ASUS GR8 II-T043Z Mini Desktop Review

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April 24, 2017
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Traditionally, desktops haven’t looked very interesting. Long time ago, they were just a simple grey box sitting under the table, hidden. But at some point manufacturers decided to make desktops look fancier – to stand out from the crowd. This trend has been especially prevalent in gaming desktops with flashing lights, exotic design and varying sizes. Enter ASUS GR8 II-T043Z, a gaming desktop that looks excellent. But does it also function in a way its design would make you think?

Couple of words on design

The thing about ASUS GR8 II-T043Z is, it’s rather tiny. The height and depth are around 11 inches, but what really makes it shine is the thickness of 3.5 inches. It’s a tad bigger than a laptop, but still nothing compared to conventional tower desktops. The weight is 8.8 pounds.

So is it good for players?

Obviously, there is a proper gaming card in ASUS GR8 II-T043Z, otherwise it wouldn’t be called a gaming desktop right? It’s the ASUS version of GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB GDDR5 memory), although it’s integrated on the motherboard so you are not able to upgrade it. That said, you might never have a need to upgrade the GPU since the current one is rather powerful. Playing games on very high settings and 1920×1080 resolution, you would be looking at the following frame rates:

– Doom, +60FPS
– Battlefield 4, +60FPS
– GTA 5, +60FPS
– The Witcher 3, ~50FPS

The card does not have Virtual Reality support.

General performance

It’s a fast desktop, surely! The processor happens to be Intel Core i7-7700, a quad-core Kaby Lake based unit with 3.6GHz clock speed and 4.2GHz turbo. Thanks to four cores multitasking support is great and high clock frequencies make sure programs will run lag-free. If you don’t believe me, look at benchmarks – for example, there’s CPU Mark giving this desktop around 11000 points. That’s more than almost any other consumer-level processor currently gets.

This particular model comes with 16GB DDR4 2400MHz memory. To be honest, most games can not take advantage of all 16 gigabytes, so for gamers having that much doesn’t help much. But if you are multitasking programs or just running heavyweight applications, the 16GB might come handy. I read 32 gigabytes is the maximum so yes, it should be possible to upgrade RAM.

The storage section is two-fold, with a slower but bigger 1TB 7200RPM SATA 3 hard drive and 512GB M.2 solid-state drive. Both have important functions: on the hard drive you can put the bulk of your files, on the solid-state drive the programs you want to run very fast. The SSD-only version of this desktop should come with a mount for 2.5″ SATA drives if you want to install one later yourself.

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What ports does the desktop have?

There are quite many ports in ASUS GR8 II-T043Z despite its small size. Six USB connectors are available – four are USB 3.0, one is USB 3.1 and one is USB 3.1 Type-C. You probably find that a sufficient amount to connect all your peripherals and gadgets at once.

To connect a display the desktop offers two HDMI inputs and a DisplayPort. The HDMIs support 4K resolution for monitors.

Networking options are just what you could expect: Intel’s Gigabit LAN port if you want to use cable, and a 802.11 long-range WiFi card with Bluetooth 4.0 support.

It might not be news to you, but I’ll say it anyway: the desktop does not have a DVD burner. Because it’s so small. The solution, if you still want to use discs, is simple: get an external DVD burner and hook it up to the desktop’s USB 3.0 port. It’s easy, besides those drives only cost like 20 dollars or so!

What other things to know about this?

It’s quite apparent ASUS GR8 II-T043Z does not come with screen. But it also does not include keyboard or mouse. Just the actual system unit.

Windows 10 Home (64-bit) is pre-loaded on the solid-state drive.

Verdict

For most parts, ASUS GR8 II-T043Z is a wonderful piece of electronics, a true gaming desktop of compact size. Its Core i7 processor, solid-state drive and GeForce GTX 1060 are a trio unbeaten, meaning heavier software (such as Photoshop) and demanding games (like The Witcher 3) run without issues. The needs of a modern user are also acknowledged in the port section with USB Type-C and DisplayPort being available. Just keep in mind you can not upgrade the graphics card later. Other than that, I only have good things to say about the rig. If you want a powerful yet stylish gaming computer, go for this ASUS!


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