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ASUS ROG Tytan CG8890: a beast of a system

This desktop PC looks very impressive and performs likewise

ASUS pulled out all the stops for this PC. Its imposing look matches the impressive hardware inside. And then there is the special 'speed' button on top of the chassis. Press that, and the case literally starts moving. Sides will open up, fans will appear, blue lights turn red, and all that's missing is that trademark Transformer sound. The computer then also engages a turbo mode. It's a sight to behold.

When you're in need of a new desktop PC you can choose to assemble it on your, have someone else do it according to your specifications, or you can get a pre-assembled system. In that case you never know if the best choices were made with each component. When you assemble your own system, or have someone do it for you, ASUS is one of the standard choices for components. The manufacturer has recently started to sell complete desktop PCs, in addition to their all-in-ones, laptops and tablets. The high-end model is called the  ASUS ROG Tytan CG8890, available for around £3,650. See also: Group test: What's the best business PC?

That's a lot of money, but ASUS did pull out the stops for this system. Its imposing look matches the impressive hardware inside. And then there is the special 'speed' button on top of the chassis. Press that, and the case literally starts moving. Sides will open up, fans will appear, blue lights turn red, and all that's missing is that trademark Transformer sound. The computer also engages a turbo mode. It's a sight to behold. See also: Group test: What's the best media centre PC?

We had been a bit worried about receiving a system that looks like a body builder on the outside, but inside was more akin to Popeye before the spinach. Fortunately we were reassured by the system specs, including an Intel Core i7-3960X, 16 GB of RAM from four GSkill DDR3-2133 Ripjaw Z (CL10-12-12-31, 1,65 volt) modules.

For the motherboard ASUS picked one of its own, built around the X79 chipset with Socket 2011. They used the Rampage IV Formula. The processor is kept cool by means of a Water 2.0 water cooling set from Thermaltake. It's a pre-assembled set that you can mount on the processor right-away without needing to add water. The system runs on a 900-watt PSU. It's too bad it's not modular, because that does affect the cable management.

It's also a bit of shame that the chassis is just constructed out of steel and not painted black. It might look daunting from the outside, but not so much inside. We also noticed that the power supply actually doesn't have enough connectors, so ASUS had to get creative and use adapters. A total of 10 fans are built in, two in the chassis, two in the rear panel, and three in each side panel. The water cooler has an extra thick 12 cm fan.

Most of the expansion slots were already occupied. There's a large graphics card, and a Xonar Phoebus audio card based on a Realtek ALC898 chip. ASUS included the matching break-out box with audio ports and volume control. The other expansion card is an 802.11n WiFi card.

A mammoth system like this of course needs the appropriate amount and type of storage, and ASUS doesn't disappoint, with two SSDs and a hard disk. The hard disk is a Seagate 2 TB ST2000DM001 7200 rpm hard drive, supported by two Sandisk 128 GB U100s in RAID0. It's a little disappointing the ASUS used exactly those SSDs, like in the Zenbooks, but at least they're connected to the SATA600 ports.

The Tytan comes with a Lite-On Blu-ray burner and a covered bracket where you can fit a 3.5-inch disk. There are another two vacant 3.5-inch trays, and above the disk section there is room for an extra 3.5-inch disk. It's also possible to fit a 5.25-inch disk. ASUS included card readers for CompactFlash, MemoryStick and SD. The tray for the hard disk, the Blu-ray burner and the memory card reader are not accessible when the front panel is shut.

The top edge of the cabinet has four USB ports, two of which are USB 3.0. On the back you'll find four USB 3.0, six USB 2.0, PS/2, two eSATA and a gigabit port. ASUS also included the handy ROG Connect software. With a female-female USB cable you can connect your laptop to the motherboard and then use the software to overclock your laptop.

The rest of this review you can read on Hardware.Info.

ASUS ROG Tytan CG8890

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