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Motherboard ASUS H170M-E D3 based on Intel H170: review and testing 

Less than a month after the announcement of a new family of processors Intel Skylake for platform Socket LGA1151 and flagship chipset Intel Z170, when Intel introduced another chipset Intel H170, intended for the midrange. The new product is the successor to last year's new Intel H97. It offers similar opportunities with high-end Intel Z170, which will enable manufacturers to produce well-equipped motherboard models at a more reasonable cost.

Unlike Intel Z170, the new chipset supports only 16 lines PCI Express 3.0, and one SATA Express and two USB 3.0 ports less. Additionally, there is no possibility of distribution lines between slots PCI Express 3.0 x16. According to the company Intel Overclocking features should be limited by the GPU overclocking.

As a result, comparison table of the two chipsets is as follows:

 

Intel Z170

Intel H170

Chipset lines PCI Express 3.0

20

16

Distributions schemes of CPU lines PCI Express 3.0

х16 / х8+х8 / х8+х4+х4

х16

Max quantity of SATA 6 Gb/s ports

6

6

Max quantity of SATA Express (x2) ports

3

2

Support for technology Intel RST intended for drives (M.2 x4 and SATA Express x2)

3

2

Maximum quantity of USB 3.0 ports

10

8

Overall number of USB (USB 2.0 + USB 3.0) ports

14

14

Let us move on to a detailed description of the product ASUS H170M-E D3, which is a little more affordable version of the ASUS Z170M-E D3 and designed for the building of compact average models.

ASUS H170M-E D3

The specs: 

Producer and model

Read the full review >>>

Motherboard ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO: review and testing 

It is not a secret that ASUS has updated its flagship lineup of motherboards for gamers ASUS ROG in connection with the announcement of a new family of processors Intel Skylake (Platform Socket LGA1151) and the flagship chipset Intel Z170. And the first model of the updated line, which will be described is ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO. The solution is aimed for demanding users and experienced gamers who want to get a model with balanced performance, high quality, well equipping and moderate cost.   

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The specs: 

Producer and model

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO (rev 1.01)

Chipset

Intel Z170

CPU socket

Socket LGA1151

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 6th gen

Memory frequency

3800* / 3733* / 3600* / 3500* / 3466* / 3400* / 3333* / 3300* / 3200* / 3000* / 2800* / 2666* / 2400* / 2133 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR4 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

 

2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 / x8+x8)

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x4)

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel Z170 chipset supports:

1 x M.2 x4 Socket 3 (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280, M.2 22110)

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA Express (each compatible with 2 х SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

ASMedia ASM1061 controller supports:

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

LAN

1 x Intel WGI219V (10/100/1000 Mb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec SupremeFX 2015

8-channel sound

Power

1 х 24-pin ATX connector

1 x 8-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connectors (4-pin)

4 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

1 x water cooling tank connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum heatsink on the chipset

Aluminium radiators on the elements of power system connected with a heat pipe

Extenral I/O

1 x PS/2 Combo

1 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-C)

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-A)

4 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x audio jacks

1 х button «USB BIOS Flashback»

Internal I/O

2 x USB 3.0, each with support of two USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

1 х ROG_EXT

1 x EXT_FAN

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA Express

1 х socket TPM

1 x diagnostic LED-indicator

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 х connector to connect temperature sensor

1 x «CMOS reset»

1 х «Power» button

1 х «Reboot» button

1 х «MemOK!» button

1 х socket Thunderbolt

1 x 4-pin socket for connection of tank of water cooling system

1 х switch to mode «LN2»

1 х socket to connect temperature sensors

BIOS

128 MbFlash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 3.0, DMI 3.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty card

Disk with drivers and utilities

1 х tool ASUS CPU Installation Tool

1 х set ASUS Q-Connectors

6 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 x 244 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on  support page

Package and content 

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The motherboard comes in a cardboard box with a flip-up lid with the design of corporate style of lineup ASUS ROG. In addition to the names of the manufacturer and model of the device the front side features a series of logos at the bottom, showing the support for Windows 10, NVIDIA SLI and technology AMD CrossFireX, as well as the display image with a resolution of 4K Ultra HD.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

On the reverse side of the flip-up cover with a viewing window you can find a description of ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO advantages:

  • SupremeFX 2015 - preinstalled audio codec offers support for high quality eight channel sound thanks to the DAC ESS ES9023P and audio capacitors Nichicon. In order to avoid the negative impact of electromagnetic interference shielding technology is used. Also note the presence of an amplifier TI R4580I, able to improve the audio playback on headphones with an impedance of 600 Ohms. Proprietary software comes bundled with Sonic Studio II, allowing to activate a virtual reproduction of sound in 7.1 format, as well as offering a wide range of audio settings.
  • Intel Ethernet - preset network controller has an increased capacity and consumes less CPU resources than competing solutions.
  • LANGuard - LAN-port uses a special guard to help prevent damage to the system due to static electricity or shock during an electrical storm.
  • ROG GameFirst III - technology designed to optimize Internet traffic in order to increase the priority of online games, which should reduce the delays and, accordingly, make the gameplay more comfortable. You can also select a priority “media-streaming”, VoIP or file sharing.
  • ROG KeyBot II - a unique technology that allows you to record macros and create function keys, even for conventional keyboards.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The reverse side of the package in addition to a brief technical specification of new item and diagramming interface panel contains a mention of the support for SupremeFX 2015, Intel Ethernet, as well as digital power subsystem Extreme Engine DIGI+.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Package of ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO includes:

  • six SATA cables;
  • set ASUS Q-Connectors, which greatly simplifies the process of connecting of the case's front panel;
  • sticker with the logo of ASUS ROG;
  • bridge NVIDIA SLI;
  • tool ASUS CPU Installation Tool;
  • door hanger.

Design and features 

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Motherboard ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO features quite original and stylish decor, which is important for a gaming solution. The familiar black color is added by the splashes of red color on the chipset and the protective casing on the interface panel.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

As for the layout of on-board elements, all is performed at the highest level: all key connectors and ports are concentrated on the edges of the printed circuit board, SATA ports are parallel to PCB and-DIMM slots are equipped with latches on one side. As a result, the design and layout of the ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO deserve only the highest grade.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The reverse side of the motherboard meets us not only by the usual base plate of the socket and fastening screws of the radiator, but also two support plates placed under the components of the power subsystem processor. Additionally, they serve as low-profile radiators.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The bottom of the printed circuit board ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO has the following connectors: connecting bock of audio connectors on front panel, block «TB_HEADER» (for the implementation of the interface Thunderbolt), the button “Clear CMOS”, “Enable” and “Reset”, the port TPM, and the connecting block of the front panel. Additionally, we note two pads to activate the ports USB 2.0, one of which is connected with the connector ROG_EXT, and one USB 3.0. Total number of USB 2.0 ports is eight: four internal and four on the interface panel. As for USB 3.0, there are only six: four internal and two external. All of them operate through a set of system logic.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by connector M.2 x4 Socket 3 (supports SSD-drives M.2 2242, 2260 M.2, M.2 M.2 2280 and 22110), four ports SATA 6Gb/s and two SATA Express where each is compatible with two SATA 6 Gb/s. There is support for arrays RAID 0 SATA, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10. In this case, there is one restriction: if connector M.2x4 Socket 3 operates in mode «SATA», the two SATA 6 Gb/s (on the scheme «SATA6G_12 ") will be disabled.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Mainboard ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO is equipped with four DIMM-slots for modules RAM standard DDR4, which for convenience are equipped with latched on one side only. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. Its implementation is realized by installation either in the first and third or second and fourth slots (or takes all available ports). Modules operating at frequencies up to 3800 MHz in overclocking mode are supported. The maximum amount of memory can be up to 64 GB, which is enough for almost any tasks.

Additionally note the module for connecting remote panel with ports USB 3.0, button «MemOK!», which allows you to automatically pick up the necessary parameters of the RAM to the successful launch of the system and diagnostic LED-indicator.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The cooling system of this motherboard has three major aluminum radiators, one carries out the removal of heat from the chipset Intel Z170, while the other two connected by a heat pipe cover the elements of the power subsystem processor.

In the process of testing we’ve recorded the following temperature:

  • heat sink for cooling chipset – 31.1°C (during acceleration - 33°C);
  • upper radiator of cooling elements of the processor power subsystem – 37.1°C (during acceleration – 38.8°C);
  • lower heat sink of cooling elements of the processor power subsystem - 36°C (during acceleration – 37.5°C).

These results clearly indicate the higher efficiency of the cooling system, indicating the proper selection of materials and design.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

CPU power is carried out by a reinforced 10-phase scheme for cores and additional nodes. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1405I with built power control subsystem Extreme Engine DIGI+. All components have a high degree of reliability: durable Japanese solid capacitors, effective MOSFETs and chokes NexFET MicroFine, providing stable operation even at high amperage. The main 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are used to provide supply voltage. 

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The possibility of expanding the functionality of the motherboard ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO is presented by six slots:

  1. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 mode or x8);
  3. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x8 mode);
  5. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  6. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x4 mode).

Due to the support for technologies NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX this configuration offers the user to organize the graphics subsystem of the two or three cards. The location of the slots will allow to easily connect two video cards with three-slot cooling system. And you have access to one connector PCI Express 3.0 x1.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

If you decided to take advantage of the graphics core integrated into the CPU, you have two video outputs: HDMI and DisplayPort operating by the chip ASMedia ASM1442K.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Multi I/O opportunities are based on chip NUVOTON NCT6793D, which controls the operation of the system fan, port PS/2, and provide monitoring. 

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Correct operation of the two USB 3.1 ports on the interface panel is provided by the chip ASMedia ASM1142.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Two additional SATA 6 Gb/s ports are realized due to the controller ASMedia ASM1061.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

To support network connections there is a gigabit LAN-controller Intel WGI219V. Proprietary technology ROG GameFirst III provides the distribution of network resources and prioritization of traffic.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Sound subsystem of motherboard based on the 8-channel HDA-codec design SupremeFX 2015, which supports the audio formats 2/4/5.1/7.1 and has a number of proprietary features.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Interface Panel of model ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO includes the following ports:

  • 1 x PS / 2 Combo;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 2 x USB 3.0;
  • 4 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x USB 3.1 (Type-C);
  • 1 x USB 3.1 (Type-A);
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x Optical S / PDIF out;
  • 1 x button «USB BIOS Flashback»;
  • 5 x audio ports.

This configuration can be safely described as excellent, because here are not only everything you need, but even more: two digital video output, a large number of ports USB (including two high-speed USB 3.1), as well as easy connection of multi-channel speakers and support the periphery PS/2. Additionally note the function of the firmware update BIOS from a USB flash drive using the corresponding button.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

 

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO features wide opportunities for the organization of the cooling system inside the case. There are seven 4-pin fan connectors, two of which are for cooling the CPU, one is designed to connect the water block, while the other four are for system fans.

Read the full review >>>

Video card ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING) on AMD Radeon R7 370: review and testing 

Along with the flagship video cards AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and AMD Radeon R9 Fury, as well as high-level models of the series AMD Radeon R9 300, AMD has updated the budget segment of own product, which along with last year's series of AMD Radeon R7 200 received a new name - AMD Radeon R7 300. One of the innovations is the graphics card AMD Radeon R7 370, which will be offered for a suggested price of $ 149 for the modifications to the reference design.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

It received a renamed and graphics core slightly modified from last year's adapter AMD Radeon R7 265, which now has the name of AMD Trinidad PRO instead of AMD Curacao PRO. In turn, this has already been renamed GPU AMD Pitcairn PRO with old one AMD Radeon HD 7850.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

At the same time it doesn’t have any significant structural changes: the chip also includes 1024 stream processors, 64 texture units and 32 units of rasterization. As for the video memory subsystem, two versions of the video card were announced: 2 or 4 GB and effective frequency 5600 MHz.

 

AMD

Radeon R9 380

AMD Radeon R7 370

AMD Radeon R7 265

AMD Radeon HD 7850

Code name

AMD Antigua PRO

AMD Trinidad PRO 

AMD Curacao PRO

AMD Pitcairn PRO

Quantity of stream processors

1792

1024 

1024

1024

Texture units

112

64 

64

64

ROPs

32

32 

32

32

GPU frequency, MHz

970

975 

925

860

Video memory effective frequency, MHz

5500 / 5700

5600 

5600

4800

Video memory capacity, GB

2 / 4

2 / 4 

2

2

Video memory interface, bit

256

256 

256

256

Like in the case with the previously discussed graphics cards in a new lineup, another difference of AMD Radeon R7 370 from its predecessor in the face of AMD Radeon R7 265 is the increased frequency of the graphics core from 925 to 975 MHz.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Let’s move on to a more detailed study on the example of video card ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING).

Model

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R7 370 (Trinidad PRO)

Quantity of shader processors

1024

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD Virtual Super Resolution, AMD Frame Rate Target Control, Vulcan, OpenCL 2.0

Graphics core frequency, MHz

1050

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1400 (5600)

Memory capacity, GB

4

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

256

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

179,2

Bus

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

4096 x 2160

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-D

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI

1 х DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

500

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

214 x 125 x 42 (226 х 128)

Drivers

Available drivers  ASUS or  GPU

Producer website

ASUS

Like all video cards in series ASUS STRIX, the novelty has received quite a large list of changes compared to the reference specifications. So, in addition to the original PCB, proprietary cooling system and improved element base, there is a factory overclocking. The graphics core is clocked at 1050 MHz (increase of 7% compared to the recommended 975 MHz). Video memory operating at the reference effective frequency of 5600 MHz.

Package and content 

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING) comes in a fairly large cardboard box and decorated with original and stylish line of the graphic printing with logo ASUS STRIX. In addition to the names of the manufacturer and model of the device here you can find information about the use of its proprietary cooling system DirectCU II with technology 0dB FAN, which provides 30% lower temperature compared to the reference cooler and in passive mode at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the slightly more detailed description of the advantages of new item. Also, there is a schematic diagram of the interface panel, and the mention of the features of proprietary utility GPU Tweak II with the functions of the online Online Streaming.

As for the benefits, they include:

  • DirectCU II - proprietary cooling system which compares favorably with the direct contact of heat pipes with a graphics core, 220% greater area of heat dissipation and 40% higher thermal conductivity that allows a 30% reduction in the temperature and decreases three times the noise level compared to reference cooler. 
  • ASUS Auto Extreme with Super Alloy Power II - model ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING is one of the world's first graphics card built in a fully automated line, which guarantees consistently high quality and ensures the rejection of aggressive chemicals in the production process. In addition, it is based on using high-quality electronic components (Super Alloy Power II), allowing further improves the reliability of the new item.
  • 0db FAN provides silent operation of video at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

A list of system requirements is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system must have a capacity at least of 500 W and provide at least 24 A on +12V line. Also tested model requires the connection of 6-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Supplied set of the graphics card ASUS STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING includes the standard documentation, CD with software and a nice bonus in the form of bridge AMD CrossFireX.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

To display the image the next set of interfaces is provided:

  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort. 

Design and circuitry 

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Model ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING) is realized on a compact black PCB. Used electronic components correspond to the branded concept Super Alloy Power II and include only high-quality components: solid and tantalum-polymer capacitors, advanced MOSFETs and ferrite core chokes. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics in general, and prolongs its lifetime.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Power of new product is made according to 4+1-phase scheme where four phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core, and one is designed for video memory subsystem.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Chip uP1608TK is applied as a digital PWM controller of power subsystem.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

In order to power the graphics card there is a PCI Express x16 slot and one 6-pin PCIe, located on the side of the board. Note that the cooler doesn’t complicate the disconnection or connection of the cable PCIe.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

To implement the technology AMD CrossFireX on ASUS STRIX R7 370 a single connector for the corresponding bridge is used. It allows you to combine two video accelerators for the joint calculation of graphical effects.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the printed circuit board contains mounting screws of cooling system and some electrical components.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The base of ASUS STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING is a graphics chip AMD Trinidad PRO, which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.8.5 as the AMD Pitcairn. It is produced by the norms of 28-nm manufacturing process and consists of the 1024 unified shader pipelines, 32 ROP units and 64 texture units. The GPU operating frequency was increased to 1050 MHz with respect to the recommended 975 MHz.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Memory of model ASUS STRIX R7 370 (total 4 GB) is realized due to the use of 8 chips SK hynix H5GC4H24AJR-T2C with capacity 4 GB each, which run on the recommended effective frequency of 5600 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through 256-bit bus, which is capable of carrying 179.2 GB of information per second.

Cooling system 

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The video card including installed cooling system ASUS DirectCU II takes up two expansion slots and has a total length of 214 mm according to the official website (226 mm as measured in our lab).

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The cooler consists of a compact radiator with 38 longitudinally spaced aluminum plates, and two 75 mm axial flow fans mounted on the plastic case.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The fans are produced by company EVERFLOW and are labeled as «T128010SH». Rated voltage of operation is 12 V, and the current is 0.25 A, which gives the final output of 3 W.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator is provided by two copper heat pipes with diameter of 8 mm. Fins and heat pipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the drop in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, due to the oxidation of metals. ASUS DirectCU cooler use scheme of direct contact of heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste to accelerate removal of excess heat.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

To cool the power elements of the power subsystem there is a separate low-profile heatsink with thermal interface. But memory chips don’t have any additional cooling.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

In case of the automatic speed control of the fan blades and under maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 75°C, and cooler works while 43% of its maximum capacity. Noise subjectively was quiet and comfortable for everyday use.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Under the maximum speed of fan blades rotation the GPU temperature dropped to 59°C. This noise exceeded the average level, but in a closed PC case it did not stand out too much compared to other components.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

In case of load absence the operating frequencies of the graphics core and memory were automatically reduced, allowing them to reduce power consumption and heat. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 39°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode. Here the above-mentioned technology 0dB FAN is activated, providing silent operation of video at low loads.

Read the full review >>>

ASUS M5A97 EVO R2.0 motherboard: review and testing

The hero of this review is the model ASUS M5A97 EVO R2.0. First of all it interest fans of reliable average motherboards. It is designed to work in tandem with the processor of families AMD Phenom II, AMD Athlon, AMD FX combines a relatively inexpensive and modern equipment. With the price of $ 120 ASUS M5A97 EVO R2.0 offers enhanced digital power system, the ability to use up to 32 GB of RAM standard DDR3-2133 MHz interface SATA 6 Gb/s for connecting disk drives, connector PCI Express 2.0 x16 to installing a video card, as well as interfaces USB 3.0 and eSATA. But this is not the full list of its features.

ASUS M5A97 EVO R2.0

The specs: 

Producer  

ASUS

Model

M5A97 EVO R2.0 (rev 1.01)

Chips of north and south bridges

AMD 970 + AMD SB950

CPU socket

AMD Socket AM3+

Supported CPUs

AMD Phenom II / AMD Athlon II / AMD Sempron / AMD FX

(up to 140 W)

Memory frequency

2133* / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR3 DIMM- slots with memory support up to 32 GB

Expansion slots

 

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (in mode x4)

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

2 х PCI

Disk subsystem

AMD SB950 supports:

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

ASMedia ASM1061 controller supports:

2 x eSATA 6 Gb/s

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111F (10/100/1000 Mb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC892

8-channel spund

Power

24-pin ATX connector

8-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

3 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator of north bridge

Aluminum radiator of south bridge

Aluminum radiator on elements of processor power subsystem

Extenral I/O

1 x LAN (RJ45)

8 x USB 2.0

2 x USB 3.0

2 x eSATA 6 Gb/s

1 х IEEE 1394a

6 x audio jacks

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

1 х PS/2 Combo

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0

3 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x COM

1 x TPM

1 x IEEE 1394a

1 x S/PDIF Out

1 х button «MemOK!»

1 x button «USB BIOS Flashback»

1 х button «DirectKey»

1 x switch «TPU»

1 x switch «EPU»

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

ACPI 2.0a, SM BIOS 2.7, PnP, DMI 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty card

Disk with drivers and utilities

3 x SATA cables

1 х set ASUS Q-Connectors

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 х 244 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on  support page

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Read the full review >>>

MotherboardASUS Z170 PRO GAMING: review and testing  

Continuing our acquaintance with the motherboard to work with the new family of processors Intel Skylake (Socket LGA1151 Platform), realized on the basis of the flagship chipset Intel Z170, we will talk about the model of the lineup ASUS PRO GAMER. ASUS did not create a separate lineup of gaming motherboards for the new family of processors, but renamed ASUS Gamer intp ASUS PRO GAMER including a model on the platform Socket LGA1150, for example, ASUS Z97-PRO GAMER.

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

As for ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING, it is a logical continuation of earlier branded gaming solutions with a number of significant improvements, new proprietary technologies as well as more modern equipment, such as support for interface USB 3.1.

The specs: 

Producer  

ASUS

Model

Z170 PRO GAMING (rev 1.04)

Chipset

Intel Z170

CPU socket

Socket LGA1151

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 6th gen

Memory frequency

3400* / 3333* / 3200* / 3100* / 3000* / 2933* / 2800* / 2666* / 2600* / 2400* / 2133 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR4 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

 

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 / x8+x8 / x8+x8+x4)

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel Z170 chipset supports:

1 x M.2 Socket 3 (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280, M.2 22110)

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 х SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel WGI219V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec SupremeFX

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

1 х 24-pin ATX connector

1 x 8-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connectors (4-pin)

3 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Aluminum radiator on the elements of the processor power subsystem

Extenral I/O

1 x PS/2 Combo

1 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x D-Sub

1 x DVI-D

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-C)

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-A)

2 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

3 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

1 х ROG_EXT

1 x EXT_FAN

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express

1 х TPM

1 х COM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 х connector for temperature sensor connection

1 x CMOS

BIOS

128 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 3.0, DMI 3.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty card

Disk with drivers and utilities

1 х tool ASUS CPU Installation Tool

4 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 x 244 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on  support page

Read the full review >>>

Video cardASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING) on AMD Radeon R9 380: review and testing 

Continuing familiarity with the lineup of graphics cards AMD Radeon Rx 300, after talk about the AMD Radeon R9 390, which is a kind of modification of the AMD Radeon R9 290, we will move to a more affordable solution, namely, the AMD Radeon R9 380.

GeForce GTX 970 4GB GDDR5 inno3D iChill Ultra  AMD Radeon R9 285 2GB GDDR5 HIS Mini IceQ X2 OC  GeForce GTX 960 2GB GDDR5 ASUS TURBO OC  Radeon R9 390 8GB GDDR5 ASUS STRIX OC

By analogy with the previous model, the novelty was renamed and slightly modified graphics core from last year's adapter AMD Radeon R9 285, which has received a new name AMD Antigua PRO instead of AMD Tonga PRO. At the same time there were any significant structural changes: the chip also includes a 1792 stream processors, 112 texture units and 32 units rasterization. As for the video memory subsystem, there are two versions of the video card: one with 2 GB of working on the effective frequency 5500 MHz, and the second with 4 GB and frequency of 5700 MHz.

 

AMD

Radeon R9 390

AMD

Radeon R9 290

AMD 

Radeon R9 380 

AMD

Radeon R9 285

Code name

Grenada PRO

Hawaii PRO

Antigua PRO 

Tonga PRO

Quantity of data-flow processors

2560

2560

1792 

1792

Texture units

160

160

112 

112

ROP

64

64

32 

32

Graphics processor frequency, MHz

1000

947

970 

918

Video memory effective frequency, MHz

6000

5000

5500 / 5700 

5500

Video memory capacity, GB

8

4

2 / 4 

2

Video memory interface, bit

512

512

256 

256

As you can see, another difference of AMD Radeon R9 380 from its predecessor AMD Radeon R9 285 is the increased frequency of the graphics core from 918 to 970 MHz. For the rest, any critical differences in performance between them are absence. Separately, we note that AMD declares the GPU energy optimization achieved by improving the manufacturing process. This allowed further increase the frequency of the cores.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Let’s turn to a more detailed examination of the product on the example of the video card ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING).

Model

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R9 380 (Antigua PRO)

Quantity of shader processors

1792

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD TrueAudio, AMD Virtual Super Resolution, AMD Frame Rate Target Control, Vulcan, AMD FreeSync, OpenCL 2.0, AMD LiquidVR

GPU frequency, MHz

«OC»

1010

«Gaming»

990

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1375 (5500)

Memory capacity, GB

2

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

256

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

176,6

Bus

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

4096 x 2160

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-D

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI

1 х DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

500

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

271 x 139 x 42 (284 х 139)

Drivers

Available drivers ASUS or GPU

Producer website

ASUS

Like all video card in series ASUS STRIX, the novelty has received quite a large list of modifications compared to the reference specifications. So, in addition to the original PCB, proprietary cooling system and improved element base, there is a factory overclocking. In mode «OC» the graphics core (used for testing) operates at 1010 MHz (increase of 4% compared to the recommended 970 MHz). Video memory operates at speed of 5500 MHz recommended for version of 2GB.

Package and content 

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING) is shipped in a quite large cardboard box decorated with original and stylish printing with logo of lineup ASUS STRIX. In addition to manufacturer and model of the device here you can find information about the use of proprietary cooling system DirectCU II with technology 0dB FAN which provides 20% lower temperature compared to the reference cooler and radial type in passive mode at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the slightly more detailed description of the advantages of new item. Also there is a schematic diagram of the interface panel, and the mention of the features of proprietary utility GPU Tweak II with features of Online Streaming, and switch between the modes «Gaming» and «OC».

As for the advantages, they include:

  • ASUS Auto Extreme with Super Alloy Power II - model ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING is one of the world's first graphics card built in a fully automated line, which guarantees consistently high quality and ensures the rejection of aggressive chemicals in the production process. In addition, it is based on using high-quality electronic components (Super Alloy Power II), allowing further improves the reliability of the new item.
  • 0db FAN provides silent operation of video at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

A list of system requirements for the computer is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system must have a capacity at least 500 W and provide at least 24 A on +12 V line. Also tested model requires the connection of one 8-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The delivery set of the graphics card ASUS STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING contains standard documentation and software CD.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

To display the image the next set of interfaces is provided:

  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort. 

Design and circuitry 

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Model ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING) is realized on the original circuit board painted in black color, with a standard arrangement principle. Used electronic components correspond to the concept Super Alloy Power II and includes only high-quality components: solid state capacitors, advanced MOSFETs and ferrite core chokes. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics in general, and also prolongs its life.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Power is realized according to reinforced 6+2-phase scheme where six phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core and 2 are designed for video memory subsystem.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

PWM controller of power subsystem is carried by chip ASP1300.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

In order to provide the power supply the test product includes PCI Express x16 slot and one 8-pin PCIe, located on the side of the board. Note that the cooler slightly complicates the disconnection of the cable PCIe.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the printed circuit board, originally protected by a massive base plate, doesn’t contain significant elements. We should also note the complete absence of connectors for bridges AMD CrossFireX, as this technology is implemented at the software level.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The base of ASUS STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING is a graphics chip AMD Antigua PRO, which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.8.5 as the AMD Tonga. It is produced by the norms of 28-nm manufacturing process and consists of 1792 unified shader pipelines, 32 ROP units and 112 texture units. The GPU operating frequency was increased to 1010 MHz with respect to the recommended 970 MHz.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Memory of model ASUS STRIX R9 380 (total 2 GB), is realized by 8 chips Elpida W2032BBBG-6A-F with capacity of 2 GB each, which run on the recommended effective frequency 5500 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 256-bit bus, which is capable of flowing 176.6 GB of information per second.

Cooling system 

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The video card including installed cooling system ASUS DirectCU II takes two expansion slots and has a total length of 271 mm according to the official website (284 mm as measured in our lab).

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The cooler consists of a massive heat sink, which uses 45 longitudinally spaced aluminum fins and two 95 mm axial fans mounted on plastic case.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The fans are produced by company FirstDO and are labeled as «FD10015H12S». Rated voltage of operation is 12 V, and the current is 0.55 A, which gives the final output of 6.6 W.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Three copper heat pipes of different diameter are used for uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator. Two of them are 8 mm and one 10 mm. Fins and heat pipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the drop in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, due to the oxidation of metals. The scheme of direct contact of heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste to accelerate removal of excess heat is applied.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

To improve the efficiency of heat transfer the pipes are securely soldered to the edges of the aluminum radiator and copper base.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

A separate low-profile heatsink with thermal interface is used to cool the power elements of the power subsystem. But memory chips are devoid of any additional cooling.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

In case of the automatic speed control fan blades at maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 76°C, and cooler operates at 44% of its maximum capacity. Noise was quiet and comfortable for everyday use.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Under the maximum speed fan blades GPU temperature dropped to 72°C. This noise exceeded the average level and became uncomfortable for continuous operation near the PC.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

In case of load absence the frequencies of the GPU and memory are automatically lowered, allowing them to reduce power consumption and heat release. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 54°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode. The above-mentioned technology 0dB FAN is activated, providing silent operation of video at low loads.

Read the full review >>>

Video card ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING) on AMD Radeon R9 390: review and testing

In summer 2015 AMD has announced flagship graphics cards AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and AMD Radeon R9 Fury, as well as performed rebranding ofwell familiar AMD Radeon R9 290X and AMD Radeon R9 290, which received a number of improvements, new names and significantly reduced price tags. So, the former AMD Radeon R9 290X will be available as an AMD Radeon R9 390X priced at $ 429 instead of $ 549, and AMD Radeon R9 290 renamed to AMD Radeon R9 390 and is available for $ 329 instead of $ 399.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Since this review we learn the video card ASUS STRIX R9 390 ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING), a modified version of AMD Radeon R9 390, then talk about the performance characteristics of high-end model will be postponed for another time, but for now we will focus on performance of less cheaper solution.

In comparison with the AMD Radeon R9 290 novelty was renamed AMD Grenada PRO, but in fact the familiar graphics core AMD Hawaii PRO, which includes the 2560 stream processors, 160 texture units and 64 blocks of rasterization. As for the video memory subsystem, its capacity was increased from 4 to 8 GB, and effective operating frequency increased from 5000 to 6000 MHz.

 

AMD

Radeon R9 290X

AMD

Radeon R9 290

AMD

Radeon R9 390

Code name

Hawaii XT

Hawaii PRO

Grenada PRO 

Quantity of data-flow processors

2816

2560

2560

Texture units

176

160

160

ROP

64

64

64

Graphic processor frequency, MHz

1000

947

1000

Video memory effective frequency, MHz

5000

5000

6000

Video memory capacity, GB

4

4

8

Video memory interface, bit

512

512

512

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

After looking at the above comparison, it becomes clear that the GPU AMD Grenada PRO is a direct successor of AMD Hawaii PRO and is based on the same microarchitecture (AMD GCN 1.1), but according to the AMD, the new core has been significantly modified. Thus, the architecture of the subsystem power management was modified And thanks to the optimization of the production process GPU operating frequency was increased (from 947 to 1000 MHz) with a slight increase in the level of TDP. However, under a similar load and higher performance, power consumption of the new chip must be lower than its predecessor. Significant improvements of video memory should have a positive impact on productivity in the mode of 4K Ultra HD, which we will examine in the relevant section.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

And now we offer go to a more detailed review of the video card ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING).

Model

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R9 390 (Grenada PRO)

Quantity of shader pipelines

2560

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD TrueAudio, AMD Virtual Super Resolution, AMD Frame Rate Target Control, Vulcan, AMD FreeSync, OpenCL 2.0, AMD LiquidVR

Graphic core frequency, MHz

«OC»

1070

«Gaming»

1050

«Silent»

1030

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1500 (6000)

Memory capacity, GB

8

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

512

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

384

Bus

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

4096 x 2160

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-D

1 х HDMI

3 х DisplayPort

Support for HDCP and HD-video decoding

Yes

PSU minimal capacity, W

750

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

300 x 137 x 40 (314 х 150)

Drivers

Available drivers ASUS or  GPU

Producer website

ASUS

Since we have almost completely rebalanced modification of AMD Radeon R9 390, we cannot talk about any correspondence to reference model. We can only directly comparable operating frequencies. In this case, the graphics core of graphics card ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING in mode «OC» (where testing was carried out) can boast the presence of factory overclocking up to 1050 MHz (increase of 5% compared to recommended 1000 MHz). Video memory runs at recommended the 6000 MHz.

Package and content

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING) comes in a fairly large cardboard box and is decorated with original and stylish line of the graphic printing with logo ASUS STRIX. In addition to the names of the manufacturer and model of the device, note the use of a proprietary cooling system DirectCU III including technology 0dB FAN, which provides 30% lower temperature compared to the reference cooler and radial type in passive mode at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the more detailed description of the advantages of new item. Also, there is a schematic diagram of the interface panel, and the mention of the features of proprietary utility GPU Tweak II with the functions of the Online Streaming and to switch between modes «Gaming», «OC» and «Silent».
As for the benefits, they include:

  • ASUS Auto Extreme with Super Alloy Power II - model ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING is one of the world's first graphics card built in a fully automated line, which guarantees consistently high quality and ensures the rejection of aggressive chemicals in the production process. In addition, it is based on using high-quality electronic components (Super Alloy Power II), allowing further improves the reliability of the new item.
  • Backplate - the base plate substantially increases the rigidity and decreases the risk of curvature of the printed circuit board with the time of the weight of the cooling system.
  • 10 mm Mega Heatpipes – radiator of cooling system includes five copper heat pipes, two of which have a diameter of 10 mm, which provides a more efficient heat transfer from GPU.
  • STRIX LED - video card is equipped with red LED-indication that will appeal to fans of modding and owners of buildings with a transparent side panel.
  • Triple Wing-blade 0db Fans - three fans with a special shape of the impeller provide a more powerful air flow, thereby increasing the efficiency of the cooler.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

A list of system requirements for the computer is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system must have a capacity at least of 750 W and provide at least 24 A on +12 V line. Also tested model requires the connection of two cables PCIe: one 8-pin and one 6-pin.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Delivery set of the graphics card ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING containsthe standard documentation, CD with software and adapter for power.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

To display the image the next set of interfaces is provided:

  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

Design and features

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Model ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING) is performed on the original black circuit board with a standard arrangement principle. Used electronic components correspond to the branded concept Super Alloy Power II and include only high-quality components: solid and tantalum-polymer capacitors, advanced MOSFETs and ferrite core chokes. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics and prolongs its life.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Power is realized via enhanced 8+2-phase scheme where 8 phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core and 2 are designed for video memory subsystem.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Chip ASP1300As is applied as digital PWM controller of power subsystem.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The graphics power uses slot PCI Express x16 and two slots PCIe (8- and 6-pin), located on the side of the board. Due to the large dimensions of the cooler it is difficult to disconnect cables PCIe.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the printed circuit board originally protected by a massive base plate, doesn’t have significant elements. We should also note the complete absence of connectors for bridges AMD CrossFireX, as this technology is implemented at the software level. Also do not forget that you will be able to combine a bunch of novelty with the AMD Radeon R9 290 starting from the version of the driver AMD Catalyst 15.7 WHQL.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The base of ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING is a graphics chip AMD Grenada PRO, which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.8.4 as the AMD Hawaii. It is produced by the norms of 28-nm manufacturing process and consists of 2560 unified shader pipelines, 64 ROP units and 160 texture units. The GPU operating frequency was increased to 1050 MHz with respect to the recommended 1000 MHz.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Memory models ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING (total 8GB) is realized using 16 chips SK hynix H5GC4H24AJR-T2C with capacity of 4 GB each, which run on the recommended effective frequency 6000 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 512-bit bus, which is capable of flowing 384 GB of information per second.

Cooling system

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The video card including installed cooling system ASUS DirectCU III occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 300 mm according to the official website of the (314 mm as measured in our lab).

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The cooler consists of a fairly massive radiator, which uses 47 longitudinally spaced aluminum plates, and three 88-mm axial fans with an improved form of blades mounted on a plastic casing.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The fans are produced by company Everflow and are labeled as «T129215SU». Rated voltage of operation is 12, and the current 0.5 A, which gives the final output of 6 W.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

In order to provide uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator there are five copper heat pipes of different diameter, two 10 mm and two 8 mm and one 6 mm. Fins and heat pipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the drop in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, due to the oxidation of metals. The cooler ASUS DirectCU uses the scheme of direct contact heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste to accelerate removal of excess heat.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

To improve the efficiency of heat exchange pipes are soldered to the ribs of aluminum and copper heat sink base.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Also note that the primary cooling system is directly in contact with the power supply subsystem components using thermal interface. But memory chips don’t have any additional cooling.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

In case of automatic speed control of the fan blades, at maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 90°C, and cooler works while 55% of its maximum capacity. Noise while subjectively was below average and was comfortable for everyday use.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Under the maximum speed fan blades GPU temperature dropped to 80°C. In this case the noise exceeded the average level and became uncomfortable for continuous operation near the PC.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

In case of load absence the operating frequencies of the graphics core and memory are automatically reduced, allowing to reduce power consumption and heat. In this mode the GPU temperature did not exceed 56°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode. The above-mentioned technology 0dB FAN is activated. It provides silent operation of video at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Read the full review >>>

MotherboardASUS Z170-A: review and testing

5th August 2015 Intel has announced a new family of processors Intel Skylake for the platform Socket LGA1151, as well as the flagship chipset Intel Z170. Of course, all the key players in the motherboard market has prepared their models and began to actively demonstrated them.

ASUS Z170-A

In this review we will learn the features of the motherboard ASUS Z170-A produced by renowned Taiwanese company. Based on design and equipment, a novelty is a high-level solution, which received an excellent sound system, high-quality circuitry, support for two ports USB 3.1, as well as a number of proprietary enhancements. But let’s start from the technical specification.

The specs:

Producer  

ASUS

Model

Z170-A (rev 1.03)

Chipset

Intel Z170

CPU socket

Socket LGA1151

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 6th gen

Memory frequency

3400* / 3333* / 2133 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR4 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

 

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 / x8+x8 / x8+x8+x4)

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1

1 х PCI

Disk subsystem

Intel Z170 chipset supportd=s:

1 x M.2 32 Gb/s (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280, M.2 22110)

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 х SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel WGI219V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC892

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

1 х 24-pin ATX connector

1 x 8-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connectors (4-pin)

4 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Алюминиевый радиатор на чипсете

Aluminum radiator on the elements of the processor power subsystem

Extenral I/O

1 x PS/2 Combo

1 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x D-Sub

1 x DVI-D

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-C)

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-A)

2 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

2 x USB 3.0, each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

2 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express

1 х socket TPM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x S/PDIF out

1 х button «MemOK!»

1 х module «TB_HEADER»

1 x power button

1 x CMOS

1 x switch «TPU»

1 х switch «EZ_XMP»

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 2.8, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty card

Disk with drivers and utilities

1 х set ASUS Q-Connectors

1 х tool ASUS CPU Installation Tool

3 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Read the full review >>>

Motherboard ASUS H81-PLUS: review and testing

Motherboard ASUS H81-PLUS is one of the entry-level solutions from the company ASUS. It offers a wide list of benefits: affordable price, the traditionally high quality of performance and the element base, support for modern interfaces, as well as a number of other improvements and proprietary technologies.

ASUS H81-PLUS

It is based on youngest chipset (Intel H81), which is accompanied the low final cost at $ 70 - 75. Let's look at a more detailed specifications of motherboard ASUS H81-PLUS:

Producer 

ASUS

Model

H81-PLUS (rev 1.03)

Chipset

Intel H81

CPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 4th gen

Memory frequency

1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 16 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

3 x PCI

Disk subsystem

Intel H81 chipset supports:

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s (yellow)

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s (dark-brown)

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111G (10/100/1000 Mb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

8-channel sound

Power

1 х 24-pin ATX connector

1 х 4-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

1 x CPU socket (4-pin)

1 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 x D-Sub

1 x COM

1 x LPT

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

3 x audio jacks

2 х PS/2

Internal I/O

3 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x S/PIDIF Out

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 2.0a, SM BIOS 2.7, DMI 2.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 х 188 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

Read the full review >>>

Video card ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Ti STRIX OC: review and testing

In early spring 2015, NVIDIA has pleased all their fans by announcing new flagship graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X, released on the basis of GPU NVIDIA GM200-400. Now it takes the leading position in terms of performance and cost, which is usual for such solution $ 999.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The new flagship graphics processor NVIDIA GM200-400 is based on 28-nm manufacturing technology and consists of 8 billion of transistors. It includes 24 SMM-blocks, each of which consists of 128 CUDA-cores and 8 texture units. As a result, the flagship product boasts of 3072 CUDA-cores and 192 texture units. Number of ROP-blocks has reached 96. The base GPU operating frequency is 1000 MHz and dynamic 1075 MHz. As for performance, it was on average 30% higher than the previous leader among single-chip solutions (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980).

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

It is logical that NVIDIA has decided not to stop on successes and use the flagship processor in a version. This is a new video card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, which was presented in the first days of summer 2015.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Unlike the flagship graphics processor NVIDIA GM200-310 in NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti has lost 2 SMM-blocks, ie 256 CUDA-cores with 16 texture units. At the same time the memory bus, the number of ROP-blocks and operating frequencies remain unchanged. If we recall the situation of the first "Titan", the followed NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti has come out with the full version of the chip NVIDIA GK110, therefore, it proved to be more productive. In this case everything is different: NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X acts as a top-end solution, while the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti is its cheaper version.

Let's look to the comparative table of characteristics of current high end video cards from NVIDIA:

 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti

GPU

GM200-400

GM200-310 

GM204-400

GK110-425

Quantity of CUDA-cores

3072

2816 

2048

2880

Quantity of texture units

192

176 

128

240

Quantity of ROP-blocks

96

96 

64

48

Basic frequency, MHz

1000

1000 

1126

875

Dynamic frequency, MHz

1075

1075 

1216

928

Memory bus, bit

384

384 

256

384

Effective memory frequency, MHz

7010

7010 

7010

7010

Memory capacity, GB

12

6 

4

3

As you can see, another difference of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti from NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X is reduced twice the amount of video memory.
ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

As stated by NVIDIA, the new product provides a significant performance boost compared to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti. The biggest gap is achieved at a resolution of 4K Ultra HD, which is rapidly gaining popularity among gamers. Also impressive is as a comparison of the performance per watt. At the same time TDP of new item is on identical level (250 W).

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Another important advantage of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti is to support API DirectX 12 with the most comprehensive to date set of instructions (Feature Level 12_1).

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

All GPUs of series NVIDIA GM2xx further support the technology Volume Tiled Resources that provides three-dimensional stencils (tiles) of the objects, which allows to load needed texture without expending the resources to load the texture as a whole.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Another technology from the set of Feature Level 12_1 is Conservative Raster, which provides precise location intersecting polygon boundaries, which helps to avoid artifacts with transparent textures and shadow.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Also here is a well-known technology NVIDIA G-SYNC, which provides full synchronization with the output frame rate of the monitor, neutralizing the effect breaking frames. The technology is proper for applications running in window mode. Don’t forget that NVIDIA G-SYNC requires not only video card but monitor equipped with the appropriate hardware module. The range of such displays is constantly growing, and even includes a model with a resolution of 4K Ultra HD.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

And now let's get to the review and testing versions of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti powered by ASUS. We are talking about the model ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING).

Model

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti 

(ASUS STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM200-310 (Maxwell)

Quantity of CUDA-cores

2816

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12 (Shader Model 5.0), OpenGL 4.5, NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Nominal/dynamic frequency of graphics core, MHz

«OC»

1216 / 1317

«Gaming»

1190 / 1291

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1800 (7200)

Memory capacity, GB

6

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

384

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

345,6

Bus type

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

Digital up to 4096 x 2160

Analog up to 2048 x 1536

Screening interfaces

1 x DVI-I

1 x HDMI 2.0

3 x DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal capacity of PSU, W

600

Additional PCIe power sockets

2 x 8-pin

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

305 х 152,2 x 39,8 (317 x 152)

Drivers

Available drivers ASUS or GPU

Producer website

ASUS

Since we have almost completely rebalanced modification NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, there is no sense to talk about any compliance to reference model. We can directly comparable only operating frequencies. In this case, the graphics core of video card in mode «OC» boasts of a notable level of factory overclocking - up to 1216 MHz (increase of 21.6% relative to recommended 1000 MHz), and taking into account the work of technology NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, the average value is 1317 MHz (1075 MHz for the reference sample). Video memory can be overclocked from 7010 to 7200 MHz.

Package and content

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti is available in its large cardboard box decorated with original and stylish line of the graphic arts industry with logo ASUS STRIX. In addition to the names of the manufacturer and model of the device, note the reference to the support of technologies NVIDIA G-SYNC, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream and DirectX 12.

The major advantages of a novelty is a proprietary cooling system DirectCU III with technology 0dB FAN, which provides 30% lower temperature compared to the reference cooler of radial type.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the more detailed description of the advantages of new item. Also, there is a schematic diagram of the interface panel, and the mention of the features of proprietary utility GPU Tweak with functions of Online Streaming and switching between modes mentioned above «Gaming» and «OC».
As for the benefits, they include:

  • ASUS Auto Extreme with Super Alloy Power II - model ASUS STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING is one of the world's first graphics card built on a fully automated line, which guarantees consistently high quality and ensures the rejection of aggressive chemicals in the production process. In addition, it is based on using high-quality electronic components (Super Alloy Power II), allowing further improve the reliability of the new item.
  • GPU-Fortifier and Backplate - thanks to the support plate and the frame around the GPU we have greatly increased rigidity and reduced risk of curvature of the printed circuit board with the times of the weight of the cooling system.
  • 10mm Mega Heatpipes - radiator of cooling system includes five copper heat pipes, two of which have a diameter of 10 mm and provides a more efficient heat transfer from GPU.
  • STRIX LED - the cooler is equipped with red LED-display.
  • Triple Wing-blade 0db Fans - three axial fan with a special shape of the impeller provide a more powerful air flow, helping to improve the efficiency of the cooler. In addition, at low loads turntables completely stopped to ensure a comfortable background noise.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

A list of system requirements for the computer is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply must have a capacity at least 600 W and provide 42 A on +12 V line. Also tested model requires connecting two 8-pin PCIe.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Also we found the standard documentation, CD with software and adapter for power.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

To display the image the product uses a standard set of interfaces:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Dial up to 2048 x 1536.

Design and circuitry

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Model ASUS STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING is made on the original black circuit board, with a standard layout principle. Used electronic components correspond to the branded concept Super Alloy Power II and include only high-quality components: solid and tantalum-polymer capacitors, advanced MOSFETs and ferrite core chokes. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics and prolongs its life.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Power of product is made according enhanced 12+2-phase scheme, where 12 power phases are responsible for the GPU and 2 are designed for video memory subsystem. Recall that the power of the reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti is realized by 6+2-phase scheme.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Digital PWM controller is presented by chip ASP1500U.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

To power test graphics there is PCI Express x16 slot, and two 8-pin PCIe, located on the side of the board. Due to the large dimensions the cooler complicates the disconnection of cables PCIe. The standard version uses only one powered 8-pin and one 6-pin connector.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

In order to provide technology NVIDIA SLI ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti uses two connectors for connecting the respective bridges, which allow you to combine up to three graphics cards for the joint calculation of graphical effect.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the product is initially covered with the base plate, notable for the above-mentioned polymer tantalum capacitors, next to other electrical components, as well as the support of frame for the GPU.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The tested model is based on GPU NVIDIA GM200-310 (Maxwell), produced by 28-nm manufacturing technology. It includes 2816 CUDA cores, 96 ROP units and 176 texture units. As we have said, the video card has factory overclocked of graphics core frequency of the mode is «OC» in value of 1216 and 1317 MHz.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Memory of model ASUS STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING (6GB) is realized due to 12 chips SK hynix H5GQ4H24MFR-R2C with capacity 4 GB each. According to the documentation, their effective frequency is 7000 MHz, but in our case it was increased to 7200 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized via 384-bit bus, which is capable of flowing 345.6 GB of information per second.

Cooling system

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The video card including installed cooling system DirectCU III occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 305 mm according to the official website of ASUS (317 mm as measured in our lab).

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The cooler consists of a fairly massive radiator, which uses 49 longitudinally spaced aluminum fins, and three 88-mm axial fans with an improved form of blades mounted on a plastic casing.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The fans are made by Everflow and are labeled «T129215SU». Rated voltage of operation is 12 V, and the current 0.5 A, which gives the final output of 6 W.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

In order to provide uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator there are five copper heat pipes of different diameter, two 10 mm and two 8 mm and one 6 mm. Fins and heat pipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the drop in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, due to the oxidation of metals. The coolers DirectCU use the scheme of direct contact of heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste to accelerate removal of excess heat.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

To improve the efficiency of heat exchange the pipes are soldered to the ribs of aluminum radiator and copper heat sink base.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Note that the primary cooling system is directly in contact with the power supply subsystem components using thermal interface. But memory chips are unfortunately devoid of any additional cooling.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

In case of the automatic speed control of the fan blades, at maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 79°C, and cooler, as indicated by the monitoring work while 55% of its maximum capacity. The noise level at the same time was low and quite comfortable.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Under the maximum speed fan blades GPU temperature dropped to 71°C. This noise rose above average, and ceased to be comfortable for extended use near PC.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

In case of load absence the operating frequencies of the graphics core and memory are automatically reduced, allowing them to reduce power consumption and heat. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 49°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode. The above-mentioned technology 0dB FAN provides silent operation of video at low loads.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Read the full review >>>

Video card ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5): review and testing

In this review we will learn not just another version of video cards based on GPU NVIDIA GM206 (Maxwell), but a new product equipped with the original cooling system. It is part of a series introduced by ASUS due to celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release to the market of graphics cards.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

Model ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5) is equipped with a cooler of radial type with the original white and red housing. The advantage of this design is that the hot air is removed outside the housing and substantially does not increase the temperature inside the system unit.

The specs:

Model

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5) 

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM206 (Maxwell)

Manufacturing process

28

 Quantity of CUDA-cores

1024

Supported API and technologies

 

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Nominal/dynamic GPU frequency, MHz

1190 / 1253

Memory capacity, GB

2

Memory type

GDDR5

Nominal/effective video memory frequency, MHz

1753 / 7010

Memory bus, bit

 

128

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

112,2

Inner interface

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Screening  interfaces

1 х HDMI 2.0

3 x DisplayPort

1 х DVI-I

Minimal PSU capacity, W

400

Dimensions taken from official website (according measurements in own test lab) , mm

264 x 121 x 37 (276 x 122)

Drivers

Available drivers ASUS or  GPU

Website

ASUS

Package and content

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

The front side of the graphics card ASUS TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5 package is decorated in a unique style, combining white and red colors. There is a large image of the graphics accelerator and its key advantages. Mark «OC Edition» says about factory overclocked GPU from nominal 1127/1178 MHz to 1190/1253 MHz.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

On the back of the box you can find description of the main features of the graphics card, supplemented with visual icons. In particular, radial fan of graphics accelerator captures air from both sides, providing a 10% greater efficacy than the reference model. Also it 4 times longer than the reference cooling system and 7% more efficient using bunch NVIDIA SLI.

The qualitative element base Super Alloy Power consists of silent chokes and solid-state capacitors with a long service life (50 000 hours). Also the delivery set includes proprietary software for overclocking and monitoring (ASUS GPU Tweak) and utility XSplit Gamecaster, allows you to record and broadcast the game session.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

The side face of the package contains a list of the minimum system requirements that are recommended for the correct operation of the video card. Thus, the capacity of power supply unit must be at least 400 W (up to 38 A at +12V line), and the amount of RAM is 4 GB.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

Supplied set of graphics accelerator ASUS TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5 includes a quick start guide and a CD with software and drivers. Perhaps some users may need DVI↔D-Sub adapter to connect an analog monitor. It is not included into deliver set.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

To connect monitors or TVs the interface panel provides quite an extensive set of connectors:

  • 1 x HDMI 2.0;
  • 3 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x DVI-I.

Such a set of connectors allows you to connect several modern digital monitors or TVs. Thanks to connectors HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort you can watch 4K content of improved quality.

Design and circuitry

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

Graphics card ASUS TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5 has an original design, which resembles a reference, but is independent development of company ASUS. White shroud of graphics accelerator with red accents will look quite unusual, especially in the case with a transparent side cover. The circuit board is deliberately quite compact to improve air blowing.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

The power subsystem of ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 is made of five-phase scheme: four phases are designed for the GPU, and one is for the video memory subsystem. As mentioned earlier, there are qualitative components Super Alloy Power, designed to operate at a high load (during acceleration or prolonged gaming sessions).

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

In addition to slot PCI Express 3.0 x16, to ensure the normal operation of the video card you must connect an additional 6-pin PCIe. It connection and disconnection is free, since the connector is located in the corner of the PCB.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

The reverse side of the printed circuit board contains several elements of the power subsystem, and two of the four video memory chips. In the upper right corner we found a connector for bridge NVIDIA SLI. It allows you to combine the processing power of GPU for the two co-processing graphics.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

The base of ASUS TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5 is graphics chip NVIDIA GM206-300-A1 (Maxwell). It consists of 1024 CUDA-cores, 64 texture units and 32 ROP units. The nominal operating frequency is 1190 MHz GPU and dynamic is 1253 MHz.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

The total capacity of video memory is 2 GB. It is realized using 4 chips Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 of GDDR5 standard with capacity of 4 GB each. The memory runs at an effective frequency of 7010 MHz, and to exchange data with a graphics core there is 128-bit bus with a capacity of 112.2 GB/s.

Cooling system

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

The cooling system takes up two slots for expansion cards. It is characterized by a large length (276 mm). The outer plastic cover not only creates an elegant look of the adapter, but also directs the air flow along the surface of the PCB. Air blowing is provided by 75 mm radial fan, built on the basis of a reliable dual ball bearing.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

Removal and heat dissipation is realized using an aluminum radiator with a longitudinal placement of ribs that contact with the GPU using a copper base.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

Another small aluminum radiator is installed on the elements of the power subsystem.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

During stress tests in automatic mode of the cooling system, the GPU temperature was at 80°C. The propeller was rotated at a speed of 1637 rpm, and the level of noise can be characterized as average.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

After fixing the fan speed at maximum, the GPU temperature dropped to 63°C. The noise exceeded the average level and has already become uncomfortable for long life. This mode is suitable only for overclocking and running stress tests.

ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 960 (TURBO-GTX960-OC-2GD5)

In idle mode the frequencies of the graphics core and memory are automatically dropped and the core temperature did not exceed 35°C. The cooler is very quiet.

Read the full review >>>

Motherboard ASUS AM1I-A: review and testing

ASUS has continued to expand the lineup of motherboards for the platform AMD AM1, which is primarily designed to build the most affordable and energy-efficient PCs. One of the key ideas of this platform is a relatively small set of the final cost of the processor and motherboard from $ 65 to $ 95 (depending on the used APU model). Also note that processors intended for AMD AM1 are made in the design of SoC. They include not only computers, but also the graphics core and a number of controllers that eliminated the need for a separate set of system logic as well as the need to buy a discrete graphics card.

ASUS AM1I-A

More information about platform AMD AM1 is available the reviews of the processors AMD Athlon 5350 and motherboard MSI AM1I, and we will proceed to the ASUS AM1I-A that is a compact solution in size Mini-ITX, with an average cost of about $ 35 - 40.

The specs:

Producer 

ASUS

Model

AM1I-A (rev 1.02)

CPU socket

Socket AM1

Supported processors

AMD Athlon / AMD Sempron

Memory frequency

1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 32 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x4

Disk subsystem

Controller SATA into APU supports:

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

LAN

1 x Realtek RTL8111GR (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

2 / 4 / 5.1 / 7.1-channel sound

Power

24-pin ATX connector

4-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

1 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Extenral I/O

1 х DVI-D

1 x D-Sub

1 x HDMI

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

4 x USB 2.0

1 x COM

3 x audio jack

2 х PS/2

Internal I/O

2 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB USB 2.0

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 х TPM

1 х COM

1 х LPT

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors 1 x S/PIDIF Out

1 x CMOS

BIOS

UEFI AMI BIOS

64 Мb Flash ROM, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI 2.0a

Packaging

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

Mini-ITX

170 х 170 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

tags: asus   amd   usb 3.0   usb 2.0   realtek   amd am1   athlon   mini-itx   ddr3   kabini   soc   uefi bios   usb 3.0 boost   sempron   windows 8   
Read the full review >>>

Video card ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5): review and testing

Many years the company ASUS pleases fans of compact gaming Mini-ITX-systems producing graphics cards that are ideal for this form factor, updating its line of ASUS Mini. These models include ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU Mini OC and ASUS GeForce GTX 760 DirectCU Mini OC. It's time to talk about a compact version of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 - ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5).

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

The novelty has not only a compact format, but factory overclocking, high-quality element base, as well as proprietary cooling system DirectCU Mini, designed specifically for the graphics cards lineup ASUS Mini. Let's move on to the review for a more detailed examination of all the special features.

The specs:

Model

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC

(ASUS GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM206 (Maxwell)

Quantity of CUDA-cores

1024

Supported API and technologies

 

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Nominal/dynamic GPU frequency, MHz

1190 / 1253

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1753 (7010)

Memory capacity, GB

2

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

128

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

112,2

Bus type

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

Digital up to 4096 x 2160

Analog up to 2048 x 1536

Screening  interfaces

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI

3 х DisplayPort

Support for HDCP  and decoding of HD-video

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

400

Дополнительные разъемы питания PCIe

1 x 6-pin

Dimensions taken from official website (according measurements in own test lab) , mm

170 х 122 (183 х 122)

Drivers

Available drivers ASUS or  GPU

Website

ASUS

Tested modification of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 differs due to the presence of factory overclocking the GPU from the default 1126 to 1190 MHz. Dynamic GPU frequency averages 1253 MHz instead of 1178 MHz recommended. As for the video memory subsystem, it operates at recommended effective frequency of 7010 MHz.

Package and content

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

Graphics card ASUS GTX960-MOC-2GD5 comes in fairly compact cardboard box decorated with the graphic printing in the corporate style. In addition to the names of the manufacturer and model of the device, note the reference about the capacity and type of video memory. In turn, the icon «OC Edition» indicates the factory overclocking. Also in the lower right corner you can find support for technologies NVIDIA G-SYNC, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream and DirectX 12.

The main advantages of ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5) are: a proprietary cooling system DirectCU Mini and advanced circuitry, made according to the concept of Super Alloy Power. In daily use this design allows to  increase the performance up to 15%,  35°C decrease operating temperature and a 2.5 increase in the lifespan of the graphic adapter.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the more detailed description of the benefits listed on the front side. Also, there is a schematic diagram of the interface panel, and the mention of the possibilities of proprietary GPU Tweak utility online broadcast (Online Streaming).

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

A list of system requirements is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system must have a capacity at least of 400 W and provide at least 38 A on +12V rail. Also tested model requires a connection of only one 6-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

Delivery set of the graphics card ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC we found only the documentation and a CD with software. You should not have the problems with the connection of additional power, since almost all modern power supplies are equipped with at least one 6-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

To display the image the test product has  benchmark set of interfaces:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Dial up to 2048 x 1536.

Design and circuitry

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

Model ASUS GTX960-MOC-2GD5 is made on a compact black circuit board with a standard layout principle. Used electronic components correspond to the concept of branded Super Alloy Power and include only high-quality components: solid state capacitors, advanced MOSFETs, ferrite core chokes and tantalum polymer capacitors. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics adapter in general, and prolongs its lifetime.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

Power supply is performed by the standard five-phase diagram, where four phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core, and one is designed for video memory subsystem.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

The digital PWM controller of power subsystem is provided by chip uP1608TK produced by company uPI Semiconductor.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

In accordance with the recommendations of the company NVIDIA, to power the graphics adapter there are PCI Express x16 slot and one 6-pin PCIe socket located on the side of the board, so the cooler does not difficult to disable PCIe cable.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

In order to provide NVIDIA SLI technology ASUS GTX960-MOC-2GD5 uses one connector for the corresponding bridge that allows you to combine two video accelerators for the joint calculation of graphical effects. Recall that you can see the results of the testing NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 in mode 2-Way NVIDIA SLI in the review GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

The reverse side of a novelty, initially covered with the base plate, contains two of the four video memory chips, the above-mentioned tantalum polymer capacitors and some other electrical components.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

The tested model is based on 28-nm graphics chip NVIDIA GM206-300-A1 (Maxwell). It includes 1024 CUDA cores, 32 blocks of rasterization and 64 texture units. As we have said, the video card has factory overclocking of graphics core with frequencies of 1190 and 1253 MHz.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

Memory of model ASUS GTX960-MOC-2GD5, totaling 2 GB is realized using 4 chips Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 with capacity of 4 GB each. According to the documentation, their effective frequency is 7000 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 128-bit bus, which is capable of flowing 112.2 GB of information per second.

Cooling system

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

The video card including installed cooling system DirectCU Mini occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 170 mm according to the ASUS official website (183 mm according to our measurements).

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

Don’t forget that the standard width Mini-ITX motherboard (for example, ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT) is 170 mm, which confirms the excellent compatibility of video accelerator with compact systems of the form factor.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

The cooler consists of a small radiator with a vaporization chamber at the bottom and with a fan CoolTech diameter of 86 mm. Spinner is made by hybrid technology, combining internal radial and external axis fan (classic design of the blades). This design, according to the manufacturer, provides omnidirectional airflow and promotes the accelerated heat removal.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

The fan is manufactured by FirstDo company and is labeled as «FD9015U12S». Rated operating voltage is 12 V, and the current is 0.55 A, which gives the final output of 6.6 W. According to the letter «S» in the title, it is built on sleeve bearing.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

In case of automatic speed control of fan blades at maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 71°C, and cooler, as indicated by the monitoring works on 58% of its maximum capacity. Noise was below average.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

Under the maximum speed of the fan blades the GPU temperature dropped to 61°C. The noise was increased, but remained comfortable enough for continuous operation near the PC.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Mini OC (GTX960-MOC-2GD5)

In case of load absence the operating frequencies of the graphics core and memory are automatically decreased, allowing to reduce the power consumption and heat dissipation. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 29°C.

Read the full review >>>

Motherboard ASUS J1900I-C: review and testing

Continuing our meeting to motherboards with integrated quad-core processor Intel Celeron J1900, we will talk about a compact model ASUS J1900I-C in format Mini-ITX. In addition to size, it compares favorably with a diverse set of ports and connectors, traditionally high build quality, as well as the support for modern digital video output HDMI.

ASUS J1900I-C

But before we go directly to its review, we recall that the detailed characteristics of the installed Intel processor you can learn from the material devoted to the GIGABYTE GA-J1900N-D3V. But in the meantime we look at the characteristics of the hero of this review.

The specs:

Producer 

ASUS

Model

J1900I-C (rev 1.02)

CPU socket

Socket BGA1170

Integrated processor

Intel Celeron J1900 (4 х 2,00 − 2,42 GHz)

Graphics adapter

Intel HD Graphics: core frequency – 688 MHz (max up to 854 MHz); is located from RAM

Memory frequency

1333 MHz

Memory support

2 x DDR3L SO-DIMM-slots with memory support up to 8 GB in dual channel mode

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

1 x mini-PCIe

Disk subsystem

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111G (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

2/4/5.1/7.1-channel sound

Power

24-pin ATX connector

4-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

1 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 x D-Sub

1 х HDMI

1 x LAN (RJ45)

1 x USB 3.0

4 x USB 2.0

1 х COM

3 x audio jacks

1 х PS/2 Combo

Internal I/O

1 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

1 х COM

1 x LPT

1 х TPM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors 1 x S/PIDIF Out

1 x CMOS

BIOS

1 х 64 Мb AMI UEFI BIOS

PnP, DMI2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 2.0a, WfM 2.0

Packaging

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

Mini-ITX

170 х 170 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

tags: asus   intel   celeron   mini-itx   icontrol   usb 3.0   pci express   ddr3   usb 2.0   so-dimm   uefi bios   intel hd graphics   soc   htpc   
Read the full review >>>

Video card ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5): review and testing

A few months ago many manufacturers have expanded their video cards range of the popular series NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 models with 4 GB of memory. And the company ASUS did the same. It has released a version ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5), which boasts of a number of other advantages.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

First of all they include significant factory overclocking, productive proprietary cooling system DirectCU II with support for passive mode «0dB FAN» and qualitative element base. Also it has a good set of interface panel connectors and support for efficient software.

The specs:

Model

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5) 

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM206 (Maxwell)

Manufacturing process, nm

28

Q-ty of shader processors (CUDA-cores)

 

1024

Supported API and technologies

 

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Nominal/dynamic GPU frequency, MHz

«Gaming»

1228 / 1291

«OC»

1253 / 1317

Memory capacity, GB

4

Memory type

GDDR5

Nominal / effective video memory capacity, MHz

1753 / 7010

Memory bus, bit

128

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

112,2

Internal interface  

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Screening  interfaces

1 х HDMI 2.0

3 x DisplayPort

1 х DVI-I

Minimal PSU capacity, W

400

Dimensions taken from official website (according measurements in own test lab) , mm

215 x 121 x 41 (227 x 122)

Drivers

Available drivers ASUS or  GPU

Website

ASUS

Package and content

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

The card comes in a cardboard box with high-quality color printing. Its front side contains the logo of the manufacturer and the series ASUS STRIX. Below you can find an image of a proprietary cooling system DirectCU II, which is 30% more efficient in comparison with the reference model, according to signs. Also here is the mark of a factory overclocking and the capacity of video memory.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

The reverse side of the package has a layout of the interface panel connectors and a more detailed description of ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5features:

  • cooling system supports passive mode «0dB FAN», which allows it to be absolutely silent at light load;
  • element base corresponds to the branded concept Super Alloy Power and includes solid capacitors with increased 2.5 times lifetime, with ferrite core chokes, and improved field-effect transistors;
  • proprietary software for overclocking and monitoring (GPU Tweak) and free software license for game broadcasts  XSplit Gamecaster for 1 year.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

On the side face you can find the minimum system requirements required for the complete the work for the graphics card. Thus, the minimal capacity of power supply is 400 W, and the load capacity of the rail +12V must be 38 A or higher. It is also desirable to have at least one 6-pin PCIe.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

Inside the box a graphics accelerator is securely fixed using foam shapes and antistatic bag. This design will allow to protect the fragile electronics from damage during transportation.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

Package of ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC consists of:

  • adapter DVI-I ↔ D-Sub;
  • software and drivers CD;
  • stickers on the computer;
  • quick start guide.

Adapter DVI-I ↔ D-Sub is a nice bonus. It allows to connect an analog monitor.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

Interface panel includes the following set of connectors:

  • 1 x HDMI 2.0;
  • 3 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x DVI-I.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Dial up to 2048 x 1536.

Design and circuitry

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5 is made on a compact circuit board. The total length of the graphics accelerator is only 227 mm, which will allow to place it even in small cases.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

The power subsystem uses a 5-phase design: four phases are reserved for the GPU and one is for the memory chips. PWM controller is a chip uP1608TK from the company uPI Semiconductor.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

The proper operation of the graphics accelerator is provided by slot PCI Express 3.0 x16 and one additional 6-pin PCIe. The PCB has a special projection for connector snap.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

On the reverse side of the printed circuit board there is a metal plate which not only protects the PCB from damage, but also participates in the heat removal process. Also note that one of the four screws of the cooling system has a protective seal. This means that the dismantling of cooling system is not desirable and will void the warranty.

In the upper right corner you can see the connector for the bridge NVIDIA SLI. It allows you to connect the processing power of two GPUs for the co-processing of the graphics.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

Video card ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5 is based on 28-nm GPU NVIDIA GM206-300-A1 (Maxwell). It consists of the 1024 unified shader processors, 64 texture units and 32 ROP units.

The graphics core has two modes. In the first case (mode «Gaming») its nominal frequency is 1228 MHz, and dynamic is 1291 MHz. When you activate the profile «OC» data values will be 1253 and 1317 MHz respectively.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

Total memory is 4 GB and it is provided by using 8 chips Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 with capacity 4 GB each. They work on the effective frequency 7010 MHz, and to exchange data with a graphics core use 128-bit bus with a capacity of 112.2 GB/s.

Cooling system

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

The card is equipped with a proprietary cooling system, which occupies two slots for expansion cards. The outer part is covered by a plastic cover, decorated with original printing.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

Four nickel-plated heat pipes are used to remove heat from the GPU. Two of them have a diameter of 8 mm, and two 6 mm. They are characterized by direct contact with the surface of the GPU to improve heat dissipation.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

Two axial blowing fans FirstDo FD7010H12S (12; 0.35 A) with 75mm diameter blade are applied. They are based on slider bearings.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

Now let's examine the effectiveness of branded cooler under load. In automatic mode of the cooling system the GPU temperature did not exceed 70°C at maximum load. Fans were very quiet (the first rotated at 1730 rpm, and the second at 1700 rpm) and were virtually indistinguishable on the background of the other components.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

After running at maximum speed (first rotated with a frequency of 3300 rpm, and the second - 3280 rpm), GPU temperature dropped to 59°C. Even in this mode, the noise was average and was comfortable enough for long term use.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5)

In idle mode the GPU temperature dropped to 42°C and the cooler was switched to passive mode. And this is a principle of the technology "0 dB FAN»: silent cooler under low loads.

Read the full review >>>

Motherboard ASUS Z97-WS: review and testing

As is well known, the controller PCI Express 3.0 integrated into processors Intel Socket LGA1150 supports only 16 lines with distribution under schemes х16, х8+х8 or х8+х4+х4. The model ASUS Z97-WS is perfect for users who want to organize a more powerful graphics subsystem. The company has equipped its product with chip-switch PLX PEX8747, providing more opportunities to build gaming PC. However, first things first, and first, let's take a look at the detailed specs.

ASUS Z97-WS

The specs:

Producer

ASUS

Model

Z97-WS (rev 1.0)

Chipset

Intel Z97

CPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported processors

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 4th and 5th gen: Intel Haswell, Intel Haswell Refresh, Intel Devil`s Canyon, Intel Broadwell

Memory frequency

3300* / 3200* / 3100* / 3000* / 2933* / 2800* / 2666* / 2600* / 2500* / 2400* / 2200* / 2133* / 2000* / 1866* / 1800* / 1600 / 1333 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with support of memory up to 32 GB

Expansion slots

 

4 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 / x16+x16 / x16+x8+x8 / x8+x8+x8+x8)

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x4

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel Z97 chipset supports:

1 x M.2 (M.2 2260, M.2 2280)

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 х SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

ASMedia ASM1061 controller supports:

1 x eSATA 6 Gb/s

ASMedia ASM106SE controller supports:

1 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 x SATA 6 Gb/s)

LAN

1 x Intel WGI210AT (10/100/1000 Mb/s)

1 x Intel WGI218LM (10/100/1000 Mb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC1150

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

1 x 24-pin power socket ATX

2 x 8-pin power socket ATX12V

1 x 6-pin power socket ATX12V

Fans

2 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

4 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiators on chipset

Aluminum radiator on power subsystem elements, coupled with an additional heat pipe with additional  heat sink and the heat sink on the chip-switch PLX PEX8747

External I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x Mini DisplayPort

1 x DisplayPort

2 x LAN (RJ45)

6 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

1 x eSATA 6 Gb/s

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

6 x audio jacks

1 х button «Q-Code Logger»

1 х button «USB BIOS Flashback»

Internal I/O

2 x USB 3.0, each with support of two USB USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB USB 2.0

1 x IEEE 1394a

1 х TPM

1 x COM

1 x Thunderbolt

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x S/PDIF out

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS

1 х «MemOK!»

1 х DRCT

1 х «Direct Key»

1 x «Power»

1 x «Reboot»

1 x «CMOS reset»

2 x diagnostic LED-indicator

1 x switch «TPU»

1 x switch «EPU»

1 х switch «EZ XMP»

1 х switch «DR_POWER»

1 x switch «CPU Over Voltage»

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 2.8, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0

Packaging

 

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

1 х set ASUS Q-Connectors

8 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х bridge 3-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х bridge 4-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х panel with port COM

1 x panel with two ports USB 2.0 and one IEEE 1394a

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor,

dimensions

ATX

305 х 244 mm

 Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

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Speaker Edifier E25 Luna Eclipse: review and testing

Edifier speakers are often characterized by the usual forms and classic design. Rectangular MDF case does not provide fastidious look, but combined with high-quality speakers, amplifier and a part of the competent internal content (struts, padding polyester, etc.) provide a good sound.

Edifier E25 Luna Eclipse

In this review, we are going to test stereo speaker Edifier E25 Luna Eclipse, which will become a recreation for interior designers, forced to put up with the dominance of "monotonous boring boxes" in the flats. The speaker of the original shape and unusual design are painted in red, which makes them memorable. And now let’s learn how they were reflected in the sound.

Edifier E25 Luna Eclipse

tags: edifier   xonar   asus   
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Functionality of ASUS networking equipment

First of all let's remember what is "networking equipment" and its purpose. Of course, many are familiar with the materiel, but anyway it is useful to refresh knowledge.

ASUS Wi-Fi

So the networking equipment is divided into active and passive, and the second has only the toggle and switches. We are not talking about it in this review but ASUS produces it. Nevertheless, noticeable functionality and controllability is suitable only for the active equipment, which we will analyze.

Networking equipment classification

According to Wikipedia: "... active equipment is the equipment containing circuits are powered from the mains or other sources, and performs the functions of amplification, signal conversion, etc." It refers to the ability to process signals by special algorithms. The package data transfer is realized network. Also each package contains technical information: information about its source, purpose, integrity of information, etc. Active networking equipment not only detects and transmits a signal, but processes the technical information, redirecting and spreading the incoming streams in accordance with embedded algorithms in the memory device. This "smart" feature, along with the mains, is a sign of active equipment. For example, the active equipment includes the following types of devices:

  • AC adapter is a board installed in computer and provides a connection to the LAN (local area network);
  • repeater is the unit with 2 ports, designed to replicate the signal in order to increase the length of the network segment;
  • hub (active hub, multiport repeater) is a device with 4-32 ports, used to group users into the network;
  • bridge is a device with 2 ports, usually used to connect multiple LAN groups that allows filtering of network traffic, analyzing network MAC-address;
  • switch is a device with a few (4-32) ports commonly used to combine several working LAN groups (otherwise known as a multiport bridge);
  • router is used to connect multiple LAN groups and allows filtering of network traffic, analyzing network IP-address;
  • media converter is a device with 2 ports normally used to convert the data transmission medium (coaxial↔ twisted pair, twisted pair ↔ optical fiber);
  • network transceiver is a unit with 2 ports normally used to convert the data interface (RS232↔V35, AUI↔UTP).

Note that some experts do not include repeater and hub, as these devices are repeating the signal to increase the distance of connection or topological branching and do not provide its processing. But the controlled hubs are active network equipment, as may have a certain "intellectual aspect."

In general, the most important signs of active network equipment is its ability to control and be controlled from outside.

The review of active networking is quite extensive aspect, so we'll start our approach from the most required by modern equipment allowing to save on GPRS and 3G, connect your favorite tablets and get the most free and fast internet. Today we look at current networking features of Wi-Fi-routers.

Actual devices must be able to function in multiple topologies and communicate over different protocols often not only the latest but also obsolete.

Networking devices of company ASUS not only follow the established standards but introduce new aspects that claim to be widely accepted.

tags: asus   wi-fi   cloud   iptv   3g   4k   linux   android   ethernet   router   4g   windows   mac os   
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Motherboard ASUS H81M-PLUS: review and testing

It is not always required to buy motherboard based on the flagship chipset for efficient CPU. For example, if the processor has a locked multiplier, a set of expansion cards will consist of a single graphics card, and four SATA ports would be enough to connect the disk subsystem. In this case, you can save on the motherboard taking more affordable solution, and the balance can be invested in other components (such as the purchase of SSD-drive).

Motherboard ASUS H81M-PLUS is one of these relatively affordable entry-level solutions. It can be used not only in the traditional office, educational or home media PC, but also to organize middle range of gaming computer. It offers a wide list of advantages: digital power system, traditionally high quality of element base, support for modern interfaces, as well as a number of other improvements and proprietary technologies.

ASUS H81M-PLUS

Do note that the basis of the model is the youngest chipset (Intel H81), which is largely accompanied by reduced the final cost. Let's take a look at the detailed specifications of the device.

The specs:

Producer 

ASUS

Model

H81M-PLUS (rev 1.06)

Chipset

Intel H81

Integrated processor

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 4th gen

Memory frequency

1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 16 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16

3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel H81 chipset supports:

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s (yellow)

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s (dark brown)

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111G (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

8-channel sound

Power

24-pin ATX connector

4-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

1 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 x DVI-D

1 x D-Sub

1 x HDMI

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

4 x USB 2.0

3 x audio jacks

2 х PS/2

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

2 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x S/PDIF Out

1 x set of front panel connectors 1 x S/PIDIF Out

1 x CMOS

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 2.0a, SM BIOS 2.7, DMI 2.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

microATX

244 х 183 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

tags: asus   intel   usb 3.0   intel h81   hdmi   dvi-d   d-sub   ddr3   intel core   microatx   pci express   celeron   socket lga1150   uefi bios   pentium   usb 3.0 boost   windows   
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Motherboard ASUS SABERTOOTH X99: review and testing

The success of the lineup ASUS TUF (The Ultimate Force) indicates that the motherboard with a high level of reliability and protection proved to be in high demand, so they are very popular. Taking into account this fact, we were not surprised that the company ASUS decided to expand the series ASUS TUF by model based on chipset Intel X99, focused for enthusiasts.

ASUS SABERTOOTH X99

The motherboard ASUS SABERTOOTH X99 will be described in today’s review. At an average cost of about $ 450, it has a number of proprietary features and benefits that will be described latter.

The specs:

Producer 

ASUS

Model

SABERTOOTH X99 (rev 1.1)

Chipset

Intel X99

CPU socket

Socket LGA2011-v3

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7-5000 (family Intel Haswell-E)

Memory frequency

2133 / 2400 MHz

Memory support

8 x DDR4 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

40 lines

28 lines

х16

х16+х16

х16+х16+х8

х16

х16+х8

х16+х8+х4

1 х PCI Express 2.0 x4 (in mode x2)

1 х PCI Express 2.0 x1

Disk subsystem

 

Intel X99 chipset supports:

1 х M.2 (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280, M.2 22110)

8 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 x SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel WGI218V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

1 x Realtek 8111GR (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC1150

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

1 х 24-pin ATX connector

1 х 8-pin ATX12V connector

1 x 4-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

3 x CPU fan connectors (4-pin)

4 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

5 х sockets for connection of additional fans (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Aluminum radiator on subsystem power elements connected by heat pipe

Extenral I/O

2 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 3.1

4 x USB 2.0

1 х TUF Detective

5 x audio jacks

1 х optical S/PDIF Out

1 x button «USB BIOS Flashback»

Internal I/O

2 x USB 3.0, each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

2 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

8 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express, compatible with two SATA 6 Gb/s

1 х M.2

1 х socket TPM

1 х socket COM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x S/PDIF Out

1 х button «MemOK!»

1 х module TB_HEADER

1 х thermal sensor socket

1 x socket DRCT

1 х adapter Clear CMOS

BIOS

AMI UEFI BIOS

128 Мb

PnP, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0

Packaging

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

1 х set ASUS Q-Connectors

6 x SATA cables

1 x bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х set of plugs for ports and expansion slots

1 х fan of cooling system ASUS Thermal Armor

1 х set of thermal sensors

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 х 244 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

Read the full review >>>

asus

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