Now, this is an interesting case! ASUS M32CD-AS31, a very affordable desktop, has been one of best selling models lately. This of course arouses interest, and many people feel inclined to buy this computer. But let’s stop for a while. Why should you buy this? In other words: what makes this Asus so good, and is there anything bad about it? I’ll try to give you a professional opinion on that below!
The engine room
ASUS M32CD-AS31 has a Core i3 processor, so it must be slow, right? Not really, the processor is Intel Core i3-6100, a late 2015 dual-core unit with a damn high 3.7GHz clock frequency. It’s easily a power user friendly choice (CPU Mark giving the chip around 5500 points). In fact, some people have asked whether very high-end programs such as Adobe Photoshop run on this system, to those I can answer that they surely do – the 6th generation Core i3 is quite a snappy CPU!
The desktop has 8GB RAM installed on a single stick, one slot is free. The most RAM this unit accepts is thus 16 gigabytes. I’ve seen folks upgrading the RAM so it’s definitely possible here.
The storage drive is a 1TB SATA hard disk model (7200RPM). It’s a common sight in desktops – especially in these cheaper ones. The drive will be sufficient for day-to-day use, but more demanding users might want to upgrade to an SSD. This is convenient since there’s space for two extra 3.5″ SATA drives inside (however no M.2 interface is available).
Is it a great choice for gaming?
A handful of people have said ASUS M32CD-AS31 is a good gaming desktop. To put it bluntly, they are wrong. The computer has only an onboard graphics card, the processor-integrated Intel HD 530. That will work for many games if you keep settings at bay, but to call it great is just plain wrong. For example, if you want to give GTA 5 a try, you’ll notice ~25FPS on low settings and resolution. That’s far from perfect, it will show as somewhat laggy. On the other hand, low-end games such as Minecraft and Counter-Strike: Go will run totally lag-free.
The motherboard has a free PCI-e x16 slot available if you want to put in dedicated graphics. Somebody installed GTX 960 to that, and GTX 750Ti is possible without PSU upgrade.
What ports does it have?
The back panel of ASUS M32CD-AS31 hosts various ports, among them HDMI-out and VGA. You can connect two monitors to them simultaneously. If you want even more, you need to install dedicated graphics with more video outputs.
USB ports are in total five – three USB 2.0 in back and two USB 3.0 in front. Feel free to connect peripherals to those, use the faster USB 3.0 for things like external drives.
A Gigabit LAN adapter (RJ-45 port) is available for networking, also AC WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 card is installed so you can connect to Internet with wireless.
There’s a DVD (not BluRay!) burner in front. Also SD card slot is there, you can for example transfer photos from digital cameras using that.
Some other important things and features?
ASUS M32CD-AS31 has no internal speakers of any kind. You need headphones or external speakers to hear audio.
Wired mouse and keyboard are included, monitor is not.
People have reported different wattages for the power supply, ranging from 300 to 350W, however official specifications list the latter. In any case, the PSU is not too beefy, you might consider upgrading that if you’re installing a dedicated graphics of some sort.
Operating system is Windows 10 Home (64-bit).
Summing it up
After an extensive analysis and giving it thought, the selling point of ASUS M32CD-AS31 is the usual: good price-performance ratio. It’s really hard to get a proper desktop cheaper than this, otherwise you’d be sacrificing too much performance. Indeed, this Asus has a lot of oomph for casual users in its 6th generation processor and DDR4 RAM, all those browsers and YouTubes will be a piece of cake.
Moving a step up, power users with exotic and demanding software (famous example being Photoshop and Illustrator) would also find the desktop fast enough thanks to high clock frequency processor and plenty of storage space. The only segment that would be problematic are the gamers: there’s just integrated graphics available which can be only fixed by upgrading the engine.
So, based on all this, make up your mind, but unless you’re after a serious gaming PC you can’t go wrong with this ASUS!