It’s finally here: the ASUS ROG G20CB-WS71 review. It’s taken a couple of really, really long days getting this all put together, but I think you’ll find it very helpful if you’re considering buying this computer. If you want a more entertaining version of this review, consider watching the video below:
The ASUS ROG G20CB-WS71 At-a-Glance
Long story short: this thing is beautiful and it packs one hell of a punch for its small form factor and price.
If I were to buy all of the components to build this computer, I would only save $200-$300 (unless I was finding extraordinary discounts or buying used). That would be for a significantly louder, larger, and less attractive gaming rig that would be just as powerful, sure, but not satisfy the requirements I had for size and noise. The beautiful aesthetics are just a bonus.
If I had to pick an Oculus Ready PC all over again, I’d confidently make the same purchase. It’s not as powerful as computers come, but for the price I paid and the virtual reality needs I have (I want something above-average that performs better than minimum recommended specs), I couldn’t be happier. If you have similar needs, I think you’ll be very happy with the purchase too.
The In-Depth ASUS ROG G20CB-WS71 Review
In this review, I’m going to cover all of the following:
- ASUS ROG G20CB-WS71 Specs
- Form Factor
- Noise Level
- PCMark 8 Benchmark Results (overall benchmark)
- SteamVR Compatibility Test Results
- Oculus Compatibility Test Results
- Unigine Heaven 4.0 Benchmark Results (GPU benchmark)
And then wrap up with some final thoughts. Feel free to skim as you see fit:
ASUS ROG G20CB-WS71 Specs
The G20CB-WS71 boasts all of the following specs:
- Intel i7 3.4GHz quad-core processor with hyper threading and boost up to 4.0GHz
- Nvidia GTX 980 GPU with 4GB of RAM
- 16GB of RAM
- 1TB HDD coupled with a 256GB SSD
- 1 x microphone jack (front)
- 1 x headphone jack (front)
- 1 x slim DVD burner (front)
- 4 x USB 3.0 ports (2 front, 2 rear)
- 2 x USB 3.1 ports (rear)
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports (rear)
- 1 x RJ45 LAN input (rear)
- 7.1 audio output (rear)
- 1 x HDMI output (rear)
- 1 x DVI output (rear)
What do all of these specs add up to practically? We’ll talk about that more when we get into the benchmark results.
I don’t think there’s any arguing how beautiful this computer is. With the customizable LED lights across the entire front of the computer, as well as on the bottom towards the rear-half (casting subtle colored light below the computer), it’s just gorgeous.
It really makes an impact. I’m not one for fanboying over the aesthetics of a gaming rig, but it would be difficult to replicate anything this attractive if I had built my own PC.
Form Factor: 10/10
It’s amazing that they packed so much power into such a small PC. It’s approximately 13″ x 14″ x 4″, which to me is just insane. When looking at it, it’s hard to believe they packed so much power into such a small console. But once you pick it up and feel its weight, it’s clear there’s a lot more going on inside than what meets the eye.
Also notice that there aren’t any fans on either side of the computer. Again, this is a look that would have been virtually impossible to replicate had I opted to build my own rig.
One small note: Because of the computer’s small form factor, part of the power supply has been externalized. It’s a brick that measures about 3″ x 6″ x 4″, and is about as aesthetically pleasing as you could hope an external PSU would be.
Noise Level: 9/10
This sucker is quiet. At idle, it whispers at 22dB. Even when it’s on full-blast due to rendering some tough graphics or exporting video, it’s even quieter than my last generation MacBook Pro. That’s saying something, because as anyone that owns an Apple computer knows, they work very hard to make sure they only turn on the fans when they need to, and keep them as quiet as possible.
As I said earlier in this review, if I were to buy all of the components listed under the “specs” section, I’d have only saved about $200-$300. The gaming rig I put together for that price would be running in a low-level case that’s significantly less attractive, sounds like a helicopter landing when strained, and looks like a behemoth next to what ASUS delivered in the ROG G20CB-WS71.
And, as it compares to all of the other “Oculus Ready” computers in the lineup, it’s by far the best value.
The only way you beat this value is some of the insane specials that HP runs on their “Envy” line. But again, those computers are literally twice as large in every dimensions, much louder, and much less attractive than the G20CB-WS71.
Value-wise, it’s pretty hard to beat.
PCMark 8 Benchmark
I got the premium version of PCMark 8 just so I could really put this baby through the ringer.
The hottest the system got at any point in time during this benchmark was 69°C, which is just over 156°F.
The main point I want to focus on from the PCMark 8 test is the “Mainstream Gaming” section – there were two parts.
The first part isn’t quite as intensive, and the G20CB-WS71 absolutely barreled through that portion of the test, averaging about 113 FPS.
During the second, more intensive part of the mainstream gaming test, it unfortunately delivered an average of just over 52 FPS. That’s still pretty decent for standard gaming on a computer monitor, but is it something to worry about regarding you Rift and Vive experience?
No, and I’ll explain why when I talk more about the GPU-specific benchmark below (Unigine Heaven).
SteamVR Compatibility Test
The only way you could score higher on the SteamVR compatibility test would be with a GTX 980ti or greater and a hexa-core i7 processor. As you can see above, fidelity tested as “very high” and at no point did the ASUS ROG G20CB-WS71 drop below 90 FPS.
This is a much more accurate representation of what your virtual reality experience will be like than the PCMark 8’s “mainstream gaming” tests, and also more so than the Unigine Heaven benchmark I’ll go over a couple of sections from now.
Oculus Compatibility Test
The Oculus compatibility check is incredibly simple. As far as I can tell, it basically pings each vital component in your computer to see if it meets their minimum requirements. There isn’t really any benchmarking taking place here that I know of.
In the case of the G20CB-WS71, it passed with flying colors.
Unigine Heaven 4.0 GPU Benchmark
This is where things get interesting, and the point I’ll harp on the most regarding these benchmarks.
Although the maximum FPS achieved by the GTX 980 during this test was 196.2, with an average of 101 FPS overall, the minimum FPS hit during the test was 30.1… eek!
On paper, that looks a bit scary considering all VR games and apps need to operate at a minimum of 90 FPS. But there are a few things to keep in mind, which basically amount to not worrying about this at all.
Firstly, I didn’t run the default settings for the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark. I turned quality up to “ultra” and tessellation up to “moderate” because I wanted to put a little strain on the GPU and see how it did.
Secondly (and finally; this was a short list), you have to remember that developers are required to achieve 90 FPS on a GTX 970 and an i5 processor. This guarantees that the ASUS ROG G20CB-WS71 will surpass 90 FPS on the Rift and Vive, and render a higher quality virtual reality experience than someone that sprung for the bare minimum, recommended specs.
Conclusion: The Best Value of the “Oculus Ready” Lineup
Overall, I don’t think anybody could objectively rate this computer below an 8.5 or 9 for the price.
It’s beautiful, it’s compact, it’s quiet, it’s a great value, and it’s more than powerful enough to deliver an above-average virtual reality experience on the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. What more could anyone want out of a virtual reality computer?
Questions? Comments? Please Leave Them Below!
If you have questions that you couldn’t find the answer to in the review above, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! I’ll make sure to get back to you personally within the next 24 hours.
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