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Monday, 24 July 2017

Asus ROG’s latest motherboard for Ryzen is loaded with fan headers

A new flagship motherboard is born

 
Little by little, Asus is fleshing out its socket AM4 motherboard lineup for builders who are looking to assemble a system around Ryzen. It's newest offering, the Crosshair VI Extreme from its ROG division, is based on the top-end X370 chipset and takes pole position with a bevy of a features geared towards enthusiasts and overclockers, including a whopping 13 fan headers.

All of those fan headers are there to support both air and liquid cooling setups. If you still find yourself in need of a few more headers, we'd like to see a picture of your decked out build. Also, this board supports a fan extension card from Asus that brings the total number of fan headers up to 16.

For those who plan to liquid cooler, there is a special header for monitoring monoblock temperatures, flow rates, and leak detection circuits. On top of that, Asus has partnered with Bitspower to produce a monoblock made specifically for this motherboard (not included).

While on the topic of headers, you'll find one for addressable light strips to allow for control of each individual LED and advanced effects, along with two more for conventional LED strips.

Two of the board's PCIe x16 slots are reinforced with metal and spaced wide to accommodate 2.5-slot graphics card. There is also a third, non-reinforced PCIe x16 slot for three-way configurations, and three PCIe x1 slots.

Other goodies include a whole bunch of USB connectors, onboard 802.11ac Wi-Fi with an upgraded 2x2 antenna, Bluetooth 4.1, SupremeFX S1220 audio, and M.2 connectivity for newer SSDs.

Asus says the ROG Crossfire IV Extreme will be available in early August for $349.

Show off your build with Thermaltake's new tempered glass mid-tower case

This case has tempered glass panels on both sides

 
If your PC building and cable management skills are far too good to be ignored, Thermaltake has a case that will help you show it all off. It's the View 21 Tempered Glass Edition, which is a mid-tower version of its bigger View 31. Like that case, it has tempered glass panels on both sides, so there's really no hiding a sloppy build.

That also means an opportunity to put your PC building talent on full display, especially if you're OCD about making sure every inch of your system is neat and tidy. Each side panel is 4mm thick and held in place with thumb screws. They're also large in size to give a full view of the interior.

To help keep things nice and neat, there is a full length PSU cover where you can hide cables, since stuffing them all willy-nilly behind the motherboard tray is not an option, at least if you're hoping to showcase a clean build.

For your storage devices, the View 21 mid-tower comes with two 2.5-inch and two 3.5-inch drive mounts, which can be installed in the front (up to two) and right side (up to four).

The View 21 also supports liquid cooling with room for up to a 360mm radiator in the front of the chassis and a 120mm radiator in the rear. And for air cooling, it ships with a 120mm fan installed in the back, with room to add up to five more 120mm fans throughout.

Thermaltake did not say when this case will be available or for how much.
Originally Reported by PCGamer.com

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

HyperX launches two compact mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX switches

Cherry picking your keyboard

 
Kingston is adding two new mechanical keyboards under its HyperX gaming division, the HyperX Alloy FPS and HyperX Alloy Elite. Both sport a solid-steel frame, use Cherry MX key switches, and are relatively compact, though the Alloy FPS is a bit smaller as it ditches the dedicated number pad (otherwise known as tenkeyless, or TKL).

Starting with the larger of the two, the Alloy Elite measures 444mm x 226.8mm x 36.3mm and weighs a little under 1.5kg. It has a single color (red) backlight with six LED modes and four brightness levels to play with. The Alloy Elite also features a 1,000Hz polling rate, 100 percent anti-ghosting, and USB 2.0 pass-through with two USB 2.0 ports available.

There are dedicated media controls on the Alloy Elite, along wit ha large volume wheel and quick access buttons for brightness, lighting effects, and to toggle game mode on and off.

HyperX includes a set of textured WASD keys and silver colored (though non-textured) 1234 keys that you can swap out using the bundled key puller.

The Alloy Elite will be available starting August 21 for $110. Buyers will be able to choose between Cherry MX Blue, Red, and Brown key switches.

HyperX's Alloy FPS Pro is similar to the Alloy Elite except that it does not have a number pad and is overall a smaller plank as a result—it measures 359mm x 130mm x 34.5mm and weighs 900g.

Also different is that the Alloy FPS Pro lets you adjust the backlight with five brightness levels instead of four, and it has a single USB 2.0 connector instead of two.

The Alloy FPS Pro will also be available August 21, but for $80 and only with Cherry MX Red key switches.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

MSI is readying an RGB headset with 7.1 virtual surround and swappable ear cups

Build for comfort

Do you even RGB, bro? Don't worry, we want to slap ourselves on the back of the head for asking that silly question, though it's getting increasingly difficult to answer "No." RGB lighting is everywhere you look, including on MSI's new GH70 Gaming headset. From what we can see, it's actually pretty tactful, as far as these things go.

Using MSI's Mystic Light utility, you can choose from millions of colors and various effects to dazzle (or annoy) onlookers. The utility also allows you to sychronize and coordinate colors and effects with your gaming rig and other peripherals.

Lighting aside, this looks like a promising headset. It uses large 50mm neodymium drivers with "hi-res certification." It also comes with an in-line volume control with a switch to toggle virtual 7.1 surround sound.

Here are the rated specs for the drivers:

  •     Speaker sensitivity: 100 dB +/- 3 dB
  •     Speaker impedance: 32 ohm
  •     Speaker frequency response: 20 Hz ~ 40 kHz

For voice chat, the GH70 uses a retractable unidirectional microphone. It has a rated frequency response of 100 Hz ~ 10 kHz and rated sensitivity of -40 dB +/1 3 dB.

MSI says it built this headset with a focus on comfort and portability. The ear cups are replaceable and can be swapped out for a fresh fit (it comes with both cloth and leather ear cups), and like many headsets, they swivel to make the headset easier to carry. It also comes with a carry pouch, in case you want to be fancy.

The GH70 will be available sometime this month. MSI did not say how much they will cost.
Info Source PCGamer.com

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Asus crafted an ambidextrous RGB mouse with swappable Omron switches

This rodent uses magnetic side buttons for a customized fit

 
The plight of the left-handed gamer is that peripheral makers tend to heavily favor their right-handed brethren. Every so often, an ambidextrous design emerges in the world of gaming mice, though according to Asus, they're mostly crap designs (we're liberally paraphrasing here) that often result in accidental button clicks. With that in mind, Asus and its ROG division just announced the Pugio, a better designed ambidextrous rodent.

As far as Asus is concerned, what makes the Pugio superior to other ambidextrous mice is the use of magnetic side buttons (though the same feature can be found on Logitech's G900). Rather than accidentally clicking on a side button that you're not used to dealing with (or being distracted by them when they're disabled), you can remove the buttons on either side of the Pugio and replace them with covers. You can also choose between two or four buttons on either side.

That is the primary selling point of the Pugio, though it offers more than just removable side buttons. It is equipped with a 7,200 DPI optical sensor and uses Omron D2FC-F-K switches (made in China) that are rated for 50 million clicks. It also comes with additional Omron D2F-01F switches (made in Japan) that you can swap out if desired, and is compatible with several others to suit your preference—just remove four screws on the bottom of the rodent, pull back the cover, and yank out the switches. There is a pretty decent guide on the different Omron switch types here.

There is a DPI switch to toggle between two preset sensitivity levels, along with a separate button to lower the actuation force and travel distance required for each click. And of course the Pugio sports customizable RGB lighting.

The Asus ROG Pugio releases to retail today and costs $90.
Disclaimer - Originally reported by PCGamer

MSI launches a featured-packed X299 motherboard tuned for high overclocks

A new flagship emerges

MSI went all out on its new X299 XPower Gaming AC, a top-shelf motherboard that offers up just about every modern amenity you can think of. Built to handle Intel's Core X series processors, the X299 XPower Gaming AC features a 14 phase (12+1+1) power design with loadline calibration to help keep overclocks stable.

Beyond the tight power regulation and premium components, the X299 XPower Gaming AC is loaded with features, including a pair of second generation heat shields for M.2 SSDs. Whereas the original heat shield design was found to actually increase temps by trapping heat inside, MSI claims its new design does a better job and prevents fast NVMe M.2 SSDs from throttling. Color us cautiously optimistic until some outside testing can be performed.

The new motherboard supports up to 128GB of DDR4-4133+ (OC) quad-channel memory. It also has four PCI-Express x16 slots, a single PCI-Express x1 slot, 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, three M.2 slots, and a single U.2 slot.

For external connectivity, users have access to plenty of USB ports, including six USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port, a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, and two USB 2.0 ports on the rear. There are also USB 3.1 and 2.0 headers.

The rear I/O is home to dual Intel LAN ports, though it's not clear if the motherboard supports port aggregation. MSI also includes an Intel Wireless-AC card. Both wired and wireless solutions come with bandwidth management and traffic prioritization.

This is a heavily armored motherboard, both for sturdiness and to prevent electromagnetic interference (EMI), in case that's something you struggle with. It also features isolated memory circuitry to help with performance and stability.

Audio circuitry is also isolated. It's powered by Nahimic 2+ and has an added audio cover and golden audio connectors.

Unfortunately MSI did not say when the X299 XPower Gaming AC will be available or for how much.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

ID-Cooling's Hunter Duet cools both your graphics card and CPU together

A true all-in-one solution.

 
Most all-in-one liquid coolers focus on a single component, either the processor or graphics card. A relatively select few cool multiple components. ID-Cooling's Hunter Duet is one of them, and now the company has come out with an improved version that offers better coolant pressure and ultimately lower temps.

The second generation Hunter Duet II is said to increase heat dissipation for both the CPU and GPU by 50 percent, TechPowerUp reports. That is due to having a bigger radiator—it now measures 360mm x 120mm, versus the 240mm x 120mm that was used for the original Hunter Duet.

Similar to its predecessor, the Hunter Duet II includes two pump blocks, one for the CPU and another for the GPU. It also comes with a cooling shroud and fan for the graphics card, which blows air over the aluminum heatsinks that cover the memory and VRM.

In addition to a bigger radiator, which ships with three fans attached, the Hunter Duet II adds support for new CPU sockets including AM4, LGA2066, LGA2011v3, LGA115x, AM3(+), and FM2(+). As for the GPU, the cooler supports most cards with mount-hole spacing of 58.4mm and 53.3mm.

There is not word yet on when this cooler will be available or for how much. As a point of reference, the original Hunter Duet debuted at $140 (MSRP) two years ago.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Asus Cerberus Mech RGB Review

The fire breathing Cerberus from Asus just went mechanical but is it good enough to burn down the competition?


Asus has always been a brand better known for their top of the line motherboards and graphics cards, their quality has almost been second to none making their hardware a fan's favorite and an eye candy for professional overclockers and PC enthusiasts! Lately they've been roaming in new waters of the peripheral division and have been very aggressive especially with their Cerberus lineup of headsets, mouse and keyboards.
Thanks to Asus India I have with me today one of their latest launches in form of the Asus Cerberus Mech RGB Gaming Keyboard which happens to be their first ever mechanical keybaord in the budget oriented Cerberus lineup.

Coming in at Rs 5200 the latest Asus Cerberus keyboard adds mechanical key-switches to the range and is thus aptly named the Asus Cerberus Mech RGB keyboard. Asus has chosen to equip the fully mechanical Kaihua RGB switches and will make them available in Red, Blue, Brown and Black feel/action varieties. Asus says that the Kaihua switches offer a lifespan of up to 70-million keystrokes. Furthermore, full anti-ghosting and N-key rollover (NKRO) technology ensures that every keystroke is logged.
Programmable RGB back-lighting means that all the keys on the Asus Cerberus Mech RGB can be tailored to match your style / gaming preferences. Asus provides seven built-in lighting effects in customizable colors.
Hotkeys can be a blessing, and the latest Cerberus keyboard features a full set of media keys plus on-the-fly macro recording. A Windows key lock makes sure you don't interrupt your gaming by an accidental press of this otherwise useful key.

What's in the Box?


Asus has packed the Cerberus Mech RGB in a thick box which let me tell you is quite heavy and thick for a keybaord of this stature. I've seen more expensive and bigger keyboards packed in boxes that are much thinner or flimsier than this one, good to see that Asus has taken care of such a basic but important stuff over here.
The front is decorated with a rendered image of the keybaord along with the Cerberus on the right in all its flames and glory or heads and glory or whatever describes it best! The product name and logo are printed in bold on the top lefty corner which makes it quite attractive and practice.

At the back you can find a well labeled color diagram of the keybaord with the various features marked and neatly enlisted. Also some more details and specifications are on the right. So all in all its a basic design and the back with nothing much going on.
One thing that I didn't like about the packing is that nowhere on the box is it mentioned the switch type of this keyboard for the user to know what they are buying into, mine is a Kaihua Red switch variant but I can't seem to fin this written anywhere on the box or inside the manual.

Open the box and we can find the Cerberus RGB perched between two thick blocks of molded foam blocks for some extra padding to keep the product safe during bumpy transit. A swappable keys, quick start guide and VIP Member Warranty leaflet is also inside to aid the buyer with various things.

Take a stare at the Cerberus!


The Cerberus from its first looks is nothing close to the persona of a conventional gaming keybaord that we are used to. Its a simple rectangular keybaord with matte black finish and all the basic keys that one would want on their keybaord.

Even though the unit measures in at 448 x 150 x 35mm which is quite compact it weights in at 1250g which is quite heavy for a unit of this size! You can feel the weight when you lift the keyboard off the table especially in the middle where it feels to be the heaviest.

At the back the keyboard dis plain and simple with nothing special to discuss. Its all plastic and has two grip pads at the bottom and two feet for tilting the keybaord if one wants to. The plastic used over here feels somewhat cheap and the two slots at the bottom seem to indicate that Asus originally planned to add a wrist rest to the Cerberus Mech RGB but withdrew at the last moment probably as a  cost cutting measure. Since mine is a review sample that came freshly baked out of the oven, I guess they'll rectify this by either adding a wrist rest or removing these slots from the main body in their upcoming review/retail samples.

What I love about the design is that the entire front or upper body so to say of the Cerberus Mech RGB is rubberized, say no to oily fingers, which is smooth and feels really very good when touched. It might gather dust particles in the long run but then it feels and looks so good that I can live with that much hassle. This strategy not only gives the keybaord an aesthetic appeal but it also saves Asus the cost of using an premium grade plastic for the body to make it look good and make the paint last, clever strategy guys!

The keyboard comes with a long braided cable that ends up into a gold plated USB 2.0 port for maximum compatibility & optimum signal transfer. The cable is not too stubborn when it comes to straightening it out so you don't have to worry about kinky wires hanging below your desk.

On the top right corner we have three embossed LED backlit indicators for Num Lock, Caps Lock and the Gaming Mode. The color of these indicators always remains blue and does not animate with the rest of the keyboard lighting scheme. I would have loved to see them be in harmony with the rest of the keybaord but sadly it isn't!

The Cerberus comes with good quality key caps that offer considerable grip both while typing aswell as during gaming sessions. Asus has also included four extra textured key caps along with a key plug to swap any default cap according to the user's will. These caps somewhat feel awkward to me since not only their color is too bright making them the odd ones out on the keybaord but I also find them a bit too cheap and flimsy. They just don't feel a part of the package no matter how hard you try to convince yourself.

These keys are not printed with non printed or marked so as to make them a a universal replacement for any key on the board. If compared with the standard key cap we can see that these are textured for extra grip to ensure a slip free experience during typing or gaming. Probably these are for gaming only since I don't find any other use of them otherwise.


Pop any of the caps and you will see the Kailh Red switches from Kaihua lying underneath. Kaihua is a Chinese brand founded in 1990 that created the Kailh switches for keyboards and while they are not the most popular options to go with, their mechanical switches are quite decent from what I've heard and read. These Kailh Red switches have an actuation force of 50g and 1.1mm depth which is somewhat lesser than the CherryMX Speed or Red switches which are fairly popular. How good they are we'll see in our testing further ahead in the review.

I love the fact that even though its not a top of the line mechanical keyboard it doesn't suffer from the LED light bleeding issue that some high end keybaord do. The lights are properly defused and glow in a soothing fashion without any unnecessary shine. This has been primarily achieved by lower cap height and also by the fact that the keyboard has a fencing at the sides and bottom that traces along the keys giving them a depressed look! Its a good design that looks good and also does some practical work.

Customization - Everything is onboard!


The Asus Cerberus doesn't comes with any software or suite to aid one for programming the macros or making various customizations be it in terms of LEDs patterns or brightness, everything is done via various combinations of the on board buttons.
There are two vital keys on the keybaord that need to be used for almost all the customization settings namely as the Function Key near the bottom right and the right ALT key which has a Macro function.

On-the-fly macro recording


Dedicated macro keys let you execute complex commands with a single press. Your macros are stored in the keyboard, so they are available even if you use Cerberus Mech RGB with multiple PCs.
Step 1: Press Fn + Right-Alt to start recording.
Step 2: Type the key sequence you want to record.
Step 3: Press Fn + Right-Alt to end recording.
Step 4: Assign a macro key
The macro Key can be assigned to any key on the keyboard, you can even swap two keys in case you want to for a particular reason. These macros are easily re-writable and by using Fn + Esc you can erase every Macro assigned fora  clean reset. Unlike software based Macro programming you cannot mix and match mouse and keyboard commands over here so keep that in mind, for mouse based functions you will have to use keyboard shortcuts for the same.
Gaming profiles recording
Set different macros and keyboard backlighting for specific games by the same method as given above but program to the profile to any of the Function keys from F1 to F5.

Windows key lock


Temporarily disable the Windows key to prevent interruptions to your game from accidental key presses. This can be done by pressing the Fn+F6 where you can swap between the gaming and PC mode. The lighting modes for the Gaming and PC modes are also different for one to make out on which mode the keyboard is set at on a particular moment.
Multimedia control keys
Adjust the volume or mute audio without leaving your game on the fly by using the below combinations -
Fn + F7: Mute
Fn + F8: Volume Down
Fn + F9: Volume Up
Fn + F10: Play / Pause
Fn + F11: Previous Track
Fn + F12: Next Track

This is basically a cost saving move I'd say since dedicated media keys can be assigned easily to a keybaord that is priced in the upper $100 segment!

Patterns and Brightness


Using the Function and arrow keys one can either adjust the brightness of the lights including turning them completely off  or can switch between the predefined patterns this keybaord comes with. Side arrows are for patterns that include a very pleasing trickle like mode, wave, gaming keys light up mode and even breathing mode and per key light mode which are exclusive to the PC mode. Brightness is via the up and down arrows offering four levels of brightness.




Nothing special just a bunch of photographs I managed to click with different lighting configurations and the same red color!

Performance - Time to put these Keys to Test


Whenever I review a keyboard or mouse I like to use the device for atleast a week putting it through my daily usage varying across the week. My usage is obviously more inclined towards typing and I mean lot of typing with various keyboard shortcuts combinations, followed by casual gaming mainly racing, open world or FPS. So lets classify the Asus Cerberus Mech RGB Gaming Keyboard performance across two broad categories of daily use and gaming.

Daily Affairs

Asus Cerberus Mech is a very competent keyboard when it comes to typing paragraphs swiftly and smoothly.  The Kailh Red switches due to their quick response & lower actuation makes it really easy to type long paragraphs with great speed without hurting your fingertips. Though it does need a little getting used to since the keys are quick but with a few minutes into training your fingers you'll find yourself using it with no problem. Since my fingers are thick I did accidentally push the Caps Lock key at times since the key is quite big and at almost no separation from the main alphabetical keys, people with slimmer fingers might not come across this issue.
I didn't feel much difference between these and the CherryMX Red switches, which I'm more used to, when it came to typing or anything else & so won't most of the people since the difference is extremely minute. The keys are not slippery and the slim design makes them a good landing pad for the fingers imparting reasonable grip.
The biggest downside with these switches is that they are really noisy when you are typing and I mean typing really quick since at that stage it starts sounding more like a noisy cricket on my table! The keys are still fine but when you hit the larger keys like the spacebar, backspace or enter it makes a sound like a hollow wooden shell

Game On!

Gaming is the area where this keyboard really shined for me since I personally prefer the CherryMX Red switches for gaming purposes so the Kailh Red did an identical job for me. The keys are just perfect and due to logical actuation force and distance its neither too sensitive nor too hard. I generally find CherryMX Speed switches a bit too quick and can't be used without some practice but these I'd say are a buy and go for most of the buyers out there. Still sometimes I found pressing a key accidentally as my finger was resting over it & managed to press it down just by a little, namely the spacebar not mainly due to the key sensitivity but due to the absence of a wrist rest which is gravely needed for a compact keybaord like this and for users like me who have large palms.
Rapid key strokes is where the keyboard proves its metal as they keys offer high resistance with distance and hence reset quickly so rapid strokes are easy and swift making it easy in game like Rise of the Tomb Raider.
The extra key caps provided are of little to no use since I found my fingers to be liking the default caps more than the former. Asus should either refine these extra key caps quality or remove them entirely from the package to save cost and divert it towards a much needed wrist rest.

My Verdict

Asus Cerberus Mech RGB is nothing less than a sheer delight so to speak! The keyboard does exactly what its advertised to do and what one would expect it to do. Kailh Red switches are something that have impressed me thoroughly and cleared all my apprehensions once I put those keys to use, I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more manufacturers opting for these switches in the coming future due to their excellent performance and lower cost.
Customization is just enough and it has almost everything for every user's taste including a balanced range of effects which many manufacturers tend to overdo at times. I do feel the absence of dedicated media keys and a wrist rest over here especially the wrist rest since everyone needs that on keyboards that are compact such as the Cerberus Mech RGB. Asus should probably shun away those extra orange key caps and include a wrist rest instead to make it a much better and complete package.
Coming in a Rs 5200 this is probably one of the best mechanical keyboards you can get for that price today, with just two grands more than its predecessor this Mech RGB sure offers a lot more useful stuff making every penny worth spending.
I recommend the Asus Cerberus Mech RGB to anyone who is looking for a mechanical keybaord on a budget and values balanced performance with pleasing aesthetics to get the most out of his money. 
Pros - 
  • Its RGB
  • Supports Macros
  • Premium finishing on the keys and keyboard top
Cons - 
  • A bit noisy
  • No wrist support
I give it a 7/10 earning our Gold Award!