Introduction, Design Features
For years, any side has been dogmatic that a finish of a other’s time is nigh. But it’s now clear: Big, honking PC-gaming towers and trim console diversion machines are both here to stay for—at least—the foreseeable future.
But if you’re looking for a happy core belligerent between a two, a compress gaming PC represents a best of both worlds. A good one offers PC-grade components, upgradability, and functionality, and improved graphics than consoles are generally means of, in a space-saving chassis.
What would demeanour like that quintessential concede candidate? Let’s take a Asus Republic of Gamers GR8 II. Asus’ refurbish to a Republic of Gamers GR8 we reviewed in 2015, it’s roughly a distance of a strange Sony PlayStation 4, notwithstanding a tiny wider. And with a pattern that’s clearly aiming to constraint a hearts of sci-fi fans, it looks console-like—or rather, it looks equal tools console and visitor artifact.
One of a points on that a ROG GR8 II and a PS4 partial ways is, unsurprisingly, a price. At $1,197 during a time of this writing, a ROG GR8 II we reviewed (the specific denote series is a GR8 II-T043Z) costs about 3 times a stream cost of a PS4 Pro. (Lesser configurations of a GR8 II start during around $900; we’ll get into those later.) But for that price, you’re removing a healthy loadout of parts: an Intel Core i7-7700 processor, 16GB of RAM, both a 512GB M.2 plain state expostulate and a 1TB tough drive, and a full-size tradition GeForce GTX 1060 graphics label with 3GB of memory.
The usually bit of that list that isn’t tighten to top-notch is a video card, yet a GTX 1060 is no slouch. For some-more about that card, see a examination of a full-desktop GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition, yet bear in mind that a Founders Edition exam label had 6GB aboard. The obtuse 3GB memory subsidy here in a GR8 II’s label shouldn’t be an emanate unless you’re gaming above 1080p, yet know that that’s what we are getting. It’s a VR-ready card, that works in a GR8 II’s favor, and Asus enclosed a few courteous sum that make a GR8 II good as a VR source, contra a some-more typical gaming tower.
So, is a ROG GR8 II supplement improved than a original? Is it The Empire Strikes Back, or some-more of a Jaws II? Let’s puncture in and see.
The initial thing that stands out about a ROG GR8 II is a singular design. Looking like some control member we competence suppose anticipating on an visitor ship, it’s not a pattern that anyone would call “understated.” With a orangey-bronze core strip, multi-colored LED stripes, and engraved patterns, it sports an aggressive, in-your-face aesthetic. It is immediately transparent that this complement was not designed for operative on spreadsheets, yet it can positively do that.
Measuring 11.1 inches high by 3.5 inches wide, and 11.8 inches deep, a GR8 II is roughly a distance of a gaming console station vertically. At 8.8 pounds, it’s light adequate that we can take it with we when we wish to diversion in a hotel, off during your summer place, or during a LAN partial (or pierce it to a improved mark in your home for flailing around in VR). The outmost 230-watt energy supply adds a tiny bulk, yet not much.
The front of a complement is damaged into 3 sections, with that orange core flanked by dual pointed black wings. The orange area has dual audio jacks and dual USB 3.0 ports, one that can assign other inclination when a complement is powered off; a “Republic of Gamers” trademark appears usually next these ports. The black sections flanking it are accented by etched patterns and LED traces, with a left area also housing a LED-backlit energy button.
The GR8 II’s side panels competition additional patterns, with a right side including a tiny window…
At a tip of a unit, you’ll find some venting that you’ll know is required as shortly as we spin on a system. Even during idle, a fans are audible. And during full load, they sound a bit like a tiny jet turbine.
Making your approach to a behind of a system, you’ll find a rest of a GR8 II’s earthy connections…
Here you’ll find an audio-out jack, an S/PDIF port, an Ethernet jack, dual some-more USB 3.0 ports, dual USB 3.1 ports (one with a Type-C connector, one a Type-A), a container for a security-lockdown cable, a jack for a outmost energy adapter, and 3 video outputs. The video connectors are a singular DisplayPort, and dual HDMIs. As for a wireless connectivity, a GR8 II offers 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 support. The Wi-Fi outfit is all internal; no alien-looking antennae adhering out. We have no connectivity complaints here, generally deliberation this is a compress PC.
The two HDMI ports are critical to note. Asus points out that one of a dual ports can be used for a VR headset, as a GR8 II is marketed as a VR-ready system. This is pivotal from a indicate of perspective of convenience. The dual HDMIs make it probable to have a VR headset connected at a same time as an HDMI-interface monitor, yet creation we have to barter out cables to VR around. We like that touch. Many full-size, higher-end video cards don’t even yield dual HDMI ports, creation we tumble behind on clunky adapters.
If you’re feeling dauntless and wish to make your approach inside a framework to consider upgrades, you’ll need to cocktail off a cosmetic row during a top. That will give we entrance to 3 screws dark underneath it…
Remove these first. A fourth screw, found during a bottom of a compress tower, also needs to be extracted, after that you’ll be means to slip off one of a side panels…
As distant as palliate of entrance goes, this getting-inside routine is a step down from a strange ROG GR8. (In that comparison system, we usually flipped a add-on to a transparent position and slid a row off.) But in a GR8 II’s defense, we now have entrance to some-more of a innards than we had with a comparison sibling.
Once inside a GR8 II’s body, you’ll have a ability to barter out a 2.5-inch tough drive, a M.2 SSD, and a dual laptop-style 8GB SO-DIMMS. The 3GB GTX 1060 graphics card, however, you’ll have to leave alone, as it’s a tradition card. And even if it weren’t, a 230-watt energy supply couldn’t hoop anything many some-more perfectionist than this card. This is a bit of a shame, as even a assuage strike adult (say, to a 6GB chronicle of a GTX 1060, or to a GTX 1070) would be appreciated when gaming.
Asus managed to conflict many of a bloatware urge, loading a ROG GR8 II with Windows 10 Home and a handful of utilities, including a Asus Aura program that controls a lighting. As for a simple tech support, a hardware is lonesome by a one-year singular warranty.
While we’re on a theme of a software, this would be a good place to get into a nuances of a Aura app and a ROG GR8 II’s front-panel lighting. The program lets we control a ROG GR8 II’s lighting as a whole, or we can get some-more sold and tweak a lights divided in a horde of dissimilar zones.
How a particular zones conform to a illuminated spots on a tangible box is unfit to discern from within a software, mind you. Each lighting mark on a front row is an “AREA” in a Aura interface, yet there’s no denote that AREA governs that LED…
That said, examination a bit with a settings, and you’ll figure out that numbered “AREA” works with that LED snippet or light cluster on a framework front. (Note: Some of a AREAs in Aura oversee usually a bit of one of a prolonged stripes on a chassis’ front face.) You can set a PC as a whole (or any given LED zone) to any tone on a Aura RGB ring, or request a canned lighting effects than run down a left of a Aura UI opposite all a zones.
There’s no necessity of pre-cooked bling here. In this list, we get a horde of a approaching effects (strobing, wave-like tone transitions, and respirating motions), as good as some selections singular to Aura (the down-racing of lights in “Glowing Yoyo,” or a flickery “Starry Night”) that we’ve seen on other Aura-compatible gear.
There’s also a quirky Music environment that we had some fun (if tiny ultimate satisfaction) messing around with…
Each genre/mode preset underneath Music triggers a opposite LED tone and suit scheme. But a presets don’t have a transparent attribute to their low-pitched genres. The strobing pink-magenta for Romance creates sense, yet we’re not certain what’s inherently yellow and flickery about Jazz, or because a Party preset was some-more resigned than most. (Maybe it was a tastes in tunes.) The liughtness levels of a LEDs do scale with a volume level, though.
Note that we did have some problems with Aura out of a box, removing it to accept settings we made, or to request them to zones. Sometimes, a program would stubbornly return to a “global” preset such as Rainbow notwithstanding us requesting another preset; usually shutting and relaunching a program would shake it out of a ornery state. Updating a Aura app with a newer chronicle from a Asus site seemed to repair a problem, so you’ll wish to do that right divided if we go with a GR8 II.
Also note that by default a front-LED frippery stays illuminated adult when we energy down a GR8 II, that means we might finish adult with an unwelcome intense post in your bedroom gripping we awake. You can invalidate this function in a BIOS.