Asus ROG

Intel 12th Gen Desktop CPU releasing on the 5th of November in NZ!

UPDATE: Intel 12th Gen is available now in the Intel Store 🙂

Woohooo! The latest Intel 12th Gen CPU finally have an official release date set for New Zealand and it’s November 5th so we don’t have very long to wait 🙂 And with the first wave of K and KF series options now revealed, we can start planning new builds too!

What makes this launch so cool is that some of the new motherboards releasing alongside support brand new DDR5 ram kits, and because the socket is updating to a much larger LGA1700 – we’re going to get a bunch of new CPU cooler options soon too.

Important note: The 12th Gen CPU is quite a bit longer than the current 11th Gen, getting technically specific a moment the LGA1200 indicates the number of CPU contact points in the motherboard socket being 1200, the new LGA1700 adds 500 more for the new total – quite significant and something to consider if you’re wanting to use a current-gen CPU cooler, in regards to the direct CPU contact point, along with the 4mm difference in mounting bracket points.

Starting off with a quick look at what is probably going to be the most popular in the 12th Gen Intel CPU range, we can now see the new Intel Core i7-12700K is going to cost around $800 here in NZ and that puts it in price/performance competition with the already impressive i9-10900K and i9-11900KF options, and that’s a really great sign, going up against the i9 is no easy feat so we’re expecting very good things from the new i7!

The new Z690 series motherboards are in plentiful supply too, with a wide range of new options already landed in NZ ahead of release, but what’s proving a little harder to find is the new CPU coolers that will come with the LGA1700 bracket needed to fit onto the CPU – and that’s super important as all the first wave 12th Gen CPU options releasing do not include a CPU cooler.

Luckily for us, those fine folks at Cooler Master and Corsair have a bunch of brackets now on the way to NZ with which we can update some existing options, plus our friends at MSI have a new MAG CORELIQUID AiO that’s ready to go with LGA1700 compatibility right out of the box!

All ASUS Z690 motherboards also include LGA 1200 mounting holes in addition to LGA 1700. Therefore, if current owners of ASUS AIO coolers possess an LGA 1200 mounting kit that came with their cooler, they can use this on any ASUS Z690 motherboard too. Asus are super smart 🙂

With the cooling options thankfully looking better than first thought, let’s move onwards to check out one of the new motherboards with support for DDR5 RAM kits, the ASUS ROG Z690 MAXIMUS APEX.

Take a moment, look at that RAM slot configuration, that’s something new!

The specifications from Asus show the unique configuration is in fact 2x DIMM slots for a maximum of 64GB DDR5 running up to 6600MHz. The slot beside it is labelled DIMM.2, and this is something cool too, it allows us to connect M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD via a special caddy.

Asus also have a PCIe 5.0 M.2 caddy for that central x16 slot, and while I suspect we’re more likely to use that for a graphics card at the moment, it’s a pretty cool looking component.

When it comes to DDR5 ram, there are a small number of kits that have already landed in NZ from G.Skill and Corsair which run at up to 5200MHz, these are premium options with head spreaders and RGB lighting. The design is smoother than the current DDR4 version with its sharper lines, here’s hoping for more interesting designs as more kits get revealed from Kingston and Crucial too.

It’s a lot of new awesomeness to take in, and we can’t wait to get hands-on with all the new options to see what the performance is like in all our favourite games – fun times ahead!

GAME ON!

Good Gaming Cafe – Pixel Lounge NZ

PC gaming is great fun, and gaming with your friends makes it even better. Online play, gaming headsets and webcams have come a long way but nothing beats being in the same room while you team up to destroy the bad guys (or each other). While we certainly grab our rigs and head over to a mates place, if there are a few of you this can become quite the mission, especially with everyone needing to plug in their monitors and PC in, and then there’s that having everyone connected to same home WiFi thing 😛

Thankfully the internet cafe has evolved into the modern gaming lounge, and the best one in Auckland is Pixel Lounge. It hasn’t been around that long either, but that’s one of its biggest strengths – everything in the cafe is modern, you’ll be able to play comfortably on deluxe Corsair gaming chairs, treating your eyes with ultra fast 240Hz LG monitors while powerful ROG / Ryzen builds push out all the frames you could want 🙂

Having the best components and gaming gear certainly helps, but the Pixel Lounge team has gone above and beyond to add in all the little things too, making the total experience you’ll have a good one. The environment they’ve created is rather brilliant, with a combination of decals and canvas that line the walls of the primary gaming area, which seats up to 20 players. There is an additional chill out area that has couches, coffee tables and a dining too – making it perfect for taking a quick break to talk tactics while enjoying a cappuccino and some tasty snacks – and I’m very happy to say that this isn’t just a cup of instant either, Pixel Coffee, a real standalone cafe, is right there too!

Casual gaming aside for a little bit, another thing that Pixel Lounge does really well is competitive gaming. If you enjoy a bit of PVP, or you would like to get involved with the New Zealand eSports community and join a local group, then you should look out for events posted on the Pixel Lounge Facebook page – just last week they were hosting the UoA University Rumble finals and it was a good time had by all, with live streaming and plenty of action as the teams smashed each other in League of Legends with tonnes of Riot points up as prizes for the event. You don’t need to be a pro, it’s totally fine if you’re wanting to get involved but would like a little help getting everything together first, the Pixel Lounge team can even coach you along with pro tips and training sessions available should you want them.

Now onto the most important stuff, and it’s going to get pretty technical 🙂 How do they give so many people in one location such a smooth online gaming experience? Well, Pixel Lounge run a pretty ridiculous IT infrastructure. CAT6A network with 10GB switches, very high tier Voyager business fibre & their very own Bootserver. Essentially all the gaming machines boot via the network and only use the internal M.2 as cache, so everyone gets their own fresh image of Windows paired with an 8TB gamedisk. It is seriously cool stuff and keeps everyone’s sessions instanced, with no retained data 🙂 Brilliant!

The Pixel Lounge is located at 342 Great North Road, here is a google maps link to get you there, and once you’re close you really can’t miss the glowing sign pictured below!

GAME ON!