It’s a compact gaming desktop like no other
It’s hard to justify buying a pre-built desktop nowadays, especially when it’s ridiculously easy to build your own for cheap. Companies like ASUS try to sweeten the pot by adding better support, warranties and a ton of unique features in their machines to warrant a purchase from hardcore gamers. The ROG Huracan G21 is one such machine, and while it’s definitely pricey ASUS made sure that it has plenty of features that even the veteran PC builder would want.
What is it?
The ASUS ROG Huracan G21 is a pre-built gaming machine aimed at people who want top-tier PC performance without actually assembling it themselves. It’s a relatively compact machine considering what’s in it and unlike most pre-built systems, is easy to upgrade if you feel the need to add new hardware as its released (like NVIDIA’s new RTX 2080 Ti).
That’s a funky design. Does it actually do anything?
Yup – like most of the other ROG gaming desktops, the G21 has incorporated a few visual and functional gimmicks in its design. The sharp-angled, irregular shape of the G21 is Mayan-inspired, just like ASUS’ other top-tier ROG desktops that came before it.
The G21 certainly nails the gamer aesthetic. There’s two asymmetric lights on the front that uses ASUS’ Aura lighting technology, so it’ll sync with any peripheral or accessory that uses the same standard. The shorter side of the system has ROG’s trademark eye logo on it and is a hard plastic cover, while the other side has a textured, rubberized cover that can be folded to reveal the internals.
Once you tear away that side cover (which magnetizes to the chassis to keep things nice and neat) you’re treated to a great view of the G21’s internals. Aside from providing you eye candy, folding the cover like that gives the desktop 16 percent more airflow as well as lowers temperature by up to 15%. It also kicks the fans up a notch to provide the best thermal solution possible. Think of it as an overdrive switch when you’re playing games.
There’s plenty of ports on the back as well as the front so you can plug in all manner of accessories into the G21.
The desktop comes with two power bricks – one for the system itself and one to power the GPU.
Can I upgrade it though?
Absolutely. One of the biggest problems with pre-built systems is the fact that you’re usually out of luck once the hardware inside of them become obsolete. Well, that’s not really an issue with the Huracan G21, as ASUS made it ridiculously easy to swap out parts to upgrade (if the stuff inside wasn’t ridiculously high-level enough).
There’s an easily accessible slot on the top to hot-swap 2.5-inch SSDs. Both side panels open easily to give you acess to RAM, storage as well as the GPU. You can’t put in two GPUs since the overall space is just 17 liters, but even big-booty GPUs like the GTX 1080 Ti will fit inside the G21’s insides.
What else can I expect from the G21?
ASUS’ cooling solution is somewhat unique, as it doesn’t just crank up fan speed to the max. Since you’re opening up the chassis to more air, you’re getting a cooler machine even if you’re gaming or editing – just be aware you’ll be hearing more fan noise as the RPM of the coolers increase.
For audio lovers, ASUS included an ESS Sabre DAC and amplifier that has a 32-bit/384kHz audio capability, as well as their Sonic Studio III audio suite to tweak audio. Speaking of, the G21 also has complimentary ASUS software in it as well including AEGIS III that monitors overall system temps and status, AURA software to control lighting and Gamefirst V which prioritizes data. The G21 also comes with XSplit GameCaster, which helps immensely with streaming if you’re into that.
What’s the internals like?
Pretty impressive. While the G21 comes in a variety of configurations, our particular review unit came with an Intel Core i7-8700 processor, 16GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 1080. 512GB of SSD storage and 1TB of HDD storage.
Side flap closed
Side flap open
That little flap on the side acts like an overclocking button, as we did see a small increase in our synthetic benchmark scores when we folded it vs. keeping the chassis closed.
That hardware combo is pretty formidable, as it’s able to run most AAA games smoothly at 60FPS using a 4K monitor. Our setup during the test was a 24-inch 3440 x 1440 panel – not 4K, but certainly enough to give the G21 a workout.
Is it worth buying?
That’s a hard question to answer because most people won’t willingly drop Php 139,995/$2,618 on a desktop system like the Huracan G21 that we reviewed when they could very easily build their own custom gaming system with similar hardware for less.
But practicality has never been the appeal with ASUS’ high-end gaming products, as they’re marketed towards people who want the very best from the very best. And the G21 does deliver best in class performance, and unlike other pre-built, compact gaming PCs, you can actually upgrade the hardware if you need to. Besides, you can opt for the lower-spec version at Php 119,995/$2,244 that swaps out the GTX 1080 for the GTX 1070 and the 512GB SSD for a 256GB one.
The ROG Huracan G21 isn’t for everyone, but for the people that can afford it, it’s one of the best options in the market if you’re looking for a high-end, pre-built gaming desktop.
ASUS ROG Huracan G21 specs
- Intel Core i7-8700 processor, 3.2GHz (12M cache, up to 4.6GHz)
- 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 2666MHz
- NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU, 8GB of VRAM
- 3.5HDD 1TB 7200RPM storage
- M.2 SSD 512GB SATA
- Windows 10