- Reliable Full HD and VR gaming
- Quiet w/ good thermals
- Compact, stylish case
- Good connectivity
- Underwhelming keyboard and mouse
- More powerful affordable rivals
- Awkward component layout
Asus ROG G20CB review: Asus’ ROG G20 rig launched at the tail end of last year, but whilst it doesn’t pack top-of-the-line specs, it offers everything you need to enjoy VR and it’s only becoming more affordable by the day.
Asus squeezed all of the G20’s innards into a compact matt black plastic housing. Look up any existing coverage of this PC line and ‘aggressive’ is the word you’ll encounter time and again regarding its case design, meaning it’s well suited to the image of Asus’ Republic of Gamers sub-brand.
The black is accented by a mix of red plastic through the centre of the case and LEDs, which shine through a stylised set of grilles, supposedly inspired by Mayan markings. If you like a tower that has an element of showmanship about it, the LEDs fall into programmable ‘zones’, each of which supports eight million colour options and what’s more, they pulse or ‘breathe’ when left to idle.
If you want to open up the G20’s tower it’s simply a case of removing two screws from the top and sliding one side of the case up and off, however, once opened, you’ll find that practically every major component is mounted within its own ‘cage’, making repair, replacement, modification or upgrade of components difficult to say the least.
The included wireless keyboard and mouse are nice extras too, but both feel a little cheap and a tad too flimsy for gaming on the regular.
The angular frame makes for an impressively compact tower, measuring just 104mm x 340mm x 358mm wide, deep and high, but the channels along the top and bottom also help with airflow and in a pinch, cable management. On the front, you’ve got a vertically positioned optical drive as well as individual headphone and microphone inputs and two USB 3.0 ports, whilst on the back, you’ll find two power inputs for the G20’s unusual (and bulky) twin power bricks.
The I/O on the back features six additional USB ports (2x USB 3.1, 2x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0), Ethernet (WiFi is also included), six 3.5mm audio jacks and three DisplayPort connectors, an HDMI port and a DVI port on the graphics card.
There isn’t a huge amount of variation within the hardware you can choose from when speccing up the G20CB, but the system as reviewed packed Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 970 – a wholly competent card and the bare minimum for those looking to enjoy a reliable VR experience when paired with the likes of the Oculus Rift or HTC’s Vive (it’s the system we used to review the latter).
Along with the enjoyable VR experiences the G20CB is capable of supporting, it has no issue with 1080p HD gaming, with most of the titles we tested (including Smite, The Division and Star Wars Battlefront) running at a reliable 70fps to 120fps depending on the game. Bump the resolution to 4K and you’ll start to hit some noticeable performance roadblocks, but at the very least it stays cooler and runs quieter than rival systems under similar strain.
The 128GB Hynix SSD served its purpose offering fast boot times, whilst a 2TB HDD felt ample (options include up to a 256GB SSD and 3TB HDD), but they’re certainly not the fastest drives around, which is reflected in the G20CB’s price.
Asus hasn’t leant too heavily on the Windows 10 experience the G20 runs out the box either. Along with the Aegis software to control the case’s LED lighting effects, the likes of Asus’ Command and Game First applications offer easier control over updates, security and optimisation options as well as tools for game capture and more. Some of the company’s more widely available services are present too, but their usefulness hinges on whether you’re willing to buy into yet another cloud-based set of services and a new account to go along with them.
Had we picked the Asus ROG G20CB up when it first launched, complete with £1500 price tag, we would have found it hard to recommend as a system, but prices have dropped quickly, especially with a new line of Nvidia cards now on the market. Whilst they shorten the lifespan of systems like the G20 somewhat, it still has plenty to offer, and at around £850 is wholly more approachable than it once was.
If you’re looking for a pre-built rig with good looks, reliable performance and high-end gaming or VR in mind, the G20CB is an imperfect but accessible option that you might want to consider.
|Dimensions||104mm x 340mm x 358mm (WxDxH)|
|OS||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
|Processor||6th-generation Intel Core i5/i7 (Tested with i7-6700)|
|Memory||8GB/16GB/32GB RAM (Tested with 16GB)|
|Storage||128GB/256GB SSD + 1TB/2TB/3TB HDD (Tested with 128GB SSD + 2TB HDD)|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon R9 380/Nvidia GeForce GT 740/Nvidia GeForce GTX 745/Nvidia GeForce GTX 950/Nvidia GeForce GTX960/Nvidia GeForce GTX 970/Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 (Tested with GTX 970)|
|Connectivity||3.5mm headphone jack (front), 3.5mm microphone jack (front), DVD optical drive, 2x USB 3.1, 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, 6x 3.5mm audio jacks (rear)|
|Bonus features||Wireless keyboard and mouse, Aegis II (software), ASUS WebStorage (software), ASUS Command (software), Ai Charger ll (software)|