ASUS ROG GT51CA generates various associations. Some people think that it looks like a space ship, someone – an extraterrestrial artifact, someone sees it as a futuristic nuclear reactor. Well, our association is an armored Iron Man suit. But the exterior in this case is not the main thing, the most interesting part of the ASUS ROG GT51CA is inside.
If you ask a person who often collects computers, what a modern platform is best for games, he will answer without hesitation: take LGA1151. That is, processors Intel Skylake and Kaby Lake. Actually, almost all do so, including this applies to manufacturers of ready-made computers. At the end of last year, we introduced readers to the compact computer Alienware Aurora R5 – the most powerful gaming machine that ever hit the test lab 3DNews. Well, it’s time for him to move: in the gaming desktop ASUS ROG GT51CA installed the most productive processor Kaby Lake for the LGA1151 platform and just two video cards NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. On the other components, the manufacturer also did not save.
In fact, there are many modifications of the ASUS ROG GT51CA. For different configurations, available processors Core i7-6700K and Core i7-7700K, as well as single-chip video cards NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070/1080 and TITAN X (Pascal). Surely a version with GeForce GTX 1080 Ti will soon appear. There are options with two adapters, combined in an array of SLI, like the one that came to us. Different systems have different amounts of RAM, but not less than 16 GB, and solid state drives of different capacities – from 256 GB. The monster that got into our test lab is not the top-end configuration yet. ASUS ROG GT51CA, which will be discussed later, received “only” the overclocked Core i7-7700K and two GeForce GTX 1080, whereas in the very version there are two TITAN X. However, for the rest of the parameters the desktop is stuffed under the full program: 64 GB RAM DDR4-2800, two SSDs totaling 1 terabyte, combined in a RAID 0 array, and a 3 TB hard drive.
Versions of a desktop with one video card are content with a power unit with a power of 500 watts. In our case, a non-modular 700W PSU with a 80 PLUS Silver certificate is installed.
Some ASUS ROG GT51CA models are equipped with an NFC module. Included with these modifications is the ROG BAND bracelet, which gives access to Shadow Drive – a hidden space on the drive where personal information is stored. And with it, you can activate the automatic overclocking function of the CPU. Honestly speaking, this is basically pampering, but it sounds all the same interesting. The system unit that we tested, no NFC-module, no bracelet in the kit was not.
But along with the computer there are enough high-quality Echelon keyboard and mouse GX950. The keyboard uses mechanical switches Cherry MX Black, and it can connect as via the PS / 2 interface, and via USB. There are even replaceable WASD keys – joyful-orange. The mouse is equipped with a laser sensor with a sensitivity of up to 8200 dots per inch.
Any review of the gaming PC from a well-known collector is reduced to a discussion of its price. The most typical comment: ” I will assemble the same system-man much cheaper!” “In general, the approach is correct, but it is worth taking into account several points. The main thing is to compare the components with each other as accurately as possible. The rationality of using a particular iron is a separate issue. In the case of ASUS ROG GT51CA, the chassis and motherboard are used, which are not available in retail. And also OEM-versions of SSD, cooling for the processor and power supply. Therefore, when comparing the desktop ASUS (or from any other assembler company) with an analog collected independently, I propose alternative variants of components, often even better ones. The average ruble prices for “Yandex.Market” (the region – Moscow) are taken.
At the time of writing the review version of ASUS ROG GT51CA, which was visited by us on testing, in Russia there was no sale. In the US, a computer with a similar configuration is estimated at $ 4,500 without taxes.
But the presence of a mark-up is quite natural in the case of an already ready-made system unit. The collector asks for an additional fee for the work itself, because all the components in a single whole are not magically arranged. Iron is selected individually, it is fully compatible and tested for stability, as the manufacturer’s warranty extends to the entire device. In the case of ASUS ROG GT51CA, the processor and video card are also dispersed in advance, and for this purpose, instances of devices are specially selected.
It is also important that the company guarantees the operation of the computer with this overclocking, which you will never get for a self-assembly computer. Plus it’s a computer with an unusual and unique design – for this, too, a surcharge is supposed. Finally, specially for this computer is written related software that makes life easier for a gamer, and the package includes a good peripheral. That’s all for this and have to overpay when buying a branded gaming computer. It is worth it or not – it’s up to you, well, we’ll tell you about it in more detail.
The design of ASUS ROG GT51CA is for the amateur. Desktops ASUS has long looked futuristic and extraterrestrial. The analogy with the Iron Man has arisen because of the presence of an illuminated air intake on the front panel.
The case itself is made of a fairly thick aluminum alloy, the chassis is of high quality. But the skirts that form the intricate but sharp features of ASUS ROG GT51CA are made of plastic. On one of the side walls there is a toned window, on which a pattern is placed in the form of honeycombs.
No opening panels are provided. On the front panel there is a floppy drive, deployed vertically and pushing its tray sideways. To the left is the auto-dispersal key, to the right – the on / off button.
Among the interfaces on the front panel, there are USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports. And there are two “simple” USB 3.0. For headphones, an ESS Saber amplifier is provided.
The interfaces on the back panel are the classic motherboard outlets. There are six USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 (all – A-type), one PS / 2, one RJ-45 and S / P-DIF-out, and five 3.5-mm mini jacks. On the I / O panel of each graphics adapter the following video outputs are provided: two HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4 and one DVI-D.
Four zones of the case are highlighted, and the user can adjust them independently. One is located inside – it’s a water block of the liquid cooling system and diodes on the motherboard. The other three are located on the front panel: an air intake, two strips on the sides (this is one zone) and the ROG logo. The color and type of the glow of each zone are set in the AEGIS III application. There are several modes of operation and a palette for all eight million shades. The interface designations on the front panel are also illuminated. All this “garland” (as a whole, and each zone separately) can always be turned off.
You look at ASUS Maximus IX Apex – and you lick: what are the Taiwanese manufacturer’s cool motherboards of the Republic Of Gamers series! But ASUS ROG GT51CA uses a simpler OEM version called the ASUS GT51CH. It is somewhat reminiscent of the ASUS PRIME Z270-K. And in general, the use of simplified OEM-versions of cards – this is common for such systems.
Now for cooling: only one 7-lobed 120mm SUNON MagLev MFC0251V1 fan is sucked into the air. It is located in the lower right part, under the baskets for the drives. There is no dust filter. The frequency of rotation of the “turntable” depending on the load varies in the range from 1200 to 3100 rpm. The speed of the impellers can also be adjusted manually, using the same AEGIS III program.
The fan of the processor system of liquid cooling, another SUNON MagLev MFC0251V1, works on blowing. The radiator is mounted on the back of the case, a non-servicing OEM version of Asetek is used. More in the design of ASUS ROG GT51CA fans is not provided – unless, of course, do not take into account the cooling system video cards.
By the way, about the schedule. Non-reference models of GeForce GTX 1080 TURBO-GTX1080-8G are used, but, like the versions of Founders Edition, they are based on coolers for the reference: radiator, plastic casing and fan in the back of the card, driving air through the radiator and beyond the system Block. For greater reliability, 3D accelerators are fixed in a special metal frame. The distance between the adapters is decent, cool air comes from the front panel, so under load accelerators are warmed slightly.
Two solid-state drives Samsung MZ-VKW512HMJP are installed in the slots M.2 directly on the motherboard, for each four PCI Express 3.0 lines are connected. In one of the baskets there is a TOSHIBA DT01ACA300 hard drive with a capacity of 3 TB. The design of the case allows you to install four more 3.5-inch drives.
In another slot M.2 installed wireless module Intel 8260NGW.AC (MIMO 2 × 2). It provides 802.11a / b / g / n / ac communication with a maximum bandwidth of up to 867 Mbps and Bluetooth 4.2. A fairly common gigabit controller Intel I219V is responsible for the local network.
Power supply of the whole system was entrusted to the AcBel PC7063 – this model was sold in the time of Core 2 Duo and the first Phenom, but the circuitry has not moved much forward since. The device has a certificate of 80 PLUS Silver, transmits up to 624 watts on a 12-volt line and has the following protection classes: OVP, OCP, OTP and SCP (against short circuit) . The block of non-modular, unused cables with SATA- and MOLEX-connectors is hidden behind a plastic plug.
In general, ASUS ROG GT51CA is assembled neatly. In the same Alienware Aurora R5 to this important moment reacted not so responsibly.
With the further upgrade of the system, everything is very simple. The system is completely packed with RAM. More than 64 GB of Kaby Lake processors and motherboards on the Z270 Express do not support. Terabyte SSD is also enough for a long time. Another hard drive for “faylopomoyki” – if desired, they will fit there four more. Is that in three or four years it will be possible to replace the processor and video cards. By that time, Coffee Lake (presumably, a six-core) will be released and will be replaced by one or two generations of NVIDIA graphics cards. ASUS periodically releases new BIOS versions for the GT51CH, so computer support will continue for a while.
All ASUS ROG GT51CA are sold with overclocked CPUs. In our case, the processor is overclocked by default – up to 4.6 GHz. But for versions with Core i7-7700K there is one more OC-mode – up to 4.8 GHz. If desired, the user can enable the default settings of the processor and memory, under which the flagship Kaby Lake under load operates at a frequency of 4.4 GHz for all four cores. The system uses Apacer’s DDR4 OEM memory – four identical modules without cooling radiators. Using the XMP profile (activated both in the BIOS and in the AEGIS III application) increases the effective frequency from 2400 to 2800 MHz at 1.2 V. The main timings for the modules are quite high – 18-18-18-38.
Under a serious load (in LinX 0.7.0), the cooling system can not cope with auto-acceleration. The temperature of the processor very quickly reaches 100 degrees Celsius, the frequency of the Core i7-7700K is reset from 4.6 to 4 GHz. There is nothing surprising in this: a one-piece FZO with a 120-mm fan is inferior in efficiency to two-tower super-coolers. Here they are overclocking Kaby Lake to 4.6-4.8 GHz.
However, overheating and throttling of the processor are observed only in LinX 0.7.0. In games and benchmarks, the cooling of ASUS ROG GT51CA can cope with the overclocked quad. So, at a frequency of 4.6 GHz in the third “Witcher” Core i7-7700K heats up to 88 degrees Celsius – too much, but still within the permissible range.
The GPU temperature of the top video card in games reaches 83 degrees Celsius, the lower one – 73 degrees Celsius. Yes, when using an SLI array, graphics chips are not always 100% loaded. The impellers of the GeForce GTX 1080 TURBO-GTX1080-8G fans under load are synchronously untwisted up to ~ 2360 rpm (60% of the maximum possible rotation speed).
Even in a simple ASUS ROG GT51CA, you can not call it quiet. A slight rumbling is heard, which is emitted by the “dropsy” pump. Under the load in the form of LinX 0.7.0, the FZO fan spins up to 3000 rpm – it becomes very noisy. Being near a computer at such times is simply uncomfortable. In games, the desktop is noticeably quieter.
The BIOS of the GT51CH motherboard is devoid of AI Tweaker tabs – usually it contains all the parameters for tuning frequencies, timings and voltages. The firmware of the desktop allows you to select only one of the overclock profiles (4.6 GHz or 4.8 GHz) and activate XMP (DDR4-2800, 18-18-18-38). Since all these actions are performed in the utility AEGIS III, then once again go into the BIOS GT51CH there is no point.
With the same program, the fan speed is adjusted, and the illumination of the housing elements is also adjusted. Here, alerts are also given if the CPU or video cards reach a critical temperature. AEGIS III has additional screens for monitoring CPU usage and Internet traffic.
From the additional software, I note the presence of XSplit Gamecaster. With the help of this utility broadcasts are conducted in Twitch and YouTube. Another program – GameFirst IV – ensures that background applications do not select traffic during online battles. And in Sonic Studio the sound is adjusted.
With the overclocking of the processor everything is clear, we will deal with video cards. In general, those versions of the GeForce GTX 1080 TURBO-GTX1080-8G, which are found in retail, operate at reference frequencies. For the GeForce GTX 1080 there are 1607 (1733 in the Boost mode) MHz. But in ASUS ROG GT51CA adapters are dispersed to 1709 (1848) MHz by the core. I managed to additionally “throw” each GPU for another 99 MHz, and video memory was accelerated at 124 MHz. Not really, what kind of overclocking, but in 3DMark Time Spy the number of “parrots” increased by 6.2% in the overall standings and by 7.9% in the graph Graphics Score.
Games and a list of their settings are listed in the table. As always, for 4K-resolution we do not use anti-aliasing. The testing was conducted in the Windows 10 Home x64 environment with the GeForce Game Ready Driver driver version 378.66.
The computer was tested in two modes. The first – with a processor speed of 4.6 GHz and without overclocking the graphics cards. The second – at a frequency of Core i7-7700K 4.8 GHz and with overclocking of adapters to 1808/1375 MHz on the core / memory. In both cases, the XMP RAM profile was enabled.
The quad Core i7-7700K has been thoroughly studied by the 3DNews test lab , so I do not see the point of analyzing the capabilities of the flagship Kaby Lake in detail. I only note that the Core i7-7700K is still the best solution for assembling a gaming PC at a given time. This is clearly demonstrated by testing the flagship Ryzen 7 1800X . The new eight-core AMD chips are good in multithreaded tasks, but they are inferior to Intel’s solutions in games with the use of efficient discrete graphics.
The most interesting thing is to study the speed of the RAID array. Each Samsung MZ-VKW512HMJP (SM961) provides up to 3200 MB / s for sequential reading and 1700 MB / s for recording. And then there are two of them. Naturally, the use of an interleaved array did not result in a twofold increase in performance – and would not, because the SSDs are connected through a chipset that connects to the processor via a bus with a maximum bandwidth of 3.9 GB / s. As a result, the bus is divided between two NVMe-drives, USB 3.0 ports and PCI Express chipset. Therefore, to organize RAID 0 for the sake of speed, there is no sense, but the speed in any case will suffice with a head – practically for any tasks.With the performance of TOSHIBA DT01ACA300, everything is also clear: in front of us is a classic 3.5-inch drive with a spindle speed of 7200 rpm. In linear read and write operations, the performance reaches 200 MB / s – the standard for this type of device.
The PCMark 7 test simulates the real tasks that the user performs every day. We see how modern NVMe-drives are faster than analogues with the classic SATA 3.0 interface.
Our test lab has already studied in detail the capabilities of the SLI-array, consisting of two GeForce GTX 1080 . We have in practice made sure that this bundle of 3D accelerators is fully capable in games in the resolution of Ultra HD. Of course, with good optimization of NVIDIA technology. In ASUS ROG GT51CA, as in other solutions based on the Z270 Express platform, the integration of video cards into the SLI-array is implemented in the x8 + x8 PCI Express 3.0 scheme. Games in which the performance gains perfectly scales when using multiple GPUs, clearly demonstrate that there is no limit to such (half-way) PEG-port operation. At least, this statement is relevant for the duo GeForce GTX 1080.
Testing the computer in games in Full HD indicates very interesting moments. On the one hand, we see the redundancy of a bundle of two GeForce GTX 1080 for this resolution, plus there is a lot of CPU dependency. See for yourself: in GTA V and “The Witcher-3: Wild Hunt”, the difference in average FPS in the transition from 1080p to 1440p is minimal. This means that with the graphics quality settings we set, the frame rate is limited by the CPU. But the system uses a very fast quad-core Kaby Lake.
On the other hand, there are titles such as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, where even a pair of GeForce GTX 1080 did not provide a coveted average of 60 FPS. For the shortage of frames per second in the answer and the unoptimized engine Dawn Engine, and the uselessness of SLI in most games using DirectX 12.
In general, the epic with the problems with the use of arrays of video cards along with the new API order was delayed. We launch HITMAN and Battlefield 1 in DirectX 12 mode in Ultra HD resolution – we get uncomfortable 44 and 29 frames per second, respectively. We launch the same games with the same graphics quality settings, but in DirectX 11, we get 74 and 59 FPS. That’s how we live. The problem is solved only using single faster cards – GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or TITAN X (Pascal) – instead of two GeForce GTX 1080.
In projects where everything is more or less good with SLI support, the GeForce GTX 1080 pair gives a quite comfortable frame rate. In GTA V, “The Witcher 3”, Crysis 3 – stably for 60 FPS in the resolution of Ultra HD. Beauty!
Overclocking the CPU and graphics cards, depending on the application, adds 7-13% of frames per second. In 4K-resolution it became more comfortable to play in such games as Rise of the Tomb Raider and “The Witcher-3: Wild Hunt”.
The tested modification of ASUS ROG GT51CA pleases with its speed, but it would be strange to expect otherwise from the system with overclocked Core i7-7700K and two GeForce GTX 1080. With due optimization of SLI technology this computer is suitable also for games in Ultra HD resolution. Faster from the currently existing only configurations with a pair of GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or TITAN X (Pascal) – these too are.
Of the interesting features of the ASUS ROG GT51CA, I note separately the nice appearance with the possibility of manual adjustment of the backlight, the factory overclocking of the CPU and video cards, the good quality of assembly of components and the presence of a RAID array of 1 TB. 64 GB of RAM for games are redundant (as well as 32 GB), but this “stuffing” is designed to demonstrate to the potential buyer the uncompromising ASUS ROG GT51CA.
To the disadvantages of the desktop I will bring a high noise level under load and, of course, sky-high price. ASUS ROG GT51CA with this configuration is not yet available in Russia, but other modifications of the game desktop make it clear – for the system unit will have to give more than 300 000 rubles. Yes, an independent assembly of PCs with a similar set of components will be much cheaper – it is proved by the heading “Computer of the Month”. Just a discussion of the pricing of such gaming systems in the order filled with nausea.
In this case, it is quite clear where the legs of this price grow from: ASUS asks for money not only for a set of components, but also for the assembly itself (we found out that it was performed qualitatively), for automatic overclocking of the processor and video cards, for convenient and thoughtful software Providing, for the original iron, which you can not simply buy (for example, a case with a non-trivial design that includes several illumination zones). Well, for the guarantee that all this will work at higher frequencies like a clock. For sure there will be those for whom the whole list justifies the overpayment.