Photos and Features
Asus went with a really interesting design for the GR8. As expected it has a black and red ROG theme. The PC itself is about 10 inches deep and 10 inches tall with the design angling back so the rear is shorter than the front. The rear of the GR8 is wider than the front with it reaching a max width of around two inches but the front is thinner giving it an even thinner look. They summed up the angular design that all ROG products have in this one device. Asus calls this a Console PC and frankly it is a lot smaller than most consoles, it is closest to the Wii in size though.
Looking at the top of the GR8 we can better see how it gets wider towards the rear of the PC. We can also see a small vent up top. This is actually where the exhaust fan is located. They pull air in from the front and from the bottom of the GR8 and push it right out the top for the most efficient cooling. This is especially nice if you have it packed back in a corner, the heat is pushed up and away.
Down at the bottom on the front we have two USB 2.0 ports along with the headphone and microphone jacks. If you look closely you can see the gaps on both the left and right side of the front where the GR8 pulls its cool air in from as well.
Up top on the front of the GR8 we have two buttons. The top button is the power button. It has a LED backlit power indicator as well that will let you know if your PC is powered up or in standby. The smaller button below the power button is a Miracast Receiver button. Miracast is basically HDMI over WiFi that can send up to 1080p and 5.1 Surround Sound.
The back of the PC is filled with the rear I/O panel. Here we have (starting from the top) a hard drive status indicator right at the top edge. Below that we have our audio jacks as well as a S/PDIF optical out. Next we have our display connections, the GR8 gives you an HDMI and a Displayport. Then we have the Intel Gigabit NIC. Below that you get four USB 3.0 ports. Then the 19V DC-IN for the power. Last but not least, down at the bottom we have a small slide lock that locks the side panel.
The bottom of the GR8 has a small sticker with all of the normal required logos as well as the serial number/model number for any potential future issues. There are also two intake vents here as well. The way the GR8 is designed, the two sides of the case are the feet and this keeps the center up off of the table to give room for ventilation.
Now like I mentioned before there is a small lock on the rear of the GR8 that unlocks or locks the side panel. This is because you can actually remove the side panel and get into the PC for upgrades. Specifically there is a tray for a second 2.5 inch drive and much like a laptop you can pop a panel off and get at your RAM for an upgrade. I did find it interesting that our sample only has the one DDR3 8GB stick, I figured they would have gone dual channel with two 4GB sticks.
So as most of you know I have been known to build tiny high end rigs for LAN use. Well with the GR8 being so small I just had to bust out the Lunchbox 3 and see how small it was compared to it. In the end the GR8 is about a 1/3 of the size as our Lunchbox 3 build. With height and depth it was about the same but the GR8 is just a lot thinner. Not having a power supply built in helps a lot with this and our Lunchbox 3 build does have a lot of open space in it as well. I can’t wait to see how the GR8 performs compared to it!
So like I mentioned the ROG GR8 does not have a power supply built into the PC. Much like a laptop Asus used an external power brick to feed it power without taking up space inside the PC. I know personally I would rather it all be built in but I know where they are coming from. The power supply puts out a lot of heat. So not only would it add to the size of the GR8, but they would also have to figure out how to deal with the additional heat. Keeping it as a power brick lets the power supply stay cool. The power supply is about twice the size of my small ultrabooks power supply but still much smaller than my gaming laptop. The power cord going into it is replaceable should you damage it as well. Asus also includes a Velcro strap on the power cord to help pack everything up when transporting the GR8.
I love that Asus included a proper gaming mouse and keyboard with the GR8. They didn’t even skimp at all ether, the Gladius mouse is a fairly high dollar mouse currently and the keyboard is a mechanical keyboard. Normally a company would cut back here to keep the costs down.
The Gladius mouse is a very interesting one actually. It is shaped a lot like the Deathadder and has a textured rubber grip on the sides. On top of the regular trigger buttons you also have two side buttons for talking in your voice program or binding to abilities in game. Along the back under your palm the mouse has a backlit ROG logo. What sets the Gladius apart from everything else on the market though is the ability to be able to swap out the switches inside. Yes that is correct you can actually open up this mouse and swap out the Omron mouse switches inside with other Omron mouse switches with various resistance, all without soldering. There isn’t another mouse on the market that will let you do that!
So what’s the story with the M801 mechanical keyboard. Well those who follow our reviews a lot might recognize the casing of this keyboard as the same as the Rosewill RGB80. The M801 is only available with the GR8 currently so you can’t pick one up outside of that. Well you can actually buy it as a spare part for the GR8, but you can’t pick it up in normal stores. The M801 has a detachable cord, just like the Gladius mouse. For switches you get red Kailh switches, they aren’t Cherrys but they are very close. That said the M801 is a TKL keyboard that is perfect for LANs and saving space, just like the GR8. The overall key layout is standard, including the bottom row so if you want you can swap out the keys with aftermarket keycaps. Not surprisingly the backlighting on the M801 is in an ROG red, just like the Gladius mouse as well.