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Asus Republic of Gamers GT51CH – PC Review

Asus Republic of Gamers GT51CH – PC Review

The latest big brand to try its hand at building a proper gaming PC is Asus, and the firm has form when it comes to this market – its Republic of Gamers range is packed with laptops, motherboards, graphics cards and peripherals.

The updated GT51CH packs new, high-end components into an outrageous case – but its price of £3,000 is similarly massive.

Asus Republic of Gamers GT51CH PC Review – Design

The front panel is a slanted slab of grey metal that houses a bright Republic of Gamers (RoG) logo between two pulsing lights, and the bottom of the front panel is dominated by a circular portal filled with burnt orange plastic and glowing RGB LEDs.

It looks like a Transformer that’s eaten Iron Man, but it’s got a practical purpose – it serves as this machine’s air intake.

The rest of the case is no less extravagant. The side panels are covered with thick, angled plastic, and the roof is decorated with the Mayan-inspired pattern that’s found on current RoG products.

Build quality is superb, but this system is heavier and bulkier than virtually every other gaming PC. It weighs 23kg, it’s 587mm tall, and it’s 584mm from front to back.

The Asus is bigger and bolder than anything else, but it doesn’t bring anything extra to the table when it comes to practical features. The side panels aren’t secured with thumbscrews, and there isn’t much cooling – there’s the single 120mm intake and another fan on the small water-cooling unit attached to the exhaust, but that’s it.

It’s not the best-looking machine on the inside, either. The metal is bare rather than painted with black paint, so it looks ugly, and there’s loads of it – a bulky cage at the front to cover the cooling gear and hold hard disks, and thick metal elsewhere to support the plastic exterior.

There’s no shroud to cover the PSU, and the graphics cards are covered with ugly metal bands. The optical drive doesn’t support Blu-ray and is extremely wobbly, and there’s the bare minimum of lighting despite the side panel’s window – a handful of RGB LEDs around the PCI slots and the CPU cooler, and that’s it.

There are four hard disk bays free that don’t require tools and also accept 2.5in drives, and two memory slots vacant, but that’s it as far as expansion goes – the motherboard has some PCI connectors free, but they’re basically impossible to reach.

The rig is controlled by the Asus Aegis 3 software. It’s got options to customise four lighting zones and monitor clock speeds, temperatures and disk usage, and this is also where the overclocking options are held – in this case, a one-click button to tweak the processor speed to 4.8GHz. Other GT51 models have settings to overclock GPUs, too.

Those overclocking options are the only ones supported by this machine – any other tweaks, in third-party software and in the BIOS, immediately void the warranty.

Elsewhere, the warranty permits for upgrades to memory and storage, but that’s it. It only lasts for a year, too, which means that British-made systems usually have longer deals that offer better protection and a more lenient attitude to tweaking and upgrading.

The outlandish Asus stands in stark contrast to two key rivals. The Scan 3XS Carbon Aura is a far more subtle machine that has a dark, smart case and better access to upgrade paths on the inside – the motherboard has better features and is easier to access, and there are dedicated SSD mounts.

The Asus’ other rival is the PC Specialist LS-Surge, which looks just as eye-catching with its stunning Stream 2 case – but offers even less room to grow than the Asus. Still, it’s several hundred pounds cheaper.

Asus Republic of Gamers GT51CH PC Review – Full Specification

CPU: 4.2GHz Intel Core i7-7700K
Memory: 16GB 2,400MHz DDR4
Graphics: 2 x Asus GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
Motherboard: Asus GT51CH
Sound: On-board
Hard disk: 512GB Samsung 950 Pro SSD; 2TB Toshiba HDD
Ports: Front: 3 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x audio; rear: 6 x USB 3.1, 2 x USB 2, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x PS/2, 1 x optical S/PDIF, 5 x audio
Case: Asus ROG tower
Dimensions: (W x D x H): 262 x 584 x 587mm
Extras: AcBel PC7063 700W, 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Warranty: 1yr RTB

Asus Republic of Gamers GT51CH PC Review – Components

The key gaming hardware in this machine is a pair of GTX 1070 cards. They’re designed to look like Nvidia’s Founders Edition parts, but they use plastic instead of sturdy metal. They also run at their stock speeds – so the base and Turbo clocks sit at 1,506MHz and 1,683MHz, and the 8GB of GDDR5 memory runs at 8,000MHz.

The two cards sit beneath a Core i7-7700K CPU. It’s one of Intel’s most popular parts, with four Hyper-Threaded cores and a stock speed of 4.2GHz, and here it’s clocked to that base speed.

There’s a quick 512GB Samsung 950 Pro SSD, but it’s already been superseded by the newer 960 Pro drive. There’s a 2TB hard disk, and 32GB of memory. That’s too much for a gaming machine, and its 2,400MHz speed is underwhelming – the best gaming rigs run at 3,000MHz or beyond.

The motherboard is disappointing, too. Asus produces loads of high-quality gaming boards, but none are included here – instead, the eponymous GT51CH has free memory sockets, a spare M.2 connector and SATA ports, but that’s about it.

The couple of empty PCI sockets are impossible to reach, and there aren’t any displays, on-board buttons or spare connectors at the bottom. That’s no surprise – Asus doesn’t really wants its users tinkering with this machine.

The power supply is only mediocre. The AcBel unit delivers a solid 700W of juice, but it only has an 80Plus Silver certification – at this price we expect better.

Both rival machines have better specifications, albeit in different ways.

The Scan machine is an ATX system with an eight-core Skylake-X processor that’s overclocked alongside a tweaked GTX 1080 Ti graphics card. It’s got a more up-to-date SSD, superior CPU cooling, a better power supply and a motherboard with far more features. It also has faster memory.

The PC Specialist is a mini-ITX rig, so it doesn’t have much upgrade room, but it has an overclocked i7-7700K, a stock-speed GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, faster memory, a better SSD and a higher-quality power supply.

It’s no competition, really, especially when both of those competitors are also cheaper than the Asus and also have better warranties.

Asus Republic of Gamers GT51CH PC Review – Performance

The two GTX 1070 cards are fast, but they’re also inconsistent and inefficient when compared to single-GPU machines.

This rig will play any game at 4K: its weakest result here was a minimum of 39fps in Witcher 3, and its best minimum was a rapid 65fps in Shadow of Mordor. At 3,840 x 2,160 the Asus’ averages ranged from 51fps to 91fps.

That’s good, but systems with a single GTX 1080 Ti offered competitive speed and more consistency.

The Scan and PC Specialist were between 10fps and 20fps faster in Battlefield 1’s minimum and average tests, for instance, and both of those systems returned better minimums in Witcher 3 alongside comparable averages.

The Asus had a better minimum than both rivals in Shadow of Mordor, but its average result was no faster than the two GTX 1080 Ti machines.

The RoG machine had faster minimums and averages in Crysis 3 and Fallout 4 , but it only ever led the way by four or five frames.

That inconsistent performance doesn’t inspire confidence, and 3D Mark illustrated the lack of an advantage from two GTX 1070s. In the Extreme test the Asus scored 21,584 points – a couple of hundred points ahead of the PC Specialist, but around five hundred points behind the Scan 3XS machine.

The two GTX 1070s don’t scale properly, either. Take that 3D Mark score of 21,584 – machines with a single GTX 1070 score just under 14,000 points. That pattern followed through to our games tests, where the Asus’ two cards never delivered double the performance.

There’s no doubt that the two GTX 1070s will handle gaming at any resolution up to 4K alongside multi-monitor rigs and VR headsets, but there’s also no doubt that a single GTX 1080 Ti is a better option. That single card offers comparable speed to the two GTX 1070s, especially when overclocked, and it’ll consume less power, produce less heat and churn out less noise – and it won’t be subjected to the vagaries and inconsistencies of SLI.

The Core i7-7700K is fast but, again, it’s not the best bit of kit we’ve seen inside a this level of PC.

It arrives at its stock speed of 4.2GHz, which means it delivered a Cinebench CPU result of 961cb – a tad behind the PC Specialist, which overclocked the same processor, but miles behind the 2,042cb score of the Scan, which had an overclocked i7-7820X installed.

The i7 was competitive in the Geekbench single-threaded test, where its result of 5,373 was barely behind the Scan and about 700 points behind the overclocked PC Specialist. In the multi-threaded test it was further back, though – especially when compared to the Scan, which has double the cores.

The Aegis tool allows the CPU to be overclocked to 4.8GHz, but that tweak didn’t make much difference. The Asus’ Geekbench single-core score improved by a couple of hundred points but only barely overtook the Scan, and its revised multi-core result of 17,921 still lagged behind both rivals.

The Core i7 processor is fast enough to run top-tier games and high-end productivity tools, but its overclock doesn’t make much of an impact – and machines with their own tweaks are consistently faster. Skylake-X is much quicker, too, especially in multi-threaded tasks.

The SSD is solid, returning stonking read and write speeds of 3,498MB/s and 1,652MB/s, but that doesn’t help improve the Asus’ relatively lacklustre performance.

The Asus Aegis app has silent and performance fan modes, and this machine was never loud when idling or when running a less-demanding gaming test.

Start playing tough games or pushing the components, though, and the noise rocketed upwards. With the system’s stock speeds and Silent mode engaged the machine was louder than most gaming rigs during a combined CPU and GPU stress-test, and a processor overclock and the Performance fan mode saw the noise ratchet upwards – it sounds twice as loud as the Scan or PC Specialist systems.

Temperatures weren’t great, either. The single intake fan saw the GPUs peak at a reasonable 82°C, but the huge graphics cards and bottom-mounted fan saw the processor deprived of air – and the chip reach a toasty peak temperature of 90°C when running at stock speeds.

With the Asus overclock applied the processor was four degrees hotter, and both of those figures are too high. Rival systems are noticeably cooler.

Asus Republic of Gamers GT51CH PC Review – Conclusion

This system is designed as a barnstorming, no-holds-barred gaming beast, but it misses the mark in most of the important departments.

The GTX 1070s are fast but inconsistent, and don’t offer anything that rivals with a GTX 1080 Ti can’t provide for less cash – and the Core i7-7700K is fine, but slower than the competition. The memory falls behind, the SSD is a year old, and the motherboard lacks features.

The huge case doesn’t bring anything extra to the table beyond its size and outlandish aesthetics, and it’s not good at cooling the processor, which became far too hot in stress-tests. The entire rig is also protected by a warranty that’s poorer than the deals offered by rivals.

This machine is built for people who want an off-the-shelf system, but you’re missing a trick if you opt for this Republic of Gamers rig. It’s slower, less consistent, hotter and heavier than British-made rivals – and it’s more expensive, too.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Asus Republic of Gamers GT51CH

About Author

Mike Jennings

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