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.
Republic of Gamers
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 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.
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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.
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.