MBR Review: GIGABYTE A520 AORUS ELITE

“The A520 AORUS ELITE occupies the high-end of A520 based motherboards, yet is still affordable. I picked this one up for a mere $89.99, a relative steal in comparison to most B550 motherboards, and still cost effective over B450 boards carrying a $30-40+ premium. Yes, it gives up overclocking support of the processor. If you’re looking to overclock your CPU, A520 is not the place to be. However, that doesn’t mean you’re entirely limited to stock performance.”

Read the full review here.

GIGABYTE A520 AORUS ELITE Review: A520 Meets ATX

Last Updated: January 26th, 2021
Author: Stephen Cooper

Introduction

AMD’s A520 chipset occupies what could be seen as a crowded space. Now that Ryzen 5000 series CPUs are supported on the 400-Series chipsets, is there really room for the A520? Most would simply look at it and say, no, B450 boards only cost a bit more and you have the overclocking support. It’s a no brainer. Or, is it? After all, if you’re using your rig primarily for work as well as play, do you really need cost up features like 2.5GbE? What about integrated Wi-Fi if you’re parked near your modem or Wi-Fi router? Are you one to shy away from overclocking to retain that warranty, or simply don’t want to invest in an expensive cooler? These factors and more make A520, especially the “premium” A520 boards, more enticing. Today, we have a full review of an enthusiast level A520 motherboard, the GIGABYTE A520 AORUS ELITE.

The A520 AORUS ELITE occupies the high-end of A520 based motherboards, yet is still affordable. I picked this one up for a mere $89.99, a relative steal in comparison to most B550 motherboards, and still cost effective over B450 boards carrying a $30-40+ premium. Yes, it gives up overclocking support of the processor. If you’re looking to overclock your CPU, A520 is not the place to be. However, that doesn’t mean you’re entirely limited to stock performance. Unlike most B450 motherboards, you’re not limited to DDR4-3200. The A520 AORUS ELITE can handle up to DDR4-4266 with the Zen 3 line for example. I know, I know, why would you invest in such a kit when you’re only dropping $90 on a board? And I hear you. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a budget level DDR4-3200 kit and push the limits if that’s your goal.

Before we dive headlong into the packaging and accessories, let’s take a quick look at the specs, courtesy of GIGABYTE.

Specification Highlights

CPUAMD Socket AM4, support for AMD Ryzen™ 5000 Series
3rd Generation AMD Ryzen™ processors
3rd Generation AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics processors
ChipsetAMD A520
Memory4 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 128 GB (32 GB single DIMM capacity) of system memory

AMD Ryzen™ 5000 series processors:
Support for DDR4 4266(O.C.) – 2133 MHz memory modules
3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors:
Support for DDR4 4400(O.C.) – 2133 MHz memory modules
3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics processors:
Support for DDR4 4733(O.C.) -2133 MHz memory modules
Onboard Graphics1x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60 Hz
1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@60 Hz
AudioRealtek® ALC1200 codec
High Definition Audio
2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
Support for S/PDIF Out
LANRealtek® GbE LAN chip (1000 Mbit/100 Mbit)
Expansion Slots1 x PCI Express x16 slot, supporting PCIe 3.0 and running at x16 (PCIEX16)
Chipset:
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, supporting PCIe 3.0 and running at x2 (PCIEX2)
3 x PCI Express x1 slots, supporting PCIe 3.0 (PCIEX1_1, PCIEX1_2, PCIEX1_3)
Storage Interface1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110)
Chipset:
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10
USB1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port (red) on the back panel
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports on the back panel
Chipset:
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports available through the internal USB header
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB headers
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports on the back panel
Internal I/O1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x CPU fan header
1 x water cooling CPU fan header
3 x system fan headers
2 x addressable LED strip headers
2 x RGB LED strip headers
1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 header
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header (2×6 pin, for the GC-TPM2.0_S module only)
1 x serial port header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x Q-Flash Plus button
Back Panel I/O1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x DVI-D port
1 x HDMI port
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port (red)
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x RJ-45 port
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
5 x audio jacks
Form FactorATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

GIGABYTE A520 AORUS ELITE: Snap Preview

Last Updated: January 11th, 2021
Author: Stephen Cooper

Introduction

AMD’s A520 chipset occupies what could be seen as a crowded space. Now that Ryzen 5000 series CPUs are supported on the 400-Series chipsets, is there really room for the A520? Most would simply look at it and say, no, B450 boards only cost a bit more and you have the overclocking support. It’s a no brainer. Or, is it? After all, if you’re using your rig for work as well as play, do you really need cost up features like 2.5GbE? What about integrated Wi-Fi if you’re parked near your modem or router? Are you one to shy away from overclocking to retain that warranty, or simply don’t want to invest in an expensive cooler? These factors and more make A520, especially the “premium” A520 boards, more enticing. Today, we have a quick preview of an enthusiast level A520 motherboard, the GIGABYTE A520 AORUS ELITE.

The A520 AORUS ELITE occupies the high-end of A520 based motherboards. I picked this one up for a mere $89.99, a relative steal in comparison to most B550 motherboards, and still cost effective over B450 boards. Yes, it gives up overclocking support of the processor. However, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to stock performance. Unlike most B450 motherboards, you’re not limited to DDR4-3200. The A520 AORUS ELITE can handle up to DDR4-4266. I know, I know, why would you invest in such a kit when you’re only dropping $90 on a board? And I hear you. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a budget level DDR4-3200 kit and make it scream.

While this is one overclocking method that’s enabled by the A520 chipset, you do need to take into account that pesky stock CPU PPT limit. While you’re not pushing the SoC on a processor like the 5600X this board was tested with, ramping up that DDR and Infinity Fabric clock will consume a few extra watts. That means on high core count loads, you’ll end up giving up a bit of performance depending on how far you push it in frequency and voltage. Finding that right balance is the fun of the game.

Now, for this preview, and review, I’m focusing on performance with a Ryzen 5600X. Will most picking up this board want to sink that much cash into a processor? Probably not. You’d likely be heading down a route closer to a Ryzen 3600 if you’re going for a APU-less chip. A520 will allow for upgrades in the future to the Zen 3 line though. Some may also want to pair this up with any future Zen 3 + APU chip as well.

Before we delve into a quick look at the board, here’s a quick glance at the specs, courtesy of GIGABYTE.

Specifications – A Quick Look

CPUAMD Socket AM4, support for AMD Ryzen™ 5000 Series / 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen™ processors / 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics processors(Please refer “CPU Support List” for more information.)
ChipsetAMD A520
Memory4 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 128 GB (32 GB single DIMM capacity) of system memory
AMD Ryzen™ 5000 series processors:
Support for DDR4 4266(O.C.) / 4000(O.C.) / 3866(O.C.) / 3800(O.C.) / 3733(O.C.) / 3600(O.C.) / 3466(O.C.) / 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200 / 2933 / 2667 / 2400 / 2133 MHz memory modules
3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors:
Support for DDR4 4400(O.C.) / 4000(O.C.) / 3600(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3200 / 2933 / 2667 / 2400 / 2133 MHz memory modules
3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics processors:
Support for DDR4 4733(O.C.) / 4600(O.C.) / 4400(O.C.) / 4000(O.C.) / 3600(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3200 / 2933 / 2667 / 2400 / 2133 MHz memory modules
Dual channel memory architecture
Support for ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules
Support for non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules
Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules(Please refer “Memory Support List” for more information.)
Onboard GraphicsIntegrated in the 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics processors:1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60 Hz
* The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.
1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@60 Hz
* Support for HDMI 2.1 version, HDCP 2.3, and HDR.Maximum shared memory of 16 GB
AudioRealtek® ALC1200 codec
High Definition Audio
2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
Support for S/PDIF Out
LANRealtek® GbE LAN chip (1000 Mbit/100 Mbit)
Expansion Slots (CPU)1 x PCI Express x16 slot, supporting PCIe 3.0 and running at x16 (PCIEX16)
* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.Chipset:
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, supporting PCIe 3.0 and running at x2 (PCIEX2)
3 x PCI Express x1 slots, supporting PCIe 3.0 (PCIEX1_1, PCIEX1_2, PCIEX1_3)
* The PCIEX1_2 and PCIEX1_3 slots share bandwidth with the PCIEX2 slot. The PCIEX2 slot becomes unavailable when a device is installed in the PCIEX1_2 or PCIEX1_3 slot.
Storage Interface (CPU)1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe 3.0 x4/x2 SSD support)Chipset:
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10
USB (CPU)1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port (red) on the back panel
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports on the back panelChipset:
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports available through the internal USB header
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB headers
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports on the back panelChipset+USB 2.0 Hub:
Internal I/O Connectors1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x CPU fan header
1 x water cooling CPU fan header
3 x system fan headers
2 x addressable LED strip headers
2 x RGB LED strip headers
1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 header
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header (2×6 pin, for the GC-TPM2.0_S module only)
1 x serial port header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x Q-Flash Plus button
Back Panel Connectors1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x DVI-D port
1 x HDMI port
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port (red)
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x RJ-45 port
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
5 x audio jacks
I/O ControlleriTE® I/O Controller Chip
H/W MonitoringVoltage detection
Temperature detection
Fan speed detection
Water cooling flow rate detection
Overheating warning
Fan fail warning
Fan speed control
* Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.
Unique FeaturesSupport for APP Center
* Available applications in APP Center may vary by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also vary depending on motherboard specifications.
@BIOS
EasyTune
Fast Boot
Game Boost
ON/OFF Charge
RGB Fusion
Smart Backup
System Information Viewer
Support for Q-Flash Plus
Support for Q-Flash
Support for Xpress Install
Bundled SoftwareNorton® Internet Security (OEM version)
Realtek® 8118 Gaming LAN Bandwidth Control Utility
Form FactorATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

New Review: ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PRO (WI-FI)

With the recent launch of the AMD’s Ryzen 5000 “Zen 3” chips, we’ve seen a series of revised or upgraded X570 motherboards hitting the market. Today, we’re taking a look at the successor to the popular TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI), the TUF GAMING X570-PRO (WI-FI). This motherboard rolls in with a current retail price tag of $219.99. The X570-PLUS (WI-FI) though can be had for $189.99. Are the upgrades between motherboards worth that $30?

Read the complete review to find out.

ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PRO (WI-FI) Review: The X570-PLUS Gets Upgraded

Author: Stephen Cooper
Last Updated: January 8th, 2021

Introduction

With the recent launch of the AMD’s Ryzen 5000 “Zen 3” chips, we’ve seen a series of revised or upgraded X570 motherboards hitting the market. Today, we’re taking a look at the successor to the popular TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI), the TUF GAMING X570-PRO (WI-FI). This motherboard rolls in with a current retail price tag of $219.99. The X570-PLUS (WI-FI) though can be had for $189.99. Are the upgrades between motherboards worth that $30? After all, the X570-PLUS (WI-FI) is a known quantity at this point with a solid, cool-running VRM and a price tag that won’t break the bank. The X570-PRO (WI-FI) is based off of the same design, so many of the key factors are shared between boards. Let’s take a look at the ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PRO (WI-FI) and see if the upgrades are really worth that pricing bump.

Official Specifications

CPUAMD AM4 Socket 3rd and 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™/3rd, 2nd and 1st Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics Processors
ChipsetAMD X570
Memory4 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 5100(O.C)/4800(O.C.)/4600(O.C)/4400(O.C)/4266(O.C.)/4133(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3866(O.C.)/3733(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/3466(O.C.)/
3400(O.C.)/3200/3000/2933/2800/2666/2400/2133 MHz Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
GraphicIntegrated Graphics in the 3rd, 2nd and 1st Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics Processors
Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DisplayPort ports
– Supports HDMI 1.4b with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz
– Supports DisplayPort 1.2 with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 60 Hz
Multi-GPU Support3rd and 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™/3rd, 2nd and 1st Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics Processors
Supports AMD 2-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
Expansion Slots3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors
1 x PCIe 4.0 x16 (x16 mode)
2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™ and 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics Processors
1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16 mode)
2nd and 1st Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics Processors
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x8 mode)
AMD X570 chipset
1 x PCIe 4.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)
2 x PCIe 4.0 x1
Storage3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors :
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, Type 2242/2260/2280/22110(PCIE 4.0 x4 and SATA modes) storage devices support
2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™/3rd, 2nd and 1st Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics Processors :
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, Type 2242/2260/2280/22110(PCIE 3.0 x4 and SATA modes) storage devices support
AMD X570 chipset :
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, Type 2242/2260/2280/22110(PCIE 4.0 x4 and SATA modes) storage devices support
8 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
Support Raid 0, 1, 10
LANIntel® I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet
ASUS Turbo LAN Utility
TUF LANGuard
Wireless Data NetworkIntel® Wi-Fi 6 AX200
2×2 Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax) support 1024QAM/OFDMA/MU-MIMO
Supports up to 2.4Gbps max data rate
Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz
Supports channel bandwidth: HT20/HT40/HT80/HT160
Supports PCIe interface
BluetoothBluetooth v5.1*
*BT 5.1 function will be ready in Windows 10 build 19041 or later.
AudioRealtek® ALC S1200A 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
Audio Feature :
– Exclusive DTS Custom for GAMING Headsets.
– Audio Shielding: Ensures precision analog/digital separation and greatly reduced multi-lateral interference
– Dedicated audio PCB layers: Separate layers for left and right channels to guard the quality of the sensitive audio signals
– Premium Japanese audio capacitors: Provide warm, natural and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity
– Audio Cover: Effective shielding preserves the integrity of audio signals to ensure best quality.
USB PortsRear USB Port ( Total 7 )
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 port(s)(2 x Type-A +1 x Type-C)
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 port(s)(4 x Type-A)
Front USB Port ( Total 7 )
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 front panel connector port(s)(1 x Type-C)
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s)(2 x Type-A)
4 x USB 2.0 port(s)(4 x Type-A)
Special FeaturesASUS TUF PROTECTION
– ASUS SafeSlot: Protect your graphics card Investment
– ASUS ESD Guard: Enhanced ESD protection
– ASUS Overvoltage Protection: World-class circuit-protecting power design
– ASUS Stainless-Steel Back I/O: 3X corrosion-resistance for greater durability!
– ASUS DIGI+ VRM: Precision control for stable power
– ASUS LANGuard: Protects against LAN surges, lightning strikes and static-electricity discharges!
AURA :
– Aura Lighting Control
– Aura RGB Strip Headers
– Addressable Gen 2 Header
ASUS Exclusive Features :
– AI Suite 3
– Ai Charger
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :
– Stylish Design: MOS Heat-sink with dual thermal pads design, PCH Fan, PCH and M.2 Heatsink
– ASUS Fan Xpert 4
ASUS EZ DIY :
– ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
– ASUS EZ Flash 3
– ASUS USB BIOS FlashBack
– ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
ASUS Q-Design :
– ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
– ASUS Q-Slot
– ASUS Q-DIMM
DIY Friendly Design
– Procool
– SafeSlot
– Digi+ VRM
– Highly Durable components
– ESD Guards
Back I/O Ports1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
1 x BIOS FlashBack Button(s)
1 x ASUS Wi-Fi Module
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (up to 5Gbps) ports
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (up to 10Gbps) ports (Type-A + USB Type-CTM)
Internal I/O Ports1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s)
3 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x AIO_PUMP connector
2 x Aura RGB Strip Header(s)
1 x Addressable Gen 2 header(s)
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 connector support additional 1 USB ports(20-pin, Type-C)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode)
1 x SPI TPM header
8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
1 x COM port header
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (up to 5Gbps) connector support additional 2 USB ports
BIOS256Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, SM BIOS 3.2, ACPI 6.2, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3,
F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, F4 AURA ON/OFF, Last Modified log, F9 Search, F12 PrintScreen, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information
Form FactorATX Form Factor
12.0 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

New Article: Onboard Audio Software, Friend or Foe?

Without a doubt, onboard audio has come a long way over the years, relegating discrete PCIe or other solutions to the the more discerning consumers. We now commonly see better trace routing and isolation for onboard audio solutions, even at the budget end, and in the case of higher end motherboards we may even seen high quality DACs included. While working on our upcoming review of the new ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PRO (WI-FI), we ran into a common problem with newer onboard audio solutions, the software. The best hardware in the world means exactly nothing if it’s paired up with mediocre software. What problem did we encounter?

Let’s take a look in the full article.

Motherboard Audio Software: Friend or Foe?

Author: Stephen Cooper
Last Updated: December 23, 2020

Without a doubt, onboard audio has come a long way over the years, relegating discrete PCIe or other solutions to the the more discerning consumers. We now commonly see better trace routing and isolation for onboard audio solutions, even at the budget end, and in the case of higher end motherboards we may even seen high quality DACs included. While working on our upcoming review of the new ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PRO (WI-FI), we ran into a common problem with newer onboard audio solutions, the software. The best hardware in the world means exactly nothing if it’s paired up with mediocre software. What problem did we encounter? Let’s take a look.

When Off Means…On?

Now, with onboard audio you can use either the Windows High Definition Audio driver, or the software specific for your particular codec. In reviewing motherboards, we use the software and drivers meant specifically for that device to suss out any potential problems and unlock unique aspects of the product that the generic driver will not allow. In doing so, at times this is where the “fun” begins. In this case, we started to take a look at the DTS® Custom feature for headphones.

Above, we have a screengrab of the Realtek Audio Control software that ASUS provides with the driver package for the TUF GAMING X570-PRO (WI-FI). This software allows for the consumer to enable the DTS® Custom audio processing to enhance the onboard audio specifically for headphones. Notice that in this grab, we have the option of “Disable All Sound Effects” checked. Now, based on that you’d likely assume there is a flat frequency response. In other words, no adjustments to gain across the 20Hz – 20kHz spectrum. But, is that actually the case? No, it isn’t.

As you can see, even though we have the “Disable All Sound Effects” option checked, and the DTS® Custom icon is toned down, we’re still seeing manipulation of the frequency response. We have two +3/4dB gain boosts centered at 600Hz and 9kHz. With no effects, we would expect to see these response curves ride along or close to the 0dB line with some slight movement above and below, especially as we hit the higher frequencies. Clearly, that is not the case.

Luckily, this wasn’t too terribly offensive for most uses. It began to be a little noticeable with some music. That’s the media type where this problem became most evident. There was a bit of vocal harshness added, and the low end was perhaps a bit boxy. It wasn’t bad by any means luckily, thanks to the limited gains we have here. It wasn’t the flat response I was looking for though. Can we fix it easily? You bet.

The way to fix this problem is by disabling the additional processing in the “hidden” sub-menu. I say hidden because what you’ll need to do first is uncheck the “Disable All Sound Effects” option, then click on the DTS® Custom logo. This will bring up the dedicated feature screen above on the left. Notice how it’s actually enabled by default? That’s our problem. To fully disable all of the EQ tweaks, click the diamond power “button” at the bottom. Once that’s done, you’ll see the image on the right. Close it out, then re-check the “Disable All Sound Effects” check box as a reminder. Now, you’ve finally fully disabled it. Need proof?

Now, that is more like it. Yes, the right channel has about +0.3dB of offset from 0dB compared to the left channel, but that’s another article for another day. Suffice to say, we’ve found the software problem for our original issue of perceived audio quality problems. One thing to note here is that this problem impacted both the rear line out as well as the headphone line out. They share common settings and effects. That poses another potential problem. If you want some effects enabled on the headphones, perhaps for gaming, but then want them disabled for line out…what happens if you forget to “power down” DTS® fully and only toggle the “Disable All Sound Effects” check box? Let’s find out.

ASUS TUF X570-PRO GAMING (WI-FI) – Our Preview

Today, we have our latest article. This time, we’re taking our first look at the new ASUS TUF X570-PRO GAMING (WI-FI). This board is a refresh/upgrade from last year’s hit, the TUF X570-PLUS GAMING (WI-FI). There are some cosmetic changes to be sure, like dropping the plastic rear I/O cover in favor of beefier VRM cooling, but there’s also more under the hood that’s been upgraded as well. Before we dig deeper into the product, take a look at our preview to see what’s coming.

12/31 Update – We fired up a 1.25V VCore and 1.00V VSoC at 4.65GHz all-core on our Ryzen 5 5600X to take a look at how the available LLC levels (1-5) impact the load voltage for both VCore and VSoC. Check out the last page of the Preview for the data table. This should be the last update to the Preview before the full review is up. Target date for the full review is Friday the 8th, if not earlier. Enjoy!

Secretlab OMEGA 2020 Black3 Review

Today, we have a new product review. This time, we’re taking a look at one common cure for work from home discomfort, a Secretlab gaming chair. Easily the most comfortable chair I’ve used, this is a stellar product that you should look into if you’re in the market for a hew gaming chair.

Secretlab really needs no introduction when it comes to gaming chairs. They’ve been pumping out high quality offerings for a while now, iterating along the way to keep improving what is already recognized as a solid product. After months of working from home in an aging $50 chair, I decided it was time to upgrade to something with more comfort, support and style. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the latest cloth variant of the OMEGA 2020 Series, the Black3.

Read the full review.

Secretlab OMEGA 2020 Black3 Review – Cloth Comfort All Day

Author: Stephen Cooper
Last Updated: December 6th, 2020

Secretlab really needs no introduction when it comes to gaming chairs. They’ve been pumping out high quality offerings for a while now, iterating along the way to keep improving what is already recognized as a solid product. After months of working from home in an aging $50 chair, I decided it was time to upgrade to something with more comfort, support and style. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the latest cloth variant of the OMEGA 2020 Series, the Black3.

OMEGA 2020 Series

Secretlab implemented numerous improvements for the 2020 Series over prior products. Examples include a new cold-cure foam for added support, improved pillows, 4D armrests and more. The one item we won’t be able to take a keep look at today is the updated PU leather covering. Given my office is in perhaps the warmest room in the house, I was sick of sticking to the chair for several months out of the year. I needed something that could breathe. The SoftWeave® Fabric option hit the sweet spot. Let’s take a quick look at the specs before we delve deeper into these improvements.

Specifications

ModelOMEGA 2020 Series
UpholsterySoftWeave® Fabric
Foam TypeCold Cure Foam
Armrest Construction4D, Metal Mechanism, PU Coated
Armrest Dimensions10.6″ (L) x 3.9″ (W)
Recline85-165 Degrees
Head PillowMemory Foam + Cooling Gel
Lumbar PillowMemory Foam
Recommended Height5’3″ – 5’11”
Recommended Maximum Weight< 240 LBS
Product Weight66 pounds (29.9cm)
Warranty3 Years Base, Up to 5 years
Price $439