It seems that mini-PCs are all the rage at the moment, with Intel and Nvidia’s latest products allowing PC builders to fit more powerful components into smaller cases thanks to their increased energy efficiency. The Asus ROG GR8 II is the latest, and measures smaller than a standard PS4 console, with an interior capacity of just four litres.
Unfortunately you won’t be able to lay it horizontally under your TV, as it’s designed to stand upright. You could lay it down but this will play havoc with the specially designed cooling system, which sucks in cool air from the bottom and expels it from the top and rear. Even when in an upright position it’s still rather noisy, peaking out at 51dB while playing Grid Autosport.
The chassis is built entirely from plastic, and has the standard twin USB and mic in/headphone out ports on the front. At the rear you’ll find another three USB Type C ports; twin USB 3.0 and one 3.1. There’s also the obligatory USB 3.1 Type C connector found on most motherboards, but the twin HDMI 2.0 ports are a nice surprise. There’s also DP 1.4 if you’d prefer. A single Gigabit Ethernet port provides cabled connectivity, while the built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi is ready for your wireless network.
Residing inside is a relatively potent combination of hardware. Intel’s new 7th Gen Core i7-7700 CPU has four HyperThreaded enabled cores, which crank up to a beefy 4.2GHz, all while maxing out at a mere 65W TDP. This is slight overkill when compared to the GPU though, which is a custom Asus GeForce GTX 1060. We saw this issue recently with an MSI pre-built system, where we’d much prefer a slightly slower CPU in return for a GeForce GTX 1070 GPU. 16GB of DDR4 memory comes as standard, while the 256GB M.2 SSD is rather piddling for a system of this price. As our benchmarks indicate, this machine is fine for 1080p gaming, and even 1440p on older titles. However, don’t even think about trying 4K; as you can see from our Shadow of Mordor benchmark it slowed to a crawl.
It’s nice to see such a small PC delivering respectable performance, but it is rather expensive when you compare it to a DIY build in a bigger case. It’s also rather noisy, which will be annoying in a living room environment, where headphones aren’t likely to be used. Ultimately your decision to purchase will come down to the small size and whether or not you’d rather build your own.