ASUS ROG Strix GL12 Review: No Brainer Gaming Tower, For A Price

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It’s a fully decked-out gaming tower that demolishes any game out there

If you have a large amount of cash lying around somewhere and want a gaming PC that’s fully decked-out for AAA gaming but don’t want to build it yourself, then you’re exactly the person that ASUS built their ROG Strix GL12 for. This monstrous gaming tower has all the bells and whistles that any red-blooded PC gamer can want, though its price is not for the faint of heart.

What is it?

THe ROG Strix GL12 is the latest offering of the Taiwanese company in their pre-built, gaming desktop line. While the previously reviewed ROG G21 Huracan is a compact machine built for smaller spaces, the G12 is a more traditional tower design.

It looks pretty intimidating.

Yup, and while it does have a few Aura RGB LED strips, the desktop manages to deliver a sort of understated elegance in its design while still looking badass AF without being decked out with more multi-colored lights than a Christmas tree.

There are multiple air intakes and exhaust ports on the desktop, but thanks to the clever design they’re not immediately apparent until you start looking real close.

There’s plenty of ports and plugs on the front and the rear. Four USB ports (2 x USB 3.1, 2 x USB 2.0) plus an SD card slot and 3.5mm jack are on the front, while there are 8 USB ports (2x USB 2.0 Type-A, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 4x USB 3.1 Gen) are on the rear, along with the requisite ethernet port, optical S/PDIF as well as audio ports.

There’s a slick magnetic cover in the front that can be removed to reveal a DVD drive (yes, a DVD drive in the year of our Lord 2018) as well as a 2.5-inch, hot-swappable drive bay.

ASUS includes two side panels for the chassis: a black metal case and a transparent, smoked black one to show off the internals. We don’t know why’d you’d want the metal case as the internals of the PC also use RGB lighting, which obviously can’t be seen with the metal side.

Is that a liquid cooling system?

Yes. ASUS has included a custom liquid cooling system to keep the Intel Core i7-8700K cool and to allow you to overclock it without worrying if the cooling solution on the machine can keep up.

Unfortunately only the CPU is liquid cooled, so you’ll have to figure out a solution for the GPU if you want to apply a similar cooling method.

Speaking of cooling, air that circulates in the desktop is kept isolated from motherboard-attached components and the PSU storage area, which should avoid the problem of recycling hot air into the whole chassis.

For its size, the GL12 is around 27 liters overall, making it a bit more compact than other desktops that have similar capacities.

The power supply produces around 700 watts, which is more than enough for most high-end configurations nowadays.

ASUS also added premium sound chops to the machine via the ALC1150 codec, paired with premium Nichicon audio capacitors: Japanese-made components that are designed especially for audio, producing a warmer, natural sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity.

Are the insides as badass as the outside?

Absolutely. We mentioned before that our review unit came with a liquid-cooled, Intel Core i7-8700K processor running at 4.3GHz. That’s paired with 16GB of DDR4 2666MHz RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU and a 256GB M.2 SSD along with a 1TB HDD drive.

Interestingly, ASUS added a cross-brace for the GPU to avoid sagging, and to keep the expensive component from being bent or damaged during transport of the tower.

Obviously, with hardware like that, the GL12 is capable of very high benchmarks and framerates. Take note that in-game benchmarks were taken with the graphics settings maxed out, and the resolution set to full HD (1920 x 1080).

Just like any pre-built system (or any ROG-branded notebook) the GL12 comes with several pre-installed apps to manage and maximize the device’s performance.

AEGIS III is the central control station that allows you to quickly keep track of the desktop’s temperature and other metrics. It also allows you to quickly overclock the processor from 4.5GHz to 4.8GHz with a simple press of a button.

Sounds like it’s just awesome all around.

Well, not quite. Aside from the obvious price concern that we’ll tackle a bit later, there are a few things we don’t like about the GL. There’s a bunch of pre-installed bloatware we don’t particularly care that comes with the machine, something that ASUS still includes with their notebooks and desktops.

We also kind of expected a tempered glass side instead of the acrylic one, considering the amount of money you’re dropping for the GL12. There’s also that cheesy line “Concealed in darkness/Lethal in Battle” at the bottom of the acrylic case that makes us cringe so hard. So, so hard.

Should you buy it?

At Php 129,995/$2,409, the GL12 isn’t cheap. And before you type it in the comments, yes, we realize you can build a similarly-specc’d gaming machine for cheaper but like we said in our Huracan review, that’s beside the point.

ASUS is appealing to a very distinct portion of gamers that want a pre-built machine with plenty of power, made with top-tier components and housed in a very distinct chassis and they’ve achieved that with the GL12.

As is the case for most of their pre-built machines, the GL12 is a niche product aimed at a very thin slice of enthusiasts that have both the money and the appreciation for the ROG name.

ASUS ROG Huracan G21
  • Intel Core i7-8700 processor, 4.3GHz (12M cache, up to 4.8GHz)
  • 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 2666MHz
  • NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU, 8GB of VRAM
  • 3.5HDD 1TB 7200RPM storage
  • M.2 SSD 256GB SATA
  • Windows 10

(unbox.ph, https://bit.ly/2ply64F)

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