While most PC gamers prefer to source components and build their own gaming rigs, there are a select few manufacturers who offer fairly good out-of-the-box gaming PCs. These PCs often come with a decent set of specifications and hardware, meaning that you can get up and running within minutes of unboxing your swanky new PC purchase. One such manufacturer is ASUS, who have a long-standing relationship with the gaming community, putting out motherboards, graphics cards, and PCs for gamers to enjoy. Their latest offering comes in the form of the ASUS G10AC, another monstrous looking gaming PC that offers great performance in a very stylish design.
Build quality & design
The first thing you need to know about the G10AC is that it’s heavy. No seriously – at nearly 14.5kg this beast is meant to sit around once you unpack it. Weight aside, the G10AC sports a very sleek brushed design, with a sliding panel in the front that completes the minimalistic appeal. Slide the panel downward and you have access to the various ports and optical drive. The panel feels quite sturdy sliding up and down, and it’s a great way to hide what is usually an ungainly amount of ports that decorate the fronts of most PCs.
Speaking of ports, ASUS have provided plenty of connectivity options here. The front panel features USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, audio connectors, CF, SD, MMC, and MS card readers. There’s also a DVD-RW drive, which is a disappointing as I was expecting a Blu-Ray drive. What’s also quite odd is that the drive was a manual-loading tray, sort of what you’d expect to see in a laptop, and not in a high-end PC. There’s also an expansion slot below the optical drive that in other models can be used to equip a specially designed UPS, which gives you a few precious moments in a power cut to save all your work before the system goes into hibernation.
At the back you have more USB ports, DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, Gigabit Ethernet, and ASUS’ 8-channel SonicMaster audio ports.
Popping off the cover of the G10AC reveals a roomy interior, with cables neatly tucked out of the way. There’s room to slot in more RAM or hard drives if you wish, though changing the graphics card did look like it would require just a little bit extra effort. Still, the case is solidly built, and when standing upright is elevated from the floor, which according to ASUS helps with ventilation and keeping the unit cool.
ASUS kitted out our review unit with some pretty hefty hardware, namely an Intel Haswell i7-4770 3.4GHz processor, 16GB of RAM, a Sandisk 64GB SSD and Toshiba 3TB HDD, and finally an Nvidia GTX680 graphics card with 2GB of RAM. This setup was more than capable of breezing through our benchmarks, so it’s good to know ASUS weren’t kidding about gaming right out of the box.
Benchmarks & Performance
To put the G10AC through its paces, I fired up my usual mix of benchmarks to see what this beast could do. The results were quite impressive, with the G10AC managing to score fairly high, especially in the newer and more demanding 3DMark tests.
I then chose my usual arsenal of games to see if I could make the G10AC buckle under the pressure. My first game of choice was Neverwinter Nights, in which I explored a recently unlocked area that’s lush wit greenery and teeming with various creatures. The world was rendered flawlessly, and even in intense battles with dozens of effects and spells on screen, the game never stuttered once. I then launched Tomb Raider, a game that can be quite punishing at times if Tress effects are cranked up. The game was able to run perfectly with a mixture of high visual effects combined with medium physics and Tress effects, but if I cranked everything up to max, there were some areas where the framerate dropped every so slightly from its initial butter-smooth framerates. Borderlands 2 ran without any hiccups, with every cell-shaded character coming to life on screen.
Like with some of its other desktops, ASUS preloads the G10AC with a fairly large suite of software and utilities. Some of them are useful, some of them might be considered bloatware if you don’t use them, so keep what you need and uninstall the rest. The included ASUS SonicMaster technology will absolutely blow you away, whether you’re using headphones or have a surround-sound setup. Crisp audio is delivered every time, and tweaking with the various settings really makes a huge difference to the quality of what you hear.
ASUS were nice enough to bundle a wireless keyboard and mouse with the G10AC. The keyboard is lightweight and the keys are nicely spaced out. The mouse is also similarly minimalistic, and thankfully has an actual scroll wheel rather than the finicky virtual scroll seen in some of ASUS’s other desktop machines. While both keyboard and mouse are of perfectly acceptable quality, true gamers are certainly going to be swapping these out for a much more durable keyboard and mouse combo.
Heat and Noise levels
No doubt that the hardware packed into the G10AC needs to be kept cool as well. Surprisingly, the G10AC didn’t generate a lot of heat or noise, even when put through rigorous testing. ASUS’s elevated design on the G10AC seems to be working, as CPU temperatures never hit anything about 85C. That’s still quite toasty, but while other machines might kick the fans into overdrive, the G10AC remained slightly louder than a humming noise.
For anyone looking for their first gaming rig and would rather not get into the complexities of building their own PC, the ASUS G10AC offers very good performance that will keep most gamers satisfied. It may be a bit steep in the price department at AED 7,000,but it’s an out-of-the-box gaming solution that won’t disappoint.