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The Top Asus ROG Gaming PCs of 2020- Only the Best of What Asus Has to Offer

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ROG Huracan G21

Do you want to not go through the hassle of building your own PC? If so, just buy a pre-built system instead.

Asus is one of the best companies when it comes to computer components, but did you know that they also offer pre-built gaming PCs as well?

In this article, I will be going over some of the top Asus ROG Gaming PCs of 2020.

Best Asus ROG Gaming PCs

1.ROG Huracan G21

Price: $2800

ROG Huracan G21

If you want the absolute best from the ROG lineup of gaming desktops, then look no further than the Huracan G21.

This PC has got everything that you need to play even the most demanding games. First, it is equipped with Intel Core i9-9900K as the heart of the build and it is coupled with Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Super as the graphics card. Both of them provide a great one-two combination and they can play whatever games you throw at them with ease.

Since you are getting a competitive CPU, the company also included 32GB of RAM as well. That is pretty hefty and you can consider doing some editing and rendering work on the side too.

I am also happy to report that this unit also comes with a 1TB NVMe SSD, as well as a 2TB HDD for all of your storage needs.

Lastly, the company is kind enough to include its ROG Strix Flare keyboard and Gladius II mouse to complete the package.

Although I love the overall aesthetic of this gaming PC, I do have some concerns about it. Because it has an asymmetrical design, it might not be the most ideal when it comes to dissipating heat from the system. You can rectify that by manually setting the fan curves as you see fit, though that will be at the cost of higher noise levels.

Still, the Asus ROG Huracan G21 is the most expensive gaming PC and the best one that the company has to offer in 2020.

2.ROG Strix GL12

Price: $2780

ROG Strix GL12

A little bit cheaper than the previous recommendation, the ROG Strix GL12 is the next best thing. It is packed with the Intel Core i7-9700K processor, Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 graphics card, 256GB NVMe SSD plus 2TB hard drive, and 16GB of DDR4-2666MHz memory.

The case that the company used for this build is pretty good. Although it has a bit of asymmetry at the front of the case, the rest of the build is symmetrical. You do not have to worry about thermals because you can visibly see the vents on the front panel, which means that airflow will not be an issue with the included case fans.

The side panel is a smoked tempered glass that is a bit darker than what other companies will usually use. I do understand why the company did this because it can help accentuate the RGB lighting of the system.

Speaking of the RGB, the company has included some RGB case fans on the inside, as well as some lighting strips on the front panel itself. I guess that this is the direction most companies are headed when it comes to creating ‘gaming’ products.

Just like the gaming system above, you will also get the ROG Strix Flare keyboard and the Gladius II mouse which, for the price, are welcome additions.

3.ROG Strix GL10DH

Price: $2,000 or $2,200

ROG Strix GL10DH

This next gaming desktop from the company is quite interesting because you actually get to choose between two main configurations.

The most expensive of the two is packed with a Ryzen 7 3700X which is a competitive gaming CPU for the price and a modest Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660Ti, which is a mid-range graphics card.

The other option would be that you get a beefier graphics card in the form of the AMD Radeon RX 5700XT which can go head-to-head with Nvidia’s RTX 2070 GPU. It is then coupled only by the Ryzen 5 3600X which is still a great chip, albeit only being a 6-core, 12-thread processor. It is still great for gaming, but I am surprised that there is a bit of a downgrade when it comes to the CPU.

Only the graphics card and the CPU are changed between configurations though because the other components will remain the same. You get 16GB of DDR4 memory, 512GB NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD, and this system also has an included WiFi AC adapter as well.

The motherboard that is included in this gaming PC is pretty good because it also provides you with an amazing audio DAC that can help enable DTS: Headphone X. Fans of 7.1 surround sound, especially in gaming, will surely love this addition.

Although I do not have complaints about this gaming pre-built system in general, I just want to point out that the cooler for this one is an air cooler.

Don’t get me wrong, the AMD Ryzen processors can actually run well on air. But, at the price of $2,000, I am expecting a beefier cooler than this.

Still, I would recommend this for people that want a Ryzen-powered gaming machine that is capable of playing even the most demanding games out there.

4.ROG Strix GA15DH

Price: $1,050

ROG Strix GA15DH

It is understandable that not a lot of people have the money to spend more than $2,000 on a gaming rig and if you are part of that demographic, I have another recommendation that will certainly be the right one for you.

The ROG Strix GA15DH is a pretty good mid-range performer as it is equipped with the Ryzen 5 3600X processor and Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660 Super graphics card. This performance package will allow you to play AAA games at medium to high settings. Of course, you can get more frames if you are playing games like Valorant or CS:GO.

In addition to the aforementioned components, you will also be getting a 256GB SATA SSD, 1TB hard disk drive, 16GB of RAM, and there is also a Windows 10 Home OEM operating system already installed which is a nice plus.

The chassis looks pretty good with the ROG logo clearly imprinted on the front panel of the case. Although the motherboard that is included in this package can support the company’s Aura Sync technology, you only get RGB fans at the front and the rest of the case only gets non-RGB variants. Still, this is a compromise that you will have to be willing to make if you are on a budget.

Although this isn’t exactly a huge negative, this gaming package doesn’t come with a bundled mouse and keyboard, though that is understandable considering the lower asking price.

5.ROG Strix GA35

Price: $4,000

ROG Strix GA35

If you want the best that the company has to offer, then look no further than the ROG Strix GA35. The only reason why I ranked it last on this list is that the price is just too steep for most people, but if you want the best specs placed inside a beautiful chassis, then this is the right one for you.

When I say the ‘best specs’, I truly mean it. The GA35 is packed with some powerful components.

For the CPU, you get an AMD R9 3950X which is a 16-core, 32-thread processor. This is not only great for gaming, but you can throw some professional workloads on its way and it will handle it with aplomb.

The graphics card on this machine is the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080Ti from Asus. It is their Strix graphics card so you can expect it to not only perform well but also look good too.

To tame the machine’s beast of a processor, the company has included its own AIO liquid cooling solution into the mix. Although I wouldn’t recommend overclocking the already powerful chip, you can still do so thanks to the included cooler.

To complete this system, you get a whopping 32GB of DDR4-3600 memory, 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD, 2TB 7200 HDD, and the gaming rig already comes with Windows 10 Pro OEM installed.

Other nice additions include a WiFi AC adapter, Bluetooth receiver, hot-swappable SSDs, USB Gen 3.2 ports, and you also get the Flare and Gladius II keyboard and mouse, respectively.

All in all, this machine is worth the money, but you will have to be spending a lot of it if you want to get your hands on this behemoth.

Conclusion

There is nothing wrong with getting a pre-built gaming system. In fact, if you do not want to go through the hassle of building your own, getting a gaming desktop right out of the box is the best option for you.

That being said, Asus’ ROG line of gaming pre-built systems are pretty good. Although some of the processors the company used still utilize the 9th generation Intel processors, they still perform really well in this day and age.

But, if you wait a little longer, perhaps the company would sell their new systems that will be packed with the 10th generation Intel chips.

Still, all of the PCs on this list are pretty good, especially the last one. If you have the money to spend, go for it.

I am also happy that Asus was kind enough to include their gaming mouse and keyboard in most of the configurations mentioned above, except for the most budget offering.

All in all, Asus has really done an amazing job of providing the public with some really good gaming systems offered at competitive prices.

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Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service

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Amazon Luna

It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.

Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.

Channel-based Platform

Amazon Luna Platform

Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.

Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.

Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.

It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).

That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).

With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.

Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.

Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.

1080p and 4K Gaming

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.

Cross-Platform Support

Amazon Luna Cross-Platform

Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.

Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.

You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.

NVIDIA Hardware Use

According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.

That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).

Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.

Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites

Amazon Luna Controller

Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.

The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.

This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.

New Controller with Alexa Support

Amazon Luna Controller 2

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.

What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.

According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.

Conclusion

Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.

Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99

If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.

Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

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The Top Asus ROG Gaming PCs of 2020- Only the Best of What Asus Has to Offer

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ROG Huracan G21

Do you want to not go through the hassle of building your own PC? If so, just buy a pre-built system instead.

Asus is one of the best companies when it comes to computer components, but did you know that they also offer pre-built gaming PCs as well?

In this article, I will be going over some of the top Asus ROG Gaming PCs of 2020.

Best Asus ROG Gaming PCs

1.ROG Huracan G21

Price: $2800

ROG Huracan G21

If you want the absolute best from the ROG lineup of gaming desktops, then look no further than the Huracan G21.

This PC has got everything that you need to play even the most demanding games. First, it is equipped with Intel Core i9-9900K as the heart of the build and it is coupled with Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Super as the graphics card. Both of them provide a great one-two combination and they can play whatever games you throw at them with ease.

Since you are getting a competitive CPU, the company also included 32GB of RAM as well. That is pretty hefty and you can consider doing some editing and rendering work on the side too.

I am also happy to report that this unit also comes with a 1TB NVMe SSD, as well as a 2TB HDD for all of your storage needs.

Lastly, the company is kind enough to include its ROG Strix Flare keyboard and Gladius II mouse to complete the package.

Although I love the overall aesthetic of this gaming PC, I do have some concerns about it. Because it has an asymmetrical design, it might not be the most ideal when it comes to dissipating heat from the system. You can rectify that by manually setting the fan curves as you see fit, though that will be at the cost of higher noise levels.

Still, the Asus ROG Huracan G21 is the most expensive gaming PC and the best one that the company has to offer in 2020.

2.ROG Strix GL12

Price: $2780

ROG Strix GL12

A little bit cheaper than the previous recommendation, the ROG Strix GL12 is the next best thing. It is packed with the Intel Core i7-9700K processor, Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 graphics card, 256GB NVMe SSD plus 2TB hard drive, and 16GB of DDR4-2666MHz memory.

The case that the company used for this build is pretty good. Although it has a bit of asymmetry at the front of the case, the rest of the build is symmetrical. You do not have to worry about thermals because you can visibly see the vents on the front panel, which means that airflow will not be an issue with the included case fans.

The side panel is a smoked tempered glass that is a bit darker than what other companies will usually use. I do understand why the company did this because it can help accentuate the RGB lighting of the system.

Speaking of the RGB, the company has included some RGB case fans on the inside, as well as some lighting strips on the front panel itself. I guess that this is the direction most companies are headed when it comes to creating ‘gaming’ products.

Just like the gaming system above, you will also get the ROG Strix Flare keyboard and the Gladius II mouse which, for the price, are welcome additions.

3.ROG Strix GL10DH

Price: $2,000 or $2,200

ROG Strix GL10DH

This next gaming desktop from the company is quite interesting because you actually get to choose between two main configurations.

The most expensive of the two is packed with a Ryzen 7 3700X which is a competitive gaming CPU for the price and a modest Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660Ti, which is a mid-range graphics card.

The other option would be that you get a beefier graphics card in the form of the AMD Radeon RX 5700XT which can go head-to-head with Nvidia’s RTX 2070 GPU. It is then coupled only by the Ryzen 5 3600X which is still a great chip, albeit only being a 6-core, 12-thread processor. It is still great for gaming, but I am surprised that there is a bit of a downgrade when it comes to the CPU.

Only the graphics card and the CPU are changed between configurations though because the other components will remain the same. You get 16GB of DDR4 memory, 512GB NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD, and this system also has an included WiFi AC adapter as well.

The motherboard that is included in this gaming PC is pretty good because it also provides you with an amazing audio DAC that can help enable DTS: Headphone X. Fans of 7.1 surround sound, especially in gaming, will surely love this addition.

Although I do not have complaints about this gaming pre-built system in general, I just want to point out that the cooler for this one is an air cooler.

Don’t get me wrong, the AMD Ryzen processors can actually run well on air. But, at the price of $2,000, I am expecting a beefier cooler than this.

Still, I would recommend this for people that want a Ryzen-powered gaming machine that is capable of playing even the most demanding games out there.

4.ROG Strix GA15DH

Price: $1,050

ROG Strix GA15DH

It is understandable that not a lot of people have the money to spend more than $2,000 on a gaming rig and if you are part of that demographic, I have another recommendation that will certainly be the right one for you.

The ROG Strix GA15DH is a pretty good mid-range performer as it is equipped with the Ryzen 5 3600X processor and Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660 Super graphics card. This performance package will allow you to play AAA games at medium to high settings. Of course, you can get more frames if you are playing games like Valorant or CS:GO.

In addition to the aforementioned components, you will also be getting a 256GB SATA SSD, 1TB hard disk drive, 16GB of RAM, and there is also a Windows 10 Home OEM operating system already installed which is a nice plus.

The chassis looks pretty good with the ROG logo clearly imprinted on the front panel of the case. Although the motherboard that is included in this package can support the company’s Aura Sync technology, you only get RGB fans at the front and the rest of the case only gets non-RGB variants. Still, this is a compromise that you will have to be willing to make if you are on a budget.

Although this isn’t exactly a huge negative, this gaming package doesn’t come with a bundled mouse and keyboard, though that is understandable considering the lower asking price.

5.ROG Strix GA35

Price: $4,000

ROG Strix GA35

If you want the best that the company has to offer, then look no further than the ROG Strix GA35. The only reason why I ranked it last on this list is that the price is just too steep for most people, but if you want the best specs placed inside a beautiful chassis, then this is the right one for you.

When I say the ‘best specs’, I truly mean it. The GA35 is packed with some powerful components.

For the CPU, you get an AMD R9 3950X which is a 16-core, 32-thread processor. This is not only great for gaming, but you can throw some professional workloads on its way and it will handle it with aplomb.

The graphics card on this machine is the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080Ti from Asus. It is their Strix graphics card so you can expect it to not only perform well but also look good too.

To tame the machine’s beast of a processor, the company has included its own AIO liquid cooling solution into the mix. Although I wouldn’t recommend overclocking the already powerful chip, you can still do so thanks to the included cooler.

To complete this system, you get a whopping 32GB of DDR4-3600 memory, 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD, 2TB 7200 HDD, and the gaming rig already comes with Windows 10 Pro OEM installed.

Other nice additions include a WiFi AC adapter, Bluetooth receiver, hot-swappable SSDs, USB Gen 3.2 ports, and you also get the Flare and Gladius II keyboard and mouse, respectively.

All in all, this machine is worth the money, but you will have to be spending a lot of it if you want to get your hands on this behemoth.

Conclusion

There is nothing wrong with getting a pre-built gaming system. In fact, if you do not want to go through the hassle of building your own, getting a gaming desktop right out of the box is the best option for you.

That being said, Asus’ ROG line of gaming pre-built systems are pretty good. Although some of the processors the company used still utilize the 9th generation Intel processors, they still perform really well in this day and age.

But, if you wait a little longer, perhaps the company would sell their new systems that will be packed with the 10th generation Intel chips.

Still, all of the PCs on this list are pretty good, especially the last one. If you have the money to spend, go for it.

I am also happy that Asus was kind enough to include their gaming mouse and keyboard in most of the configurations mentioned above, except for the most budget offering.

All in all, Asus has really done an amazing job of providing the public with some really good gaming systems offered at competitive prices.

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Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service

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Amazon Luna

It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.

Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.

Channel-based Platform

Amazon Luna Platform

Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.

Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.

Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.

It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).

That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).

With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.

Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.

Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.

1080p and 4K Gaming

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.

Cross-Platform Support

Amazon Luna Cross-Platform

Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.

Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.

You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.

NVIDIA Hardware Use

According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.

That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).

Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.

Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites

Amazon Luna Controller

Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.

The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.

This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.

New Controller with Alexa Support

Amazon Luna Controller 2

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.

What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.

According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.

Conclusion

Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.

Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99

If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.

Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

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