CES 2013 CoverageBosco - January 9, 2013
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ASUS had some interesting things to show off this year, with a heavy weight on the ROG (Republic of Gamers) series for high end enthusiast gamers and overclockers. The biggest find was the eventual release of the RAIDR EXPRESS PCIe storage card that we will hopefully at least see press releases by the beginning of Q2. There is no word on what we all want to know at this point as far as capacity, speed, controller design, etc. However, it has been promised to be better than "competitors". ASUS did mention that it was spending a lot of time making sure that the RAIDR would work in all boards and be painless in terms of configuration.
Next on the table was the VG248QE 3D monitor directed at gamers who really prefer the refresh rates of the 3D monitors with a more affordable look (though no dollar signs were put on the table). With a refresh rate of 144Hz and some pretty decent viewing angles, this 1920 x 1080 monitor might be something worth looking at for your next monitor. It even has an overlay menu designated to gamers for consistent crosshairs and built-in timers. ASUS is clearly aiming at the gaming market with products such as this.
The ARES II (ARES2-6GD5) is something that ASUS has kept under the radar – at least until now. It is the next 7970X2 on the market with an improved cooling design. Not only is the card two slots (rather than three), it's also watercooled with a mountable 120mm radiator. It does have CrossFire fingers, so if you have the methods to mount a second radiator, it can be done. Below you can see the minimal size fan and even with its "small" size, it was not too loud at all. Below the ARES II you can take another quick look at the RAIDR, but unfortunately ASUS is still hiding its details with a nice cardboard cutout to hide the circuit board. Either which way, the two together look pretty nice mounted for display (and actually running to show off the many monitors).
There were quite a few monitors showing off either 3D features or touch screen features for the new Windows 8 OS. The PA249Q was a middle ground monitor bringing back the 1920 x 1200 resolution for those of you have missed it with the replacement 1080. It gives you a bit more space for work and play.
The E2KM1l-Deluxe is another upgrade on the ASUS ITX board that even runs remarkably well on passive cooing alone. The active cooling can be cranked up for those of you who want to get the last bit of performance out of the little beast while gaming or streaming video to your DLNA-enabled devices. Full USB 3.0 support allows for fast external storage access and the newer Trinity graphics should allow for light gaming.
A little test bench was set up showing off the upgraded 990FX Sabertooth – the GEN3 R2.0 military grade board. It supports AMD's AM3+ for Zambezi and is technically the world's first AMD GEN3 PCI Express motherboard. It follows a lot of the appeal of the ever popular ASUS Sabertooth boards and will look quite nice in any new build.
The most entertaining item of show was the ASUS ROG TYTAN CG8890. Unfortunately due to ASUS's connections with companies in the US and respects for such connections, this beast is only going to be available to you Canadians. It has a one-click overclock button on a six-core Intel i7-3960X without even rebooting. You can press the button again and again back and forth between overclock and non-overclock – but to top it all off, the case actually has actuated panels that open up to allow for improved air movement. Closed, it's a simple glowing blue ASUS logo; press the button and the flaps open up showing off the inner orange and the massive number of cooling fans. It's pretty neat, but unless it comes to the States, it's Canadians only. (Sad Face)
The last bit to show off was the ASUS networking table. There was an arrangement of six items (only five were actually available to play with) including repeaters, USB Wi-Fi connections and just interesting network connections. They were fun to look at, but nothing really jumped out – other than the strange plug jack that acts as a night light and can play media via Wi-Fi, though I'm not sure I'd be too excited to have one.