Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004
Editors' note: This review is part of our 2009 Retail Laptop and Desktop Holiday Roundup, which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.
The Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004 bears a striking resemblance to a young teenager trying too hard. With its oversized, canted case, it's easy to mistakenly place it in the same category as aggressive gaming PCs like Falcon's Northwest Talon. In this case, appearances can be deceiving. If you can get past the massive first impression, the $650 CG5270-BP004 is a moderately priced desktop that will satisfy shoppers who will take advantage of its midlevel performance and features.
The Essentio CG5270-BP004 is Asus' latest midrange retail offering. We reviewed the Essentio CM5570-AP003 recently as well, but the big difference between the two isn't underneath the hood, so much as in the body. Although the components for this system would certainly fit in the smaller case, Asus goes with a much larger design also featured on the Asus Essentio CG5270-BP003. The CG5270-BP004's large, slanted faceplate juts out at the bottom and the marbleized finish gives off a cold, business-only feel that might deter users shopping for an unassuming PC for the home.
By elevating the front section of the case, Asus has provided additional ventilation and room for another fan. The larger case gives you lots of space inside to play around and expand, but with no second graphics card slot, this system's size suggests more capability than it really has. We don't necessarily mind the idea of a poseur gaming PC, as long as you know going in that you'd need to completely overhaul the components to get this system's performance to match its appearance.
|Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004||HP Pavilion P6230y|
|CPU||2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300||2.6GHz AMD Phenom II X4 810|
|Memory||8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM||8GB 800MHz DDR3 SDRAM|
|Graphics||32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip||256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip|
|Hard drives||1TB, 7,200rpm||750GB, 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN||802.11 a/b/g/n wireless, 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
The Asus has a feature set similar to that of the HP Pavilion P6230y, but the HP's AMD chip is easily outdone by Asus' Intel quad-core CPU in three out of the four benchmark tests. For $30 less than the HP, Asus also offers more storage room to offset the lack of built-in wireless, which can be easily had thanks to the Asus' ample expansion space.
Asus is no slouch with the connectivity and external storage options, either. This system gives you a media card reader, audio jacks, and a handful of USB ports behind the top panel on the front, and around back you'll find more USB ports, 7.1 analog audio, and an Ethernet port. An integrated Intel GMA 4500 chip handles the system's video needs and the back features DVI, VGA, and HDMI outputs to handle a wide spread of displays.
|Rendering multiple CPUs||Rendering single CPU|
The Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004 easily trounces the HP Pavilion P6230 in most of the application benchmarks, with the exception of the Cinebench test that leans in favor of the Pavilion's faster clock speed. The only system that outguns the Essentio is the ZT Affinity 7334Ma, which has a more aggressive 3GHz AMD quad-core CPU, but also a higher price tag than the Asus, at about $800.
Asus also supplies you with an extra graphics card slot if you want to add a 3D card, along with two standard PCI slots, and a 1x PCI Express slot. We should also point out that all four RAM slots are currently occupied, so any future memory upgrades will likely require you to replace the current RAM. You also have the option to add another hard drive through the expansion bay hidden below the media card reader.
|Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004|
|Raw (annual kWh)||250.67178|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$28.45|
The chart above shows approximately how much it will cost to run the Essentio CG5270-BP004 for a full year. Asus comes in right in the middle of the pack at $28.45, not as expensive as the ZT Affinity 7334Ma or the Gateway DX4300-11, but still just over the cutoff for Energy Star certification. Still, although it doesn't merit a power-friendly badge, we expect most of you will find the extra $2.37 per month required to operate this system negligible.
Asus is fairly new in the desktop market, but that doesn't make it exempt from offering customer support on par with the rest of the industry. Unfortunately, its Web site and phone support are severely lacking. You only get a single year of parts and labor warranty coverage, and we found few relevant support results in a simple online search. The limited phone hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT on weekdays don't help its cause, either, when most of its off-the-shelf competition offers 24-7 phone support.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
System configurations :
Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.5GHz AMD Phenom II X4 805; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3200 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
HP Pavilion P6230y
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.6 GHz AMD Phenom II X4 810; 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip; 750GB, 7200rpm hard drive
ZT Group Affinity 7334Ma
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (SP2); 3GHz AMD Phenom II X4 945 Quad Core ; 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 384MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200 rpm Seagate hard drive