PC

Asus GT51CA - insane power at an insane price

The Asus ROG GT51CA will run the latest titles at ultra-high 4K resolution without dropping a frame.
The Asus ROG GT51CA will run the latest titles at ultra-high 4K resolution without dropping a frame.PHOTO ASUS

Its 64GB RAM is unlikely to have much impact on games

I imagine the engineers at Asus were told to configure the ROG GT51CA desktop PC with the best hardware under the sun, regardless of the cost.

That is because it is an insanely powerful gaming machine that will run the latest titles at ultra-high 4K resolution without dropping a frame.

And if you happen to be one of the lucky few to have a virtual reality (VR) headset from Oculus or HTC, the GT51CA will run VR games too.

Powering this gaming PC is not one, but two Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X graphics cards. The Titan X is currently Nvidia's top graphics card and costs about $1,800 from Sim Lim Square retailers.

However, the Titan X will be superseded as Nvidia's flagship graphics card next month when the GTX 1080 is released.

The GT51CA also has an excessive amount of RAM (64GB). This is likely to have little impact on games, but is handy for video or photo post-processing work.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $7,498

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700K (4GHz)

    GRAPHICS: 2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X 12GB GDDR5

    STORAGE: 512GB SSD + 2TB HDD

    RAM: 64GB

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 6 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, PS/2, 6 x DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, 2 x DVI, Gigabit Ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 1/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The benchmark results from my testing confirms my hunch: The GT51CA is the most powerful computer I have ever tried.

In the Crysis 3 first-person shooter, it managed around 170 frames per second (fps) at the maximum graphics setting, compared with 78fps for our self-assembled ST DigitalPC, which has above-average hardware such as a GeForce GTX 980 graphics card.

It was equally impressive in The Witcher 3 role-playing game, scoring 106fps, compared with 72fps for the ST Digital PC.

Appearance-wise, the GT51CA does not stray from the stereotypical gaming PCs look. The chassis sports four different sets of LEDs that can be configured to display your choice of colours (up to eight million colours) using the Asus Aegis software app.

The air intake at the front of the chassis looks very much like the circular arc reactor that powers the Iron Man suit from the Marvel comics series. Cool air from outside is funneled to the computer's power supply unit, which is isolated from the rest of the internal components for better heat management.

Press the Turbo button at the front of the chassis to overclock its CPU, increasing its clock speed from the default 4GHz to 4.6GHz.

You can also overclock, as well as monitor the CPU temperature from the Aegis app. The CPU itself is cooled with a sealed closed-loop liquid cooler that is maintenance-free in that you do not need to replenish its coolant.

Bundled with the computer is a wristband called the ROG Band. Tap this wearable to the front of the GT51CA to do one of two things: overclock the CPU, or access a hidden 1TB partition on the hard drive.

Given that there is already a button for overclocking, the first feature feels redundant.

The second feature is neat, though, as the hidden partition can be used to store sensitive and personal data because it cannot be accessed without the ROG Band.

At $7,498, the GT51CA is one of the most expensive PCs in the market. To soften the price shock, Asus bundles a 27-inch 4K gaming monitor valued at $1,459 with the computer.

Most gamers will probably opt for the lower-end versions. The $4,298 model comes with two GeForce GTX 980 graphics card while the $3,498 version has a single GTX 980. Both models come with 32GB of RAM, down from the 64GB of the GT51CA.

•Insane gaming performance, if you can afford its sky-high price tag.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Asus GT51CA - insane power at an insane price'. Print Edition | Subscribe