Desktop Systems Guide
ASUS Essentio CG8250 Preview
Gaming Rig in An Instant
Showcased a couple of months back, the most noticeable design aspect of the ASUS Essentio CG8250 is its sloping facade, which is achieved by making the bezel lift the front portion of the chassis and let the cool air enter from below. The bezel is made of anodized aluminum with brushed finish that goes together with the chassis’ matte-black exterior. Additional cooling is achieved through the air vents located on the sides of the chassis where unwanted heat passes through. In its entirety, the Essentio CG8250’s chassis measures 530 x 460 x 206mm and weighs 13kg.
The bezel discreetly hides the ports and drive bays that are located in front of the Essentio CG8250. Occupying the topmost portion are the individual card reader slots for Memory Stick, SD, and CF cards. These are useful for photographers and other professional who are into the field of content creation. Along with the card reader slots are the headphone and microphone connectors, as well as a set of four USB ports. The two other compartments are intended for optical drives, one is already occupied by a DVD burner whereas the other is left vacant.
Inspecting the rear side of the Essentio CG8250’s chassis, it has additional air vent for cooling. A closer look at them, it is noticeable that the perforations took the shape of a honeycomb. In aerodynamics, this shape facilitates in regulating air flow and reducing noise released by an active cooling fan. Below the air vent, there are the four slots for expansion cards which are secured with a screwed latch. The Essentio CG8250 does not employ thumbscrews and it simply uses basic screws. Although it is understood that the potential users of the Essentio CG8250 are those who are not into frequently fiddling with their machine’s innards, those who are finicky have the freedom to replace the simple screws with thumbscrews if necessary.
Based on today’s convention, the set of connectors on the back of the Essentio CG8250 is pretty straightforward. It comes with a PS/2 keyboard-mouse combo port, six USB ports (two are compliant with USB 3.0 standard), and a Gigabit Ethernet. For graphics output, the rig has an HDMI, DVI, and a legacy VGA, which are complemented with an optical S/PDIF and 8-channel connectors for audio.
Inside, the Essentio CG8250 has a conventional arrangement. Cables are organized with the help of plastic straps. The chassis houses two internal bays for 3.5-inch drives, one is already fitted with a 1TB hard drive. We also spotted a set of protrusions that works as a bay for 2.5-inch drives like an SSD. Below the drive bays, we found another air vent with honeycomb-shaped holes and this is where the air from the outside passes through. Power distribution is managed by a 400W Delta GPS-400BB-A PSU.
An Intel-based desktop PC, the Essentio CG8250 employs a Socket 1155 motherboard, the P8H67-M Pro which is designed for second generation Intel Core processors. In the case of the Essentio CG8250, it uses a Core i7-2600 CPU clocked at 3.4GHz. The board used in the machine is quite different from the retail version of the P8H67-M Pro. Some variations include the lack of a VRM heatsink near the CPU socket and less number of SATA connectors (five against six). Only two of the SATA connectors of the Essentio CG8250 run on 6Gbps speed. The board can support up to 32GB DDR3 RAM with its four DIMM slots, two of which are already occupied by a pair of 4GB DDR3 modules. The lower portion of the board has two PCIe x 16 slots: a blue-colored one that runs in x16 mode for a graphics card and another black in x4 mode. Sitting between the PCIes are two PCI slots.
In addition to the onboard graphics output bestowed by the P8H67-M Pro, another set of HDMI, DVI, and VGA are provided by an NVIDIA GeForce GT 530 graphics card. The Essentio CG8250 can support up to 4TB hard drive but our unit comes only with 1TB model pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Premium.
The basic configuration of the Essentio CG8250 costs PhP 62,995 (bundled with a wireless keyboard and mouse) which is obviously more expensive than a generic type assembled in a computer store. However, for those who are fastidious when it comes to quality and reliability, pricing is simply a second priority. A pre-built system like the Essentio CG8250 is also recommendable for those who are not willing to go through the time-consuming task of planning and building their own gaming rig.