The new Asus G11CB desktop PC is not for the hardcore gamer.
If this Intel Skylake computer had a Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 graphics card, it would have been one of the top gaming PCs in the market. But Asus has gone for a mid-range GeForce GTX 960 chip, which costs roughly half that of the GTX 980.
If you are looking for a more powerful PC, the Asus G20CB offers similar specifications, but with a GeForce GTX 980. However, the G20CB also has a smaller, console-like chassis that limits its expansion and upgrade potential.
On the other hand, the G11CB is like a typical desktop computer, with ample space for more components, including a GeForce GTX 980 if necessary. However, you will have to upgrade the card yourself and potentially void the warranty.
The G11CB has a patterned front panel said to be inspired by Mayan culture, though it reminds me of how alien artifacts are often depicted in science-fiction shows. Like other gaming PCs, you can pick the colour for the LED at the front panel from eight million colours, and set it to pulse gently, too.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700 (3.4GHz)
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 2GB GDDR5
STORAGE: 128GB SSD and 1TB SATA HDD
CONNECTIVITY: 2 x HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort, DVI, VGA, 2 x USB 3.1, 4 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, 6-in-1 card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
The front panel has four USB ports and an SD card reader. One of these USB ports can charge your devices even when the PC (but not the mains) is turned off. At the rear, there are two USB 3.1 ports that can transfer files at 10Gbps speed, compared with USB 3.0's 5Gbps.
If you are still installing your games from DVDs instead of downloading them, the onboard DVD writer will be handy. I found the built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth feature to be more useful than an optical drive, though.
Since it is fairly easy for tech-savvy gamers to assemble a desktop PC from parts bought at Sim Lim Square, Asus has tried to differentiate the G11CB with its software. A tool called Aegis II monitors your system resources and alerts you if certain values, such as voltage or temperature, are exceeded. This app can also capture screenshots and record game videos and lets you share them easily via Facebook, Twitter and Weibo.
The G11CB is fast enough for most games at 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. However, it is unable to hit the smooth 60fps mark desired by gamers for more graphically intensive settings in games like Crysis 3. It fares well in general system benchmarks because of its Core i7 processor.
At $1,898, the Asus is priced competitively. It is actually slightly cheaper than a similar configuration from Aftershock PC. But Asus could have made a more capable gaming PC by downgrading the processor while upgrading the graphics chip.
• A good mid-range gaming PC for those who do not wish to build their own.