It seems that consumers are now gravitating towards more compact machines. As we have noted in the past, Mini-PCs have been identified as one of the “bright spots” in a troubled PC industry. According to Lisa Graff, Vice President of Intel’s PC Client Group, sales of Mini-PCs have shot from nearly zero units in 2012 to over a million in 2013.
Always quick to react to trends, ASUS has just launched two new small form factor ROG desktop systems that are targeted squarely at gamers. Let’s begin with the bigger of the two.
ROG desktop systems have been known for their striking designs and the G20 follows closely in that tradition. The compact 12.5 liter chassis looks like a structure from a lost South American civilization and also features motifs to match. And behind the two front geometrically-shaped panels are customizable LED lights that are capable of displaying 8 million different colors. In fact, the two front panels are recognized as two separate zones can be programmed to display independent colors. A light zone is located underneath the system and that can display 8 million colors too and be programmed independently as well.
In top spec mode, underneath the fancy chassis lies a quad-core Core i7 processor and NVIDIA’s high-end GeForce GTX 780 GPU. But despite the high-end components, ASUS has somehow managed to keep idle power consumption to a mere 20W and idle operating noise levels to just 25 decibels. This is thanks to a special cooling system that involves twin fans that are located top side that draws hot air and vents up upwards, while at the same time drawing cool air from the bottom of the chassis.
The G20 is expected to go on sale later this year and pricing will be heavily dependent on the specifications you choose, but ASUS has listed a price of between US$800 to US$1700.
Next, let’s take a look at the G20’s little brother, the GR8 (short for great?). The GR8 is substantially smaller and comes in a 2.5 liter chassis and is indeed small enough to be carried out around easily. In fact, it is so compact that ASUS calls it a gaming console. The design closely follows that of the G20 and looks to be inspired by ancient South American civilizations.
Despite the compact size, the GR8 still has pretty beefy specifications - how about a Core i7 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti GPU? Apart from this, ASUS says it will feature native 4K and UHD support (we suppose this means a DisplayPort output or at least HDMI 1.4) and will feature Wireless-AC and Miracast connectivity as well as Intel LAN and user upgradeable storage.
Price is of the utmost importance for a product like the GR8, but unfortunately, ASUS has yet to reveal any pricing details. Hopefully it will be reasonable, if not competitive.
Finally, ASUS has said that both small form factor systems will support SteamOS in future, with further details pending Valve’s announcement of the SteamOS launch schedule.