Review: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G GA502 Gaming Laptop

The Zephyrus gaming laptops by ASUS ROG came as a herald of a new era in laptop gaming, combining immense graphics power in a sleek, highly portable form factor. And today we’re checking out the Zephyrus G GA502, a budget variant from the line-up which sports a Ryzen 7 processor and a GTX 1660Ti MaxQ. Does it live up to the hype? Let’s find out.

The Zephyrus G GA502, much like its other family members, is a striking combination of elegance and simplicity. It sports a brushed metal finish on the lid, with a red-backlit ROG logo tucked on one side. The build quality is quite impressive, with almost no flex while opening the lid. For a laptop that’s only about 0.8 inches thick, it’s a huge plus point. And it weighs about 2.1kg, which means that you can carry this 15.6-inch laptop anywhere without problems.

Even within its slim form factor, the Zephyrus manages to pack almost all options you need for connectivity. On the left side, there’s a LAN port, an HDMI port, one USB 3 Type-A port, one Type-C port, and a 3.5mm jack. On the right, you can find two more USB 3 Type-A ports.

Opening the laptop, you can see that the display has minimal bezels on three sides, and interestingly enough, there’s no webcam. Which is not exactly a problem because laptop webcams aren’t known for their high quality anyway, but can still come in handy if you’re using the laptop for everyday work too. The keyboard is quite comfortable, even though the slim body means the key travel is a bit less. But they can still be used equally well for both typing and gaming for extended periods of time, and you have dedicated keys for volume and mic control. There’s no numpad, but it does have a separate column of dedicated keys for Page Up, Page Down, Home and End functions. Instead of full on RGB backlighting, the keyboard here features a simple white backlight. The mousepad is pretty big and comfortable to use as well, with multi-finger gestures being easily recognized.

Now that we’ve covered all the basics, let’s talk about the specs and performance.

The Zephyrus G GA502 packs in a Ryzen 3750H, 16 gigs of DDR4 RAM, a GTX 1660Ti MaxQ graphics card and a 512GB NVMe SSD. If you think you might run out of space, there is an expansion slot for another PCIe NVMe card, so you can easily upgrade the storage. The display is a 15.6-inch 120Hz panel.

These are some decently powerful specs, and that is reflected in both the gaming and normal use benchmarks. Whether you’re using it for your daily work or playing the latest AAA titles, the laptop should be able to handle it with ease. On a mixture of high and medium settings, you’ll be easily able to hit 60+ FPS in all the latest games.

Playing on the Zephyrus was a pretty great experience, with its high performance complemented by the display and audio. The 120Hz panel may not be very colorful, but it does lead to a smooth gaming experience and is great for watching movies too. It has a matte finish, so you don’t have to worry about glares, and is bright enough to be used comfortably in well-lit areas. The audio is impressive too, and the two bottom facing speakers do an impressive job of delivering booming, clear sound, whether you’re playing some music or busy in an intense gaming session.

When it comes to battery life, the Zephyrus performs just as well as you’d expect from most gaming laptops. It lasted a little over 3 hours of average daily use, including web browsing and video playback.

The Verdict

At a price point of INR 89,990 (Flipkart), the Zephyrus G GA502 offers an impressive combination of performance and portability. It may not be as powerful as its Intel counterpart, but it also won’t put a huge dent in your wallet. This is a solid option for gamers who don’t really care about running every single game on the highest graphics setting and want a device that can double up as a work laptop too.

Sapphire Pulse AMD RX 5500 XT 4GB Review – Worth the Wait?

AMD’s had a pretty good year, with their new Ryzen 3000 processors and RX Navi GPUs shining in the spotlight. But while we’ve had the higher end RX 5700 and 5700 XT for a while, AMD’s kept us waiting for the budget card, the RX 5500 XT. Now that it’s out, was it worth the wait? Let’s find out with our Sapphire Pulse RX 5500 XT 4GB graphics card.

The Sapphire Pulse RX 5500 XT is a big card, for the kind of performance bracket it falls in, so if you were planning to put it in a small PC, like a mini-ITX build, you need to be wary of that. But on the plus side, a bigger heatsink translates into better cooling. The GPU has a dual-slot, twin fan design, covered in a black shroud with the Pulse logo on the fans. The simplistic design looks great and should fit in with most color schemes on your build. And, it has a full backplate too, which is something we generally don’t get to see in budget GPUs.

AMD has added an impressive feature set to its GPU line-up, which every gamer can use to their advantage. One such feature is Radeon Anti-lag, which reduces input latency, or the delay between pressing a key and seeing the effect on the screen. Depending on the title, it can help reduce the input lag by up to 30%, giving you a massive advantage in multiplayer and competitive games. Another useful feature is Radeon Boost, that gives increases your framerate by dynamically reducing resolution during movements like camera rotation, and scales it back up once the movement stops. Both these features are useful for gamers looking to get the most out of their hardware. And then you have the benefit of FreeSync, supported by some of the most economical monitors as well.

Talking about specs, the Sapphire Pulse RX 5500 XT has 22 compute units and 1408 stream processors. The boost clock goes up to 1845 MHz and there are two variants for memory, one with 4GB GDDR6 VRAM and the other with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM. For display options, the card comes with three DisplayPorts and one HDMI port, which is becoming more of a norm nowadays. But how good is the card when it comes to performance? Let’s take a look at the benchmarks.

To put it straight, the RX 5500 XT’s performance is a mixed bed. It’s impressive and falls in line with what you’d expect with the price tag, but it can be a bit inconsistent depending on the game, sometimes even falling behind the RX 580, which is a last-gen graphics card. The GTX 1650 Super, while it doesn’t perform as well as the RX 5500 XT, is more consistent. But this problem could possibly be a driver issue which will probably be resolved with an update, as we’ve seen happen previously with both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs.

The 4GB variant we have is pretty solid for esports gamers and people who don’t need to play games at the highest possible settings, but if you’re thinking about the long-term, it’s better to go with the 8GB model as newer and better-looking games will require more VRAM. At a price point of about INR 15,000, the RX 5500 XT offers a decent performance and feature set offering. It might seem a little high for now, but once the drivers are stabilized we should see more improvement. And if we get to see a price cut like we did with the RX 5700 GPUs, this has the potential to be the best bang for buck GPU for budget gamers.

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Review: Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset

Logitech has been a well-known brand in the PC market for a long time, but it’s only recently that they decided to double down on the gaming segment with their G series. Now we have an entire range of keyboards, mice and headsets designed specifically with gamers in mind, and today we’re checking out something that’s made for the professionals, the Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset. Let’s check out how Pro it really is, shall we?

From the first look itself, it’s clear that this isn’t the kind of headset we’ve seen from Logitech before. Instead of different colours, we have a monochromatic look, with a glossy Logitech logo in the middle of a silver circle on each ear cup. The entire headset has a premium, high-grade metal feel to it, with luxurious leather padding on the headband. Without going for any RGB frills, it keeps things simple and classy, setting itself apart from the crowd.

From connectivity to comfort, the amount of options that the Logitech G Pro X offers is impressively mind-boggingly. No matter what kind of setup you have or what your preferences are, chances are it will work for you without any hassles. You can connect it to your console with the 3.5mm pin, or use the included splitter to connect it to your PC. There’s a USB adapter too, if you want to use that. Mind though, you will need the USB adapter to leverage the software level customizations. The mic is completely detachable, and get this, is made by Blue, the company renowned for making mics. Plus, the headset comes not with one, but two sets of ear cups. If you find don’t find the leather one comfortable, you can pick the foam one, or vice versa. It’s like an all-inclusive package that takes care of everyone and everything.

The headset is pretty lightweight, and both sets of ear cups are equally comfortable, it just comes to personal preference about which one suits you more. However, adjusting the headset does take a bit of work and it can feel a little tight in the beginning. It’s a matter of trying it again and again to find the right fit.

It doesn’t matter what kind of games you play, the Logitech G Pro X delivers a solid audio experience. The gunshots boom with the bass, enemy footsteps are crisp and clear, and the direction from which your enemies are firing at you is discernible as well. All these qualities really stand as a testament to the headset’s strengths as it is primarily aimed at tournament professionals. It can also prove equally advantageous to streamers whose main focus is eSports titles, whether it’s PUBG, CS:GO or DOTA, or any other game for that matter.

It’s also where the G Pro X’s mic quality comes into the picture. On its own, the mic sounds okay, but as soon as you enable the Blue Voice functionality, everything changes. The audio quality becomes much better and though you won’t find yourself turning into a singer overnight, you’ll be able to communicate much more clearly and efficiently in your games.

At a price point of INR 13,270, The Logitech G Pro X headset may seem expensive at first, but it comes with a surprising range of options that some of its competitors fail to offer in the same price bracket. Not only is it completely tournament ready, but it can also provide an all-in-one audio solution to streamers who are on a tight budget and can’t afford to buy a dedicated mic and sound setup. If you can spare the money and are on the lookout for a feature-rich headset, this is not a bad deal at all.

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Review: HyperX Savage EXO External SSD

External SSDs are still catching up when it comes to popularity, but their advantages over portable HDDs cannot be overstated. Not only are they faster, but they’re also more secure and less prone to damage. Today we’re taking a look at the HyperX Savage Exo external SSD. Let’s see how it fares, shall we?

The HyperX Savage EXO is a USB 3.1 Gen2 external SSD and is quite a looker. It’s light and compact and features an angular design that is actually quite classy. It has a dark metallic grey finish on the top and bottom, and is lined with black on the sides. There’s a single LED light that lets you know the SSD is connected and in use.

For data transmission, the SSD makes use of a USB Type-C port. And to make sure that the user doesn’t have to worry about arranging a converter, it comes with two cables; one USB Type-A to Type-C and one with USB Type-C connectors on both ends. It measures 123.82 x 48.61 x 10.24mm and weighs just under 60 grams, so like we said, it’s pretty compact and lightweight. And the compatibility ranges from Windows 7, Mac OS X, Linux and consoles like PS4 and Xbox One as well. Needless to say, it covers all the bases there.

As great as the SSD looks, when it comes to performance, suffice it to say it’s not the best out there. The specs claim the sequential read and write speeds to be 500 and 480 MB/s respectively, but the real-world performance doesn’t come anywhere close to that. For smaller files, it’s great and maintains the speeds mentioned in the specs, but for longer data transfers the write speed falls down. The read performance, on the other hand, is impressive throughout and the SSD does a great job loading up and applications and games.

The HyperX Savage EXO SSD is a great option for both average PC use and gaming. Starting at a price point close to INR 7000, it comes with amazing looks and mostly great performance. The only downside is low write speeds when it comes to transferring large files, but for everyday use, whether it’s carrying your data around or booting up your games, it gets the job done well.

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Nubia Red Magic 3 Gaming Smartphone Review

Enough with PC gaming and hardware. Everyone is only talking about smartphones these days. And you know what? That’s exactly what we’re going to do too. I mean we already unboxed the Red Magic 3 last week, so might as well find out how good the phone actually is. So, without further ado, here’s our review of the Nubia Red Magic 3 gaming smartphone.

The Red Magic 3 is probably the most affordable gaming phones that you’ll find in India. Starting at a price point of INR 36,000, it packs in a Snapdragon 855, the latest flagship processor from Qualcomm, a minimum of 6GB RAM, 128 gigs of storage and a whopping 5000mAh battery. And all this is brought to life by a 6.65-inch 90Hz AMOLED display. But that’s not all. To make sure the phone doesn’t heat up, it uses an actual cooling fan. Like the ones you see in laptops.

The phone is a looker too. At least our review unit, which is doused in bright red. The build is really solid too, and the phone is on the heavier side of the spectrum, weighing about 215g. It has an aggressive design inspired by sports cars, with the back of the phone house angular elements for that gaming feel. Along with that, the back side also has the camera, the intake vent for the cooling fan, the primary 48 MP camera with Sony IMX586 sensor, the backlit Red Magic 3 logo, the fingerprint sensor and an esports inspired, customizable RGB Strip. The volumer rocker, power button and exhaust vents are located on the right side along with the shoulder triggers, while the left side has the SIM tray, pin connector for the dock and the Game Mode button, but we’ll talk more about that later. The bottom side has the USB Type-C charging port while the top has a 3.5mm audio jack. Here’s a funny thing. One reason that companies use for not having an audio jack is a bigger battery, but the Red Magic 3 has both, so is that just an excuse for following a trend? I guess we’ll never find out.

Anyway, back to our Nubia phone. One thing that I do not like about the phone is that it’s big, like way too big. And you know what they say about people with big phones, don’t you? That they can’t use their phones comfortably with one hand. Yes, that’s exactly what I meant to say. But the phone still has a forehead and a chin. This certainly seems like a bold move in a world where other phones are moving towards an all screen front side, but there’s not gonna be any commendation for innovative design on that end. Personally, however, I’d take this over a weird looking notch any day. 

The display itself is pretty frickin amazing. The AMOLED panel has vibrant colours that pop, and the 90Hz refresh rate makes it a delight to use. It feels smooth, fluid, responsive, and the internal specs are more than strong enough to ensure you don’t experience any sort of hitches. It’s everything you could ask for in a phone made specifically for gamers. Which means that now would be a great time to talk about the actual gaming performance and benchmarks.

When it comes to tests like 3DMark and Geekbench, the Red Magic 3 just blows the competition out of water. That trend continues in actual games as well, and the phone can handle even the most intensive games, be it PUBG or Asphalt or whatever it is you can throw at it, without a sweat. And your gaming experience is only enhanced by the added game mode and shoulder triggers. Launching the game mode leads you to a screen that shows all your installed games, and you can adjust all the settings from right here. Swipe in from the right and you’ll see a whole range of options, including metrics like phone temps, network speed and clock speeds for the CPU and GPU. Here you can also find handy buttons to enable the fan and the dock, as well as to disable any disturbances like texts and calls. After all, who wants to be disturbed while they’re occupied in an intense gunfight? Additional fan settings can be found on the top right, where you can select between intelligent mode for temp based cooling or rapid cooling to put it on maximum speed. And you can actually hear the fan at work, it is loud. But not loud enough that your gaming experience will be ruined, thanks to the booming sound from the front facing dual speakers. And the battery life is just the cherry on top. Not only does it last almost an entire day filled with hours of gaming, but can extend up to two days pretty easily on average use and light gaming. But if you think it ends here, think again. The Red Magic 3 also has a couple of really cool accessories, including a dock and a controller. The dock has three ports, a USB Type-C, a 3.5mm jack and, get this, an ethernet LAN port. You can activate it easily by the press of a button in the game launcher and just forget about lag. Additionally, there’s a bluetooth controller to help you, but it requires a specific cover, and can be placed on either the left or the right side depending on what you feel is more comfortable. Truly, this phone passes every check box you want covered as a gamer.

Now that we’ve checked what makes this phone a beast, let’s take a look at the camera. The Red Magic 3 has a single 48MP primary camera with f/1.7 aperture, with Sony’s IMX586 sensor, the same one used in Oneplus 7 Pro, but the 7 Pro has a triple camera setup. The front camera is 16MP with a f/2.0 aperture. The rear camera takes pretty decent looking pictures in daylight, the color reproduction is good and the pictures seem to have enough detail. Even in low light, the camera is able to capture details well even though some noise is there. But the camera app itself is pretty basic, and even lacks the Portrait mode that seems to be a standard in most phones by now. But one feature that it does have, and this is the only phone that has it, it that it can record video at 8K 30 FPS. Unfortunately, we can’t really show it because our system couldn’t really handle playing it properly. You can also do videos at 1080p and 4K 60 FPS, but sadly there’s no stabilization. Apart from that the Red Magic 3 can also record slow motion videos at 1920 FPS. 

Now, there’s a lot of things to love about this phone, but there are also a few minor things that just seem a bit inconvenient. One obvious being the size of the phone which can be little hard to fit in pockets that for some reason seem to be getting smaller and smaller every day. Moreover, it’s pretty easy to accidentally unlock the phone using the fingerprint scanner while putting it in the pocket. But this is could totally be just me, because overall, the Red Magic 3 is simply a delight. It looks good, performs better and has features that can make every gamer drool out of every orifice in their body. Camera performance could be better, but apart from that, this is pretty much the best gaming smartphone you can get that hits that sweet spot between price and performance. 

MSI GS65 Stealth Gaming Laptop Review

A couple of years ago, you really had to choose between power and portability when it came to laptops. But that’s a thing of the past, thanks to cooling solutions better and NVIDIA’s MaxQ graphics which allow powerful GPUs to be used in slim form factors. But how good are they really? Today we’re gonna answer that question as we check out the MSI GS65 Stealth gaming laptop. 

The MSI GS 65 comes with an 8th gen Intel i7-8750H which has 6 cores and 12 threads. Coupled with that is NVIDIA’s RTX 2070 MaxQ, 16 gigs of DDR4 memory and a 500GB SSD. And there’s a Full HD, 144Hz IPS display, all packed in a chassis as slim as 17.7mm.

In terms of looks and design, the GS65 believes in elegance in simplicity. The device yells premium with its black metal finish with golden streaks and highlights. Even the MSI Dragon logo on the lid gets the golden treatment. And it weighs only 1.8kg, there’s no problem in carrying it just about anywhere. 

The left side of the laptop has the Ethernet port, two USB 3 ports, two 3.5mm audio jacks along with vents, while the right side has the charging port, the HDMI port, a miniDisplayPort, a USB Type-C port and one more USB 3 type-a port. Exhaust vents can be found on the back.

Opening the laptop greets you with the same premium finish, with the display having minimal bezels on the top and sides, and a steelseries keyboard sits between the speaker grills and the golden lined trackpad, which for some reason is extra stretched. The keys feel nice to press and are decently sized with adequate space, and feature per key customizable RGB backlighting. My only complaint is the lack of a number pad, which used to be there in the older Stealth series laptops. The trackpad is pretty smooth and responsive too, but the large size means it’s easy to accidentally brush your wrist and move the cursor while typing.

When it comes to performance, the MSI GS65 is definitely a powerhouse. You can use it pretty convenient for gaming as well as heavy tasks like editing, designing and rendering. Of course, the 2070 MaxQ is not as powerful as the full 2070, but that doesn’t mean the laptop has any problems running intense applications. 

Even on the temperature side, the laptop does an acceptable job of keeping the hardware cool. The max GPU temperature we observed was 82 C while the max CPU temps touched 95 C. The keyboard gets a little hot so using it for long sessions can be a little uncomfortable, so you might need to buy a decent cooling dock. The fans do get a little loud under full load too, but considering that most people use headsets while gaming, they’re not loud enough to cause discomfort. 

The display on this laptop is pretty impressive too, with bright and vivid colours, and ultra fast 144 Hz refresh rate. Gaming is smooth and fluid, with landing headshots feels simply amazing. The environments look great and the sound from the speakers is crisp and clear, whether you’re watching your favourite movies or busy in an intense gaming session.

Battery life, as expected with gaming laptops is average, with the device lasting just under 4 hours of average use including media playback and browsing. But gaming on a laptop always happens with a charger, so you probably won’t have to worry on that end.

At a price point of about 2.1 lakhs, the MSI GS 65 will definitely feel expensive, but premium products come at a premium price. And this is for people who want high portability without sacrificing on performance. That is exactly what this laptop offers, so if that’s what you’re looking for as well, you should definitely check it out.

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Alienware Area 51m Review: The Upgradable Laptop!

Desktop PCs have always had one major advantage over laptops – upgradability. You have a good CPU but your graphics card is getting old? Just take it out and put in a new one, and you’re good to go. But laptops are more of a package deal, right? You can’t just take your old CPU and upgrade it for a better one. Or can you?

Design and Tech Specs

CPU Intel i9-9900K
GPU NVIDIA RTX 2080
RAM 32 GB DDR4
Storage 500GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Ports
USB 3.1, USB Type-C Thunderbolt, HDMI, MiniDP, LAN, 3.5mm jacks, Alienware Graphics Amplifier
Price ~INR 3,50,000

Today we’re playing with Area 51m, the first fully upgradable laptop, coming from Alienware. Not that it needs any upgrading though as our review unit packs in an 8 core, 16 thread, desktop level i9-9900K.  And if you think that’s overkill, get this. The GPU is none other than the RTX 2080. There’s also 32 gigs of DDR4 RAM, dual storage comprising of a 500 GB SSD along with a 1TB hard drive AND a 144Hz, full IPS 1080p display and Tobii Eye Tracking.

And that’s not all. The Area 51m is one of the best looking laptops I’ve seen. Alienware has decided to redo their entire design ideology, going forward with what they’re calling the Legend design. The Area 51m opts for a much more curved look than what we’ve seen in the older Alienware models and while a lot of brands still sticking to the black and red gaming color scheme, the Area 51m is just covered in dazzling white. But. While that results in a much more elegant and classy look, it also highlights any dirt or marks you might leave on it, meaning you may have to clean it a lot more often than you might like. The build quality, on the other hand, is rock solid. It’s a sturdy device for sure, and at 3.8kg, quite chunky to say the least. 

For such a huge and powerful laptop, one thing that it lacks, surprisingly, is ports. On the left side you have one USB 3 port along with a Type-C Thunderbolt port, exhaust vents and 3.5mm audio jacks, while the right side houses more vents and two additional USB 3 ports. I would’ve definitely liked to see at least one more full size USB port as three might be a little less for people using an external keyboard and mouse, especially if they have a USB headset. On the back side, surrounded by the shiny RGB strip, you can find the LAN port, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier, an HDMI, a mini DisplayPort and two ports for charging. That’s right, the Area 51m requires not one, but two power bricks to reach its full potential.

The front side of the laptop has grills for speakers and by far is the most disappointing thing about its looks, where the glossy black plastic finish just doesn’t seem to fit in with the laptop’s otherwise ultra premium looks. 

Opening up the laptop, you will be greeted with an RGB backlit keyboard, which while not being mechanical, is one of the most comfortable keyboards I have seen in a laptop. The keys feel nice to press, have a decent travel distance and the overall experience is just great, whether you’re typing or playing. And thanks to the Alienware Command Center, you can customize it to your heart’s extent. From individual key backlighting to custom macros, you can do just about anything.  Even the trackpad has customizable RGB backlighting. However, one thing that does bug me about the keyboard layout is the awkward placement of the Page Up and Page Down keys, which have been crammed between the Shift and the Arrow keys. But enough about the look and feel, let’s talk performance. I mean, that’s what really matters, right?

Performance and Benchmarks

 

The 9900K and RTX 2080 in the Area 51m do really seem to be at par with their desktop counterparts. Whether it’s pure gaming, streaming, editing or rendering, there’s no workload that the laptop can’t handle without breaking a sweat. And the joy of combining that power with the blazing 144 Hz IPS panel is just. . . it makes me feel things. Not only are the colours crisp and vibrant, the entire experience is smooth and responsive. The speakers are quite loud too, and really add to the whole vibe.  Doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to lose yourself in the amazing world of Witcher 3 or trying to get that clutch win in PUBG, the Area 51m does a great job of bringing your games to life.

Now, you can’t have a 9900K in your laptop and not overclock it. Thankfully, Alienware has made it incredibly easy to do that. Using Alienware Fusion, you can either use one of the two preset overclock profiles, or set a manual overclock for both the CPU and GPU.

When it comes to packing such powerful hardware into a portable form factor, one major cause for concern is thermals. And things on this front are kind of good news, bad news. In our testing, the GPU temperature stabilized at a max 75 C temp, but the CPU reached 100 C under full load. That’s boiling water temperature. Luckily, the fans do a great job of venting it out and the keyboard doesn’t heat up, so you can still continue to use it, should you wish. And you can hear the fans at work, they’re quite loud under load.

The Verdict

Now that we’ve covered all the basic stuff, let’s talk about upgradability. It’s quite interesting how the Area 51m manages to do that. For the CPU, Alienware has just plugged the desktop sized LGA1151 socket, which means that changing your CPU is just the same as you would do on a desktop motherboard. However, the GPU comes on a custom made removable module, which means that you will only be able to get it through Alienware. Freedom does come at a cost, after all. Nevertheless, it’s an incredibly fascinating concept that seems to work, and I for one am completely blown away with it.

But. But. That’s not all. Let’s face it, life isn’t that simple. While the custom GPU module means that you should theoretically be able to upgrade to the next gen graphics cards, because the design for the is on Alienware, the CPU upgradability will depend solely on socket support. As long as Intel continues to support the LGA 1151 socket, upgrading to a new CPU won’t be a problem. But the day they decide to switch to a different one, which they probably will, sooner or later, you might be stuck with the last one supported. 

But let’s not be pessimistic. After all, the Area 51m is an impressive piece of hardware that’s enough to make any and every gamer drool. It’s a total knockout, in terms of both looks and performance, and the level of customizability is simply amazing. With its size and uber powerful specs, it’s more of a portable desktop than a laptop. However, at a price point of about INR 3,50,000, it’s also enough to make your wallet weep. But hey, if you have the money and want a no-compromise gaming experience while still remaining relatively portable, why not treat yourself?

RTX 2070 Super Review: The Perfect Card For 1440p Gaming

You know, I can’t help but feel bad for AMD. Every time they go to announce a new GPU, the green team is ready, waiting to pounce. It’s like that friend everyone has, who likes to make everything about themselves. You know the type. When the red team announced the Vega GPUs, NVIDIA was quick to reveal the GTX 1070Ti. And this year seems to be no different. Just a week before the Navi launch, the green team was ready with its RTX Super line up. And today we’re playing around with the RTX 2070 Super. 

Tech Specs

Specs RTX 2070 Super RTX 2070 FE RTX 2080 FE
CUDA Cores 2560 2304 2944
RT Cores 40 36 46
Base Clock 1770 1710(OC) 1515
Boost Clock 1605 1410 1800(OC)
Memory Speed 14 Gbps 14 Gbps 14 Gbps
Memory Config 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6
Ports DP, HDMI, USB Typ-C DP, HDMI, DVI, USB Type-C DP, HDMI, USB Type-C
Power Connector 8-pin + 6 pin Single 8-pin 8-pin + 6 pin
Recommended Power Supply 650W 550W 650W

The RTX 2070 Super is an upgraded version of the 2070, with a bump in core counts, clock speeds and much more. In a way you can also consider it as a shaved down version of the original 2080, as it uses the same TU104 die as the RTX 2080. CUDA core count is up to 2560 from the 2070’s 2304. The base clock speed in the 2070 Super is 1605 MHz, which is pretty close to the 2070’s boost clock speed. Tensor cores are up too, from 288 in the 2070 to 320 in the 2070 Super. Understandably, these boosts also result in a TDP increase of 40W, from the 2070’s 175W to 215W in the 2070 Super. This also means that the 2070 Super now requires an additional 6-pin power connector, like the 2080.

Visually, the RTX 2070 Super looks quite similar to the original RTX series, with the same dual fan design and form factor. The difference here is in the middle, where it now sports the “super branding” on a reflective, glossy surface. Personally, I prefer the matte black finish on the original RTX cards, but hey, to each their own. 

On the display front, the 2070 Super display ditches the DVI port found on the 2070 in the favour of another DisplayPort, bringing the count to 3 DisplayPorts, one HDMI port and one USB Type-C. But the real deal, and the frankly, the one thing that care about the most is performance, and how well the card holds up against the 2070 and the 2080. So, take a look at the scores.

Performance and Benchmarks

Right off the bat, it’s hard not to be impressed by the 2070 Super’s performance. The card gives really solid numbers at 1440p throughout the benchmarks, and in some cases is pretty viable for 4K too, if you don’t mind turning down the graphics settings. Overall, the performance gap between the 2070 Super and the 2080 was less than 10%. The cheapest RTX 2080 we could find was worth 59,000 INR, so at the launch price of 43,600 INR, that makes it amazing value for money. Compared to the 2070 is where the price gap is a little close, as the cheapest RTX 2070 we found costs 38,000. The 2070 Super outperforms the 2070 by a little over 10% on the average at 1440p, so even here it doesn’t sound like a bad option. 

Now, the big question is, what prompted the release of the Super cards? NVIDIA claims that it was the tech improvements and tweaking that’s allowed them to obtain better yields, which certainly sounds plausible. But the timing of this launch, just a few days before the release of AMD’s Navi GPUs can lead one to believe otherwise. I mean, we did see the RX 5700 cards competing closely with the 2070 in the leaked benchmarks. So it wouldn’t be completely off base for one to think that NVIDIA, with their Super cards are trying to get ahead of the competition before the Navi cards are even out. In that case, you know who to thank for the Super’s sensible pricing. I mean, it has been a long time coming. This is what RTX pricing should have been from the beginning, especially considering the serious lack of ray tracing support in games when it launched. But as they say, better late than never.

All said and done, with its competitive pricing, the RTX 2070 Super is an amazing card for 1440p gaming. At 43,600 INR, you get considerable gains for a small increase in price, and a good ray tracing experience too. People who have already bought the 2070 will feel bad, but for those who were still waiting to get their hands on an RTX GPU, this is it. 

Review: BenQ Zowie Celeritas II Gaming Keyboard

Zowie has made quite a name for itself in the recent years, especially in the esports arena. The brand is regularly coming up with peripherals catering to the esports players, from keyboards and headsets to high refresh rate displays. The Celeritas II is the latest gaming keyboard in the Zowie lineup, priced at INR 10,900. But is it worth the price? Let’s find out.

The philosophy behind the Celeritas II seems to be straightforward: elegance in simplicity. The keyboard has a pretty standard design; in fact, from a distance, it doesn’t look much different from a normal office keyboard. But don’t let that fool you, because on the inside the Celeritas screams gaming. It uses custom optical switches instead of the Cherry MX Brown like its predecessor. Optical switches are a new form of mechanical switches, which use light for actuation instead of a mechanical connection. As such, they have an advantage over conventional mechanical switches as optical switches can be faster and more durable.

It follows the popular ‘red and black’ colour scheme that we’ve seen with almost every brand by now. The keyboard has a matte black finish, keeping it simple without any frill.  At 1.89kg, the Celeritas II is a bit on the heavier side of the spectrum. It measures about 44.2 x 17 cm, which means it doesn’t take up too much space on your table. There are four rubber grips on the base which prevent the keyboard from sliding on the surface.

While the gaming community is moving towards a more colorful RGB lit world, the Celeritas II keeps things rather uncomplicated with a simple Red LED backlight. You can adjust the brightness and toggle it on/off using the Fn keys, which also double up as media control buttons. The choice to go for flashy RGB is rather subjective; on one hand, you can argue that the red backlight results in a less distracting experience. But on the other hand, not having the option to customize the backlight colour, especially at the INR 10000 price point seems a bit lacking.

One of the more interesting features the Celeritas II offers is PS/2 compatibility, and the keyboard comes with a USB to PS/2 adapter in the box. Even though most of the people have switched to USB by now, it’s nice to have that option to use PS/2 should you feel like using it. And Zowie has also brought the Real Time Response (RTR) function to the keyboard, which is useful in games where the player needs to activate multiple commands simultaneously. RTR can only be used via PS/2.

Talking about performance, here’s when the Celeritas II begins to set itself apart. Unlike a lot of its gaming counterparts, the Celeritas is completely plug and play, and doesn’t require you to use any software to set it up. It supports N-key rollover, meaning each keypress is detected individually, regardless of how many keys are being pressed at the same time. The wrist support can be a little small for some users, but it’s not hard to get used to. Furthermore, the optical switch driven keys are responsive and swift, making games like PUBG and Apex Legends a joy to play. You can quickly move between different keys without much resistance and take action, meaning esports players can really use it to their advantage. Single player games are equally fun, whether you’re trying to survive in Metro: Exodus or wrecking the city in GTA V.  Typing, on the other hand, doesn’t feel as good, as I prefer a bit of more tactile feedback than the Celeritas II offers.

Overall, the Celeritas II is a great keyboard, with a clear emphasis on functionality over aesthetics. It’s well built, sturdy, and gets the job done without any nonsense. The optical switches are ideal for both casual and professional gamers, and it doesn’t require you to jump through any hoops to set up.  The only downside, is that at a price of INR 10,900, it feels a little costly, especially when you consider other options that offer much more in terms of customization options.

Looking for more news? Click here to catch up with the latest in the world of videogames and eSports and while you’re at it, why not become a member of the GamingMonk community to partake in discussions, tournaments and so much more.

 

Review: Kingston Nucleum 7-in-1 USB-C Hub

If you recently bought a Macbook or a Macbook Pro, chances are you will be struggling with the lack of ports. For instance, the new Macbook only has two USB Type-C ports on it. I mean, what’s up with that? What’s a guy to do with just two Type-C ports? Fortunately, Kingston may have a solution for that, the Kingston Nucleum 7-in-1 USB hub. And today, we’re going to find out how good it is.

The Nucleum seems like a device made with exactly this problem in mind, thanks to its plethora of ports. It’s small and light enough that you can easily carry it in your bag, maybe even your pocket (if you have big enough pockets, that is). It comes with a simplistic, classy aluminium finish with a minimal Nucleum logo. It connects to your laptop via a convenient USB Type-C cable and from there, you can pretty much plug in whatever device you feel like.

The port options more on the generous side, with a total of 7 ports to take care of all your needs. There are two USB Type-A ports, two USB Type-C ports, one MicroSD slot, one SD slot and one full size HDMI port. One of the Type-C ports is a power delivery port, so you can plug in your charger to make sure your Macbook doesn’t run out of juice. It can deliver up to 60W of power, which makes it more than sufficient to charge the Macbook or the 13-inch Macbook Pro. The USB ports support passthrough charging, so you can easily plug your phones in the hub to charge them. The full HDMI port supports upto 4K video passthrough. However, it’s not HDMI 2 so you won’t be able to do 4K at 60 Hz, but 1080p is not a problem at all.

The Nucleum is bound to make your life much easier as a one stop solution to all your port needs. You can use all 7 ports at the same time without any issues, and it doesn’t require any external power source to run. With Apple and other Ultrabook manufacturers leaning towards less and less ports in their devices, the Nucleum becomes an essential accessory to have.

Moreover, the compact size and lightness makes it an ideal companion for photographers and creators who travel a lot and need to have highly portable devices. It can easily fit in a small bag, and you can use it at your desk without cluttering up your table. However, one thing that could’ve made it more appealing is more USB Type-A ports for when you need to use more than two devices at once. While two ports shouldn’t cause a problem, four, or at least three would be extremely handy for when you need to plug in something like a cooling dock. Another thing I would’ve liked to see is Thunderbolt 3 support, but one step at a time.

If you’ve been apprehensive about buying that shiny new Macbook or an Ultrabook because you think you’re going to need more ports, the Nucleum’s got you covered. It’s an easy product to recommended thanks to its compact design, good looks and available port options. In a world without conventional ports, the utility of USB Hub devices like the Nucleum cannot be overstated.

Looking for more news? Click here to catch up with the latest in the world of videogames and eSports and while you’re at it, why not become a member of the GamingMonk community to partake in discussions, tournaments and so much more.