@Xirious - all the PS5 registered clients that opted to stay on the list will have an option to confirm their order for allocation. We have been told its a larger allocation as well so we expect to fill all remaining registrations (that received that SMS) in allocation 2
Any news on round 2 of the PS5 preorder?
I got the sms telling me I've been assigned as part of the second round, I replied YES and no response since. Also the SMS isn't clear if I'd be offered a chance to preorder separately or it would just be a mad dash with everyone at the same time to get a preorder in.
@phreak - I think you're not the only one with!-If the news coming from Aus/NZ and Europe is true - lot's of people are going for the more expensive Series X or PS5 blu-ray first which surprised me. I started shifting to digital at the beginning of this gen so when I can get a PS5, it'll be the all-digital one for sure.
The Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ is an odd beast that straddles the line between an ungainly but feature-rich gaming monitor, and an HDTV for those without a lot of space. Hell, I still remember how excited I was when I got my first 32” HDTV and stuck it in my lounge for gaming on PC and console. However, I’ve always found 24” monitors the sweet spot for work and gaming using a typical sitting- or standing-desk configuration, while 27” is pushing the upper limit of practical if you’re going to spend as much time working as gaming. The Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ, despite offering basic high-dynamic range (HDR) support and well-established monitor perks – millisecond response times, high refresh rates, and variable refresh rate (VRR) – is going to appeal to a specific niche.
- 32” 2560x1440 (16:9 WQHD) panel with 1800R curvature
- VA panel
- 1ms response time and support for up to 144 Hz (DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0)
- Freesync for variable refresh rates (48-144 Hz) supported by both AMD and Nvidia GPUs
- 120% sRGB wide colour gamut and DisplayHDR™ 400 certification (10-bit 400 cd/m2 max brightness)
- 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0, 3.5 mm earphone jack, 2x 2 W speakers, and side control panel
- 180° swivel stand with -5° to 20° tilt, VESA wall mount (100x100 mm)
Just to get a sense of how large this monitor is, here’s the Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ (32” with 1800R curvature) standing in front of my UHDTV (49” with 3000R curvature)
Packing away my modular standing desk, on which even a 27” display looks unnervingly big, the Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ took up a huge portion of my desk area – my gaming laptop had to sit on an adjacent shelf, along with my small printer. Pushed back as far as I could, giving me a viewing distance of >100 cm, the 2560x1440 “WQHD” still looks sharp with a pixel-density of ~93 PPI. This is on par and exceeds many UHDTVs, but is low by monitor standards and you’ll not want to sit much closer to the display. The WQHD native resolution does make hitting the high refresh rates offered by this monitor more plausible of a wider range of PCs without upscaling, and there’s no doubt refresh rates that exceed the 60 Hz standard of HDTVs has a notable impactful on your gaming experience.
You may have already guessed from that prior paragraph that the Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ is not an ideal monitor if you need it for work-related tasks. Sure, you’ve got plenty of screen space (~70x39 cm), sufficient pixel-density, and a high refresh rate that makes navigating the desktop and apps smooth, but I found no optimal position to offset the size of the display. Up close, the 1800R curvature can’t offset the fact you’ll be constantly turning your head to take in everything on the screen. Move it far enough back to avoid this – you can use the VESA the wall mount if you don’t have the desk space – and you end up with so much in your peripheral vision it’s difficult to focus on the screen. If it’s a secondary display, purely for gaming and media, this’ll be less of an issue - just make sure you’ve got the space.
The sturdy swivel stand connects with a solid metal rod and securing screw that, coupled with the ability to tilt the display between -5° to 20°, make it easy to get the screen into an optimal position. The VESA wall mount removes this flexibility but it’s an option if you need the space.
As the Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ is a gaming monitor first and foremost, I can at least report the performance in exceptional, just so long as you’re not after the HDR experience. With the resolution and performance target for many recent games set 4K/60, something even Nvidia’s GTX20-series and AMDs RX5000-series can’t promise at ultra-settings, the WQHD resolution and adaptive-sync support makes it easier for those aiming for high refresh rate. Sitting over 100 cm away from the display, games still looked sharp at the native resolution, while the responsiveness and fluidity of gaming at 144 Hz remains underappreciated.
To push the maximum supported framerate and test the VRR features offered by the Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ, I once again picked several retro-styled shooters (Project Warlock, Ion Fury, Dusk, and Hedon) that wouldn’t challenge my GTX 1050Ti. They all ran all ran silky smooth, felt responsive, and the precision you gain when it comes to fine movements and aiming at 144 Hz must be experienced first-hand. Any drops below that figure were imperceptible thanks to VRR with the massive 48-144 Hz range. To test both the VRR support and HDR quality, I first dug into several campaign chapters of Gears of War 4 and Gears 5, before plugging in an Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 to see how HDR content looked on the display (and how well the VRR worked with the Xbox). In both cases, VRR performance between of 48-60 Hz meant any dips in performance were resolved while playing both Gears games that would stress my GPU when tweaking settings for 1440p/60.
The Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ offers 1x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI 2.0, and 3.5 mm earphone jack. The speakers are passable at best, so you’ll want your own earphones or a sound bar if you plan to use it as a TV.
If you’re using an Xbox One S/X, the VRR support is recognised immediately over HDMI and the results are impressive. All too many console games that target 60fps use a combination of dynamic resolution and adaptive sync to achieve it, resulting in partial or full-screen tearing. The Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ handles upscaling well enough, but the elimination of most screen tearing in the 48-60 Hz range is the real bonus to using the monitor instead of an HDTV. If you’re playing older games or media that only support standard dynamic range (SDR), the expanded 120% sRGB colour gamut paired with a 3000:1 contrast ratio ensures the image is vibrant and looks far better than my current UHDTV handles SDR content.
As with many monitors that claim HDR-support, you’ll likely be disappointed with the results on the Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ. I spent time switching between the Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ and my 4-year-old Samsung KU7500-series HDR UHDTV while gaming, and the 400 cd/m2 max brightness just doesn’t produce a significant improvement over the SDR image, falling behind the minimum requirement of many recent games. With Gears of War 4 and Gears 5 offering more granular HDR settings, I could barely produce an image that looked more vivid than using SDR settings. Two PlayStation 4 games with excellent HDR support, Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War (2018), produced visual artefacts even after iteratively tweaking available HDR settings on both the console and within the games themselves. With many games and video content using a baseline of 1,000 cd/m2, you’ll notice artefacts on pixels that are assigned a wide range brightness values, but which end up homogenized by the limited range of the display. These games looked much better when using the SDR setting and expanded 120% sRGB-range.
The easy-to-access side panel allows you to quickly access and adjust menu options, or jump between default or user-defined or configurations.
Overall, I feel the Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ will be a niche product for those who happen to not be interested in HDR content (something that’s getting increasingly less likely), those that want a massive gaming monitor they won't use for work, and those who want a display that can double up as an HDTV for other devices. If you’re purely after performance, the WQHD resolution, 1 ms response time, and VRR support will help you hit the maximum 144 Hz refresh rate it offers. If you enjoy gaming with a gamepad, or if you have a lap-desk you can with a wireless mouse-and-keyboard setup, the Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ would work as an excellent display if you prefer playing from the couch.
Unfortunately, if you have a typical desk setup that doesn’t allow you to mount the display at >100 cm, it just feels too big to be practical and is unsuited for work-related tasks. Likewise, if you’re looking for a way to experience HDR-supported games and media, the Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ falls too far behind modern HDR UHDTVs and you’re better of sticking to SDR and taking advantage of the expanded 120% sRGB-range. With an RRP of over R10,000, this is also another specialised gaming monitor that falls in direct competition with mid-tier HDR UHDTVs, which offer a 4K resolution, improved HDR support, and greater versatility for non-gaming media.
The Asus TUF Gaming VG27W is another example of modern gaming monitors that are finally pairing high-dynamic range (HDR) support with long-established PC monitor perks, such as millisecond response times, high refresh rates, and variable refresh rate (VRR) support. However, like most of these high-end gaming monitors, the falling price of HDR UHDTVs put them in direct competition for gamers who may not be able to utilise every feature with their rig, or are simply looking for more versatility.
- 27” 2560x1440 (16:9 WQHD) panel with 1500R curvature
- TFT-LCD VA Panel
- 1ms response time and support for up to 165Hz (DisplayPort 1.2) or 144Hz (HDMI 2.0)
- Freesync Premium for variable refresh rates (48-165 Hz), supported by both capable AMD and Nvidia GPUs
- 120% sRGB wide colour gamut and DisplayHDR™ 400 certification (10-bit 400 cd/m2 max brightness)
- 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0, 3.5 mm earphone jack, 2x 2 W speakers, and side control panel
- 180° swivel stand with -5° to 25° tilt
I’ve spent the last week using the VG27W and the large display size coupled with the 1500R curvature make working between several windows a breeze.
For several years now, 27” has become the common screen diagonal for gaming monitors as resolutions have increased beyond 1920x1080 to 2560x1440 (“WQHD”) and, increasingly, 3840x2160 (“4K”). At the same time, refresh rates for most PC monitors far exceed the 60 Hz standard of TVs. However, as modern games and video media introduced HDR support, PC monitors have lagged behind consoles and TVs. The VG27W picks the middle-ground, offering up a QWHD resolution, support for up to 165 Hz refresh rate, a 1ms response time, and entry-level HDR support.
If you’re looking for a monitor you’ll also use for work, the VG27W more than ticks the boxes: you’ve got plenty of screen space (~60x34 cm) with sufficient pixel-density to ensure a crisp image; a high refresh rate that makes cursor movement and desktop navigation silky smooth; and curvature that enhances peripheral visibility so you don’t have to constantly turn your head. The default expanded 120% sRGB colour gamut paired with a 3000:1 contrast ratio ensures the image “pops”, even before enabling HDR (which is best saved for gaming or media applications as most desktop apps don’t have great support yet).
The 180° swivel-stand connects with a solid metal rod and securing screw that, coupled with the -5° to 25° tilt on the screen hinge, make it easy to get the screen into the optimal position as either a primary or secondary display.
Work functionality aside, the VG27W is sold as a gaming monitor and its performance in that regard is mostly exceptional, though depending on your demands, you’ll find other aspects mediocre. Given that even Nvidia’s GTX20-series and AMDs RX5000-series might struggle to maintain 4K/60, at ultra settings, for several upcoming games, the WQHD resolution and adaptive-sync support makes sense for those chasing the maximum refresh rate. Games still look sharp at the native resolution of the display, and even console gamers would be hard-pressed to deny the incredible responsiveness and fluidity of gaming at framerates upwards of 120 Hz.
To make the most of the features offered by the VG27W, my gaming week was dominated by retro-styled shooters that could push the framerate, and I tackled chapters from the campaigns of Gears of War 4 and Gears 5 to tests the HDR quality. I also briefly plugged in an Xbox One S to see how the HDR and VRR gelled with other devices over HDMI instead of the DisplayPort cables. Project Warlock, Ion Fury, and Dusk all ran beautifully, offering a degree of responsiveness in movement and aiming that is simply unmatched. The extended VRR range of 48-165 Hz meant any dips in performance were imperceptible. Even tackling more demanding games like Gears 5, which my ageing 1050Ti can only get near 1440p/60 with serious tweaking, benefited from the VRR operating in the 48-60 Hz range, providing a more stable image.
The AG27W offers 1x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI 2.0, and 3.5 mm earphone jack (you’ll want your own earphones as the built-in 2 W speakers are passable at best). Just make damn sure you’ve got the right cables and GPU to hit the maximum refresh rate or make use of HDR-ready content.
The Xbox One S detected and enabled VRR support immediately when connected to the VG27W over HDMI and the results were impressive. I fired up Flying Wild Hog’s Shadow Warrior (2013) and Hard Reset Redux, both games that target 60fps on console but rarely hit it without full-screen tearing. Outside of some sections that really tanked the frame rate, the VG27W eliminated the majority of screen tearing in the 48-60 Hz range. Although these older games only support standard dynamic range (SDR), the expanded 120% sRGB-range and high contrast ensured they looked more vibrant than on my UHDTV.
Unfortunately, those looking to make the most of HDR-ready games and video on PC and console will be disappointed. After toggling a myriad of settings on Windows 10 to enable HDR support for gaming and media - widespread HDR support is clearly still a confusing mess on PC given all the possible configurations - I spent time swapping between the VG27W and my 4-year-old Samsung KU7500-series HDR UHDTV, while gaming and watching HDR Netflix content (I also mixed in the Xbox One S with HDR enabled for further tests). Ultimately, the 400 cd/m2 max brightness just doesn’t produce a significant improvement to the visuals, falling behind the minimum requirement of many recent games that typically bottom at 600 cd/m2 when it comes to calibrating your HDR display. As with my older HDR UHDTV, this can lead to visuals artefacts in games and an experience that is objectively worse than using SDR and the expanded colour gamut.
The easy-to-access side panel allows you to quickly adjust menu options, or jump between default or user-defined configurations.
Which brings me back to the point I made in the opening paragraph. If you’re not interested in HDR content, and are simply looking for a solid gaming monitor that offers up WQHD resolution, 1ms response time, and VRR support to help you hit the maximum 165 Hz refresh rate it offers, the VG27W is an excellent and reasonably-priced choice, offering multiple inputs and plenty of visual presets (that purists will probably disable).
If, however, you were looking for a way to experience HDR-ready games or video content, the VG27W lags behind modern HDR UHDTVs. With an RRP around R9,000, this puts the VG27W in direct competition with many mid-tier HDR UHDTVs. While these may not offer a refresh rate exceeding 60 Hz – which may be your stable target for upcoming releases anyway – they do offer 4K resolution and full HDR support. As a result, I’m finding it an increasingly tough decision to pick between specialised high-end monitors and versatile mid-tier HDR UHDTVs.
The AMD B550 chipset – successor to the B450 chipset – aims to bring the power of Ryzen’s 3rd-Generation of CPUs to non-enthusiast AMD fans. Venerated motherboard manufacturer, ASUS, has offered their take on the B550 chipset aimed at gamers to us, but has it achieved what it needed to? Let’s find out.
For those who have read my tech reviews should know my undying love for new motherboards. A new motherboard is almost like getting a whole new PC – sure, the other components remain the same but the improvements typically made in refresh models make the experience just so much nicer.
The B550 is more than just a simple refresh, though, but actually brings plenty of enthusiast-grade features to mainstream users, such as Dual GPU Support which was only previously found on X470/X570 tier motherboards, along with upgraded PCIe 3.0 general purpose lanes, which 400-series motherboards only supported up to PCIe 2.0. Of course, B550 brings with the exciting new promise of PCIe 4.0 support for both GPU and NVMe bays.
To top it all off, these are the first set of motherboards that have been designed specifically for AMD’s 3rd-Generation Ryzen processors – while previous models have always released support for 3rd-Gen via an update, this is the first board designed from the ground up with AMD 3000 processors in mind! Finally, B550, and more specifically, the ROG Strix B550-E Gaming, will be compatible with future AMD CPU generations that support the Zen 3 architecture.
The ROG Strix B550-E gaming sports a futuristic, Cyberpunk-ish design, something that ASUS has nailed across their line-up of gaming-centric motherboards. With fairly large heatsinks for better VRM cooling that boast the ROG eye, with branding underneath, and super-slick branding etched into the top of the I/O shield. Surrounding the AM4 socket we see the large heatsinks we spoke about earlier, with capacitors lined up neatly, like soldiers ready to charge into battle.
Towards the bottom we have the chipset heatsink, which not only sports the same ROG branding as the I/O shield, but with a custom design that subtly flaunts the ROG eye. Overall, the design of the motherboard emanates a battle-ready gaming station, capable of tackling the most intense gaming sessions you can imagine – all while treating itself as a calm and collected art piece, ready to be paraded.
The ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is built for the 3rd-Gen Ryzen CPUs, sporting the same AM4 socket since the initial launch of Ryzen. The ROG Strix B550-E Gaming can support 2nd-Gen Ryzen CPUs but cannot support 1st-Gen chips – though, it has been confirmed to already support the upcoming Ryzen 4000 series CPUs, or whatever the naming convention will be for AMDs future series of processors with the much-anticipated Zen 3 architecture, making the motherboard fairly future-proof. The ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is pretty big on cooling, with beefier VRM heatsinks, a more efficient chipset heatsink, as well as support for multiple fan headers (AIO Pump included), the motherboard recognizes the importance of staying cool. Moving towards the rear of the board, the integrated I/O shield sports two of my favourite features that are becoming increasingly standard; a Wi-Fi module, and a BIOS Flashback button.
Kicking off our performance testing, we looked at the stability of our RAM OC. For testing, we used a 16GB set of G.Skill Trident Z 3200MHz RAM, and with standard cooling from our case fans, we managed to achieve a solid 3733MHz, which arguably, may not sound like much, but when you remember that the ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is not technically made for enthusiasts, its quite impressive. Our RAM OC was stable without touching the voltage too, so we could have attempted to push further, but again, not a motherboard for enthusiast overclocking.
In keeping with overclocking, we looked at how far we could take our current 2nd Gen Ryzen 7 2700. At Max Boost Clock, the Ryzen 7 2700 clocks in at 4.1GHz, and Ryzen has never really given much headroom for overclocking to begin with, but we still managed a stable overclock of 4.4GHz, which is rather significant. At 4.5GHz, we saw some instability and other issues, so we decided to scale it back. However, 4.4GHz is still excellent on the ROG Strix B550-E Gaming, especially when combined with the 3733MHz clock we achieved with our RAM.
We can confidently say that the ROG Strix B550-E Gaming generated an extra 17% in performance in games – judging off of a baseline of 60fps - thanks to the stability of our overclocking results. The biggest improvements we saw were from CPU-intense games, such as competitive FPS, Hitman 2, and GTA V, and even Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Cumulatively, we got an extra 10fps across the board (excluding competitive titles), pushing our 60fps aggregate target to 70fps.
Moving away from gaming to more productivity-centric tasks, the increased CPU and RAM frequency, combined with the increased speeds and transfer rates of PCIe 4.0 SSDs – in this case, the FireCuda 520 1TB NVMe – made working on design programmes much easier and faster. Rendering times for basic image and video editing were improved by roughly 15%, which of course would be further enhanced with a 3rd-Gen Ryzen chip.
Overall, the ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is a perfect starting point for anyone looking to adopt and AMD ecosystem – whether you are coming from Team Blue, or a new gamer to the PC world. The enthusiast-level features that are more typically found in X570 tier motherboards offer entry PC gamers better performance, while the Cyberpunk/industrialist design gives the modern gamer a pleasing aesthetic. The performance figures speak volumes, and when combined with the other topics mentioned above, a better entry point for B550, I doubt you will find.
Content creators have often been neglected by motherboard manufacturers, being overlooked by gamers and those looking for heavy workstation-based components. Well, now, that seems to have changed, with the ASUS ProArt Z490-Creator 10G – a motherboard that has been designed from the ground up with content creators in mind. But how does it help content creators? Let’s find out.
The ProArt Z490-Creator 10G is based off of the new Z490 chipset (kind of in the name, Rob), supporting Intel’s brand-new LGA 1200 socket. The LGA 1200 socket supports an extra 49 contact pins, which allows for better power delivery, and thus better performance to the new 10th-Gen Intel CPUs, and excitingly, the upcoming 11th-Gen CPUs as well. This is where my first “issue” with the motherboard is, and it’s the same issue I had when I looked at the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming motherboard, and that’s the lack of support for legacy generation Intel CPUs – but as is the case there, this is more an issue with Intel than ASUS themselves.
The ProArt Z490-Creator 10G is equipped with four DIMM slots, supporting a maximum of 128GB DDR4 RAM, at over 4600MHz frequency, which is a plentiful amount of RAM at a decent speed. This will help ease the time of rendering projects out, as well as speed up certain tasks, and even free up CPU capacity to focus on CPU-intensive tasks.
The ProArt Z490-Creator 10G also features two NVMe drives offering creators an ultra-fast storage solution for raw files and programmes, which not only increases the speed of tasks performed, but will also enhance workflow since creators will not need to worry about long waiting times for programmes to open and perform tasks. The benefits of PCIe Gen 4.0 would definitely have been felt here, which is unfortunate that it is not supported in 10th Gen CPUs, but once it is, performance will be enhanced even further. For mass storage, there are six SATA 6Gb/s ports for SSDs and HDDs, giving creators the freedom to ditch servers and save their files locally, to further increase efficiency – for those who do use servers, though, don’t worry, I will touch on something quite special a little later on.
For mass storage, there are six SATA 6Gb/s ports for SSDs and HDDs, giving creators the freedom to ditch servers and save their files locally...
Up until now, you might have thought – “well, where is the focus on creators?”. Well, the next addition to the ProArt Z490-Creator 10G motherboard will certainly make creators happy, especially Apple fans – Thunderbolt 3. The ProArt Z490-Creator 10G includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the rear I/O, offering content creators up to 40Gb/s of bandwidth, and you can even daisy-chain up to six devices per port – this means you can have up to twelve compatible devices hooked up at a single time, excluding NVMe drives, SSDs, and HDDs. If you are a creator, you will know that this can make a massive difference, in both convenience, and getting your content wrapped up as soon as possible.
Remember when I spoke about that something quite special? Well, included with the ProArt Creator 10G is a Hyper 10G LAN Card which plugs into a single PCIe slot, offering an additional 10Gb/s of bandwidth. With this, content creators who currently work remotely, who constantly need to read and write off of a server, and who spend a large amount of time uploading large files, such as 4K videos, can have a dedicated portal to do that through. Essentially, what this means, is that you can work – in real-time – off a remote server, as if it were stored locally on your system.
To put it simply, the software optimizes multi-tasking so that you can get more done at the same time.
Hardware is not the only focus on creators, but on software as well. ASUS has recognized that content creators not only need powerful hardware to drive content creation, but intelligent software optimization as well. ASUS has adapted their exclusive CreationFirst software to the ProArt Z490-Creator 10G motherboard, which prioritises bandwidth to applications that will need more when active, over those that do not need as much. For example, if you are remotely rendering a video or image, and you still need to transfer files, the CreationFirst software will allocate more bandwidth to the heavy-use application, while still allocating enough to the file transfer. To put it simply, the software optimizes multi-tasking so that you can get more done at the same time. This also goes for software that you are actively working on vs. applications that are running in the background – active applications will be prioritized over background tasks to enhance your workflow.
Overclocking is a term you often hear of when it comes to gaming, but never when it comes to content creation. An overclock is simply pushing your components to the max, so it would make sense to still consider it for content creation. With AI Overclocking software found in the ProArt Z490-Creator 10G, you can get even faster conversion results, or render times, thanks to the system’s ability to read your components and predict the best possible settings and apply them automatically. Not only this, but there are also real-time adjustments as well, so as your workload increases, so does your overclock.
Overall, content creators have a single need from their systems: to create an environment that creates a seamless and enhanced experience, so bolster content creation, and allow them to focus on what matters – creating content. This is what the ProArt Z490-Craetor 10G achieves, with the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3, the Hyper 10G LAN Card, multiple storage solutions, and smart use of AI systems to optimize workflow. The lack of support for PCIe Gen 4.0 is disappointing, as this would have been the cherry on the cake, but this is more Intel fault than ASUS. Its fantastic to see ASUS focus on products specifically for content creators, and impressive to see how well they have done it.
Advertorial disclosure: This review was provided by Robert de Wit, PR Associate at ASUS ZA.