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Asus ROG Strix GL10CS Review

Asus ROG Strix GL10CS Review

Asus ROG Strix GL10CS 03The Asus ROG Strix GL10CS is a gaming desktop that tries to offer solid 1080p power while maintaining a low price. It costs £849 in the UK and $1,399 in the US with a better default specification, so it’s certainly at the affordable end of the spectrum.

The price is certainly right, but the GL10CS is a big-brand gaming desktop – and that does sometimes come with issues. It’s often cheaper to build your own gaming PC if you’re comfortable doing so, and big-brand units often have fewer features than systems designed and sold by local companies in the US and the UK.

However, there are advantages too – like the price and the ease of use. Can this PC convince us that it’s worth buying? Read our Asus ROG Strix GL10CS review to find out.

Asus ROG Strix GL10CS Review – Design

The Asus ROG Strix GL10CS looks good, especially for a pre-built system from a big company and with a relatively low price. At the front you’ve got a plastic façade with a lined pattern, attractive angles and a striking band of RGB LEDs.

And, happily, the Asus is only 428mm tall and 180mm wide. That makes it far smaller than most of the other ATX enclosures on the market. Even mid-tower cases tend to be more than 500mm tall. The Asus is about the size as most micro-ATX cases, so it’s easier to fit this PC into smaller spaces.

It’s a solid start, but hands-on time with the Asus reveals that there are other areas where the GL10CS can’t match up to more conventional systems from smaller companies – or from cases from all the major component manufacturers.

Build quality is only middling. The front panel is plastic and is pretty sturdy, but the metal side panel is very flimsy.

Asus ROG Strix GL10CS 02You don’t get much connectivity across the machine either. At the front there are two USB 3.1 ports and an audio jack. At the rear there are pairs of USB 3.1 and USB 2 ports, three audio jacks and a Gigabit Ethernet socket.

More conventional systems and motherboards tend to offer more USB ports, Type-C connections and more audio jacks. All of that improve a PC’s versatility.

The interior is not particularly good. It’s made from plain metal that hasn’t been painted black, which is pretty ugly. You don’t get mounts for adding fans. There’s no room for extra storage, and no sign of any careful cable-tidying.

If you have even a cheap case from a component manufacturer then you’re going to get all of those things. They make it pretty easy to add storage and fans, and the interior will be black and far more attractive. You’ll get one of those cases if you buy from a more local PC builder, too.

Of course, not every buyer is interested in their PC’s interior. If you’re not bothered about adding components or cooling in the future, then that’s fair enough – and the lack of provision here won’t be a problem.

Similarly, a lot of people won’t be bothered about the lack of extra USB ports of connectivity elsewhere. For a simple gaming setup, the Asus has enough. And the relative lack of build quality won’t be an issue if you’re going to stow this PC under a desk and forget about it.

Click here to read our verdict on the best laptops in 2019 for gaming, work and home use!

Components

The core component inside this machine is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. It’s an affordable, effective card for 1080p gaming, although its cheaper nature does mean some design tweaks.

It uses the Turing architecture, which is good – it’s Nvidia’s latest design, and it delivers loads of improvements over the Pascal cores that formed the basis of cards like the GTX 1060. It’s got 1,536 stream processors, 6GB of memory and a boost clock of 1,770MHz. The older GTX 1060 had 1,280 stream processors and lower speeds.

However, you don’t get any dedicated hardware for Ray-Tracing or DLSS. If you’re interested in using those technologies, you’ll need an RTX 2060 or an RTX 2060 Super.

The mid-range GPU is paired with an equivalent processor. The Intel Core i5-9400F is a six-core chip with stock and Turbo speeds of 2.9GHz and 4.1GHz.

Asus ROG Strix GL10CS 01It’s not Hyper-Threaded, which is the main area where this part falls behind AMD’s competition – chips like the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and Ryzen 5 3600X are also found in PCs at this price, and those parts have six cores with Hyper-threading. That’s not going to have a huge impact in gaming and in basic computing tasks, but AMD’s parts will be better in work situations.

Still, the Intel chip uses in the Asus is easily fast enough to handle 1080p gaming and day-to-day computing, like web browsing apps, Office tools and mainstream photo-editing.

In the US, buyers of the GL10CS get a Core i7-9700K processor. It’s a far better processor: it has eight cores, speeds of 3.6GHz and 4.9GHz and more cache. It’ll handle any gaming situation and is arguably overkill for the GTX 1660 Ti. However, it is brilliant with photo-editing and other work tasks.

They’re solid core components at this price. However, the rest of the components are not as impressive. There’s 8GB of memory, which is a reasonable amount – but it’s installed in single-channel configuration. Performance in applications would be better with dual-channel.

The SSD’s 256GB capacity is not particularly large, and the motherboard is plain. It has no visual features or large heatsinks, and its upgrade room is poor: you get one memory slot, a few SATA connectors and a single PCI-E x1 socket.

If you’re used to building your own PCs or buying systems from local companies then this will be disappointing. Rigs at this price will almost always have motherboards with four memory slots, more expansion options and better aesthetic design.

Head here for our full guide to AMD Ryzen 3000 and AMD X570 motherboards

Specification Options

The Asus ROG Strix GL10CS is available in several different specifications on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the US, the version of this PC with a GTX 1660 Ti is sold with a Core i7 processor. That puts the price up, naturally, to $1,399. American buyers can also opt for an $899 model that has the Core i7 CPU with a weaker GTX 1050 graphics core.

In the UK, the model reviewed here costs £849. If you want to spend £1,179, you’ll get an RTX 2060 graphics core. Save some cash on the £699 model and you’ll drop down to GTX 1650 graphics and a system with a hard disk but no SSD.

Asus ROG Strix GL10CS 05Happily – and a little surprisingly – the Asus actually compares well to other local companies.

In the US, you need to spend around $1,100 to find a pre-built desktop from companies like CyberPower with a Core i5 chip and a GTX 1660 Ti. To get that GPU with a Core i7 CPU, expect to pay between $1,300 and $1,400.

For UK buyers, you’ll have to spend around £900 or a little more to find pre-built systems with the Core i5 CPU and the GTX 1660 Ti.

Of course, those pre-built machines will have better cases and motherboards, and most of them will also have faster memory and storage setups. Often, they’ll have more adept Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs, graphics cards with overclocks, and better cooling too.

If you’re interested in those more enthusiast-level features, then it’ll be worth seeking those machines out. However, the Asus is still a solid gaming box, and many people just don’t care about better motherboards and superior case design.

It’s also pleasing to see a big-brand box like the Asus compete well on price – more often than not, systems like the GL10CS are poorer builds with higher prices, and that’s not the case here.

The GL10CS does fall down when it comes to warranty coverage. It has a year-long deal, which is fine and standard – but smaller, local companies tend to offer three years of coverage as standard.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

Gaming Performance

The GTX 1660 Ti inside the Asus ROG Strix GL10CS remains a solid option for 1080p gaming. In our benchmarks it returned 1080p minimum framerates that ranged between 43fps and 89fps. Its averages ran between 56fps and 111fps.

It’s good pace. It means that any current single-player game will run with a playable framerate at 1080p. You’re safe for a couple of years yet too.

The fact that many games saw averages around 100fps also bodes well for esports. You’ll be able to run these less-demanding games on high refresh-rate screens. If you’re playing League of Legends, Fortnite or DOTA on a 144Hz 1080p screen, the GTX 1660 Ti will handle it.

However, the GTX 1660 Ti is a mid-range card, which means it does have limitations. It won’t handle gaming at 1440p particularly well. It won’t play a lot of single-player games at 100fps or beyond – which is no good for 144Hz screens. The GTX 1660 Ti doesn’t have Ray-Tracing or DLSS features. It doesn’t have the power to output to VR headsets or widescreen panels.

The GTX 1660 Ti delivers a small boost over the older GTX 1060. That card was one of the most popular chips of the last generation. Its averages were often around 10fps slower than the GTX 1660 Ti. If you’re buying new, buy a GTX 1660 Ti. If you’ve still got a GTX 1060, an upgrade to the GTX 1660 Ti won’t provide much of a boost. You’ll need to head to the RTX 2060 instead.

The RTX 2060 and the RTX 2060 Super are the next steps up in the Nvidia range. Both are far better than the GTX 1660 Ti. Nvidia’s RTX 2060 is often twenty frames or more ahead of the GTX 1660 Ti. And the RTX 2060 Super is often ten or twenty frames faster again.

If you want to play single-player games at 144Hz, or at 1440p or widescreen resolutions – or with Ray-Tracing – then those two RTX-branded cards are better options. Just look at theoretical tests for evidence. The GTX 1660 Ti scored 13,178 points in 3D Mark Fire Strike, but the RTX 2060 and RTX 2060 Super score around 16,000 and 19,000 points respectively.

Of course, those cards sometimes mean that PCs are more expensive. In the UK you’ll have to spend around £1,100 or £1,200 to get a PC with one of those cards and a Core i5 processor. In the US, you’re looking at more than $1,400 for a Core i7 processor and an RTX 2060-based GPU.

Click here for all of our in-depth graphics card reviews – including the RTX 2060 Super, RTX 2070 Super, RTX 2080 Super and the rest of Nvidia’s Turing range

Application Performance

The Core i5-9400F is a solid processor. Its six cores and decent single-core speeds mean that it’ll handle any 1080p gaming situation without causing a bottleneck.

It’ll also run web-browsers without loads of tabs, and it’ll handle Office applications and photo-editing tools. You’ll be able to run applications like these simultaneously without issue too.

While it’s a good chip, though, US buyers get the Core i7-9700K – and it’s far better for productivity, with significant leads in every benchmark.

The Core i5-9400F also falls behind the Core i5-9600K, which is often included in other machines at this sort of price. That part sits between the Core i5-9400F and Core i7-9700K and offers more pace for trickier work tasks, but it won’t make much of a difference in gaming.

And, similarly, AMD’s chips are better for work, with multi-threading providing a solid boost in tougher applications.

So, when stacked up against the competition, the Core i5-9400F is the slowest chip here – as our benchmarks demonstrate. However, the i5-9400F’s lack of speed won’t hinder 1080p gaming or everyday computing tasks. You should only look for more powerful processors if you’re interested in doing more intensive photo or video work, or if you want to create content or stream your gameplay.

Elsewhere, the Asus is mediocre. The SSD, for instance, has read and right speeds of 1,585MB/s and 909MB/s. That’s fast enough to make this system feel snappy. However, better NVMe drives are twice as quick, so they will deliver better loading and boot times.

The Asus is also too noisy. There’s a reasonable amount of fan noise even when the machine is idling, and the PC is even louder when gaming. Speakers or a headset will mask the noise output, but it’s noticeable and is disappointing when this machine has a reasonably modest specification.

The graphics card doesn’t have particularly quiet fans, the CPU is topped by a generic cooler that makes a consistent whirr, and the exhaust fan is small – so it has to rotate quicker, therefore making more noise.

Head right here for a primer on Ray-Tracing!

Asus ROG Strix GL10CS Review – Conclusion

Asus ROG Strix GL10CS 04The PC in our Asus ROG Strix GL10CS review is not awful, but it does have some issues that mean it’s difficult to recommend for some potential buyers.

Positively, the GTX 1660 Ti is a solid card – it’s perfectly good for 1080p gaming and esports. The Core i5 and i7 CPUs in the UK and US versions are good enough to avoid games bottlenecks and handle everyday computing. The case looks decent, it’s small, and it’s easy enough to stow underneath a desk.

There are numerous downsides, though. The motherboard is basic, the storage middling, the memory is single-channel and the chassis build quality is mediocre. The case lacks features, and the system makes too much noise.

The price is worth examining. If you’re in the UK the Asus is priced competitively against equivalent rivals. That means it makes a decent amount of sense if you want a no-nonsense 1080p gaming box and aren’t fussed about the system’s other missing features. If you’re in the US, though, the price is higher – even with the Core i7 CPU, better core specifications can be had for the same money.

No matter which side of the pond you’re on, though, the Asus ROG Strix GL10CS is a basic gaming box – and nothing more. It’s fine for 1080p gaming, but you can look elsewhere and quickly find far better systems.

The machine in our Asus ROG Strix GL10CS review costs £849 in the UK and $1,399 in the USDiscuss our Asus ROG Strix GL10CS review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our Asus ROG Strix GL10CS review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The Good

  • Solid 1080p gaming power
  • Reasonable Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs
  • Small, attractive case with RGB LEDs
  • Good value – in the UK, at least

The Bad

  • Motherboard, memory and storage disappoint
  • Case has few features and middling build quality
  • Too expensive in the US
  • Too noisy

The Specs

CPU: 2.9GHz Intel Core i5-9400F
Memory: 8GB 2,666MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11ac, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports: 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 2 x USB 2, 1 x HDMI, 3 x audio, 1 x headphone
Storage: 256GB Kingston SSD, 1TB Toshiba hard disk
Warranty: 1yr RTB

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Asus ROG Strix GL10CS

About Author

Mike Jennings

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