Asus GTX 650-E, a low-power graphics card that takes all the juice it needs from your motherboard, without the need for a secondary power connector from the PSU itself. That means even if you don’t have a PSU capable of juicing up a standard GTX 650 you ought to be able to get Asus’ wee GPU running in your rig. Looking at Asus’ new GTX 650-E though you have to wonder why exactly Nvidia demanded a PCIe power connector as standard for the GTX 650 reference design in the first place.