The Good Impressive performance and features for price; neat interior welcomes future upgrades.
The Bad Not as fast as a $450 Gateway slim tower; power efficiency needs improvement; subpar online support.
The Bottom Line At a glance, the Asus Essentio CM5570-AP003 offers adequate performance compared with other midtower budget desktops, but an older Gateway outshines Asus with faster performance and more versatility for a little more, leaving us unenthusiastic about this system.
Asus Essentio CM5570-AP003
Editors' note: This review is part of our, which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.
The $480 Asus Essentio CM5570-AP003 is a stripped-down version of the CM5570-AP006 we reviewed in July. It uses the same basic tower but replaces the AP006's graphics card and quad-core CPU with an integrated video chip and a dual-core processor. The new model gave adequate performance, but it still doesn't compare to our reigning budget champion, the Gateway SX2800-01. It's hard to recommend this desktop when it's outperformed by an older, less expensive competitor.
If the design of the Essentio CM5570-AP003 looks familiar, it's because it uses the same tower as the Essentio CM5570-AP006 and the CM5570-AP002. The plain, glossy black face and spacious interior are typical for a midtower in this price range, and nothing really innovative jumps out, although there are a couple USB ports, audio jacks, and a media card reader hidden behind a drop-down faceplate on the front of the case.
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