This week saw the motherload dropped on us from Asus. It comes in the form of an entire range of creator-focused laptops, desktops, and peripherals. To up the incentive even further, the Taiwan-based multinational has partnered with Adobe, which allows them to offer 1 and 3-month Creative Cloud subscriptions bundled with selected products. Also unveiled at the Asus Create the Uncreated launch event were a number of exciting new developments. Most notably the Asus ProArt product range and the inclusion of the Asus Dial and OLED Displays on the new laptop designs. According to Asus, all laptops and desktops will be Windows 11 compatible and those that don’t ship with the new Microsoft OS will be eligible for the free upgrade. Let’s take a closer look at a few specific items from the launch.
ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED and ProArt Studiobook 16 OLED Laptops
The Asus Create the Uncreated launch revealed a new series of 16-inch Asus creator laptops, including the flagship ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED. With a choice of AMD or Intel processing chips, the ProArt Studiobook Pro supports Ryzen 5000 (W5600) and 3rd-Gen Intel® Xeon® (W7600) series processors, while the lesser ProArt Studiobook model can also be equipped with Ryzen 5000 (H7600) or Intel Core i9 (H5600) chips. The graphics and 3D processing capabilities sound simply astonishing, especially when combined with the Studiobook Pro’s color grading level 16-inch 4K OLED HDR 16:10 display. However these features – while highly impressive – are hardly a necessity for DAW users.
The ProArt Studiobooks are equally impressive on the connectivity side and perhaps more useful to those with a collection of peripherals using different formats, as you might find in a modern home studio setup. Storage-wise, they support PCIe 3.0 4.0 x4 SSDs with up to 64 GB DDR4 memory onboard. Both Thunderbolt 4 and USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C® are supported, and an SD Express 7.0 card reader is also standard to both Studiobook varients. We can only wait and see how they will perform in audio environments, but the optics certainly look positive and we’ll all be pondering the possibilities of the Asus Dial. Is it simply a gimmicky scrub tool, or will it prove responsive enough to perform precise plugin or channel automation within a DAW environment?
Vivobook Pro 14X/16X OLED and Vivobook Pro 14/15 OLED Laptops
For those looking for slightly slimmer and more lightweight options, the various new Vivobook Pro models were also unleashed at the same launch event. The Vivobook Pro 14X and 16X are available with either 14 or 16-inch NanoEdge 4K OLED displays, supporting AMD Ryzen 5000 H Mobile Series or Intel Core i7 processing chips. Instead of the hardware dial built into the chassis, the Vivobook Pro comes equipped with the new DialPad. This innovative addition allows you to activate the dial whenever you need it and the responsive interface appears in the top left of the trackpad. This unobtrusive and highly intuitive piece of design is hopefully something we can look forward to in more trackpad and touch-controlled devices.
The Vivobook Pro 14 and 15 are a slightly scaled-back version of the X models armed with 14 and 15-inch NanoEdge 2.8K/FHD OLED displays. However, these still support the same processor configuration as the more professional X series, with the same dual-fan cooling system. So it’s surprising that the overall performance of Vivobook Pro 14 and 15 is rather tame in comparison. At an $800 starting price, the displays are still very impressive but the lack of features, high-end performance, and the inclusion of older connectivity formats will make you wonder why the Vivobook Pro 14 and 15 have the ‘Pro’ title at all. The Pro 14X and 16X seem like far more competent contenders as possible studio workstations.
ProArt Station PD5 Desktop
If you’re after a desktop studio tower the ASUS ProArt Station PD5 could be a viable solution. Supporting an 11th-Gen Intel Core i9 processor with up to 128 GB DDR4 memory will provide plenty of power for DAW and plugin performance. The casing has some great aesthetic features like the Lumiwiz LED indicators which can be customized with the integrated ASUS Creator Hub software which also monitors system resources. For all the intelligent features, however, the ProArt Station does raise a few questions.
There are some inconsistencies that just don’t add up for a desktop workstation supposedly aimed at high-end users. Right next to the safety-latched power button – front and center of the rather futuristic-looking casing – you find a very useful 2-in-1 card reader, but to find PS/2 ports on the rear i/o panel is rather puzzling in 2021. Also, hot-swappable HDD bays is something Mac users have enjoyed for almost 20 years now so this is certainly nothing new. While the Mac Pro is priced way out of the conversation, the ProArt Station remains at the kids’ table pretending to be a pro user workstation until they up the ante on their R&D budgets. We can only hope that the pricing and performance will make it as competitive as it looks.
ProArt X570-Creator WiFi Motherboard
Windows users looking to upgrade workstations for Windows 11 support might consider a motherboard upgrade like the new Asus ProArt X570-Creator WiFi. A passive cooling PCH system keeps temperatures and noise levels low, and the extensive array of connectivity options ensure that get the most from your peripherals. The three PCIe® 4.0 M.2 slots provide rapid data transfers and impressive storage capabilities, while the other features include Thunderbolt 4, onboard 10G and 2.5G Ethernet, WiFi 6E, five USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports. Asus Control Center Express also allows careful management of USB ports, securing any leaks and protecting your data. The ProArt X570 is also equipped with 14+2 power stages and VRM heatsinks and is claimed to be aimed at the creative pro-app user market.
As with anything Windows-related, we can’t yet make any conclusive assessments on how this new Asus hardware will perform in a studio environment. Windows DAW users will be aware that Windows 11 is not yet released, and mindful of the potential problems of plug-in compatibility when upgrading to a new OS. Overall though, the Asus Create the Uncreated launch event unveiled some exciting new developments, and the Asus-Adobe partnership is an exciting prospect for new Adobe Audition users. In particular, the focus of developing laptops as mobile edit stations is certainly positive and we hope to see more developments of this nature in the near future, especially with the MacBook Pro release date looming.
More from the Asus Create the Uncreated launch:
- Asus OLED laptops
- Asus ProArt official page
- Asus official press release
- Windows 11 official release date
- Optimizing your Windows system for music
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