The CM5570-AP003's rear panel has a sufficient amount of connections on the motherboard to give you the option to put it in the living room as a media center PC. You get six more USB ports, digital audio out, Ethernet port, and a single PS/2 port for a mouse in addition to HDMI, DVI, and VGA ports to connect the system to a monitor. We were impressed by the amount of inputs on the Gateway, but the Asus actually offers DVI in addition to VGA and HDMI ports to connect the system to a variety of displays. HDMI isn't crucial in a midtower, especially a clunky one like this, but we'd always rather have the option than not.
While the Gateway SX2700-01's slim tower form offers limited expansion room inside, the Asus Essentio CM5570-AP003 makes it much easier to upgrade because of its larger case. The motherboard has room for a single 16x PCI Express graphics card as well as a pair of standard PCI card and a 1X PCI Express card for wireless networking. You can also add an extra hard drive and another optical disc drive, but future memory upgrades will require you to throw away at least one memory card, as all four slots are currently occupied.
|Raw (annual kWh)||208.27776|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$23.64|
The Essentio CM5570-AP003 doesn't perform quite as well in our power tests, meaning you'll have to pay more per year to keep this PC running. The cost comparison below drives the point further in favor of the Gateway SX2800-01, which requires less power to operate at a faster performance rate than the Asus. The $2 difference per year isn't that big of a deal, but it's clear that the Essentio is not as efficient as it could be.
Asus falls short once again in customer service support. The Essentio is backed for a full year, but its phone support is limited to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, and only from Monday to Friday. And even though Asus includes links on the Windows desktop to its support page, even that only gets you as far as its woefully underdeveloped drop-down menu-based help site. HP and Gateway (along with pretty much every other PC vendor) both offer much more robust online assistance.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Asus Essentio CM5570-AP003
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB Intel MGA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 750GB, 7200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7200rpm hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.6 GHz Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Intel GMZ 3100 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7200rpm hard drive