ASUS @ Computex 2011 - ROG Launch & Booth Highlights

More High Performance Gear from ASUS' ROG

More High Performance Gear from ASUS' ROG

Who says ASUS' CE arm gets all the fun? The Padfone may have grabbed all the headlines yesterday with its unique take on the hot tablet and smartphone segments, but ASUS' ROG team too had prepared a product launch featuring the brand's latest motherboards, graphics cards, gaming notebooks and peripherals. All these new, high performance products were unleashed to the media earlier today.

As a brand, ROG has a relatively short history of five years, but all signs are there that ROG is rapidly expanding from its original motherboard products. Graphics cards and notebooks have followed and the latest member of the ROG family is the Vulcan, a gaming headset with active noise-cancelling technology.

Gamers will fully appreciate the pair of gaming headphones here, with the active noise cancelling technology suitable for a noisy LAN environment.

The Vulcan is clad in the now-familiar red and black colors of the ROG brand. We tried the active noise cancelling at ASUS' booth and it worked decently to block out the hubbub at Nangang.

While the media politely applauded the new Vulcan gaming headphones, the stars of ROG are undoubtedly the motherboards. There was near pandemonium among the media when ASUS revealed its mystery product, a conceptual motherboard codenamed Danshui Bay. An audacious idea, Danshui Bay puts two generations of CPU and memory architectures on the same board, with Intel's Socket LGA1366, X58 chipset sharing PCB with its upcoming Socket LGA 2011, X79 chipset. We really can't imagine how ASUS will pull this off.

Tech journalists do good impersonations of the paparazzi when required, like when they try to scope out ASUS' conceptual motherboard, Danshui Bay.

In case you're still wondering, there's no guarantee that ASUS will actually build such a motherboard. It's just a concept at the moment, but we'll certainly give ASUS top marks for its engineering prowess should it succeed in merging two chipsets with two distinct sockets and memory architectures on a single platform.

Of course, there were plenty of ROG motherboards that are actually shipping, with ASUS updating the ROG series with some of the latest chipsets, with two ROG boards based on the new Intel Z68 Express chipset and one based on AMD's 990FX.

The ROG Crosshair V Formula is the latest version of ASUS' top AMD motherboard. Now with AMD's 990FX chipset onboard, this new board supports both 3-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX. It also comes with the ROG ThunderBolt audio and LAN combo expansion card, which integrates a Xonar audio solution with a headphone amplifier for better gaming audio performance and a Bigfoot Networks' Killer NIC for lower CPU utilization during network gaming. Which just means more CPU for your games.

With two dual-slot graphics cards installed, one can barely see the latest ROG motherboard, the Maximus IV Extreme-Z. Notice the 'Z' suffix to represent its Z68 chipset. If Intel keeps releasing new chipsets every six months, ASUS will run out of names for its Intel based ROG boards.

Here's the Maximus IV Extreme-Z without the installed components. It supports both NVIDIA SLI and CrossFireX of course, along with Lucid Virtu for switchable graphics and Quick Sync support.

From the number of blue USB ports, there seem to be many USB 3.0 ports on the Extreme-Z.

The other ROG Maximus IV board is the Gene-Z, which like the Extreme-Z, is based on the Z68 chipset. It's a mATX board that continues the ROG Gene tradition, which should delight those who like their systems small and powerful. As you can see, huge graphics cards aren't an issue for this board.

Surprisingly, this ASUS Z68 motherboard was on display besides the other ROG boards. At least it's a pretty high-end model.

Then there's the ROG graphics cards, with the dual GTX 580 monster, Mars II, given an airing too. This card comes with three 8-pin power connectors and take up three slots. With the presence of two, true GTX 580 cores, the Mars II technically has a higher overclocking headroom than NVIDIA's own dual GPU card, the GTX 590.

A real heavyweight of a graphics card, the dual GPU, Mars II.

The ROG Matrix GTX 580 graphics card here boasts of greater overclocking headroom, with ASUS offering a number of proprietary utilities to assist in this process. ASUS' DirectCU II cooler is used, which is supposed to lead to 20% cooler operation than the reference card.

The Safe Mode button here on the Matrix GTX 580 is a fail-safe for those who like to tweak their clocks and voltages.

The new GPU Tweak tool allows users to adjust the clock, fan and voltages in real-time, making it extremely easy to overclock.