ASUS GR6 Console PC Review
The GR6 is a very compact piece of kit, being smaller than both current generation consoles and even most compact DVD players, it even looks tiny when we compare it to most desktop sized Graphics card.
The GR6 is designed to be a PC which takes up minimal space, but delivers everything most users will require. You can be easily taken anywhere, just throw it into your backpack and go to a friends house or a LAN for some gaming fun.
Below we have pictured the ASUS GR6 beside ASUS' Mini-ITX Z97 Maximus VII IMPACT motherboard, showing just how small this PC is. Just think about how this PC contains a GPU, 2.5" storage locations and everything required to power and cool it in a form factor which is not much larger than a Mini ITX Motherboard.
Steam Big Picture Mode
When you look at the front end of the GR6 you can first see two buttons, the power button and the Steam Button, the power button will be orange when turned off and red when turned on, which may seem a bit counter intuitive but goes nicely wth the ASUS ROG Theme.
The Steam Button is one of the nicest features of this unit, allowing you to boot this PC straight into Steam's Big picture mode, giving the users a very console like experience. This will pretty much allow you to ignore Windows 8.1 and allow you to get straight to gaming, which is great for those who want a "console like" experience.
When it comes to the PC's front and rear IO the GR6 gives us exactly what we would expect from a PC, with two USB ports, a headphone and a microphone jack at the front for quick and easy controller charging and headset use.
At the rear we see a rear IO which is very similar to what we see from most high end motherboard, which is much more than what we would see from any games console. we have 4x USB 3.0 ports, an Intel Gigabit Ethernet connection, and HDMI and Display Port connection for connecting displays and a variety of audio inputs and outputs. One thing to remember is that this PC does include an internal wireless network adapter, so it can be used on a wireless network if required.
The GR6 is powered by a external power brick which is similar to what we see with most laptops and even monitors, which is to say that it is much smaller than the Xbox One's power brick (though sadly we do not have an Xbox One's power brick on hand to compare.
One confusing thing about the GR6's rear USB 3.0 ports is the fact that they are black, making them indistinguishable from standard USB 2.0 ports in appearance. Rest assured that these are in fact USB 3.0 ports, but it is confusing none the less.
In terms of upgradeability the GR6 is very similar to a laptop, where the only real upgrade options for the unit are it's storage and memory configurations, though accessing these parts is a much simpler process than your average laptop.
Accessing the GR6's ram and SSD area is pretty simple, just flick the switch at the back and you can remove the right side panel by hand, then access to your GR6's memory and storage is simply a few screws away. ASUS do not list sets of compatible memory fits on their website at this time, but crucial have thankfully got a list of their compatible SSDs and Memory here.
One thing to note is the this PC comes with a single storage drive already inside the unit, which is not accessible from this panel, this "upgrade 2.5 storage slot" is for an extra storage drive, be it mechanical or SSD based. You can easily change the Boot order in this unit inside it's BIOS, just like most laptops, so you can configure this PC as you wish.
This unit can use 2 2.5" storage devices, but is available with these stock configurations, 1 x 2.5in 1TB 7200rpm HDD, 1 x 2.5in 500GB 7200rpm HDD, 1 x 2.5in 128GB SSD, or 1 x 2.5in 256GB SSD (all with a single 1 x 2.5in extension bay for HDD/SSD) or 1 x 2.5in 128GB SSD and 1 x 2.5″ 1TB 7200rpm HDD (where the single 1 x 2.5in extension bay is filled.)
Th audio in ASUS' GR6 is done is a very similar way to their high end motherboard, with a physically isolated PCB and premium audio components for reduced electromagnetic interference and pitch perfect audio quality.
Users will also be able to apply different setting for your audio through ASUS' Sonic Studio App, which will change the GR6's audio settings at a hardware level. These changes in sound profiles can be done through Windows and at the BIOS level and will apply on other operating systems like SteamOS and Linux.