At Computex last year ASUS formally announced its mini-PC platform in the shape of the GR8. It was designed to fit within a bookcase on a shelf and act as a mini-Steam PC for gaming and streaming duties with its i7 U-series Haswell processor and integrated GTX 750Ti. The GR8 was ultimately designed to accelerate a niche where small form factor gaming was at the heart of the home. While we haven’t reviewed it at AnandTech as of yet, one could easily predict that it was going to end up getting a refresh for Broadwell, which is the case today. The i5-5200U isn't right at the top of the Broadwell-U stack, but it certainly falls more on the side of the gaming family of mini-PCs with today’s announcement.

ASUS ROG GR Series
  GR8 GR6
CPU Core i7 4510U Core i5 5200U
GPU GTX 750 Ti 2GB
Intel HD 4400
GTX 960M 2GB
HD 5500
DRAM 8GB, Up to 16GB
DDR3L-1600 MHz
SO-DIMM
8GB, Up to 16GB
DDR3L-1600 MHz
SO-DIMM
Storage 2 x 2.5-in
500GB-1TB 7200RPM /
128GB-256GB SSD
2 x 2.5-in
500GB-1TB 7200RPM /
128GB-256GB SSD
WiFi 802.11ac
Miracast Receiver
802.11ac
Miracast Receiver ?
LAN Intel Gigabit Intel Gigabit
Audio SupremeFX w/5.1
DTS Connect
SupremeFX w/5.1
DTS Connect
Front IO Headphone/Microphone
2 x USB 2.0
Headphone/Microphone
2 x USB 2.0
Rear IO 4 x USB 3.0
HDMI
DisplayPort
RJ45
Audio Jacks
Kensington Lock
4 x USB 3.0
HDMI
DisplayPort
RJ45
Audio Jacks
Kensington Lock
Power Supply 120W Power Adaptor Power Adaptor
Dimensions 60 x 245 x 238 mm
1.284 kg
60 x 245 x 238 mm
1.28 kg
Price (US) $920 with 1TB HDD N/A

The heart of the GR6 beats with an i5-5200U, a 15W Broadwell processor which is paired with a Maxwell GM107 derived GTX 960M with 2GB of GDDR5. This is partnered with two SO-DIMM slots which can hold up to 16GB of DDR3L at 1600 MHz. Given that this is a ROG device, I wonder if those SO-DIMM slots could actually hold XMP timings for some of higher frequency SO-DIMM modules that are on the market.  Nevertheless the rest of chassis can hold two 2.5-in SSDs/HDDs, there is an integrated gigabit Ethernet port, dual-band 2T2R 802.11ac WiFi and four USB 3.0 slots on the rear.

The specifications chosen highlight an important part of Intel's strategy with the Broadwell-U series, whereby Atom and Core-M fit into the sub 6W category of ultraportables, but the 15-28W range of mobile processors are for beefier portable designs as well as mini-PCs which don't need to rely on batteries. We discussed Core M's issues with chassis design previously, but Broadwell-U in a desktop chassis should easily not have to worry about turbo throttling.

Power is provided by a 19V DC-in and a power brick, and a Kensington lock module is provided for gaming LAN protection. All the major ROG software and packages are bundled, such as SupremeFX Audio, SoundStage, SenseAmp, Sonic Radar, GameFirst III, AI Suite III. The 2.5-liter chassis is set to weigh in at 1.28kg.

As the announcement today is just for the device, pricing and availability for different regions has not been released. With Computex only six weeks or so away, I assume we will see it at the show to get some quick hands-on time.

Source: ASUS ROG

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  • fteoath64 - Thursday, April 16, 2015 - link

    True. But making this box three times as thick and putting a very slow running silent fan is not going to hurt much but can allow the gpu to be clocked way faster!. It is a shame where such form factors wanted to emulate super-thin laptops when there is no need but compromises being had all around it!. Reply
  • coburn_c - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    I disagree, that thing will most certainly throttle. If you want a Windows system build a properly cooled properly powered desktop, if you want a STB buy that Nvidia thing, they are serious players who made some serious claims. Reply
  • edzieba - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    Or if you want a chassis that tiny AND a decently performing machine (i7-4790, GTX 970), then you can go semi-custom (and insane): http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1848777

    After seeing what someone dedicated can do, laptop hardware in a screenless case doesn't look all that impressive.
    Reply
  • QinX - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    @edzieba, Thank you for mentioning my Build.
    I'm actually working on a production run for this system, it should compete with a top spec ASUS ROG G20 in terms of hardware/pricing and with the GR8/6 in terms of size.

    @AT I'm not sure if this counts as advertising, if so feel free to remove this comment.
    Reply
  • Cellar Door - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    Dude that is amazing, puts this Asus joke of a system to shame.

    @AT hope this is NOT sponsored by ASUS.
    Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    Wow, that is an impressive build. I love ITX! Reply
  • Laststop311 - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    The graphics card is actually a downgrade. The GTX 750 ti and gtx 960m are both full gm107 the 750 ti has a 1085mhz core and the gtx 960m has a 1096mhz core so it does have 11 more mhz core but the ram is 5ghz on the 960 and 5.4ghz on the 750ti giving 80GB/sec vs 86.4GB/sec. So i think the boost in memory bandwidth is bigger than the 11mhz core difference. So just barely it seems the 960m is a slight downgrade. Why even bother changing the graphics card to slightly lower performing. The 960m has a 75 watt tdp would it rly have been that much a stretch to add another 45 watts and put a desktop 960 in there at 120 watt tdp. Even if they had to use a custom bios that slightly underclocked and undervolted the desktop 960 to thermally fit inside this mini pc it still would be a lot more graphics performance and would of actually been a killer 1080p gaming machine. Reply
  • Laststop311 - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    Since it won't be using integrated graphics the 28 watt broadwell U's should be fine since that higher tdp is more for giving the iris pro 6100 enough power to operate in tandem with the cores with 0 igp usage the amount of heat it gives off compared to the 15 watt tdp chip is barely different. So if this pc had the i7-5557u at 3.1ghz base 3.4ghz turbo and the desktop gtx 960 with a custom vbios that slightly under clocks and under volts since its tdp is 45 watts higher than the 960m to make sure the temps don't get too crazy or possibly just make the radiator and fans a little more beefy im sure it could be engineered to work. I would consider buying something like this for when I lan at a friends house.

    Currently I use an m18x r1 upgraded to 2960xm at 4ghz and gtx 780m in sli and cpu heatsink upgraded to a larger triple heatpipe design for the extreme cpu from the r2 and all thermal paste changed to coollaboratory liquid metal ultra on cpu and gpu's as my portable lan gaming machine. Just throw the laptop + keyboard + mouse + 21.5" monitor in my carrying backpack and I LAN away. But I am looking to replace this semi portable setup with an ncase m1 mini itx build once the 16nm finfet gpu's are released. But if a system like this asus had at least what I asked for above I would go with this instead of a ncase m1 build. But the ncase is still small enough to go in a backpack and be portable so its all good. And the ncase allows full power unlocked oc'd desktop cpu and full power flagship desktop gpu. Even tho the laptop is old with all the upgrades i've done and the massive storage inside (512GB 840 pro + 2x 2TB HDD I should be able to get 1500 out of it which almost pays for the entire ncase build assuming 150 for ram 650 for gpu 200 for mobo 330 for cpu 70 for psu 100 for cooling basically I'm only paying for storage drives out of pocket if i can sell the laptop for 1500. Not a bad way to get a massive upgrade.
    Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    The 960m had HDMI 1.4 though right? Reply
  • SirPerro - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    Sorry for the harsh words ahead but this redefines the concept of utterly useless piece of shit Reply

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