Logitech G435 – Review

Recently, the headset market has had a significant shake-up in terms of what is expected and who the target market truly is.  In the past, headsets were for gamers only.  you would simply need to cater to PC or console players and provide the best while having some crazy design so that your headset would get noticed.  Since Covid-19 all of this has changed.  The vast majority of people, that is still with a job, now have to do all their work from home and sit in on crazy amounts of virtual meetings.  This means spending a lot of time in front of your computer and even more time with a headset on.  For those who are not gamers, wearing a headset for extended periods of time might feel very uncomfortable.  Fortunately, Logitech has once again been able to take what they are so good at, and make a headset that perfectly blends the brilliance of their daily office equipment with the quality of their gaming peripherals.  Time to take work and play to the next level.  Introducing the Logitech G435.  Built with inclusion in mind!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9VEH_btbh4

Design and Features

    Logitech has erred on the side of caution when it comes to the design of the G435.  Following the general design of the G series headsets that have enjoyed massive fanfare across gaming platforms, with design cues and features that are alike.  The Logitech G435 features soft memory foam cups, that, in my opinion, are the perfect combination of lightweight and breathable while blocking out enough ambient noise when using it in a personal environment.  One of the truly unique aspects of the G435 is the extremely lightweight design, and with a frame that can easily be forgotten that it is even on your head, makes the G435 a great headset if you need to wear it for extended periods of time.  The medium-sized earcups can not only slide up and down on the frame, allowing for a snug fit for nearly all but there is even a hint of a swivel which is not often seen in headsets that are designed like these.  The headband does offer very little in the sense of padding but when the headset weighs a mere 165g then you don't need much padding to feel like it's floating on top of your head.     The Logitech G435 features two ways to connect to your favorite device, be it a mobile device, PC or console.  First up is the legendary Logitech lightspeed wireless technology that offers a low-latency connection to any device that is compatible with the USB dongle.  The second option is to connect via Bluetooth, which is great for consoles and mobile phones, and tablets. When it comes to the audio, the Logitech G435 is fitted with 40mm drivers, which might seem on the smaller side, but thanks to Logitech and their great tuning, punches way above its actual weight and delivers solid and strong mids and highs while maybe sounding slightly weak on the bass tones, having more dense earcups might help give the bass some more kick.  A new feature of Logitech headsets is the inclusion of beamforming microphones.  fitted to the left earcup the beamforming microphones are not quite in the league of the Blue voice boom mic that the G Pro X headsets are fitted with but they do a respectable job nonetheless.  The microphones that are fitted within the earcups do an admirable job of picking up the wearer's voice even in partially noisy environments.     On the outside, the Logitech G435 features an embossed G435 on the right ear and the expected Logitech logo on the left.  Furthermore, all the controls are on the left ear.  Working from the top of the left rear earcup rim, we have  LED to indicate power status as well as power on or off.  Right below the LED is the actual power button that, when pushed gives you an audio tone to show that it is on or off.  Moving further down is the volume up and down controls which do take control of your device's main volume when adjusted.  Last but not the least, there is a mute button which, when pressed and held, also activates an ear protection mode which ensures that the G435 max volume is limited to a point where no hearing damage can be caused when used for extensive periods of time.  The Logitech G435 charges via a USB-C cable and Logitech claims that battery life should be good for a respectable 18 hours of use.     The Logitech G435 is extremely lightweight and that is wonderful for those who plan to wear it extensively.  But it comes with a flipside.  Being light generally causes the item to feel less durable.  Logitech has proven that their products are very capable of standing the test of time and torture.  The G435 does feel more fragile than some other headsets but if treated correctly I don't see it falling apart without some heavy-handedness.  

Performance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2x2zLgSi6Y   Coming from my personal G Pro X headset, it took some time to get used to the extremely light G435.  After some time I had to feel and check if the headset was still there.  It is extremely light and the clamping force is near perfect making you feel like you are not even wearing a headset.  I spent significant time watching series on Netflix and playing Life is Strange: True Colours as well as some fast-paced shooter action in the form of Warzone.  The Logitech G435 handled most audio situations really well.  When watching quieter scenes from movies and series the voices would carry really well while the low bass would not muddy the crystal clear mids and highs.  Life is Strange is already an extremely engaging game and thanks to great audio it pushes the immersion even further.     When I was playing Warzone by myself I found myself actually hearing the other players better with the default audio settings of the G435.  As it is aimed at mobile and ease of access across platforms the G435 does not utilize the GHUB in any way, so what you get out of the box is what you get.  Fortunately, that is still very good.  What I really appreciated about the G435 is how even though it only boasts a 40mm driver it is able to distinguish between explosions and gunfire without losing some of the quality and becoming very muddy.  The microphone while clear, does bleed a little bit of background noise but nothing to be concerned about.  My teammates did say I sounded significantly further away from my mic when speaking, although comparing it to the Blue voice microphone on my G Pro X is not a fair competition.  The Logitech G435 does not come with any form of surround sound technology which is no problem, many games are designed to give directional audio even when using a stereo headset so it is no deal-breaker!  The Lightspeed wireless is as always top-notch, with great range and easy connection, and even walking to the room next door to take a much-needed restroom break, the G435 never skipped a beat!   Bluetooth is just as reliable and has a really strong connection which I never had a problem with.    

Verdict

The Logitech G435 is a modest entry to a mid-range wireless headset that has its eyes firmly set on being more lifestyle-friendly with a modest design and super lightweight allowing for extended use.  The extreme lightweight does make the G435 very comfortable to wear but I would have liked to see slightly more padding around the earcup as well as the headband.  The Logitech G435 does also come in three color options, the one we have is the black and neon yellow accents.  There is also Off-white and Lilac and Blue and Raspberry.  A modest price tag of around the R 1 499 mark makes it a fair bit cheaper than the likes of the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2.  The Logitech G435 does lack a surround sound feature but it is more than capable of jumping from work to play and even a gaming session with friends, without skipping a beat.  Very capable audio makes the G435 a very competitive all-around headset for someone who is looking for a headset that needs to be able to do it all!    

Special thanks to Logitech South Africa for the review content

 
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Logitech G335 – Review

Logitech has long been renowned for making some of the best peripherals around. And is seen by many as the flagship in many categories.  In recent years the Pro-range has quickly made its name as arguably the best peripheral line-up for the serious player and many esports professionals.  This alone should show that Logitech is clearly doing something that gives the esports professionals the edge.  If you are not the competitive gaming type.  And you are looking for an exceptional wireless gaming headset, the Logitech G733 is the only headset that comes to mind. Sporting a sleek and attractive design, mixed with great comfort and exceptional sound and battery life.  It is only understandable that Logitech would want to keep with the magic that the G733 has brought.  And that is why they now bring us the Logitech G335.  We were lucky enough to get our hands on a set and we took a look, here is what we found.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErvB8vEDoo0

Design

    The Logitech G335 takes nearly everything that makes the G733 so wonderful and simply adds a cable and removes some RGB.  This might sound terrible for those who love to have a rainbow radiating from their headset.  Fortunately, Logitech replaces it with some very funky color options.  For those who are not familiar with the wonderful wireless G733, just like the Logitech G335, the headset has a very bold design with very attractive oval-shaped earcups which has great curvature.  The headband is something that truly made the G733 so comfortable and similarly, the G335 has a removable and adjustable headband strap.  The headband makes the already lightweight G335 feel even lighter as it does not rest on only one or two places on your head but a wide, comfortable band across your whole head.  This is a feature that I wish ALL headsets would adopt.     The earcups are still adjustable by means of a slider on the earcup itself which is discretely adorned with the very famous "G-symbol" as well as the G335 name slightly higher up.  The boom microphone sits on the left earcup and is very easy to move down and adjust to a perfect position.  Controls are also at a minimum with only a volume roller that is also situated on the rear side of the left earcup.  The earcups are made from a very light and breathable foam which works great with the extremely lightweight and breathable G335.     Since the Logitech G335 is so extremely lightweight it is easy to think that the build quality might not be great.  The G335 is made from very lightweight hard plastic and with a rather small frame it is easy to think that the G335 might not be able to withstand extensive and regular use.  Fortunately, Logitech has become synonymous with sturdy and reliable products and the G335 is no different.  The lightweight and flexible plastic that is used in the G335 actually allows for it to sit comfortably on nearly all head types.  With just enough clamp force to sit comfortably but not hurt after long sessions.  The earcups do not have the leatherette finish like the G Pro headsets.  The extremely soft memory foam does a great job of creating comfort while not creating heat which can be a problem if you use leatherette earcups.  The earcups are big enough to comfortably cover all types of ears and are deep enough to allow most ears to not touch the drivers.  Since the Logitech G335 is near-identical to the already-lightweight G733, with only the wireless feature missing, the G335 comes in at a mere 240g.  That is a staggering 38g lighter than the G733.  

Audio and Features

    At a price of touch over R1 000 when it launches, and a design and build quality that is top quality, there must be something that had to take the back seat during the creation of the Logitech G335.  Was it the audio quality?  Well, that is a tricky one to answer, and here is why.  The Logitech G335 is fitted with Logitech's 40mm drivers.  Many of the higher-tier headsets are all fitted with the more powerful 50mm drivers.  Due to this, the sound is not quite as punchy as you might expect from a bigger driver headset.  Luckily, Logitech is great at tuning its audio drivers to fight against much bigger and more powerful drivers, and the G335's 40mm drivers are no different.  The audio is very crisp and clear in the mids and highs.  The bass is a little lacking but that is partly due to the lightweight plastic that is being used as much as Logitech needed to find a happy medium where the mix between highs, mids, and lows, often one of the three needs to be sacrificed. On the feature side, the Logitech G335 is a little barer, but understandably so for a budget headset.  The G335 does have a flippable microphone that can be muted by simply flipping it up since there is no mute button on the cable or headset.

Verdict

The Logitech G335 has had me change my opinion of it numerous times while writing this review.  The main reason for this is the fact that it is really tough to put the G335 in a category.  If you see it as a gaming headset category then it might feel bareboned and not quite able to keep up with pricier and beefier headsets.  I think the G335 belongs in the lifestyle section as it is a very easy plug-and-play headset that is perfect for entry-level gamers as well as non-gamers who simply need a decent lightweight headset that is perfect for extended sessions of use.  The super lightweight build will be very attractive to some but personally, I prefer having something more substantial in weight.  The audio that is focused more on the higher spectrum is great for online meetings and casual shooter games but might remove some immersion when playing RPG's etc. For these reasons, I think the Logitech G335 should be very high up on anyone's list when looking for a budget-friendly headset that is still capable of delivering a satisfactory audio experience when you want to just straight out of your Zoom meeting and into a lobby of Warzone with your buddies.    

special thanks to Logitech South Africa for the review content

   
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ASUS TUF AX5400 Gaming Router – Review

The Internet has come a long way, when I was but a wee-fella internet was something that only the rich family member had, and to access it you would need to unplug your phone, yes the corded one, that many of you might not know.  For those who do, the fond dial-up noises will forever be etched into our minds and hearts, and the endless wait as pictures would render line for line.  Oh, those were the days... Since then, a lot has changed, long gone are the days of dial-up speeds.  We are now in the age of gigabit line speeds to the home, and if you are not yet using at least a 20Mb Fibre line you are slightly behind the times.  Along with the leaps and bounds advancement of the internet so too the hardware that allows us to access the internet.  Routers are no longer just a little box with lights on them that allows us to get to the internet, oh no, they are seriously involved pieces of technology that is nearly as involved as a computer themselves.  ASUS sent us one of their "gaming routers" and we just had to see whether or not it makes a difference, let us jump straight in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6giZjw7ofZM

Specifications

Model TUF-AX5400
Wi-Fi Technology Dual-Band AX5400
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs 2×2 AX Up to 574Mbps
5GHz Wi-Fi Specs 4X4 AX Up to 4804Mbps
Backward Compatibility 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
AP Mode Yes
Mesh-ready Yes (AiMesh)
Channel Support 20/40,80/160MHz
Gigabit Ports 4x LAN, 1x WAN
Multi-Gig Ports None
Link Aggregation Yes (WAN and LAN)
Dual-WAN Yes
Parental Control Yes
Built-in Online Protection Ai Protection
USB 1x USB 3.0
Mobile App Asus Router
QoS Yes
Processing Power 1.5 GHz tri-core CPU, 256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
Dimensions TBD
Weight 600g
Antennas Six (non-removable)
Gaming Features Open NAT Dedicated Game Ports QoS
 

Design

    Much like the internet, the look of routers has greatly changed, from the little box with a few lights flashing on it, to monsters that have beefier processors and specs than the computers of the past have.  Not only have the internals changed tremendously but so too have their designs.  The ASUS TUF AX5400 showcases the gaming-inspired design with a very aggressive design, that features many sharp lines and edges while having a spaceship-like look and many ventilation holes.  Don't forget the six, yes six, external antennas that adorn the rear side of the router.  The ASUS TUF AX5400 would not be "gaming-certified" without some form of RGB.  That comes in the shape of the TUF logo, placed on the top of the router which can be controlled via the ASUS router app. Apart from the TUF logo on the top, down the left side, there is TUF GAMING written in black, so as not to be too excessive with the branding.  The standard router light indicators can be found right at the bottom front lip nearly tucked in underneath a fold of the router. The days of trying to hide your routers out of sight and mind are long gone, with elaborate designs such as the ASUS TUF AX5400, they are clearly made to be seen.  

Hardware

    The ASUS TUF AX5400 features a 1.5GHz tri-core CPU and 512MB of RAM.  This is more powerful than my first PC come to think of it...  This power allows the ASUS TUF AX5400 to be able to perform well even on congested networks.  The Dual-Band WIFI 6 radio can manage speeds of up to wifi6 with ease.  The ASUS TUF AX5400 features one of its four LAN ports as a dedicated gaming port.  This port will take priority over all the traffic going through the ASUS TUF AX5400 router.  This means, simply plug in your gaming platform of choice and connect it to that LAN port, and no one else in the house will be able to hog your bandwidth.  ASUS has also decided, much like their more expensive motherboards, to use metal-shielded ports, not only does this improve stability it also reduces interference across ports. The USB port that is on the ASUS TUF AX5400 is not only for the usual firmware updates.  No, it can also be used for file sharing via WiFi, printer sharing, and even USB 4G modems can be plugged into it and used via the ASUS TUF AX5400 router.  And for all those MacOS users, TimeMachine backups can be done through the ASUS TUF AX5400.    

Gaming features

    As the design, and plethora of antennas suggest, the ASUS TUF AX5400 is a gaming router, therefore it should have gaming features, right? Right!  If you are a fan of mobile gaming, and you might need to squeeze a little more out of your connection, the ASUS TUF AX5400 features a mobile game booster via the ASUS Router App.  When this is active the router will prioritize and optimize the connection for the connected phone.  This will mean reduced ping and better stability, hopefully, meaning more Wins for you!  If you are a PC gamer then the AdaptiveQoS is the profile you want to be using.  It will, like the other settings mentioned above, help to optimize connection and latency for gaming connections specifically.   Don't fret or fear console users, the ASUS TUF AX5400 features an OpenNAT feature that will definitely make many console users smile.  OpenNAT type is often a thorn in many console gamers' sides but thanks to ASUS, those strict NAT type days are over!  

WiFi Performance

    The ASUS TUF AX5400 is a very capable router on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.  What does set it apart, even more, is the fact that it features  160Hz channels.  This might not be that impressive just yet due to not many devices being compatible with 160Hz but on paper, it should make about a 16-20% improvement on your WiFi speeds, which when downloading or uploading massive files, will make an enormous difference.  The performance on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz is terrific although 2.4GHz is old technology and should only be used for smart home devices.  Keep your consoles, PCs, and phones on 5GHz wherever and whenever possible. If you have a large house and a single router is not capable of covering your whole house, the ASUS TUF AX5400 has AiMesh, this means it can wirelessly link with other AiMesh routers to form a link and extend your range.  However, the AiMesh feature is limited to only other ASUS products with the AiMesh functionality

ASUS Router App

The ASUS router App makes the use of the ASUS TUF AX5400 so much easier and simplistic.  Setup is a breeze and should take even the most technologically challenged a mere 10 minutes at most.  There is no longer the need to log in to your router via a PC.  You can now simply pull out your smartphone and hop on to the ASUS Router App and see and change whatever you need to.  Want to change the RGB on the router, want to active mobile gaming mode for your specific mobile phone, or do you simply want to see who is hogging your bandwidth.  The ASUS TUF AX5400 and the ASUS Router App give you access to all of that with one application. The ASUS router app can also help protect the young ones from either too much internet time, or from stumbling onto something that they should not.  Thanks to AiProtection you can have full control over what and how much each device can do while on the network.  A handy category section allows you to place each device into an age-appropriate section which will allow it to have adequate blocks and time limits applied to it.  

Verdict

The ASUS TUF AX5400 might be marketed as a gaming router but it is a great router for gamers as well as power users who need a router that can do lots while giving the user the ability to customize nearly every inch of the features that the router provides.  With the addition of 160Hz channels, the ASUS TUF AX5400 is definitely a router that can help you future-proof the near future, at least.  The great features in terms of optimizing and stabilizing connections via WiFi and LAN are something that should have most gamers sitting up, and for console gamers, OpenNAT should have you out the door and ready to buy immediately! And as an added bonus, it looks great while doing all of the above as well... Win-Win!    

special thanks to ASUS South Africa for the review content

 
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Razer Opus X – Review

Noise-canceling headphones are something that you might not realize you need.  With the current climate of everyone working remotely or from home, or even if you are not, and simply have a rather buzzing office environment, it is sometimes nice to zone out and be in your own head with your favorite song. Razer, who is known for the vast range of gaming peripherals, which are extremely eye-catching in design, color, and often, RGB-infused, have never really ventured into the headphone market.  Headsets, yes, they have done many, but never good-old headphones.  The Razer Opus X and its more expensive brother, the Opus, therefore is a new venture for Razer.  Aimed at the mobile gamer, or someone looking for budget-friendly active noise canceling (ANC) wireless headphones.  We were lucky enough to get one to use and play with, here is what we found.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1oKlyKGAzg  

Design and Features

    The Razer Opus X certainly has a more down-to-earth design with its circumaural earcups, minimal design ars that allow the earcups to swivel.  Being made from plastic with a top headband made from protein leather, the Razer Opus X  certainly does come in extremely light, weighing a mere 270g. With 270g on your head, you will hardly notice the lightweight Razer Opus X  on your head which makes them perfect for long sessions of wearing.  The headband is not very broad but is wide enough to provide a solid build and feel while having nine notches of size to accommodate even the biggest of heads.  The very soft and comfortable protein leather earcups sit extremely comfortably and even though the earcups themselves seem rather small, they fit surprisingly comfortably and long sessions are actually effortless.     The Razer Opus X, earcups are deep enough that most users won't have any problems with ears touching the drivers, which is a problem that many headsets face when they try and be as sleek and slimline as possible.  These earcups house the 40mm drivers that might not be tuned for audiophiles like its older and more expensive brother, the Razer Opus is, but what it also lacks, unlike the Opus is a hefty price tag.  The Razer Opus X is for the person who is looking for good noise-canceling headphones without breaking the bank, and still, looks stylish while doing so.  The Razer Opus X features four microphones in total, two are used for active noise canceling, the other two are for voice chat.  The chat microphones on the Razer Opus X are acceptable, but they are by no means a replacement for a headset that features a dedicated boom or retractable microphone. The Razer Opus X has all of its controls limited to the right earcup.  Along the edge, you will be met with four marginally protruding buttons.  These are volume up, the multifunction button in the middle, and volume down next to that.  The power button is separated from the other buttons by a small LED indicator.  The Razer Opus X is charged by USB-C which is located on the same earcup but more forward-facing.  The power button doubles as the ANC toggle, when pressing the power button a voice will tell you ANC on, ANC off, or ambient on.     The Razer Opus X being fully Bluetooth 5.0, has another nifty feature in the form of QAM which, with a press of a button, allows you to filter in outside ambient sounds allowing you to hear what is happening around you.  Always handy if your significant other is calling you to fetch your gaming snacks.  Razer has also included a low latency gaming mode into the Opus X which did not make the cut into the normal Opus.  Gaming mode gives you better gaming latency of a mere 60ms. One of the big issues that many people have with wireless headsets is, often, bad battery life.  The Razer Opus X can give a very solid 30 hours of battery life with ANC on, and get to 40 hours with ANC turned off.

Performance

    We put the Razer Opus X through its paces with a few shows on Netflix and a host of playlists on Spotify.  Straight out of the box, the Razer Opus X equalizer settings were pretty decent with the bass being punchy enough while not having the mids become muddy or losing the highs.  I was also impressed that during mostly dialogue sections of series or movies the Razer Opus X kept the voices to the front and clear and when the action erupted it never felt that the voices got lost or overwhelmed.     If the standard settings don't quite suit your ears, Razer has an Audio app that you can download that allows for the equalizers to be adjusted to your heart's content.  The app also allows you to toggle the ANC on and off without having to finger around to find the correct buttons on the headset itself.  

Verdict

The Razer Opus X is more lifestyle orientated than many of Razers' louder and in-your-face designs and therefore might attract customers who want the features that Razer gives but wants to attract less attention.  The Opus X does still feature bright colors but no RGB and minimal design is a definite plus.  The ANC features and good battery life is another great plus point. The only noticeable issue is that the Razer Opus X is aimed to be a mobile headset and the swivel earcups make it easy to pack or carry around your neck but unfortunately the headband does not fold. At the price point, there are not many good-quality headphones that have the ANC feature as well as decent battery life.  Being extremely lightweight the Razer Opus X is nearly a no-brainer for most users looking for a headphone that can double as mobile gaming headphones while also being great for those pesky Zoom meetings, but also great when you need to escape the mundane office drone.    

Special thanks to Apex Interactive and Razer for the review content

 
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Logitech G923 Wheel & Pedal – Review

The world of Sim Racing has never quite been on our radar, we knew it was a massive group of die-hard "car game" fans that buy overly expensive rigs with pedals and wheels that are more expensive than their houses, and we kind-of left it at that.  When Logitech asked us if we would be interested in reviewing the Logitech G923 Wheel and Pedal, we were naturally intrigued to see how intense these tools really are and if they can make you THAT much better than what a seasoned controller driver such as myself, could be.  So when the box arrived we eagerly opened it and got it all set up.  While we do that, take a look at the video below...   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jig6uShQkgk  

Design & Features

  The Logitech G923 is the successor to the extremely popular and capable G29/G920.  If you are a owner of the G29 or G920 it is understandable that you might be skeptical of making the move from your current setup for something, that at face value, doesnt seem that much different.  On the outside the Logitech G923 features all the same premium quality materials.  The extremely plush leather in which the steering is wrapped, the strong, sturdy and perfectly sized metal paddleshifters, the buttons are pefectly spaced while the inlay of the wheel is mostly brushed metal with some plastic inlay.  The flat bottom steering wheel is a nod to many sportier car brands and gives you a wonderful feel of being fast, accurate and true. Apart from the wheel and paddleshifters, the wheel also features the standard YBAX buttons for Xbox, LSB and RSB buttons are placed on eith side of the centre of the wheel and they feel much like the "NOS buttons" that are so popular in the Fast & Furious franchise.  + and - keys are placed on the left bottom and the return button, with dial around the outside, to the right.  These two round buttons feel like they take quite alot of inspiration from a very popular german car brand, which is never a bad thing.  When turned on the new Logitech G923 also features a LED rev indicator which is a nice touch.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bMzOxkW-yU   The Logitech G923 wheel can be attached to a counter or rig with a suprisingly strong clamp that can be clamped and then tightened and fits nearly all, reasonably shaped, tables or desks.  The cables that go to the foot peddles, as well as the gearshifter, are all loose and enters a neatly routed area where they can be fitted and closed up tight.     The racing peddles are big and solid, which is what you need, as they might take some serious beating during the course of a really intense race.  Consisting of a large, rubberized base with all three of the pedals, not only a stop and go like non-purists use.  These pedals are fully metal with rubber blobs on them to keep your favourite racing slipper ( see what I did there)  from from slipping off the brake or accelerator at the worst possible time.  Aesthetically, the pedals are identical to the G29/920 that came before it except this time around, the brake pedal now has a progressive spring that will get firmer the harder you slam on the brakes.  

Performance

The biggest leap forward with the Logitech G923 is the addition of TrueForce.  What TrueForce is, in Logitech terms, TrueForce connects directly into the in-game engine, processing up to 4000 times per second.  This uses the actual real-time physics and audio and pushes that back as real world experiences through the Logitech G923 steering wheel.  A simple example would be, when you start up your car, and place your hand on the steering wheel.  There is a slight vibration, a little nudge from your car to tell you its there and ready.  TrueForce captures this, and when at full tilt, flying though the Scottish highlands in Dirt 2.0, pushing your Ford Fiesta rally car through its rev range, that orchestral delight of the engine singing can be felt as vibrations through the steering wheel.  With TrueForce you truly feel that the car is no longer just a object moving on a screen but you feel connected and invested.     The only slight drawback is that all of this vibrations do make a slight racket.  And a second fallback, not of the Logitech G923's own making, is the lack of TrueForce support at this time.  GT Sport, Assetto Corsa Competizione, Grid and Dirt 2.0 is some of the very few titles to currently support TrueForce.     I found the pedals to be equisite! The clutch felt great and although I did prefer to not use it I found the fact that the clutch would take differently on different cars to be a wonderful touch, both from the wheel and Dirt 2.0.  The throttle peddle, much like expected provides the least of feedback through the actual but is the cause for nearly all the feedback throughout the rest of the Logitech G923.   The real magic comes in the brake pedal with a progressive spring that stiffens as you put more weight on it, much like the hydraulic force that builds on a real brake pedal.  This was once again evident when I took the Ford Escort or Mini for a few spins from the classic era of racing.     Once again, Logitech, with its GHUB partners wonderfully capable hardware with a very robust software.  The Logitech GHUB is very easy to to understand and setup, and the features of the Logitech G923 can easily be adjusted within it.  Keybinds can be changed and other features like TrueForce can be turned off.

Verdict

For someone who loves car racing, gaming, but weirdly, doesn't LOVE racing games, I had mixed feeling about the Logitech G923 when it arrived at my desk.  Yes it is the next in a line of steering wheels and pedals that are revered as the best you can get, but I was not convinced that forking out a significant wadge of your hard-earned monies quite equates to the value that a steering wheel setup could bring.  I mean, surely, my controller and some skill behind the sticks could do just as well as this?  Boy oh Boy was I wrong.  The Logitech G923 is a stupendous steering wheel that will give those who are truly interested in putting their racing experiences into the next dimension. Not only can you now see where your car is, you can now use more than just your visual senses to establish exactly where you are placing those wheels.  Are you going to hook around this corner thanks to those deep ruts from the racers before you?  The moment you dive into the corner the TrueForce will give you the precise feedback of whether or not you are going to set a new fastest sector or whether the marshalls shoulds bring the winch. The only two downfalls that the Logitech G923 might pose is the price, which, compared to full-blown racing sims, is only a drop in the bucket, but for the casual gamer, it is still much more expensive than a simple controller.  Secondly, the lack of TrueForce supported titles right now, yes Logitech cannot force developers to use the TrueForce but they can hope, and after experiencing the wonders it can bring, I certainly hope more developers do choose to take advantage of it. If you are a car game enthusiast that is considering getting into sim racing but not sure where to dip your toes, the Logitech G923 is the where you need to go!    

Special thanks to Logitech South Africa for the review content

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Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 – Review

When it comes to styling, some might argue that Porsche has the best design team out there.  Taking a classic look and constantly tweaking it to make it look totally different while yet looking so familiar.  Porsche cars are a perfect mix of style and performance and when they partnered with AOC to create the Porsche design monitors it is only logical to expect a gaming monitor that combines the style and performance you would expect from a Porsche car, and blend it perfectly with the superb quality and performance of AOC.  When you are looking for mid to high-end monitors, most brands tend to change up their designs as the price increases.  The way they do this is generally with the aesthetical appeal so in the case of monitors they will use some fancy stand or add in RGB  which might have you sitting with something that comes from an expressive art class. Porsche Design and AOC had a very clear idea in mind when they designed the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 monitor.  Porsche design is driven by a passion for purist design and an understanding of the symbiosis between form and function.  It needs to capture attention and focus people's gaze.  This was evident in the design of the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27.  Let's take a closer look at the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 that not only has an extremely attractive design but has just as impressive a list of features... Shall we go for a ride? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZN5KGa_KsA  

Specifications

Panel Type / Backlight VA / W-LED, edge array
Screen Size, Aspect Ratio & Curve 27 inches / 16:9
Curve radius: 1000mm
Max Resolution & Refresh 2560x1440 @ 240 Hz
AMD FreeSync Premium Pro: 48-240 Hz
Native Color Depth & Gamut 8-bit / DCI-P3
HDR10, DisplayHDR 400
Response Time (MPRT) 0.5 ms
Brightness (mfr) 550 nits
Contrast (mfr) 2,500:1
Speakers 2x 5w, DTS-tuned
Video Inputs 2x DisplayPort 1.4
2x HDMI 2.0
Audio 3.5mm headphone output
USB 3.2 1x up, 4x down
Power Consumption 34.6w, brightness @ 200 nits
 

Design

With any item that is co-created and designed by a brand as renowned as Porsche Design, the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 instantly has your attention drawn to the very unique stand.  Made from metal, and carrying quite a hefty weight, Porsche Design and AOC wanted the stand to remind us of a roll cage that is fitted to racing cars.  While the stand, which is permanently fixed to the monitor, which means no mounting the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 to a VESA mount, is wonderful and a joy to look at, it does take up substantial space on a desk with a deep footprint of over 30cms. The rest of the monitor has a brushed finish and is proudly adorned with the Porsche Design logo on the front.  The bezels of the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 are a mere 8mm.  On the rear at the right, there is a single joystick that is the single control for all the features and settings that can be found on the monitor.   Not only does the chrome-plated stand provide much of the eye-candy factor of the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27, but it also allows gives it a strong base to stand on.  The stand allows for great ergonomics.  The monitor is able to move up and down within a range of 15 cm.  The monitor is also able to tilt 23degrees while swiveling 150 degrees.  What makes these movements more impressive is exact, and the perfect amount of resistance these movements offer.  I have yet to find a monitor that is as perfectly weighted as the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27. To many gamers' delight, the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 even features some RGB.  Around the pivot of the monitor, there is RGB lighting as well as a Porsche Design logo that is projected down between the feet of the stand.  Naturally, the RGB can all be customized via the onboard settings.  

Performance and Features

  Much like the Porsche cars, the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 has some serious tech under the "hood".  It boasts a 1440p VA Panel that is good for 240Hz, is capable of a 3000:1 contrast ratio, Adaptive-Sync, and HDR.  If that mouthful doesn't impress you then maybe the very aggressive 1000R curve and a 0.5ms response time, will.  The Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 comes with two Display Port 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0 ports.  The HDMI's will only give you up to 144Hz as is standard for HDMI 2.0 and if you want to take the full function of the 240Hz goodness you will need to connect via DP1.4.  The HDR10 and blur reduction are also only supported over the DP1.4 ports and will be good for up to 240Hz.  The Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 also features a 3.5mm audio jack as well as five USB 3.2 ports, one for upstream and the other 4 for down.  As if all of that is not enough there are also two, rather powerful, 5W DTS-tuned speakers built into the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 monitor.  Although I am sure these will hardly ever be used. With VA panels you are guaranteed to get great colors and brightness but often at the expense of overly bright blacks, with the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27, this is not the case.  During our time spent, we played quite a bit of fast-paced games such as Rocket League, Warzone, and Biomutant, as well as other, more gritty and dark titles like Escape From Tarkov and Days Gone. Compared to many of the other monitors we have reviewed in the past, the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 is the only one that comes to mind, where when turning on the HDR, that we did not want to, or have to change any settings.  Normally we would need to play around with some of the settings to get it to the way we like, but the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 has its settings perfectly dialed in, to our liking at least.   Colorful games such as Biomutant and the vibrant and fast-paced Rocket League look splendid with the rich contrast really making games look stunning.  The strong curve of the 1000R panel does wonders for immersion.  This is boosted more by the fairly capable 5W speakers and an extremely robust equalizer accessible via the OSD.  Thanks to the DTS tuning the speakers are able to create a fuller sound and thanks to some phase effects, even surround sound approximation sounded decent with plenty of bass while keeping voices crystal clear. AOC implemented a feature called backlight strobing which should help with smearing especially when it comes to fast-paced titles and running them at 240Hz.  We had to research this whole idea a bit before we attempted it and what we found was that at lower refresh rates, basically everything below 200Hz the MBR feature did a great job of keeping things crisp and clear but moving toward the 240Hz there was noticeable smearing happening.

Verdict

The Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 can easily be labeled as a case of  "style over substance" but you would be so wrong.  Yes, it carries a hefty price tag, and you could get a very capable 32-inch monitor for the same sort of money.  But what the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 is is an extremely well-styled monitor, that is more of a feature in a gaming setup than just a monitor.  Yes, we could get a 32 inch for the price, would it look as impressive as the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27? It most certainly would not. The Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 has been winning in our books on looks alone, and to MANY people, 27-inch monitors are a perfect size, so if you take the perfect sized monitor, with jaw-dropping aesthetics, and squeeze a spectacularly curvy VA panel into it.  Give it buttery-smooth 240Hz capabilities all at 1440p with HDR, there is very little I can say to deter you from this monitor! In summary, the Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27 is arguably one of the best premium gaming monitors around with nearly no downside to speak of.  If a stylish monitor, that is capable of looking good while performing wonderfully, then this is the monitor you need to showcase on your desk.    

special thanks to AOC South Africa for the review content

 
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ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark HERO Motherboard – Review

The X570 chipset motherboards have been around for quite some time since the Ryzen 3000 series actually.  Although it has been around for a while, it is capable of handling even the latest Ryzen 5000 processors, all thanks to a simple BIOS update.  The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero motherboard is the latest iteration of the X570 chipset board.  Although ASUS has released a Crosshair VIII Hero in the past, the latest version of it has taken what everyone loved about its predecessor and improved on the power, cooling as well as colour accents that is mentioned in the name. Obviously, with the ability to work on the new Ryzen 5000 series processors, it was very nice of ASUS to send us the monstrous Ryzen 9 5900X which is a 12 core 24 thread monster.  We are not reviewing the 5900X in this article but here is the start for both the Ryzen 9 5900X as well as the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLRTl2SvsU4  

Specifications

Ryzen 9 5900X Specifications

Processor AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
Market Desktop
Family Zen 3
Part number(s), S-Spec 100-000000061, 100-100000061WOF
Release date 2020 Q4
Lithography 7 nm FinFET
Cores 12
Threads 24
Base frequency 3.7 GHz
Turbo frequency 4.8 GHz
Cache memory 64 MB
Max memory capacity 128 GB
Memory types DDR4-3200
Max # of memory channels 2
Max memory bandwidth 47.68 GB/s
Max PCIe lanes 20
TDP 105 W
GPU integrated graphics None
Socket AM4
Maximum temperature 90°C
 
ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero Specifications
CPU Support: AMD Ryzen™ 5000/3000/2000 Series desktop processors
Power Design: CPU Power: 14-phase Memory Power: 2-phase
Chipset: AMD X570
Integrated Graphics: Dependent on installed CPU
Memory: 4x DIMM supports dual-channel DDR4-4866 (OC) MHz
BIOS: AMI UEFI BIOS
Expansion Slots: 3x PCIe 4.0 x16 slots (x16/x0/x0 or x8/x8/x4) 1x PCIe 4.0 x1 slots
Storage: 8x SATA 6 Gb/s port 2x M.2 port (SATA3/PCIe 4.0 x4)
Networking: 1x Intel I211-AT 1x Realtek RTL8125-CG Intel WiFi 6 AX200
Rear Ports: 1x Clear CMOS button 1x BIOS flashback button 1x Optical SPDIF out port 2x LAN (RJ45) ports 8x USB 3.1 (Gen2) ports 4x USB 3.1 (Gen1) ports 2x Antenna ports 5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
Audio: ROG SupremeFX7.1 surround sound high definition audio CODEC
Fan Headers: 8x 4-pin
Form Factor: ATX Form Factor: 12.0 x 9.6 in.; 30.5 x 24.4 cm
Exclusive Features:
  • 5-Way Optimization tuning: TPU Insight, EPU Guidance, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Expert 4, and Turbo App
  • Aura Lighting Control
  • MemOK! II
  • AI Suite 3
  • Ai Charger
  • ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
  • Armoury Crate
  • Pre-mounted I/O Shield
  • OptiMem II
  • ASUS EZ Flash 3
  • ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
  • BIOS Flashback® Button
  • Clear CMOS Button
  • Reset Button
  • ASUS Q-Code
  • ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
  • ASUS Q-Slot
  • ASUS Q-DIMM
  • ASUS Q-Connector
 

Packaging and Quick Overview

  The packaging is as expected for ASUS ROG, utterly premium.  Inside the box, you will naturally find the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero motherboard with a host of many other goodies.  Apart from the needed documentation and driver CD, there is the newly designed WIFI antennas, 6 SATA cables, a large ROG sticker, Q-connector to make the pesky case IO plugs more bearable to plug in, extension cables for both RGB strips, as well as addressable LEDs, a really good looking coaster because we all need refreshments while gaming, a package with a few screws for your M.2 drives and last but not least, a ROG Thank you, Card. Taking a closer look at the newly refreshed ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero, we do notice a few changes, albeit very subtle and slight, they do give the latest version a very classy and refined update.  Small changes have been brought to the new ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero like the heatsinks now are ribbed and the beautifully brushed black is centered by the ROG logo that lights up with RGB from behind.  The IO heatsink now also has ROG on it which also lights up with RGB.  The IO shield, which is usually loose and often a nightmare to get aligned or even worse when you realize you forgot to install it, is now fixed into place.  Even when running in "stealth mode" as ASUS calls it, with no RGB, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero fits perfectly into nearly any build that does not favor a white build.  

Taking a closer look at the board, we see much like the Z590 board we previously reviewed, the 8pin power plug is situated to the left top, next to it is the (optional) 4pin.  The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero has four RAM slots, with a maximum capacity of 128Gb at overclocked speeds of up to 5100, we did not get brave with our Corsair Vengeance Pro RAM and we decided to stick to the sweet spot of 3600MHz.  Right above the RAM slots, there are the first three fan headers, they are marked CPU_OPT, CPU_FAN, and AIO_FAN.  The fan headers on the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero are all clever enough to recognize if they have a DC or PWM fan attached.  Just to the right of these, there is the Q-code LED display that will display codes that can be used to diagnose POST issues or BOOT issues, fortunately, we did not experience any such issues.

Moving further right we find the first set of ARGB and RGB headers, the other set is found at the bottom of the board.  These can be used for LED strips etc.  Next up is the reset button, followed by the 24-pin ATX connector, some voltage measuring points follow below for those who want to do some onboard measurements.  Right underneath these is the front panel USB port which is a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C header.

Starting at the bottom left of the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero we find the audio that is powered by premium SupremeFX 7.1 audio codec with a bunch of premium components that I, personally, don't know much about but when doing research about them, I can only find that they are considered very premium.  For the vast majority of users, these premium sound components will be more than adequate.  The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is also fitted with three PCIe 4.0 slots and supports AMD CrossfireX 2/3/4 and Nvidia 2-way SLI.  The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero also features two M.2 sockets.  One is situated above the top PCIe slot and the other sitting just to the right of the bottom PCIe slot.  The top slot does however support PCIe 4.0 while the bottom only supports PCIe 3.0.  Both of the M.2 slots are covered by heatsinks which both serve to keep the drives cool as well as make them nearly invisible as the heatsinks seamlessly blend into the very dark design of the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero.

On the right end, there are eight SATA ports, the front panel USB3.2 Gen 1 header, and a case fan header.  Below that is the ROG water-cooling header zone.  Two 2-pin temperature sensor headers, 3-pin flow rate, and a 4-pin dedicated water-pump header.  These headers all send info to the AI suite software so that you can check everything from flow rate to coolant temperatures in your custom water loop.  Along the bottom of the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero, there are a whole bunch of buttons and headers, is the front panel audio plug, more 4-pin fan headers, Safe Boot button, TPM header, the second set of ARGB and RGB headers, Node header, two USB 2.0 headers, and the system panel header.

Finally moving to the rear IO.  Most noticeably is the plethora of USB ports.  With a staggering 12 found on the rear IO.  Eight of these are USB 3.2 Gen 2 ( 1 x Type -C, 7 x Type-A) and four more USB 3.2 Gen 1.  There are also 2.5GbE Realtek and 1GbE intel ports and dual connections for the WIFI antenna.  Audio comes in the form of five analog plugs and the SPDIF.  Lastly, there are two buttons, BIOS flashback, to return to default BIOS settings and clear CMOS button.

Gaming Performance

We paired the already stupidly powerful Ryzen 9 5900X and ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero with the very powerful ASUS ROG Radeon RX6800 GPU which performs wonderfully together thanks to AMD's new technology allowing AMD CPUs and GPUs to share bandwidth for even better performance.  The games that we used to do our benchmarks were:  Metro Exodus, Battlefield 5, and the ever-present Shadow of the Tomb Raider.  We tested everything at 1080p resolution and all settings at preset maximum.  

Metro Exodus

Average FPS ( higher is better) -  125 FPS

Battlefield 5

Average FPS ( Higher is better) - 149 FPS

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Average FPS (higher is better) - 189 FPS

Verdict

The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is the first X570 board we have tested, actually, it is also the first time we have reviewed an AMD-based motherboard.  So our verdict is less about how it compares but more about how we found the experience of using it as well as how the stats and spec compare to other similar boards out there.  From an aesthetic aspect, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is an absolute beaut, it is perfect for PC gamers and builders who want a premium motherboard, that provides features galore while keeping its styling and RGB to a minimum and a stealth look.  Features on the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is splendid and with the support for Ryzen 5000 series and the AMD features that come with having an AMD CPU and GPU do make the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero even more of an attractive prospect. The software of the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is another thing that does make it rather exciting.  When we reviewed the z590-E board we had our doubts around ASUS BIOS as that was our very first time using it, but once we got the hang of it, and even more this time around we simply love how it simply works.  Many people have complained about how one might struggle with certain boards to get them to do what you want them to.  With the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero, we had no such issues.  Using the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero in its default settings is also one thing, but even when we started tweaking with speeds and frequencies and power settings, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero never skipped a beat and simply kept on performing. Saying the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is the best X570 board is impossible as we have not reviewed nearly enough of them nor have we reviewed many AM4 boards at all.  What we can say is that the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is probably the AM4 board we would love to have ourselves, and sending this monster back will certainly be a terribly sad day.  Over the course of the next few months as the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero sees more consumer use and feedback, we will truly be able to see how good it is, but with the new design for the Hero-board, we have no doubt that it will cement its spot as one of the truly memorable motherboards in the ROG stable.      

special thanks to ASUS South Africa for the review content

 
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ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI – Review

ASUS is arguably one of the best gaming brands around and their ROG Strix range is an even more sought-after range than most.  With the launch of Intel's Rocket Lake Chipset (11th Generation), it is expected to see nearly every motherboard maker release a Z590 board.  We were fortunate enough to receive the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI board, and thanks to ASUS they sent us a 11900K along for the ride.  Intel has promised many amazing new features coming with their latest generation of processors and thanks to the board makers, like ASUS, these features will be obtainable by the masses by the Z590 series boards. The ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI board slots into the range at a middle-high end motherboard with a couple of models placing above the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI within the ASUS range, although ASUS says that this board is as capable as all that is placed above it. This being our very first review of a motherboard, bear with us as we try our best to give you our opinion on the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdSeg28kUrg  

Features

  • Ready for 11th Gen Intel® Core™ processors & 10th Gen Intel® Core™, Pentium® Gold and Celeron® Processors
  • Optimal Power Solution: 14+2 power stages with ProCool II power connector, high-quality alloy chokes, and durable capacitors to support multi-core processors
  • Optimized Thermal Design: VRM and aluminum I/O heatsink, L-shaped Heatpipe, four onboard M.2 heatsinks, and an M.2 backplate for the PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot
  • High-performance Networking: On-board Intel® WiFi 6E AX210 (802.11ax) and dual Intel® 2.5 Gb Ethernet with ASUS LANGuard
  • Best Gaming Connectivity: Supports HDMI™ 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 output, four M.2 slots, as well as USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 USB Type-C®
  • Intelligent Control: ASUS-exclusive tools AI Overclocking, AI Cooling, AI Networking, and Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation to simplify setup and improve performance
  • DIY Friendly Design: M.2 Q-Latch, pre-mounted I/O shield, BIOS FlashBack™, Clr CMOS button, Q-Code, and FlexKey
  • Unmatched Personalization: ASUS-exclusive Aura Sync RGB lighting, including RGB header and Gen 2 addressable headers
  • Industry-leading Gaming Audio: ALC4080 with Savitech SV3H712 amplifier, along with DTS® Sound Unbound and Sonic Studio III
  • Renowned Software: Bundled 60 days AIDA64 Extreme subscription and intuitive UEFI BIOS dashboard with integrated MemTest86
 

What's in the Box?

    In true ASUS ROG fashion, even the way the z590 board is packaged is of the highest quality and with a few extra goodies crammed in for good measure.  The user manual is accompanied by a set of stickers which has a vast assortment of sticker options to suit anyone's needs.  A clever SATA cable indicator sticker is perfect if you have many SATA devices and are not sure which one is for which.  Nice touch!  A CD with drivers is also included, although we wonder how many people actually still have disc drives in their PCs these days.  ASUS clearly expects you to have a beefy GPU to go with your new beefy motherboard, and that is why a ROG branded GPU stand is also included!  ASUS even includes four SATA cables, two of which are 90-degree connectors.  These always come in handy if you are trying your very best to build neatly, but four SATA cables for a motherboard that can take six, strange. You will also be greeted by a 40mm fan, no this is not a mistake, it is an extra fan that can be attached to your ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI board to assist with some extra cooling, we preferred to leave it in the box.  The WIFI antennas, which do not need to be connected if you can get decent enough reception from where you are situated, have been cleverly designed.  With the new design, it does not need to sit on top of your case or stand on your desk.  It can now neatly sit at the back of your case and hardly be noticed if you so desire.  

Close-up look!

    Having a Z390 board in my personal gaming rig, the biggest gripe I had with it the fact that the second 6-pin connector is situated just below the CPU slot which means there is no "neat" way of feeding the cable to it.  With the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI board, and I expect with all newer generation boards, both the power plugs, which is now an 8-pin and 4-pin, are situated nicely at the left top of the motherboard.  I would personally suggest plugging them in before installing the board into your case, especially if you have a smaller case as they are tough to get to once installed, but they work wonders if you want to build neatly.  Next to them, you will find a fan header for the 40mm VRAM fan that we mentioned earlier Moving to the right-hand side there are two more fan headers, a CPU OV jumper that can be used if you are a brave builder and want to overvolt your brand new CPU.  Next to that, there is the standard addressable RGB header that is part of the AURA setup.  Moving down the right-hand side of the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI board the standard 24-pin ATX power plug is where it usually is.  It is partnered by two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 for your case front-end needs.  Although the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI board comes with a plethora of USB ports at the back it is very handy to have high-speed USB capabilities at the front of your case.  Further down there are the six SATA ports that we mentioned earlier as well as a couple of fan headers.  As always, in the corner is the brain-meltingly frustrating front IO plugs.  With some other models of ASUS ROG boards, they provide a connector so you can plug the fiddly pins in where you can see them and then plug that connector into the motherboard.  This should be a damn industry standard!  There is also a W_PUMP+ header for all your liquid cooling pump needs.  Two USB2.0 headers have seen a new lease on life in recent times due to so many RGB systems using those headers.  Two more headers for RGB strips can also be found at the bottom.    

What about the back???

The beautifully styled rear IO of the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI board features an HDMI 2.0, Display port 1.4, USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB 3.2 Gen 1, twin Intel I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet ports, and the antenna connectors for the 802.11AX WiFi 6E.

 

Gaming

When ASUS sent us the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard, they were nice enough to send the Intel 11900K I9 CPU, as well as an RTX3080 so we could properly test the whole setup.  So for review purposes, we used the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard, with the 11900K, with 2x8Gb Corsair Vengeance Pro 3200MHz RAM, RTX3080, Fractal Design 850W platinum rated PSU, and a Muskin 240Gb NVME M.2 drive, all of this was paired with the ASUS TUF 32'' 1440p 144Hz monitor.  We used Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, and Far Cry 5 as our games of choice for testing. All games were tested at High settings and 1080p as Ultra settings destroy the performance vs visuals on many occasions.  

Far Cry New Dawn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyFi7hN3teI ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard Minimum FPS - 117 FPS Average FPS - 153 FPS Compared to other high-end Z590 boards the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI compares on par with all of them even beating a few by the odd frame here and there.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYtyeqVQnRI ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard SOTR bench test does not provide an average FPS reading Average FPS - 176 FPS The ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard does perform the worst in this title compared to the list of other motherboards we researched but literally only by 1 FPS.  At such a high FPS count, 1 FPS will literally not be noticed.  

Metro Exodus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1jIoOIdf0M ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard Minimum FPS - 74 FPS Average FPS - 152 FPS Once again the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard might lose out to its higher-end siblings by only by a handful of frames, in a demanding title such as Metro Exodus the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard does truly show its worth and especially its value vs performance.

Conclusion

Let us assume that you have decided that you want to go with Intel and their latest 11th Generation of CPUs.  This means that you are naturally looking for the best the Z590 range of motherboards has to offer without breaking the bank or having to donate an organ.  Although the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard is not the cheapest in the range from ASUS it certainly does make a strong argument as to why you would need anything more?  With the dark design and very styling and less in-your-face RGB options and an extremely appealing blue and purple colour scheme, the aesthetic appeal of the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI cannot be argued!  Whether you want minimal RGB or none, the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI motherboard is so good looking you don't need RGB. With the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI not being the most expensive in the range, it's only normal to think that some features might have been left out to cut costs and this is not really the case.  You will still get 4 x M.2 slots of which two are PCIe 4.0 compatible. 3x PCIe x16 slots of which two are PCIe 4.0.  There is a wide array of USB connectors and more fan headers you could possibly need.  Although we did not have RAM to test the ability of the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI to support RAM up to speeds of 5300MHz is another massive point to the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI for simple future-proofing for DDR4 RAM. The only possible negative that we can find for the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WIFI is the price tag, but like we have said regarding ROG products and their prices.  They are some of the more expensive brands but for good reason, considering the quality and performance, you will receive from them.  Another exclusion that might get some people slightly upset is the lack of Thunderbolt 4 ports.      

Special thanks to ASUS South Africa for the review content

 
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ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 – Review

Life has become one big rat race, and with hardware demands for the newer titles, you either need a rather beefy PC, or you need to resort to either mobile gaming or a gaming laptop.  I can hear many of you groaning already.  We all know that laptop CPUs and GPUs might carry the same name and moniker that their PC brothers do, but not all CPU/GPU is equal when it comes to laptops. Fortunately, ASUS has delivered, arguably the monstrous ASUS ROG Scar 17, that will easily have you dumping your now "average" gaming PC and make this laptop your new pride and joy!   Thanks to ASUS we were fortunate enough to spend some time with the ASUS ROG Scar 17.  Let's take a bit of a closer look at the next gaming laptop we all NEED!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxL3PrcqQWw   When ASUS sent us the ROG Strix Scar 17 gaming laptop we had absolutely zero histories with gaming laptops so we did some research and what we found had us grinning like a kid at Christmas.  The ASUS ROG Strix Scar range of gaming laptops are all-out gaming machines, that take zero shortcuts and have their eyes firmly set on hardcore gamers, content creators, and more specifically the esports scene.  With the idea of aiming to provide the greatest gaming performance in a laptop, naturally, you will need the best mobile components which all cost lots of money, therefore the ASUS ROG Strix Scar range is not cheap, at all! Before we get too far into it, let's have a look at the specifications.  
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 16GB GDDR6, 1545MHz boost clock, 130W TGP
Memory 32GB DDR4-3200MHz
Storage 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD
Display 17.3 inch, 1080p, 360Hz, IPS
Networking 802.11ax Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1x RJ-45, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x 3.5mm combination microphone/audio jack
Battery 90Wh
Power Adapter 240W
Operating System Windows 10 Pro:
 

Design

  The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 looks on the outside much like it does on the inside, futuristic and immensely capable.  Before we take a look at the actual laptop, even the packaging that I come in just screams that it means business.  Taking it out of the box you are met with a large imposing laptop.  on the lid, a large part of it has been given a dot matrix design which is both aesthetically pleasing while certainly providing much-needed cooling to the display.  The other half of the lid has a fingerprint-resistant matte black finish with a shiny ROG logo adorning it.  Moving down to the hinge section, on the part that does not have dot matrix on it, you will find ROG inscribed in it, just in case you didn't know that it is an ASUS ROG laptop.  Even the dot matrix design, if you look at it at the right angle, says ROG! The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 loves to flaunt all it has and hence all the aggressive designs.  Along the side, you will find a myriad of vents to cool the colossus of a computer lurking inside.  In the box, you will also find end caps that you can place on the hinge that read "ROG" if you want to customize your ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 somewhat more. Opening the lid of the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 greets you with a rather contrast inside.  The one side continues with the matte black design while the other does remind me a bit of when semi-transparent gaming consoles or controllers were popular.  The semi-transparent cover does give the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 a very industrial feel with a few rivets that can be seen directly under the plastic.     As we all know, ASUS ROG STRIX is not shy to give their products RGB, and the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 is no different.  There is a light strip at the bottom of the laptop,  unless you get more eye-level with the Scar 17 you will not see it directly but that is the whole point.  The RGB strip is bright enough to create the much-wanted Aura effect ( see what I did there ASUS ;)  ).  When testing it on a polished surface or any reflective surface the effect is wonderful, but even on less shiny counters it still did its job really well.  The RGB does not stop there with some RGB positioned closer towards the hinge as well as that shiny ROG sign that sits on the lid, yes that bad boy is fully RGB infused!     The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 however does leave out the webcam from the wide arsenal that it does have.  This can be forgiven as the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 is aimed at the gamer and to be the muscle behind a content creator's magic, and besides, onboard webcams are generally not that great and if you are a streamer, chances are you have a camera that you prefer anyway.  The ports and ports layout is spread across the left and the back of the laptop.  The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 comes with 3 x USB3.2 ports of which two are on the left and one is on the back.  There is also one USB 3.2 type C port as well as an HDMI 2.0 connection and last but not least, an RJ45 ethernet port.     Towards the right front side of the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17, there is a curious little slot that caught my eye from the moment I opened the lid.  After some reading and scratching through packaging, I found an interesting keystone.  This keystone uses its RFID chip to lock or unlock certain drives that you might not want to be used or found when you are not with your laptop.  By simply inserting the keystone these drives will become visible once more.

Display

    The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 that landed on our desk was the FHD 360Hz version, which on a 17-inch display, would be the better choice in our opinion.  Such a small screen surface makes even 1080p look amazing and with 360Hz this is a gamer's dream!  It is necessary to mention that the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 screen brightness does not quite match a normal monitor but when turned up all the way we didn't find it to be too dark.  During darker gameplay or videos the video did seem slightly washed out at times but for the most part, and especially during vibrant games such as Biomutant and Overwatch the display was fantastic and really made the game look vibrant and bright! High framerate displays sell themselves to all those who are looking for an edge over the competition.  Personally, I have been gaming on 144Hz for quite some time and when the 360Hz of the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 came around I had my doubts whether it would truly make that much of a difference.  It is safe to say that if your hardware is capable, like in the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 then 360Hz will give you a sure edge and make games feel more engaging due to the fact that on-screen elements react so quickly and smoothly to your every input.

Keyboard and touchpad

    ASUS is clearly focusing on the esports player, current or aspiring with the Scar series of laptops.  Apart from the eye-melting 360Hz display gamers and content creators alike always needs a top-tier keyboard that is responsive yet comfortable.  ASUS easily addressed these demands by pairing the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 with an optical-mechanical keyboard that has a soft matte touch finish which is the perfect blend between crisp and responsive clicks while making it very pleasant to touch.  The keys that are rated for 100 Million clicks have a response time of a blistering 0.2ms all thanks to the optical switches makes these keys breathtakingly fast considering that they are in a very flat laptop setup.  The full travel distance on these optical-mechanical keys is still only 1.9mm to try and preserve as much of that lovely tactile feel. The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 keyboard also features a few media keys and a few function keys that are pre-assigned to adjust things like RGB styles and a few more nifty features.  Moving over to the touchpad, for gaming, ANY trackpad is absolute rubbish and if you play games with a trackpad please excuse yourself now.  But if you are doing some productivity or you need to do some content creation, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 does have a very large touchpad that is less smooth than what I would expect.  But after using it I realized that that is exactly what makes it so good, more friction means more control. Well played ASUS.  Naturally, ASUS makes full use of the multi-touch functions for zoom and scrolling which makes using a touchpad a very pleasant experience.

Battery and heat

  The dreaded words to any gaming laptop.  In an ideal world, we would have an all-powerful laptop that runs at cool temperatures for weeks on end...  Unfortunately, we don't live in that world, and in our world high-performance laptops run very hot and run through battery life like it's no one's business.  The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 has a respectable battery life when using it watch videos at full brightness and some general productivity mixed with some Warzone we got roughly 3:30 out of a single charge.  Comparing this to other gaming laptops it ended up being quite middle of the field which is not good nor bad.  For the majority of the time, I am sure serious gaming will happen around a power outlet so hardcore gaming will generally not happen on battery unless Eskom has something to say about that. We put the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 through its thermal paces by repeatedly running the Division 2 bench test at max settings and after the 5th run, we took a touch test around some general spots that could be warm or even hot on the laptop.  Moving from the touchpad, which was hardly noticeable to the center of the keyboard where heat was felt when touching around the center of the keyboard, to the warmest spot we could find, the underside, around the area where the power button is.  The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 runs rather cool even during load that to the multitude of heat dissipation pipes and even the exhaust air coming from the laptop was never too hot either.  Wonderful once again from ASUS!

Audio

    Audio has always been a tricky thing to implement properly into a small form factor like a laptop.  physics proves that to make a big sound you usually need big speakers, and small laptops do not allow for those.  So when I turned on a Spotify playlist to put the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 through its paced with audio, I was very surprised with the wide audio stage as well as how punchy the mids and lows were that was emanating from this laptop.  After the pleasant surprise, some closer investigation was needed.  There are two bottom speakers that play downwards as well as two front-facing speakers that are cleverly hidden deep into the hinge mechanism and unless you listen for them you won't see them.  These hinge-placed speakers are designed to include their own subwoofers giving the deep and punchy bass considering their size. The audio that comes from the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 extremely good considering that it comes from a mere laptop, but it would be good to note that the sound, even when at max volume is not the loudest, but then again, if you are using onboard audio from a laptop you are not expecting it to be the music source of a house party.  But that being said the audio, while not the loudest does allow all the small details to come through especially when I was playing games like Days Gone, the rustling of the wind, and the growls of far-off zombie hoards were distinctly, yet eerily heard.

Gaming

Naturally, we had to take the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 for a spin with some games, we had to put the 360Hz monitor to its full potential by diving into a few games and seeing how it holds up.  We also put the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 through the mandatory TimeSPY bench test and we have the results to share with you.  The games we used to test the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 with are Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, and Horizon Zero Dawn.    

When taking the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 into games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, and Horizon Zero Dawn which are all very demanding games are easily handled by the extremely capable Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, its 8 cores and 16 threads that idle at 3.3GHz and boosts to a staggering 4.6GHz is almost unheard of when it comes to laptops and it effortlessly handles everything you throw at it.  To put it into perspective a vast majority of PC CPUs are less powerful than this laptop processor and that, in all honesty, is very scary! Combine the 5900HX and 32Gb of DDR4 RAM clocked at 3200MHz and as if that was not scary enough all of that is topped off with an Nvidia RTX3080 laptop GPU that has a staggering 16Gbs of VRAM.  If there were any doubts of what this monster is capable of the numbers and specs should send shivers through your spine.  Time to put this beast to the test and see how the 360Hz monitor handles it.  Let us take a look.

Metro Exodus

  1080p, RTX on, DLSS on, DX12, Ultimate settings   FPS - 74FPS  

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

  DX12, Highest settings   FPS - 107 FPS  

Horizon Zero Dawn

1080p, Ultimate settings   FPS - 94 FPS   Although this is a small sample to test, these titles are all extremely demanding and for the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 to be able to push out 60+ FPS on titles that are known to bring capable PCs to their knees is a testament in itself.    

Verdict

Nothing we do or say is going to make the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 any cheaper, and that will be what makes or breaks this item for many.  But if you are someone who wants a premium gaming rig, that can easily be put in a bag and be taken with you then this is the ultimate gaming-on-the-go laptop you can find.  It is the price of a full-blown PC indeed but it can also perform just like one!  With the CPU, GPU, RAM, and NVME combo there is hardly anything that the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 cannot do.  Pair it with its industrial, but flashy, design and ASUS has found the perfect combination of enough flash to talk the talk and enough hardware grunt to walk the walk Bottom line, there are not many gaming laptops that can give you what the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 can, and for that, we recommend it to any aspiring, current, and future esports and content creators.  If you are willing to bite the bullet and build a gaming PC, there is no reason you shouldn't buy the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 and take your gaming monster with you.    

special thanks to ASUS South Africa for the review content

 

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ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC Edition – review

  When Nvidia announced and launched their 30 series graphics cards, they had all the gaming audience firmly focused on their products, and as the whole crypto mining happened, and miners basically emptied the physical and virtual shelves of all 30-series cards, no one took any particular notice of AMD and their newest 6000 series cards.  We were exactly the same.  Until ASUS sent us the very formidable Radeon RX6800 in the very very attractive ROG STRIX-guise with a slight OC straight out the box.  With impressive numbers such as 16Gb of memory and boasting PCIe 4.0 support as well as 4K UHD capable at a price tag that, in the current climate is cheaper than the RTX3070 and boasts double the memory...  Makes the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition a very appealing piece of kit.  We spent some time with this beast and this is what we found.  

Specifications

Here we can see the obligatory specification sheet comparing the Founders Edition (FE) card compared to the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition card.  There is usually not much that third-party companies can do apart from playing with the design and the clock speeds.  As shown in the spec sheet the cards are virtually the same apart from an 85 MHz boost clock speed gain on the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition card.
GPU Radeon RX 6800 ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition
Shading Units 3840 3840
TMUs 240 240
ROPs 96 96
Compute Units 60 60
Boost Clock 2105 MHz 2190 MHz
Memory Type GDDR6 GDDR6
Memory Size 16GB 16GB
Memory Bus 256-Bit 256-Bit
Bandwidth 512 GB/s 512 GB/s
Effective Memory Speed 16 Gbps 16 Gbps
Bus Interface PCIe 4.0 x 16 PCIe 4.0 x 16
Additional Power Connector 2 x 8-pin 2 x 8-pin
TDP 250W 250W
Recommended PSU 650W 650W
  Before we jump into real-world performance and how the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition stacks up against the RTX2080 that we have in our system normally, and the RTX3080 we reviewed previously, we are looking at what is in the box!

Unboxing and Design

  For those who are not aware, ASUS, whether it be ROG or TUF, has impeccable packaging, arguably the best I have ever experienced, and the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition is no different.  Unlike the motherboards, graphics cards usually don't have many extra things inside the box apart from the card itself.  Inside the box, you will find the card itself, some loose pamphlets, a trading card, which is a nifty trinket to have and flex with, and some ASUS branded cable straps that do come in handy. The ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition features the same beefy heatsink and three-fan design that most newer ASUS cards, be it Nvidia or AMD.  Before we go any further it is important to note that ASUS calls this card a 2.9 slot card, but for all purposes, it is a three-slot monster that measures a whopping 320mm long.  What this means that if you are a fan of compact builds or you are running a small mid-tower case you might struggle to squeeze this monster into your case if you have a front-mounted radiator, as we have. With a card of this size and considerable weight, sagging is something to be expected.  Fortunately, ASUS has come up with a solution.  They have a metal frame that is located between the cooler shroud and the PCB to try combat gravity, and it does a rather good job of it.  We prefer to use a small screw on the case to screw the card into the rear and providing some more support as to not hurt the stupidly gorgeous ASUS ROG Strix Crosshair VIII Dark Hero motherboard that we are also reviewing.     The triple fan configuration, just like we saw on the ASUS TUF RTX3080 we reviewed, has the center fan spinning in opposite direction to the outer fans to reduce turbulent airflow which provides better cooling while keeping noise levels at a minimum.  Upon further inspection we found the ROG Strix fans to feature more fins on the fans compared to the TUF version.  This makes for more air to be able to be pushed through the massive heatsink resulting in even better cooling performance.  ASUS did have some fun with these cards.  On the bottom of the card, there are coordinates printed, when searched these coordinates take you to the ASUS headquarters in Taiwan.  A nifty nod to the factory for their hard work.     The side of the card has an RGB light strip that runs along the side of the card, facing outwards.  There is a single ROG logo on a silver plaque in the center.  The RGB strip is not too brash and bright but is bright enough to be noticed.  Personally, I am not much of an RGB fan so the fact that the RGB can be turned off either in the armory crate software on in the BIOS is wonderful.  Moving to the back-side of the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition we are met with the power connectors.  The ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition will need, at least, a 650W power supply and it will require two 8-pin PCIe power connectors.  The ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition is rather power-hungry with a rated TDP of a whopping 250W.  Back to the front of the card, neatly tucked away is the dual bios switch allowing you to run the card in either Q mode ( quiet mode) or P mode (Performance mode).  Naturally, this switch should stay in the P mode...     The overall look of this card when installed is wonderful, thanks to arguably the best-looking top plate, featuring the signature ROG emblem and the new open-back heatsink design allowing for massive cooling improvements while still keeping the ASUS ROG Strix sleek and attractive look that ASUS has become so renowned for.  When it comes to the way to connect to the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition card the immediate omission would be the USB Type-C.  This might be a bummer for some but fortunately, you will still get one HDMI 2.1 port and three Display Port 1.4 ports that should cover all your connection needs.  

Smart Access Memory (SAM) & FidelityFX

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmp_rW4cl38   For those of you who are true AMD fans, you would be aware of the latest technology that AMD is so very excited to push.  It is called SAM, Smart Access Memory.  What SAM does is, if you have an AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPU, paired with an AMD Radeon RX6000 GPU, gives the CPU full access to your GPU bandwidth.  What this means, in the most basic terms is that latency is greatly reduced which will see a great boost in performance when it comes to gaming.  AMD claims that if you are fortunate enough to have both of the above requirements you should be able to see between 3-15% performance improvement over the Nvidia RTX 3080...  granted, you will probably not have both cards to be able to compare them but to me, this seems like AMD's answer to Nvidia's DLSS solution. AMD is full of new technology at the moment and they are very happy to announce their way to fight the giant that is Nvidia when it comes to GPUs is FidelityFX.  Take a look at what this means for gaming in the video below.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoqvJWNaUqI   AMD's newest addition is FidelityFX which features a plethora of new features that comes with the RX 6000 range of cards.  Amongst the many options and additions that FidelityFX brings, Super Resolution uses new upscaling features to boost framerates in certain titles.  Contrast Adaptive Sharpening, Ambient Occlusion, Variable shading, screen-space reflections, and Denoiser.  I am not going to dive too deep into all of these features as there are only a limited amount of titles that support it.  But it is worthwhile to keep an eye on because this will be what takes the fight to Nvidia in the near future.

Temperatures

Much like the RTX3080 that we reviewed previously, we found that the new cutout design that the newest generation of cards, from both manufacturers, makes a massive impact on the cooling and operating temperatures of the cards.  Idle temperatures, on the, P Mode setting, were always around the 30'C mark which is a couple of degrees lower than what our own RTX2080 would idle at.  When it came to running the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition under load is where the real surprise came.  During testing games that saw our Ryzen 9 5900X reach temperatures in the 80'C region, the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition still performed at a chilly 50'C.  Granted, the 5900X is a real monster and runs hot by nature, comparing the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition to the RTX2080 saw an average temperature difference when going between gaming titles of easily 10 - 15'C.  The only massive difference would be that the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition fan curve would hardly be spinning the fans at those temperatures where our RTX2080 would be spinning rather rapidly by those temperatures ( call us temperature conscious when it comes to our personal kit ) So for anyone who is trying to build a rig with minimal airflow and/or an extremely quiet build then I would highly recommend the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition as the cooling that ASUS has built into this card is simply fantastic!  

Performance

We put the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition through its paces in a couple of demanding titles.  The titles ranged from Direct X 12 games like Division 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, and Control.  Games were tested in 1080p and 1440p, due to no 4K monitor being available to us we had to research results for those tests but we will only briefly mention them. Thanks to ASUS we could test the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition with, and without Smart Access memory, thanks to the ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Dark Hero with a Ryzen 9 5900X CPU, so tests will also feature stats for SAM on and SAM off.

Division 2

  1080p - 154fps 1440p - 110fps 1440p (SAM) - 110fps  

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

1080p - 170fps 1440p - 125fps 1440p (SAM) - 124fps 1440p (ray tracing on) - 64fps  

Metro Exodus

  1080p - 100fps 1440p - 85fps 1440p (SAM) - 90fps 1440p (ray tracing on) - 50fps  

Control

  1080p - 142fps 1440p - 91fps 1440p (SAM) - 99fps 1440p (ray tracing on) - 45fps   As can be seen above that in its current state, SAM does not make enough of an impact in gaming performance to warrant buying the new AMD cards purely for that, DLSS is still more superior and with varied results and no results in other titles, SAM is a step in the right direction and will, probably, very good in the near future.  The ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition as shown above is VERY capable at 1080p and 1440p delivering a touch under 100fps in extremely demanding titles like Metro Exodus and flying past the 100fps mark in other titles.

Verdict

The ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition is an absolute monster when it comes to the spec sheet, it has a massive 16Gbs of memory with an impressive boost clock speed.  Although it lacks real Ray Tracing performance due to the lack of Tensor cores and the current lack of full-blown DLSS competition it still has enough raw power to power through what it lacks by making it up with brute power.  Although we did not have a 4K display to really test it, with some research we found that the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition is very capable to give you 60+ fps at 4K with slightly lowered settings and no ray tracing. At 1440p the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition is an absolute monster and it blows the RTX3070 out the water, even with ray tracing enabled.  If you are willing to give AMD a chance to develop their FidelityFX super-resolution then the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition is a very capable card that fights in a bracket below the RTX3080 and cleans the floor in that department.  It might be on the slightly pricier side right now but what GPU is not in the current climate?  The fact that ASUS has given it the full ROG treatment with the massive RGB strip on the side and the very appealing bottom design makes you truly want to vertical mount this monster to take in all the ROG goodness.

Pros

BEAUTIFUL PCIe 4.0 support amazing cooling performance 16Gb memory AMD ray tracing  

Cons

no DLSS (yet) no USB-C not for small build enthusiasts   The ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition is a no-brainer for someone who does not quite have the budget to get the titan that is the RX6900XT but still wants a top tier ROG card from team RED.  Give AMD some time to develop a proper DLSS competitor and the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX6800 OC edition will be an absolute beast that will give nearly all the 30 series cards a go thanks to its pure raw performance power.    

Special thanks to ASUS South Africa for supplying the review content

 
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