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Asus ET2300INTI all-in-one PC review: Asus all-in-one gets Thunderbolt, WiDi support

Asus includes almost every feature it can find in the ET2300INTI, a new, 23-inch, Windows 8 touch-screen all-in-one.

Rich Brown
Rich Brown Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness

Rich is the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, KY. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D-printing to Z-Wave smart locks.

Expertise Smart home, Windows PCs, cooking (sometimes), woodworking tools (getting there...)
6 min read

The Asus ET2300INTI presents a robust alternative to the dainty Vizio CA24T-A4 all-in-one. Where Vizio pared away features for the sake of a low-profile appearance, Asus has taken an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach with its midrange Windows 8 all-in-one. Even if not everyone will want the Asus' more outlandish features, like Thunderbolt ports or Intel Wireless Display technology, this $1,299 PC is a better value than the Vizio system overall, and I'd be more likely to recommend it as a touch-screen desktop for this price range.

ASUS All-in-One PC ET2300INTI - Core i5 3330 3 GHz : LED 23"

Asus ET2300INTI all-in-one PC

The Good

Extra features like Thunderbolt ports and Intel Wireless Display technology bolster the strong core components of the touch-screen <b>Asus ET2300INTI</b> all-in-one PC.

The Bad

Commodity PC styling won't win this Asus system any design awards.

The Bottom Line

It's not the most attractive PC out there, but the Asus ET2300INTI has a broad array of features that will entice those looking for a mainstream Windows 8 all-in-one.

Neither system sets a new standard for PC design, but Asus for the most part does not appear to be chasing after a particular aesthetic with the ET2300INTI. Where Vizio is trying to present a minimalist, anticomputer vibe, the brushed-aluminum-and-black-plastic Asus system simply looks like yet another take on commodity PC design.

If its appearance isn't remarkable, the ET2300INTI can at least say that it has a more touch-friendly design. The adjustable support arm on the Asus system lets you lay the monitor in tabletop mode. It's not quite as incrementally adjustable as I'd like -- the design of the arm is such that even tilting the screen back a few degrees also lowers the display vertically. It's still more flexible than the Vizio system, for which you can't recline the display more than about 35 degrees. The Asus' touch screen also felt more responsive.

Asus ET2300INTI Vizio CA24T-A4
Price $1,299 $1,249
Display size/resolution 23-inch, 1,920x1,080 pixels 24-inch, 1,920x1,080 pixels
CPU 3.0GHz Intel Core i5-3330 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3210M
Memory 8GB 1,333MHZ DDR3 SDRAM 6GB 1,333MHZ DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT630M 32MB Intel HD Graphics 4000
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200rpm 1TB, 5,400rpm
Optical drive Dual-layer DVD burner None
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Operating system Windows 8 (64-bit) Windows 8 (64-bit)

Asus went all-out in terms of equipping the ET2300INTI with up-to-date features, but it comes out looking better than the Vizio system even before we delve into the nonstandard core computing specs. The desktop CPU in the Asus provides a big advantage over the Vizio's mobile chip. Asus also includes more system memory, a full-speed hard drive, and a discrete graphics card, all of which are better than their equivalent parts in the Vizio system.

You can probably consider a Blu-ray drive the left-out "kitchen sink" in this Asus configuration. Whether you will appreciate the DVD burner you get instead is debatable, but it's hard to blame Vizio for leaving out an optical drive entirely. The Asus' DVD burner certainly doesn't hurt, but that feature is becoming less important by the day.

Aside from its core specs, Asus has added two features you won't find in many Windows PCs: Thunderbolt ports and an Intel Wireless Display adapter.

The Thunderbolt ports worked easily enough, extending the display over a single cable connected to an Apple Thunderbolt Cinema Display. We don't have any other Thunderbolt devices on hand to test, which perhaps points to the larger question: will the likely buyers of this PC also want Thunderbolt? I suspect that they will not, but including Thunderbolt at least gives Asus a point of check-box parity with Apple's newer iMac.

The Wireless Display (WiDi) tech is arguably more in keeping with the needs of the mainstream consumer who might want this Asus system, although that also has some big caveats. The Intel-driven tech has always been more of an experiment than a killer feature. The idea is that it transmits your PC's video signal directly to a television or some other display equipped with a WiDi receiver. Some newer, more expensive TVs have WiDi receivers built in. Otherwise you can buy a standalone WiDi receiver for $100 or so.

Asus includes no WiDi receiver with the ET2300INTI, so you need to bring your own. Even then, you may not have luck making a connection. I tried connecting to a WiDi-equipped TV from LG, and an error message popped up on the Asus system informing me that the LG's adapter was not compatible with Windows 8. A fix could be a mere firmware update away, although the most recent update, from mid-November, was apparently not good enough.

Even if WiDi never worked, or if it wasn't included to begin with, I don't believe many people would miss it due to poor image quality under even the best conditions. With WiDi or no, the Asus still has strong features for its price.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking (iTunes and QuickTime; in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking (iTunes and Handbrake; in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Asus ET2300INTI (3.0GHz Core i5, November 2012)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
Asus ET2300INTI (3.0GHz Core i5, November 2012)

I expect HP, Dell, and other PC vendors will field competitive Windows 8 all-in-ones in this price range before the end of the year. Of the upper-midrange all-in-ones we've tested, the Asus comes out looking like a stellar performer. Its multitasking times in particular are dramatically faster than those of its competition, which speaks well for this system's capabilities as a media file manipulator.

The budget graphics card will provide acceptable gaming performance, although you will readily find its limits with overly aggressive image quality settings. I would also expect this system will show strain under more demanding tasks like HD video editing or professional-level 3D graphics rendering. Then again, if you're serious about those kinds of tasks, chances are you aren't looking for a PC like this one. For everyone else, the Asus ET2300INTI should offer plenty of computing horsepower.

Rounding out the ET2300INTI, Asus includes HDMI-in, HDMI-out, and six USB 3.0 ports, all of which are becoming increasingly common in mainstream all-in-one PCs. You also get S/PDIF audio out, an SD card jack, an eSATA input, and a port for an included mini subwoofer. As with any cheap sub, the fidelity from the Asus unit falls apart at higher volumes. It adds a minor boost to audio depth, but not enough to satisfy anyone that's serious about sound quality.

For better or for worse, the Asus ET2300INTI does not represent a huge upheaval in the way the company sells computers. This system offers respectable core components and a few interesting extras in a serviceable, if unremarkable, chassis. I suspect many PC traditionalists will prefer a system like this one to the slimmed-down, feature-light Vizio. Is it too much to ask that someone merge the two philosophies to create a good-looking, feature-rich Windows all-in-one?

Performance testing conducted by Joseph Kaminski. Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations
Asus ET2300INTI
Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit); 3.0GHz Intel Core i5-3330; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive

HP Omni 27 Quad
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2400S; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB Intel HD Graphics 1000 (embedded); 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive

Vizio CA24T-A4
Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3210M; 6GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 32MB Intel HD Graphics 4000 (embedded); 1TB 5,400rpm hard drive

Vizio CA27
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3210M; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive

ASUS All-in-One PC ET2300INTI - Core i5 3330 3 GHz : LED 23"

Asus ET2300INTI all-in-one PC

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 8Performance 7Support 7
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