For those who havn’t played Outriders yet – there is a demo on Steam that will give you a taste of the game to check out ahead of your purchase, it’s a small sample but shows off the mechanics well with multiple characters to try. At it’s core Outriders is a 3rd-person looter-shooter with story-driven RPG elements and co-op gameplay, the various classes (Outriders), each has a set of special abilities to complement the gunplay. It’s pretty violent but in an over-the-top way.
Intel is on a roll and they’ve got ANOTHER awesome Intel master Key bonus bundle offer for those gearing up with selected Intel Core i5, i7 or i9 CPU, or gaming PC/laptops featuring this hardware inside!
Before we jump into this latest offer, it’s important to note that Intel Master Key codes do not stack, so you’ll only be able to register and redeem one per eligible purchase – best advice is to check out the Intel Master Key Ubisoft Pick 3 bundle and Intel Master Key Total War TROY bundle which are available at the moment too, choosing the best game offer for you 🙂 This new offer does include the whole of the Intel 11th desktop CPU lineup too, great news for those getting themselves the popular i5-11400, which wasn’t included in other recent promotions until now!
It’s also important to note that these are two rather ruthlessly violent games, and R18 age restrictions will apply.
This new Intel Master Key unlocks two exciting new games, Chivalry 2 and Hitman 3. The eligible date range for purchases is from April 16th through to August 31st 2021 and only from authorised Intel partners (PB Tech in New Zealand) so you can claim your Master Key Code, quick links below for our favourites Intel CPU options.
Looking at the games up for grabs it’s going to get bloody, with medieval carnage and modern assassinations to enjoy.
Chivalry 2 is currently in the latter stages of BETA testing and the gameplay is very polished already, it looks ready to release. Best described as a first-person-stabber with a combination of action-packed and strategic gameplay, this game has a strong following from those who played the original.
It’s very violent, as battles are, and those going sword to sword in close combat will be treated to an array of decapitations and dismemberments, whereas those playing as an archer may enjoy a little more comfort unleashing death from the castle walls, well, at least until those walls break 😛 And they will, the massive multi-stage battles take players all the way from the surrounding countryside into the castle courts.
Hitman 3 is a stealth game, with this latest release being touted as the dramatic conclusion to the new World of Assassination trilogy. This epic adventure takes the player into a range of exciting locations to kill people, and lets us be pretty creative or direct in our approach to murder… adding to replayability of this one.
Both such good games! We’ll continue to update with more awesome new offers as they come in, so be sure to keep your eyes on the GGPC Computers Blog for the latest.
PLEASE NOTE: We’ve had reports about the text message verification tool having issues sending messages to NZ numbers. If you get stuck at all during game activation be sure to log Support Claim with the Intel Master Key Team – they will help fix these sort of issues should they arise.
Hold on tight! We’ve got great news for those gearing up with a new Intel CPU, Gaming PC or Gaming Laptop!
Those fine folks at Ubisoft and Intel have teamed up and this latest Intel Master Key code has some very cool games up for grabs – but you’ll have to pick exactly which ones the key will activate… which will you choose?
Via Intel: “We have teamed up with our partners to let you experience some of our best titles at no extra cost! Choose from three different Ubisoft franchises, including Watch Dogs: Legion, Riders Republic, and Immortals Fenyx Rising with your purchase of an eligible Intel® Core™ processor.”
This promotion is valid on qualifying purchases from March 23rd 2021 – August 31st 2021, or while code supplies last, and only from authorised retailers (PB Tech in New Zealand)
The offer is split between 3 different tiers of unlocks.
Step #1 is Ubisoft Pick 1 of 3 Games
Option A:At first glance Riders Republic may look like dirt biking version of steep, but it’s got snow boarding in it too so the comparison can be more direct 😛 Really though, this game is so much more, 50 players on screen at once type stuff.
As I write this the game hasn’t actually released yet, so depending on when you’re reading this, you could be picking a pre-order.
Boasting a large world to explore, from snowy mountains to arid canyons, the gameplay zone comprised of iconic US national parks: Bryce Canyon, Yosemite Valley, Sequoia Park, Zion, Canyonlands, Mammoth Mountain, Grand Teton… all mashed up into one unique place for you to shred.
We can squad up with friends and take on downhill races, dominate maps in team vs team competitions, or challenge ourselves with player vs player modes and events. Some of best parts of the trailer look to be the mass races, with a large number of player clambering over each other to be the first across the finish line (or the last one standing…).
Looking for a massively multiplayer extreme sports game? Riders Republic is something new and fun!
Option B:Watch Dogs Legion has just enjoyed it’s first birthday and the online world is teeming with new life. Join in on a game that lets you play as well… pretty much anyone you meet while your explore a near-future London. Fight back against the authoritarian powers who want to take over, and find out who is behind the Zero-Day bombings.
The world is large and richly populated, it’s as easy to spend the night messing around playing darts in a pub as it is to do some of the games missions, and you can play this one with friends now too, there is a range of co-op mode missions to enjoy together!
With so much to offer players, and so many ways to complete the game adding to the replayability of this one, Watch Dogs Legion is probably going to be the top pick for most!
Option C: Immortals Fenyx Rising is an utterly gorgeous game set in the open world filled with Greek Gods & their mythological kin. It’s the only game on our list that can be tried before you commit thanks to the Immortals Fenyx Rising Demo being freely available to download on PC.
If you enjoy adventure platformers, this is a great pick. The quest will have you mastering the legendary powers of the gods as you face familiar beasts such as Cyclops, Medusa & Minotaur.
The game is well optimised and easy to enjoy at very high resolutions, the weapon variety and wings combine nicely to create free flowing combat and exploration.
Step #2 is Ubisoft Pick 1 of 2 Games
Option A: ANNO 1800 welcomes you to the dawn of the Industrial Age in this excellent city builder game. Will you innovate or exploit? Liberate those in need, or perhaps become the oppressor..?!
A sprawling world is yours to create and manage, you’ll be celebrated by your citizens if you succeed and scorned when you don’t. Plan efficient logistic networks, explore, settle new lands, and dominate your opponents by diplomacy, trade, or warfare.
Build an empire that will stand the test of time. This game is capable of pushing your new CPU to its limits with the huge metropolises.
Option B: Star Trek Bridge Crew was originally released as an exclusively VR experience, but now this team based Star Trek simulator is playable with or without.
Have you ever wanted serve on a Federation Starship? Well, this rather epic game actually lets you become crew or captain on the USS Aegis, a new Starfleet ship sent to explore uncharted space in search of a new Vulcan homeworld. As officers of the Federation, every action and decision you make together will determine the fate of your ship and crew.
This is quite a unique game, offering players a true-to-life level of immersion in the Star Trek universe. A must have for those wanting a multiplayer VR experience, and now very enjoyable without VR too.
Step #3 gives you another game named Hunter’s Arena: Legends and some DLC for that game, no need to choose 🙂 There are some conditions in which the World of Tanks in-game currency offer can’t be redeemed to an existing account, but you could always create an alt account if you really wanted.
So there we have it, that’s 3 awesome new games (at least) and some sweet extras, thanks to both Intel and Ubisoft for the sweet new bundle!
Timed rather nicely with the 11th Gen Intel CPU release, this offer is available for limited time and only on certain models, see the latest in the Intel Store.
For a limited time, get yourself selected Intel CPU, or Gaming PC featuring these, and you can register to redeem a super sweet Intel software bonus!
This offer is valid from November 3rd 2020 – June 30th 2021, or while code stocks last, the unlocks include a Surf Strider skin to use in Fortnite + matching Wavecrest Pickaxe and Sky Sail Glider.
This offer is available on the massive range of Intel CPU, Desktop PC and even Laptops, see all the eligible Intel Software Bonus CPU options at PB Tech NZ.
Claiming your Intel Software Bonus is a little different from the usual Master Key system, so we won’t need a special code to enter for this one.
Once you’ve got your awesome new Intel CPU, follow these steps to redeem:
Important note: There is a verification tool required for the activation process, so register/redeem using the PC that has your eligible Intel CPU installed.
– Go to softwareoffer.intel.com/bonus – Sign-in or create an Intel Digital Hub account. – Once your account is activated, log in and click Redeem Offer. – Select No for “Do you have a Master Key?” and select Not Listed for your retailer. – Follow the steps to scan your PC and verify your Intel CPU is eligible, once that’s done the your dashboard will be updated with new options. – Complete a short Intel survey. – Select Fortnite and follow on-screen instructions. Once you’re done, the Splash Squadron Set will be added to your Epic account and become available in game!
It’s that easy! Once you’ve registered and redeemed your also get access to a bunch more editing software freebies, subscriptions and extras to check out too – all thanks to Intel!
For a limited time and while code supplies last, get yourself an Intel CPU from a select range, or custom PC featuring these, and you can register to redeem an Intel Master Key which unlocks a bundle of gaming and editing goodies!
This promotion is valid on qualifying purchases from December 1st 2020 – May 30th 2021, or while code supplies last, and only from authorised retailers (PB Tech in New Zealand)
Quick links below to our favourite Intel CPU options!
The big game in this new Intel Master Key bundle is a truly epic adventure game, but Intel have packed in more awesomeness too!
TOTAL WAR – TROY SAGA: A new Total War Saga game: TROY is the first entry in the award-winning series to focus on the legendary 20-year conflict between the kingdoms of Troy and Mycenaean Greece, now known as the Trojan War, set against the striking backdrop of the Bronze Age Mediterranean.
Combining Total War’s unique blend of grand, turn-based empire management and spectacular real-time battles, TROY explores this epic conflict from both the Greek and Trojan perspectives – peeling back the layers of myth and legend to reveal the realities that may have inspired them. Play as one of eight famed Heroes, and fight to conquer or protect the legendary kingdom of Troy.
EURO TRUCK SIMULATOR 2: Come with us and travel across Europe as king of the road, a trucker who delivers important cargo across impressive distances! With dozens of cities to explore from the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and many more, your endurance, skill and speed will all be pushed to their limits. If you’ve got what it takes to be part of an elite trucking force, get behind the wheel and prove it!
PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES – BATTLE FOR NEIGHBORVILLE: Kick some grass in Plants vs. Zombies, the wackiest shooter yet! Unearth 20 fully customizable character classes at launch in one social region, three free-roam regions, one PvE mode, six PvP modes, including Battle Arena, and more!
REMNANT – FROM THE ASHES: The world has been thrown into chaos by an ancient evil from another dimension. As one of the last remnants of humanity, you must set out alone or alongside up to two other survivors to face down hordes of deadly enemies to try to carve a foothold, rebuild, and retake what was lost.
That’s not all that this Intel Master Key unlocks, there is also a couple of neat graphic design programs and a short 1 month Origin Access subscription offer too – check out the Intel Master Key promotions page for all the info, and the form to register and redeem your codes.
UPDATE: This promotion has been extended until November 30th!
For a limited time and while code supplies last, get yourself an Intel CPU from a select range, or custom PC featuring these, and you can register to redeem a Marvel Avengers Game Bonus – so get ready to assemble your team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, embrace your powers, and live your Super Hero dreams!
This Intel Master key unlocks the full game, and some additional bonus skins for our heroes that we can use in game.
Marvel’s Avengers: An epic, third-person, action-adventure game that combines an original, cinematic story with single-player and co-operative play. Assemble into a team of up to four players online, master extraordinary abilities, customise a growing roster of heroes, and defend the Earth from escalating threats!
In-Game Content: Receive the Intel Exclusive Hero Outfits including Black Widow’s Sanguine Kiss Outfit, Captain America’s Star-Spangled Outfit, Hulk’s Unbreakable Outfit, Iron Man’s Iron Relic Armor Outfit, Ms. Marvel’s Insta-Fab Outfit, and Thor’s Dwarven Forged Outfit to further customise your gameplay experience.
Getting your game code is easy, once you’ve got your awesome new CPU simply visit the redemption site, create an Intel account, and then fill in your purchase details. The Intel team will then respond with your game code and instructions to activate (we’re unsure if this will happen ahead of the September 4th full game release, hopefully it does so we can all pre-load)
Please note: Some people have gotten in touch saying that the redemption site is blocking them as though they used a VPN, even when they aren’t. A workaround for this issue is to register using a smartphone while connected to the NZ mobile network.
This one is a little different from the usual Intel Master Key code offer as we do not get a key from the retailer, and it’s not a code in the box, instead, it’s done through the Intel portal linked above. This also means if we get stuck at all during the redeeming process we’ll need to use https://softwareoffer.intel.com/support to get issues sorted.
Register to Redeem Marvel Avengers with these eligible CPU:
There is also a new lineup of Intel CPU with Marvel Avenger themed packaging, these feather “A” in the designation represents Avengers. Intel has released KA special editions for four of the best unlocked processors – quick links below!
So there we have it, exciting times ahead as we team up to beat the bad guys. The BETA had our PCs pushed to the limits so we’re excited to see the if full game performance and graphics settings/options have also updated.
Marvel’s Avengers is an upcoming, third-person, action-adventure game that combines an original, cinematic story with single-player and co-operative gameplay.
The full game promises to be playable with a team of up to four players online so we can enjoy this one with friends if we want too, with each hero having their own unique abilities we can use to defend the Earth from escalating threats.
Set in a timeline when Super Heroes are outlawed, a young Kamala Khan must reassemble the Avengers to stop AIM. Marvel’s Avengers is looking to be an epic 3D beat-em-up with new heroes and missions planned to be delivered on an ongoing basis.
We’re excited to test the performance on a range of different gaming PC configs, this BETA times itself with the full game release expected in September too, so it’s sure to be a very polished looking game already 🙂
Now onto the good stuff! This INTEL MASTER KEY code unlocks a range of awesome games, DLC and handy software.
A galaxy-spanning adventure awaits in STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen Order, a new 3rd person action-adventure title from Respawn Entertainment. An abandoned Padawan must complete his training, develop new powerful Force abilities, and master the art of the lightsaber – all while staying one step ahead of the Empire.
Total War: THREE KINGDOMS is the first in the multi-award-winning strategy series to recreate epic conflict across ancient China. Combining a gripping turn-based campaign game of empire-building, statecraft and conquest with stunning real-time battles.
The Eight Princes Chapter Pack (also included in this Intel Master Key) is set 100 years after the original campaign events and features a new cast of playable factions led by the foremost princes of the Jin Dynasty. These Eight Princes offer feature substantially different campaign mechanics, focusing their playstyles in fascinating and unique ways.
And in addition to these epic games, you’ll also more sweet in-game goodies and a 1-month subscription to Origin Access game services, which is utterly excellent.
Glorious indeed! This offer is running in conjunction with another Intel Master Key too, and that on features Gears of War Tactics!
Today we’re looking at the software and methods used for overclocking different systems with various brands/combinations of hardware inside.
If you’ve never done this before it’s easier than ever before, with new Ai scanning tools that will help dodge the blue screen of death that occurs when we push our systems just that little bit too far 🙂
As always, overclock at your own risk! Doing this will void your warranty and it can also damage your components.
As we reach the limits on OC, our computers will likely freeze, BSOD and display odd graphical colour pops – all indications that we should pull back.
The basics are: Some Asus, Gigabyte Aorus and ASRock motherboards will allow you to overclock certain processors, graphics cards and memory to achieve better performance.
This could be for a ranking competition or simply for better frames in your favourite games.
While the overclocking process is similar with all, the software used for each varies depending on which brand you’re working with, be it AMD or Intel, EVGA or ROG & so on.
Before we jump into all the overclocking itself though, we’ll need something to test the system with. This is a good place to start as you’ll be running these benchmarks over and over again while you do the actual overclocking – and if you don’t run them first you’ll have to base performance marks to compare with!
Testing the Overclock – Benchmarks
Benchmarks provide a repeatable test, letting us check the system stability or performance, with a score at the end to compare with others from around the world. The game themed ones can be used by players seeking more information on what a certain upgrade/configuration would result in more FPS, while others provide a score to get you onto the global leaderboards.
There are lots of options, links to our GG favourites below!
Prime 95 – A handy tool for overclockers and system stability checkers, Prime95 has a feature called “Torture Test” that allows maximum stress testing on the CPU and RAM. There are several options allowing the stress test to focus on the memory, processor, or a balance of both.
War Thunder is a free to play combat simulator that started with planes, and now includes tanks and boats. The built-in benchmark tool is amongst the best available today because the game has such depth available in its graphics setting options menu and the massive number of players to compare performance with. Highly recommended.
With any of the software above downloaded & installed, we’re ready to get the tools needed to do the actual overclocks. We’ll break this into different groups to keep things super easy.
Overclock Graphics Cards
By far the easiest to do, and able to be done with most graphics cards from the entry-level GTX 1650 to the highest end RTX 2080 Ti, overclocking your GPU is a fun way to get into the swing of things. The tools used focus on 2 main customisation points, core clock and memory clock – increases to either result in more performance.
Software: Brand dependant, you can find these on the brand websites for your specific graphics card too (the best place to get the latest version)
EVGA Precision X1 has a pretty solid guide, and OC scanner tools to help find the limits of your graphics card.
All the software packages work in the same way, but the interface for each is a little different. Be sure to run your benchmark first, at normal settings, and note the score before you start to play with these tools.
If you’re using RTX you can actually have the software OC for you, finding the limits and adjusting the settings automatically. If you want to do this select OC Scanner.
If you’re keen to manually overclock though, ensure fans are set to AUTO or 100%, and turn the power limit slider to max!
Then we slowly tweak up the Boost Clock with +100, with each increase, we click the tick to apply the settings – and then run the benchmark again and note the score.
Once the system starts to freak out, freeze or display error we ease back on the Boost Clock, and start increasing the Memory Clock.
The process is the same, raising the Memory Clock +100 until system failure strikes.
You can also click and type in target clock speed rather than using the sliders too, this becomes more helpful when you start to reach limits!
You’ll see the results in your benchmarks, and with our graphics card now overclocked we can move onto the CPU.
Overlocking a CPU was previously a bit more involved, however much has changed with the 9th Gen Intel K series CPU now having preset profiles on many motherboards and the release of the Intel Performance Maximizer. This automated processor overclocking tool examines your processor’s individual performance and programs personalised settings for a custom overclock – made simple.
If you want to go for a classic, manual OC this is still very doable and we can turn up our RAM here too, tap the F2 or DEL key as you boot to enter the BIOS.
Looking specifically at the guide for AORUS Z390 series, and the i9-9900K CPU – steps as below!
Enter “Advanced Frequency Settings”
Here you see the “Extreme Memory Profile (X.M.P.)” option. Change it to “Profile 1”. You might see a profile 2 with even higher settings – doesn’t work all the time but in some cases even a 3200MHz kit can run at 3600MHz.
Now, onto the CPU. The formula to calculate the frequency of your CPU is: CPU Base Clock * CPU Clock Ratio. The Intel i9-9900K CPU has a Base Clock of 100 and CPU Clock Ratio of 47 for a frequency of 100 * 47 = 4700MHz. In this Aorus guide the overclock target is 5GHz for a 300MHz increase.
Set your CPU Clock Ratio to “50”. (You can use the keys PgUP and PgDN to tweak settings)
Power management settings may decrease the stability of your system. Disable the following power management settings: Intel Speed Shift Technology, CPU Enhanced Halt (C1E), C3 State Support, C6/C7 State Support, C8 State Support and C10 State Support.
The formula for Uncore frequency is CPU Base Clock * Uncore Ratio = Uncore Frequency. Uncore frequency is the frequency of the non-core parts of the CPU- IE cache, memory controller, etc. To start, set your uncore to 47 and continue on with the guide. After you have determined your CPU’s highest overclock you can re-visit your uncore settings. In general higher uncore values do not produce meaningful performance differences, but they may improve benchmark score. Set CPU Uncore to “47”.
*Note: You may find that you lose stability at 5GHz CPU clocks if you raise the uncore frequency really high. Start with uncore at 4.7GHz and if your system is stable then raise it to a higher frequency. **Note: Please disable the “Ring to Core offset (Down bin)” under the Advanced CPU Core Settings. Under the “Chipset” tab disable VT-d.
Here you can disable settings or features which may not be necessary in your daily operation. VT-d is used for virtualization. If you don’t plan on using any virtual machines you can disable it. The same stands for Internal Graphics.
Now that we have set our memory XMP profile, Uncore, and CPU multiplier we must also adjust the CPU voltage (Vcore). In order for the CPU to operate at higher frequencies more voltage will be required. Go to the starting BIOS page (M.I.T.) and select the “Advanced Voltage Settings” option.
Select the “Advanced Power Settings” Option
CPU Vcore: Raising this helps keeps the system stable at higher CPU frequencies. However, it also increases the amount of heat your CPU produces. We suggest you keep Vcore under 1.35V depending on your CPU cooling solution. Most CPU’s should be able to overclock to 5GHz on all the cores at this voltage, however CPUs are not all created equally. Some may need more voltage, some less. Set Vcore to “1.30” to start. If you system is not stable raise the voltage in increments of .01 with a maximum of 1.40V.
*Note that changing Vcore voltage also changes your Uncore voltage since they share the same power rail.
CPU VCCIO and CPU System Agent Voltage: Both of these settings help with DRAM frequency overclocking. Values up to 1.3-1.35V are high but they are ok if you are using air cooling. Since we used X.M.P. profiles for our memory these voltages will be automatically set.
SAVE YOUR SETTINGS!
Before rushing off to test your new overclock we suggest saving your profile. You will find this option on the last page of the BIOS named “Save & Exit”
Congratulations! You are now running at 5GHz, and now it’s time to make sure that it’s stable… so benchmark benchmark benchmark, tweak settings and go for the highest score you can!
With the brand new Asus 400 series of motherboards now happily making their way towards New Zealand, just in time for the Intel 10th Gen release date (which is set as May 21st in this part of the world), it’s the perfect time to start designing some custom gaming rigs for these awesome new options!
While the new Asus Z490 range includes many options, the two favourites are the glorious PRIME Z490-AandROG STRIX Z490-F, which is perfect for us because they both look so different, with contrasting black VS white colour themes.
Both also have the internal header required for use with Type-C front IO found on the latest chassis – so we can build pretty much anything we want 🙂
Firing up the GGPC custom PC design tool and loading in the new options gives us some really cool looking configs, using the NZXT H510 series of cases chosen for that oh so good Type-C front IO, and they’re also available in black and white to match our motherboards, along with Elite options for those that want more glass, and even CRFT special edition for that unique WoW factor.
Combining these with all the Asus graphics cards options from AMD and Nvidia, along with the latest SSD & RAM options from Crucial, Samsung, G.Skill & Kingston, and more vibrant custom cooling from Cooler Master & NZXT for adding even more colour to the mix we’ve been able to create some wonderful looking builds.
Clicking the custom PC images shown above will take you to our building tool, we’ve kept our options fairly monochrome to start things off so the colour themes really come through nicely.
Have a play around with the parts and see which configuration you like the most, we’ll be doing the same while photographing and adding new components to the builder along the way!
For those new to custom PC gaming builds there’s a lot more to Asus than just really really good looking… I mean… some of it’s is just so utterly gorgeous that I… lost my chain of thought… Asus are real good engineers too!
For many people out there it has been a while since they’ve done a new build for themselves, considering just how good things like the i7-7700 were a few years back you can completely understand why too! It has been able to keep up with all but the newest graphics cards which is nice, but with the new Intel 10th Gen i7-10700 showing such significant gains in comparison, along with the motherboard enhancements radically increasing the speed of our storage though all-new options, and connectivity like WiFi 6, for many it’s going to be enough motivation to pick up that screwdriver 😛
Which brings us to more reasons why Asus are pretty great for PC builders.
Asus Q-CODE & Q-LED will help to identify problems with a PC even if it can’t boot into windows or box. Four little LEDs light up to indicate power status, and any problem with the CPU, graphics card, RAM or boot drive for a quick diagnosis. Going one step further the Q diagnostic codes provide a reference point for fast and easy codes that describe common installation and component problems, and also when it’s (A)ll(O)k!
ROG Bios Flashback is the simplest (and safest) BIOS update method and it’s soo good that updates can even be done with no CPU or RAM installed – crazy right?! Simply download and pop that BIOS file onto a USB stick, plug it into the special USB BIOS Flashback port and press the button to begin the automatic process. You’ll still need to have the motherboard connected to your power supply of course, but no RAM and no CPU is a massive win, it allows us to make sure a build is running the latest software even before its fully assembled, minimising the issues that arrive a little later on when even newer hardware gets released.
Asus SafeSlot is something you’ll likely not to even notice is there, but back in the day (2008) it was really difficult to ship a pre-built gaming PC with the graphics card fitted because in transit if it took a solid knock the weight of the massive GPU could literally rip the PCIe socket apart with the graphics card still in it! Asus solved this by making sure every part was tightly secured in thermoplastic, an insert moulded SafeSlot prevents part loosening, misalignment, improper terminations, and other structural issues. The thermoplastic resin also provides improved resistance to shock and vibration.
Those are all sweet features, but the likelihood of something going wrong with an Asus motherboard is slim at best, so let’s turn our gaze to the totally unnecessary features that make us smile, things like RGB and top-quality audio goodness.
AURA is what Asus have named their RGB software suite, but it’s important to note that it’s not only for Asus gear – more than 50 other brands such as Cooler Master, Hyper X, Crucial, G.Skill, Phanteks, AMD, EKWB, Lian Li and more have products that work with the Asus AURA software suite, so you can control and sync your RGB LED light show with just the one software setup. It’s awesome and goes beyond the usual PC parts to offer controls for everything from gaming monitors to mice. Just look out for the AURA badge when you’re choosing your various components and gaming gears and you’ll be all set.
The component we generally try our hardest to match with the motherboard is the graphics card, and Asus graphics cards which also feature Aura are the best ones too, you can even connect more RGB stuff directly to some models now, as if the 2xRGB and 2x ARGB headers weren’t already enough!
Sonic Studio does a bunch of neat things if you’re into sharing your awesome gameplay by live-streaming it with X-Split or OBS, and if you look at this Z490-F specifically it’s packing as Asus exclusive S1220A chip for SupremeFX technology that provides a flat frequency response for a neutral, detailed sound signature, so if you’re using a gaming headset, the front-panel output is driven by two op-amps to preserve audio quality.
Having all this sweet audio tech allows for other things too, but opinions are mixed on features like Sonic Rader III which will allow you to graphically see where sounds (like footsteps) are coming from in-game, and that latest version does a good job of indicating how far that sound is too, so if you’re waiting in a room you can shoot the bad guy through the door BEFORE he opens it – yep, that sounds like cheating to me BUT then you realise the other benefits that it brings, allowing you to game without the sound turned on, in the living room for example with others being loud, or maybe just so you can enjoy a good audiobook while you play. With sonic radar on because you’ll still have those audio ques, even if you can’t hear what’s going on.
Combine all this with world record-smashing overclocks and an ecosystem of products that cover everything on our desks it’s easy to see why Asus is a global leader in technology – and with the Z490-A + Z490-F it’s just about to get a whole lot better!