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Asus Launches ExpertBook, ExpertCenter, New Education Laptops at CES 2021


Asus has unveiled many business laptops in the ExpertBook and ExpertCenter series, along with a brand new Education range at CES 2021. These include the Asus ExpertBook B9, Asus ExpertBook B1, Asus BR1100, Asus ExpertCenter D7, and Asus ExpertCenter D5 SFF laptops. The pricing and availability of all the products have not been announced yet. And apart from the new ZenBook, Chromebook, and VivoBook models, Asus has also expanded the ROG range with the ultraportable ROG Flow X13, ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE with dual screens, beefy Asus ROG Strix Scar 17, along with a new virtual product showcase called Asus ROG Citadel XV.

Asus ExpertBook B9

The new Asus ExpertBook B9 is built on the Intel vPro platform and features a two-way AI noise-cancelling technology for more clarity on video conferencing. It has an ErgoLift hinge that offers comfort while typing and is listed to run on Windows 10 Pro. The laptop has a 66Whr battery that claims to offer 13 hours of productivity and 20 hours of video playback. Ports include Thunderbolt 4, RJ45, HDMI, USB Type-A, Kensignton lock slot, and headphone/mic combo. It offers military grade toughness, quad microphones, Alexa support, and Face Unlock. There’s a 14-inch full-HD (1,920×1,080 pixels) display, Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor, and Intel Iris Xe graphics. The Asus ExpertBook B9 offers up to 32GB RAM and up to 2TB SSD storage. It has a 720p HD IR camera with a privacy shutter. And the laptop weighs just 0.88kg.

Asus ExpertBook B1

Asus ExpertBook B1 is powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processors paired with up to Intel Iris Xe graphics (optional NVIDIA graphics), up to 2TB HDD and 1TB SSD, and up to 8GB RAM. There’s a 14-inch full-HD (1,920×1,080 pixels) display and the laptop runs on Windows 10 Pro. Ports include three USB Type-A, one Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 1.4, VGA, mic/audio combo, RJ45 ethernet, DC-in, and microSD card reader. This laptop also has a ErgoLift hinge, and comes with a backlit keyboard that is spill resistant as well. Asus ExpertBook B1 has a 720p webcam with a privacy shutter. There’s a 43Whr battery on board, and the laptop weighs 1.45 kilograms. It is US MIL-STD 810H military-grade certified and comes in a Star Black colour option.

Asus BR1100C, Asus BR1100F

This range has been built keeping children in mind, and comes with a durable form factor and several other children-friendly features. The Asus BR1100C and the Asus BR1100F laptops have a rubber bumper and are military grade certified. They have a modular design for easy repair and comes with noise cancellation and webcam shield for secure remote learning. There is also a dedicated microphone mute key on the keyboard for ease of use during online classes. Both the laptops support Wi-Fi 6 and 4G LTE, and offer up to 10 hours of battery life. The two devices run on Windows 10 Pro and come with antibacterial coating.

Asus BR1100C, Asus BR1100F laptops support Wi-Fi 6 and 4G LTE

Asus BR1100C and Asus BR1100F laptops come in Dark Grey finish and are powered by up to Intel Pentium Silver N6000 processor paired with Intel UHD graphics. Both the laptops have a 11.6-inch HD (1,366×768 pixels) LCD, and offer up to 128GB of eMMC storage. There’s an optional SSD slot offered that allows expanding storage up to 1TB. The laptops have a 720p webcam integrated with a privacy shutter. There’s a 42Whr battery on board and the laptops support Wi-Fi 6. The Asus BR1100C weighs 1.26 kilograms and the Asus BR1100F weighs 1.35k kilograms. The latter also supports a stylus and has a 360-degree hinge for more versatility.

Asus ExpertCenter D7 SFF, Asus ExpertCenter D5 SFF

asus cpu d7 d5 Asus ExpertCenter D7 SFF D5 SFF

Asus ExpertCenter D7 SFF, Asus ExpertCenter D5 SFF CPUs are MIL-STD-810G US certified

Lastly, Asus also introduced two new CPUs —ExpertCenter D7 SFF and D5 SFF. The two have an ultracompact, 9-liter form-factor and offer a range of professional-grade NVIDIA GeForce and Quadro graphics options, with up to 128 GB memory. The CPUs are built in a way wherein the hard drives or optical drives can also be easily pulled out without any tools. This saves time and effort, making component upgrades and routine servicing easy. The two CPUs are MIL-STD-810G US certified. The ExpertCenter D5 SFF integrates an Intel H410 chipset, whereas the ExpertCenter D7 SFF integrates an Intel B460 chipset. The two differ in port options, processor upgrade choices, and RAM choices as well.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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Acer Predator, Nitro, Acer Aspire Series Laptop Models Refreshed for 2021


Acer Predator, Acer Nitro, and Acer Aspire series of laptops are getting the latest CPUs by Intel and AMD, as well as latest Nvidia GPUs. The Acer Predator series includes the Predator Triton 300 SE and Predator Helios 300, and the Nitro series includes the Acer Nitro 5. The Acer Aspire 7 and Aspire 5 notebooks are part of the Acer Aspire series that has been refreshed. The Nitro 5 laptop models come with both AMD and Intel CPUs while the two Acer Aspire laptop models come with the latest AMD CPUs. The Predator series gets the Intel 11th Gen treatment with no AMD models, at least for now.

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE, Predator Helios 300, Acer Nitro 5, Acer Aspire 7, Aspire 5: Price, availability

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE (PT314-51s) starts at $1,399.99 (roughly Rs. 1,02 lakh) and will be available in North America from March. Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-53) starts at $1,249.99 (roughly Rs. 91,300) and will be available in North America from February. Both the Intel powered Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-56) 15-inch model and Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-53) 17-inch start at EUR 999 will be available in EMEA from March. The AMD powered Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-45) and Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-41) 17-inch will be available in North America from February starting at $749.99 (roughly Rs. 54,800) and $849.99 (roughly Rs. 62,000) respectively.

Acer Aspire 7 (A715-42G) starts at $749.99 (roughly Rs. 54,800) while the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-45) starts at $549.99 (roughly Rs. 40,200), and both these models will be available in North America from March.

Acer has not shared details on availability in other regions yet.

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE specifications

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE features a 14-inch full-HD display with 144Hz refresh rate. It is powered by up to the 11th Gen Intel Core i7 H35-series Special Edition processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 laptop GPU. It has an advertised 10 hours of battery life and 3-zone backlit RGB keyboard. Connectivity options include Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650, Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI port, among others. The Predator Triton 300 SE also uses 5th Gen AeroBlade Fan and Acer’s Vortex Flow technology to keep the components cool.

Acer Predator Helios 300 specifications

The Predator Helios 300 from Acer has also been updated to an 11th Gen Intel Core H35-series Special Edition processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 laptop GPU. It comes with up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. The IPS display has 240Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. The gaming laptop also comes with DTS:X Ultra audio and 3D simulated surround sound. There are two fans that work alongside Acer’s CoolBoost technology to manage thermals.

Acer Nitro 5 specifications

Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-56) features a 15-inch display with 80 percent screen-to-body ratio, 144Hz refresh rate, and 3ms response time. It has 300 nits peak brightness as well. This model is powered by 11th Gen Intel Core H35-series processors, Nvidia GeForce GTX GPUs, and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. Connectivity options include USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 support and Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+), among other ports. It also has two fans and comes with Acer CoolBoost Technology. There is a 17-inch model as well with model number Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-53).

On the other hand, the 15-inch Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-45) and 17-inch Nitro 5 (AN517-41) are powered by up to an AMD Ryzen 9 5900 HX CPU and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 laptop GPU. It comes with two slots for an M.2 PCIe and/ or SATA SSD, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, support for Killer E2600 and Wi-Fi 6. The 15-inch and 17-inch models come with QHD displays with a 165Hz refresh rate or full-HD display with up to a 360Hz refresh rate. You get 3ms response time on panel that has 300 nits peak brightness, 100 percent sRGB color gamut, and 80 percent screen-to-body ratio.

Acer Aspire 7 specifications

The Acer Aspire 7 features a 15.6-inch full-HD display and is powered by AMD Ryzen 5000 Series CPU paired with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. It comes with up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and up to a 1TB PCIe SSD for storage. Connectivity options include USB-C and Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), among other ports.

Acer Aspire 5 specifications

The Aspire 5 is powered by AMD Ryzen 5000 series processors, AMD Radeon RX 640 GPU, 24GB RAM, and up to a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD NVMe and/ or up to a 2TB HDD. It has a 15.6-inch full-HD IPS display with Acer BlueLightShield technologies. It also has a USB-C port and dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), among other connectivity options. The laptop is just 17.95mm thick.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

 



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LG Ultra Series Monitors Announced at CES 2021


LG Ultra series monitors have been announced at CES 2021. The monitors, which include new models from LG UltraGear, UltraWide and UltraFine series, are aimed at gamers, digital artists and technology professionals, as per the company. LG says that these monitors deliver superior productivity and entertainment, and are perfect for both home as well as office use. LG has already launched a new 4K OLED monitor with a 31.5-inch display, targeted at creative professionals. Additionally, the South Korean company has also revealed the price of LG CineBeam 4K UHD Laser Projector.

2021 LG UltraGear Gaming Monitors

As per a press note, LG’s new UltraGear gaming monitors include models 27GP950, 32GP850, and 34GP950G. All the three monitors feature Nano IPS 1 millisecond Gray-to-Gray (GTG) displays, and a wide colour gamut (DCI-P3 98 percent).

The 27-inch LG UltraGear 27GP950 4K UHD monitor features a 144Hz refresh rate, which is overclockable to 160Hz. It also supports HDMI 2.1 Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) for fluid images and offers 4K gaming at up to 120Hz on both PCs and the latest generation of consoles.

The LG UltraGear 32GP850 monitor features a 31.5-inch QHD Nano IPS display that offers a 165Hz refresh rate (overclockable to 180Hz). The monitor is Nvidia G-Sync compatible.

Recipient of the 2021 CES Innovation Award, the LG UltraGear 34GP950G features an ultrawide 34-inch QHD Nano IPS display that has 21:9 aspect ratio, and 144Hz refresh rate (overclockable to 180Hz). This monitor features Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate certification to provide an immersive gaming experience.

2021 LG UltraWide Monitor

LG has also announced UltraWide 40WP95C monitor that features a 40-inch curved Nano IPS display with 5K2K UltraWide (5,120×2,160 pixels) resolution and 21:9 aspect ratio. The HDR 10 monitor has 98 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 colour space and 135 percent of the sRGB colour space.

2021 LG UltraFine Display OLED Pro

LG UltraFine Display OLED Pro (model 32EP950) is aimed at creative industry professionals, such as visual effects artists and producers working in film or animation studios. The monitor has a 31.5-inch 4K OLED panel that offers a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and covers 99 percent of both the DCI-P3 as well as the Adobe RGB colour space.

LG UltraFine Display OLED Pro also has LG Calibration Studio, the company’s hardware calibration solution that allows users to make adjustments to ensure the highest degree of colour accuracy and consistency. The monitor comes with one USB Type-C port with 90W charging, two DisplayPort, one HDMI, and three USB ports.

Meanwhile, LG has also announced that its LG CineBeam 4K UHD Laser projector is priced at $2,999 (roughly Rs. 2,19,000). The projector with model number HU810P was launched in August, and it supports up to 4K resolution at up to 300 inches diagonally. It runs on webOS 5.0 and is compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and Screen Share. The projector comes with new Adaptive Picture Pro technology that delivers a vibrant and clear image regardless of the ambient light. It can also detect the amount of light in the room and project images accordingly.

LG CineBeam 4K UHD Laser projector uses the DLP projection system and has a native UHD resolution of 3,840×2,160 pixels. It has support for HDR10, HLG, Dynamic Tone Mapping, and its light source is rated for 20,000 hours. It supports a peak brightness of 2,700 ANSI Lumens and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. For connectivity, you get one HDMI 2.1 port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and Bluetooth.



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Asus TUF Dash F15 Launched, ZenBook Pro Duo 15 Refreshed at CES 2021


One day after unveiling its ROG gaming lineup, Asus has announced its 2021 lineup of premium ZenBook and VivoBook laptops, along with another entry-level gaming model under its TUF banner. The new laptops were shown off at a virtual CES 2021 briefing and include refreshes to the previous flagship ZenBook Duo 14 and ZenBook Pro Duo 15 models, plus the more mainstream VivoBook S14. Asus has used Intel’s latest 11th Gen ‘Tiger Lake’ CPUs and Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series mobile GPUs, and the new lineup also includes Intel Evo certified designs. Prices and details of their availability in India aren’t known yet, but based on past experience, all these new laptops should come here relatively soon. 

Asus TUF Dash F15 and TUF Gaming A15

The new TUF Dash F15 is designed to be slim and portable, and Asus says it’s 10 percent smaller and 14 percent lighter than the previous generation. At under 20mm thick, it features a new aesthetic and will be available in Moonlight White and Eclipse Grey. Asus has used new 11th Gen Intel H-series CPUs and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU. There’s up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB SSD, both of which are upgradeable. The 15.6-inch screen has up to a 240Hz refresh rate and narrow borders. Asus claims over 16 hours of battery life, plus fast charging and Type-C charging. The new TUF Dash F15 has two newly designed self-cleaning fans and an anti-dust design.

The TUF Gaming A15 is based on AMD’s new Ryzen 7 5800H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs, with a 15.6-inch full-HD 144Hz or 240Hz adaptive sync screen, up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. 

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582)

The flagship ZenBook Pro Duo with its huge ScreenPad+ second screen now gets an automatic tilting mechanism to improve airflow and usability. The main 15.6-inch screen is now a 4K HDR OLED panel. On the inside, you get up to an 11th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, up to 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. There’s also Thunderbolt 3 and Wi-Fi 6. Updated software makes the second screen better for productivity and multitasking, particularly in content creation software.

Asus ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482)

The more portable ZenBook Duo 14 has also been updated with the same auto-tilt mechanism for the ScreenPad+ secondary display. It is built around 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs with an Intel Evo badge. You get integrated Intel Xe graphics or an Nvidia GeForce MX450 GPU. It promises 17 hours of battery life plus Type-C charging through its Thunderbolt 4 ports. Of course it has the same software improvements as its larger sibling. Check out our first impressions of the 2021 ZenBook Duo 14 here.

Asus VivoBook S14

The new ultraportable VivoBook S14 is also an Intel Evo certified design with an all-metal body and unique Deep Green colour with yellow accents. It’s 15.9mm thick and weighs 1.3kg. The 14-inch full-HD display has narrow borders, and Asus claims 17 hours of battery life. You get a choice of 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs with integrated Intel Xe graphics, up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, a fingerprint sensor, and virtual numberpad integrated into the trackpad. 

Asus ZenBook 13 OLED, ZenBook 14, and ZenBook Flip 15

The ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 and UM325 feature AMD Ryzen 5000-series and Intel 11th Gen Core CPUs respectively. Both weigh 1.11kg and measure 13.9mm in thickness. Both have 13.3-inch full-HD OLED panels. The new ZenBook 14 weighs 1.3kg and has many of the same features with a 14-inch full-HD LED-backlit screen. The ZenBook Flip 15 has a 360-degree hinge and 15.6-inch full-HD touchscreen plus up to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU.

Asus Expert and Chromebook series

New launches in Asus’ commercial PC lineup for business users include the ultraportable 0.88kg ExpertBook B9, which promises up to 20 hours of battery life with an 11th Gen Intel Core vPro CPU, Intel Xe graphics, up to 32GB of RAM, and dual SSDs in RAID. The ExpertBook B1 is a more mainstream model with up to an Nvidia GeForce MX330 GPU, while the ExpertCenter D7 SFF is a compact desktop PC with up to a 3TB hard drive plus a 2TB SSD, and Nvidia Quadro P620 GPU. The Asus BR1100F 2-in-1 and and BR1100C laptop are ruggedised entry-level options for the education market. Asus also launched three Intel and AMD-based Chromebooks, the Chromebook Flip CX5, Chromebook CX9, and ChromeBook Flip CM5. 

Other products and accessories

Asus had a slew of other products to show off, including the ProArt Display PA148CTV, a 14-inch multi-touch full-HD IPS portable monitor to help creative professionals be more productive; the ProArt Display PA329CV 32-inch 4K HDR monitor with colour calibration; the coffee-cup-sized ZenBeam Latte L1 wireless projector with built-in speakers; the ZenScreen MB16ACV, a 15.6-inch portable monitor with an antibacterial treatment; and the Asus Zen AiO 24 all-in-one desktop PC.

As for networking, Asus has introduced multiple new routers, mesh routers and network adapters for Wi-Fi 6 and 6E. There are also new graphics cards based on Nvidia’s just-announced GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, and a plug-in PCIe AI accelerator card  



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Asus ZenBook Duo (2021) UX482E Dual Screen Laptop First Impressions


Asus has updated its dual-screen ZenBook Duo and ZenBook Duo Pro laptops at CES 2021, and even though the show is happening virtually this year, Gadgets 360 was able to spend a little time with a demo unit. The ZenBook Duo series now has updated internals and an auto-tilt mechanism that raises their secondary screens to a more comfortable viewing angle. The original ZenBook Duo series was first unveiled at Computex 2019, following which Asus showed off its ROG Zephyrus Duo based on the same rough design, but with a raised secondary screen to help with airflow and ergonomics. That little modification has now made its way back into the ZenBook lineup, and it does make a pretty big difference.

The giant secondary screen, which Asus calls ScreenPad+, stretches out across the width of the ZenBook Duo’s lower half. It matches the horizontal resolution of the main display so that you can treat it just like a second monitor that’s aligned vertically rather than horizontally. With the original ZenBook Duo, the ScreenPad+ was flat and in line with the keyboard, which made it a little hard to use. When I reviewed that laptop, I found myself hunching and leaning forward quite often. The new mechanism solves that problem to an extent.

Asus combines its ‘Ergolift’ hinge action, which raises the entire lower deck, with this new auto-lift mechanism, so that the ScreenPad+ angles itself automatically when you open the lid. The angle goes up to 7 degrees and is not adjustable beyond that. Thankfully, the raised panel doesn’t obscure the bottom of the main screen at any angle. My demo unit came with a stylus, and the ScreenPad+ did not flex or bend when pressed down on.

The mechanism feels solid enough but it looks as though it could get damaged if you try closing the laptop’s lid with something like a pencil accidentally wedged under the ScreenPad+. There shouldn’t be much danger of pinching a finger but it would be a good idea to handle this laptop gently. I’m a little wary of dust and lint since the gap is relatively narrow and looks like it will be hard to clean, but Asus does include a protective sleeve.

Both the main display and the ScreenPad+ have matte finishes which reduce reflections to some extent. The resolutions are 1920×1080 and 1920×515 respectively. As for the internal hardware, we have an 11th Gen Intel ‘Tiger Lake’ CPU with integrated Intel Xe graphics and an optional discrete Nvidia GeForce MX450 GPU. My demo unit has 32GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD, but exact specifications will vary.

The ‘Ergolift’ hinge raises the entire lower deck, while the new mechanism also tilts the ScreenPad+

 

The ZenBook Duo UX482E has an Intel Evo sticker, which means it has been designed to meet a set of requirements in terms of weight, performance, and battery life. It’s 16.9mm thick and has relatively narrow screen borders, with space for a webcam in the usual spot. Asus claims 17 hours of battery life, and this laptop can be charged over USB Type-C.

There are two Type-C Thunderbolt ports and a full-sized HDMI port on the left, plus one Type-A port, 3.5mm audio socket, and microSD card slot on the right. The keyboard layout is improved, compared to the first generation, and we now have a more sensible arrow cluster plus the Shift keys are in the right place. There’s still a vertical trackpad which will not suit left-handed users. In terms of comfort, the keyboard is right at the lower edge of the body which could become uncomfortable over time.

asus zenbook duo ux482 trackpad ndtv asus

The ZenBook Duo (2021) has an improved keyboard layout but the trackpad won’t be comfortable for everyone

 

Asus has improved its software, and you can easily move programs from one screen to the other. You can set up batches to launch a number of programs and have them tile automatically on the two screens. Both are touch-capable so the ScreenPad+ can function as a control surface in some software.

All in all, Asus seems to have refined the design of its original ZenBook Duo series, and the new model should be more practical for everyday use. Information about pricing and availability in India isn’t known yet. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for news of when it launches in India.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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Asus ROG Flow X13, Strix Scar 17, Zephyrus Duo 15 SE Launched: CES 2021


Asus has unveiled its CES 2021 Republic of Gamers portfolio, including the new ultraportable ROG Flow X13 and XG Mobile external GPU designed to match it; ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE with dual screens; and beefy Strix Scar 17, along with a new virtual product showcase called ROG Citadel XV. The laptops feature refreshed hardware including the newly announced AMD Ryzen 5000-series mobile CPUs and Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs. The announcements were made at Asus’ virtual CES 2021 ROG presentation. There’s no word on when these products will be launched in India, but we can expect them soon.

Asus ROG Flow X13

Starting with the ROG Flow X13, this is an ultraportable 2-in-1 gaming laptop that can be paired with a new ROG XG Mobile external GPU. Featuring a Magnesium alloy body and ‘gravity wave’ design meant to look like running water, the ROG Flow X13 is 15.8mm thick and weighs 1.3kg, but is able to power games with a GeForce GTX 1650 GPU and up to a Ryzen 9 5980HS CPU. It features Gorilla Glass on the 16:10 touchscreen and  is available with either 4K 60Hz or full-HD 120Hz panels. Asus claims 10 hours battery life with a 62Wh battery. The unit ships with a compact 100W Type-C charger. You can get up to a 1TB Nvme SSD and 32GB of LPDDR4X RAM.

Asus ROG XG

The ROG XG is a mobile external GPU designed around the new GeForce RTX 3080 laptop GPU, which can run at up to 150W thanks to a compact vapour chamber cooler. According to Asus, the ROG XG is the smallest eGPU ever, and is only 6 percent the size of typical Thunderbolt eGPU enclosure. It weighs 1kg and is said to be about the size of a book. Asus has designed a proprietary connector that uses Thunderbolt plus eight dedicated PCIe lanes for the GPU as well as an integrated IO hub. The unit has a built-in 280W power supply and will power the ROG Flow X13, eliminating the need to carry another power adapter.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17

 

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17

Next, the ROG Strix Scar 17 is designed to be Asus’ top esports gaming laptop. It has a smaller footprint than its predecessor. Unique features include an optical mechanical keyboard, a laser etching treatment on the lid resulting in different texture layers, customisable “ammo cap” hinge covers, and a translucent fibre glass material on the keyboard deck. It boasts of the latest GeForce RTX 3080 GPU with dynamic boost acoustic tuning, up to a Ryzen 9 5900HX unlocked CPU, plus up to 2TB of NVMe storage, 64GB of DDR4 RAM, a 90Wh battery with Type-C charging, and per-key RGB lighting. Screen options include WQHD 165Hz and full-HD 300Hz panels.

The ROG Strix G family has also been refreshed with three new looks, a 7 percent smaller footprint, and the same 90Wh battery and 100W Type-C adapter. 

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo SE

The flagship ROG Zephyrus Duo gets a Special Edition update with the same raised ScreenPad+ second screen, but new GeForce RTX 3080 GPU running at 130W with dynamic boost, a new 6-phase power design, up to an overclocked Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, 2TB of NVMe storage, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, a 90Wh battery and Type-C charger. You can get it with a 120Hz 4K or 300Hz full-HD primary screen. 

Asus ROG Zephyrus duo se asus asus

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo SE

 

Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 and G14

The ROG Zephyrus G15 is now 5 percent smaller and 200g lighter than before, with GeForce RTX 3080 graphics and a Ryzen 9 5900HS CPU plus a 165Hz 1440p screen. CNC-perforated matrix holes on the lid create a shimmery “nano imprint”, and there’s now a 20 percent larger glass touchpad plus soft-touch palm rest. A 3D mic array and 6-speaker setup with dual woofers improve audio in various situations. You can get up to 13 hours of battery life. The more compact ROG Zephyrus G14 also gets updated display options and the AniMe matrix display on the lid can be used to show a new Asus virtual assistant called Omni, which can report system performance stats.

Asus ROG peripherals and ROG Citadel XV 

As for peripherals, Asus also announced the ROG Claymore II keyboard with a 4000mAh battery, fast charging, and ROG RX Blue or Red optical mechanical switches; the ROG Gladius III Wireless mouse with three connectivity modes, embedded RGB LEDs and swappable switches; the ROG Swift PG32UQ 144Hz 4K IPS monitor with HDMI 2.1 and G-Sync; and the ROG Ryujin II concept EATX gaming case.

Finally, Asus has published a new virtual product showcase called ROG Citadel XV on Steam. Users can check out 360-degree views of various ROG products and check specifications as well as customisations options, interact with the Omni assistant, and also try out a shooting range mini-game.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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AMD Ryzen 5000 Laptop CPUs, Upcoming Radeon GPUs Announced at CES 2021


AMD has announced its latest Ryzen 5000 laptop processors and teased upcoming Radeon GPUs for desktops and laptops as well as next-gen Epyc datacentre CPUs at a virtual keynote at CES 2021. AMD CEO Dr Lisa Su began her presentation with an overview of how technology has adapted to the requirements of a pandemic-hit world, stating that over 300 million computers were sold in 2020, the highest figure since 2014, and that she expects this figure to grow in 2021. AMD has also donated over 12 Petaflops of computing resources to academics and researchers working on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments over the past year. 

Calling the 7nm ‘Zen 3’ architecture AMD’s largest generational performance increase since the launch of the original Ryzen family, Su introduced the Ryzen 5000 laptop processors based on the same foundation. AMD promises leading energy efficiency as well as performance. The Ryzen 5000 series includes the Ryzen 5800U, which Su says is the most powerful PC processor ever and the only 8-core x86 processor for ultra-thin laptops with a 15W thermal envelope. In terms of power efficiency, the Ryzen 7 5800U is rated for battery life of up to 17.5 hours with general use, and up to 21 hours of video playback.

Compared to the Intel Core i7-1185G7, the Ryzen 7 5800U is claimed to deliver 18 percent better performance in PCMark 10, and up to 44 percent faster media encoding in Adobe Premiere as well as up to 39 percent faster performance in Blender 3D. Five U-series Ryzen 5000 CPUs have been announced, however some models will continue to be based on the ‘Zen 2’ architecture, including the base quad-core Ryzen 3 5300U and even the Ryzen 7 5700U

For higher-performance gaming laptops, AMD is emphasising Ryzen HX as a differentiating brand, representing the “ultimate performance” for desktop-class gaming laptops. Ryzen HX processors will have higher thermal envelope ratings up to 45W, and will be unlocked for overclocking. The top-end Ryzen 9 5900HX was demonstrated running Horizon Zero Dawn at 1080p using high detail settings and delivering 100+ fps, though with an undisclosed GPU and other hardware.

The Ryzen 9 5900HX has 8 cores and 16 threads, 20MB of L2+L3 cache, and a 45W TDP. It has a top boost speed of 4.6GHz. The Ryzen 9 5980HX shares the same specs with a top boost speed of 4.8GHz. In total, eight Ryzen 5000 H-series CPUs with 35W and 45W TDPs have been announced. 

Compared to the Intel Core i9-10980HK, AMD claims 13 percent better scores in Cinebench R20’s single-threaded test, and up to 35 percent better performance in Passmark’s CPU test. AMD also promises that Ryzen HX 5000-series laptops will be capable of smooth gaming at 4K, and will deliver leading performance in single-threaded as well as multi-threaded workloads.  

Laptops based on these new CPUs from Asus, Acer, HP, Lenovo, and Dell will be available starting in Q1 2021. Su stated that at least 150 different models will launch over the course of 2021, representing a 50 percent growth over the previous generation. 

Beyond the presentation, AMD is also announcing new desktop Ryzen 5000 CPUs, the 12-core Ryzen 9 5900 and 8-core Ryzen 7 5800, both with 65W TDPs. Ryzen Threadripper Pro CPUs with up to 64 cores will also become available in retail rather than being sold only in OEM workstations.

Su also briefly mentioned new laptop GPUs based on the RDNA2 architecture for laptops as well as mid-range desktops. While unnamed, the desktop models are likely to be the rumoured Radeon RX 6700 series. These are expected in the first half of 2021, but no other details were mentioned. RDNA2 is the same architecture that underpins AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 and Radeon RX 6900 GPUs, as well as the semi-custom chips that power the Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X and Series S.



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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 3070, 3080 Gaming Laptop GPUs Announced at CES


In line with multiple leaks and predictions, Nvidia has launched a new line of GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs for gaming and creator laptops at CES 2021. Over 70 laptop models from leading manufacturers featuring these new GPUs will be available starting January 26, priced starting at $999 (approximately Rs. 73,240). Over half of these will feature 240Hz screens or better, and will be aimed at esports players. The company is promoting the performance of the GeForce RTX 30-series in ray tracing, and also promising up to 2x energy efficiency, and 2x faster video rendering. 

The GeForce RTX 3060 is claimed to be able to deliver 90fps in recent games at 1080p using the highest quality settings. This mobile GPU is said to be faster than the previous flagship GeForce RTX 2080 Super. Next up, the GeForce RTX 3070 is aimed at laptops with 1440p screens and is also said to be able to push 90fps at Ultra settings at this resolution, or 240fps in laptops designed for esports. At the top of the list is the new GeForce RTX 3080 which is described as able to achieve 100+fps, and will be targeted at top-of-the-line gaming laptops.

Nvidia’s Max-Q features, aimed at optimising performance and heat in slim laptops, have also received updates. Laptops using third-gen Max-Q will benefit from AI that can help balance power consumption between a laptop’s CPU, GPU, and GPU memory. WhisperMode 2.0 is a new acoustic tuning algorithm that will be customised for each laptop design.

Just like their desktop counterparts, the mobile GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs are based on the Ampere architecture, which uses new dedicated RT and Tensor cores for ray tracing and AI acceleration. DLSS, which renders graphics at a lower-than-native resolution and then uses AI to upscale them, is also supported and can boost performance when ray tracing effects are a heavy load on resources.



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More Affordable GeForce RTX 3060 Desktop GPU With Ray Tracing Launched


Nvidia has launched its most affordable desktop GPU with ray tracing, the GeForce RTX 3060. Priced officially at $329 (approximately Rs. 28,700 before taxes), the GeForce RTX 3060 will target gamers who are hoping to upgrade from older GeForce GTX-series products and get their first taste of ray tracing effects. The xx60 series has traditionally sold well for Nvidia, with the company pointing out that the GeForce GTX 1060 is still the single most popular model in the Steam Hardware Survey. The company expects to sell millions of GeForce RTX 3060 GPUs which will be relatively more affordable than the existing GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, 3070, 3080, and 3090.

Official pricing in India is not yet known, but could be complicated due to the fact that there doesn’t appear to be an official Nvidia Founders Edition graphics card. Nvidia partner brands including Asus, Zotac, Gigabyte, MSI, Innovision 3D, Colorful, Palit, PNY, EVGA and Gainward will sell GeForce RTX 3060 cards with custom designs and coolers, and will determine their own pricing. Supply constraints might also push prices up – GeForce RTX 30-series cards are difficult to find and continue to be sold at high markups ever since their launch in India. Cards will go on sale in “late February”.

Compared to the popular GeForce GTX 1060, Nvidia says the new GeForce RTX 3060 can deliver twice the raster performance and 10x the ray tracing performance. Gamers can expect to play brand new titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing enabled at 60fps. This new GPU uses the same Ampere architecture as its beefier siblings, with next-gen RT and Tensor cores for ray tracing and AI acceleration, including DLSS resolution upscaling.

The GeForce RTX 3060 features 12GB of GDDR6 memory on a 192-bit bus, which is oddly a higher amount than even the GeForce RTX 3080’s 10GB, though it will have lower memory bandwidth overall. A new feature is resizable BAR (Base Address Register) which will allow modern CPUs to access the entire GPU frame buffer, potentially helping performance in games. Software features common to the GeForce RTX 30-series include Nvidia Reflex and Nvidia Broadcast for pro gamers and streamers.  



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Intel ‘Tiger Lake’ 11th Gen CPUs Launched for Gaming Laptops at CES 2021


Intel has announced a slew of over 50 new CPUs based on its 11th Gen 10nm ‘Tiger Lake’ architecture for gaming laptops, commercial laptops, and entry-level PCs. During a virtual CES 2021 press event, the company also previewed its upcoming flagship gaming desktop CPU, the Core i9-11900K based on the 14nm ‘Rocket Lake’ architecture and talked about its data centre and autonomous vehicles efforts. According to top Intel executives, over 500 new desktop and laptop PC models will come to market in 2021, based on these new processors. There are already over 120 thin-and-light laptops based on the lower-power versions of ‘Tiger Lake’ that were announced last year, of which 50 are certified under the Intel Evo label.

Codenamed ‘Tiger Lake-H’, the new 11th Gen CPUs for gaming and high-end laptops will have up to 8 cores and reach speeds of up to 5GHz. They will offer Intel Xe-LP integrated graphics as well as AI acceleration logic that can be used by productivity software and in creative workflows. These CPUs will support PCIe 4.0 for high-speed graphics and SSD storage. 

Intel also teased a special-edition quad-core 11th Gen H-series processor for ultraportable gaming laptops, with speeds of up to 5GHz. This CPU will support PCIe 4.0, Thunderbolt 4, and Wi-Fi 6/6E. Asus, Acer, HP, Vaio, and MSI will offer models based on this CPU in 2021, some as thin as 16mm. This will be part of a new tier of 35W TDP gaming laptops, slotting above the U-series and below the H-series.

Intel showed off a variety of laptops powered by its latest CPUs at its virtual CES 2021 press event

 

In a brief preview, Intel announced that 11th Gen ‘Rocket Lake-S’ desktop CPUs will arrive in Q1 2021, including the Core i9-11900K, which will offer up to 19 percent better performance in terms of instructions per clock (IPC). As a further surprise, Intel also demonstrated a working ‘Alder Lake’ CPU with heterogenous cores, widely expected to launch in late 2021 as the 12th Gen Core family.

The Intel vPro CPU platform for professional PCs has been updated with new 11th Gen ‘Tiger Lake’ Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs, promising improved productivity and performance in everyday office tasks as well as video editing, and specifically video conferencing. Intel is emphasising the vPro platform’s security and remote manageability features in light of the rapid changes that businesses needed to make to support remote working in 2020.

Intel is also turning its attention to the entry-level education market with new ‘Jasper Lake’ 10nm Pentium Silver and Celeron processors, keeping remote learning in mind. The new processors promise up to 35 percent better performance gen-on-gen and will support Windows, Chrome OS, and Linux-based devices. New Chromebooks with 11th Gen Intel Core i3 CPUs will also soon hit the market.



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