Desktops of today are entirely different than they were 20 years ago. Gone are the days of ugly grey boxes that you had to hide in the corner or below a table. Because these days, desktops look good. Some people even use them for decoration – although that’s entirely different story. For we’re here to tell you about ASUS VM42-S075V, a small Celeron-powered computer for home entertainment. Price is low, very tempting to many, but are there many disadvantages to think of? We’ll let you know about that.
ASUS VM42-S075V runs on Intel Celeron 2957U processor. It’s a CPU usually often found in notebooks, although now and then manufacturers also place it on these lighter desktops. The 2957U, launched in the end of 2013, runs on a dual core setup and a low 1.4GHz clock rate. It doesn’t get too high grade in Passmark tests – only around 1500, with mid-range Core i3 mobile processors getting 2200 or more. However, the Celeron is a logical choice for media/everyday PC which undoubtedly is the intended use of this ASUS. Video streaming, web surfing and listening to music don’t require great performance, and in turn the shopper doesn’t have to pay for something he doesn’t really need.
4GB system memory is installed by default. That can be upped to 16GB with the two DIMM sockets on the mainboard. Sadly, it’s not clear whether one of the slots is unoccupied. However, I have a reason to believe the current four gigabytes comes on one chip, hence leaving one socket on the motherboard free for upgrade.
There’s a 500GB hard drive giving you the basic storage to play with. It should be sufficient for this mini PC, and the 7200RPM (as compared to 5400RPM) doesn’t hurt either. In addition, ASUS VM42-S075V has space for extra storage in case you want more space or performance. The desktop can take one 3.5″ drive or two 2.5″ drives in total – so hard drive + SSD combination, for example.
A word about gaming
ASUS VM42-S075V isn’t really designed for gaming. The Intel HD (Haswell) chip is a paltry performer, and leaves heavier games like Battlefield 4 and Crysis 3 with poor 15FPS on low details. Of course, not everybody likes to play these high-end titles. For example, Steam-powered games and other lightweight titles (including Minecraft) will run at decent frame rates, although you might have to keep eye candy close to minimum nonetheless.
There are in total six USB ports in ASUS VM42-S075V. Four are USB 3.0 which is enough for this small desktop. HDMI and DisplayPort outputs are also included, so the ASUS can be plugged in to a variety of monitors and TVs. Suggesting media PC use, there’s an optical S/PDIF output for high quality audio.
The 802.11 A/C WiFi is a solid wireless card. Gigabit RJ-45 port is there as well, and the Bluetooth 4.0 can be used with many peripherals or file transfers from mobile devices.
A desktop this small has no place for optical drive. For that, you’d have to hook up an external DVD drive. You might also find the built-in SD/MMC card reader useful.
Other noteworthy things
The desktop is indeed compact (7.5″ width x 7.5″ depth x 2.2″ height, 2.6 pounds) so it’s much easier to take on your travels than a conventional desktop. However, it’s still not a laptop: the unit has to be plugged in to a power socket and display any time you want to use it.
According to official specifications, keyboard and mouse are included. Monitor is obviously not. Windows 8.1 (64-bit) is the operating system so you might want to get a touch display. However, that’s not a requirement at all as I’ve found out after using Windows 8 on a normal screen every day for months.
It looks like trials for anti-virus and Office 2013 are pre-loaded. They of course only work for a month or so. Some unwanted software might also be there, but getting rid of it is easy through Control Panel.
ASUS VM42-S075V is a compact, modern desktop for users who also value good looks. It’s one of those PCs that work well as a home media center, thanks to good video and audio connectivity (HDMI, DP, optical SPDIF). There’s nothing wrong with using the ASUS for day-to-day computing either, the only caveat being limited gaming performance. But that goes for every desktop of similar price so I can’t exactly blame this model. Having four USB ports and AC WiFi are also useful, although for CDs and DVDs you have to get an USB-connecting drive. All in all, if you don’t require a lot of performance but value an affordable and stylish looking desktop for home, there’s a reason for you to get this ASUS.