Asus ROG GA35 Assessment: A Nice Gaming PC, However Not The Finest

Asus ROG GA35

RRP $ 4,999.00

"A top-of-the-line gaming PC held back by some frustrating design decisions."

benefits

  • Stay cool under loud

  • Vertical GPU looks great

  • Two USB-C ports on the front

  • Hot-swappable SSD drives

  • Standard size components

disadvantage

  • No horizontal GPU option

  • A little loud

  • Upgrades are more frustrating than they should be

If you want one of the best gaming PCs available in 2021, building your own isn't an option. Pre-built versions used to be overpriced, underperforming options compared to building your own PC, but thanks to the lack of a GPU, they're downright a bargain. And that's the Asus ROG GA35 G35DX – a great offer for 2021.

I have some issues with this compared to boutique options from Origin and Maingear, but the ROG GA35 still has plenty of power to impress. It's not too expensive either, at least in the price crisis that is plaguing PC components at the moment. If I didn't already have a graphics card from queuing at Best Buy, the ROG GA35 would be at the top of my option list.

It probably wouldn't make the cut, however. Small issues like poor cable management and the lack of thumbscrews keep the GA35 from reaching the top tier of pre-built gaming PCs. That doesn't mean it's a bad choice, especially with high-end Asus hardware under the hood.

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Earlier Asus G-series desktops used a taller, more traditional mid-tower case design, but the GA35 did not. It has a squat case design that is 16.5 inches long and just under 11 inches wide to accommodate a two-chamber design. I'm a fan of dual chamber cases, but it doesn't feel like the GA35 is making effective use of space.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I'll talk more about the internal build later. For now, all you know is that both chambers are the same size. The rear contains the power supply and the tangled cables, and the front contains all of the beautiful RGB components required for any modern gaming rig. Hiding ugly things, showing glitter – that's what double-chambered covers offer.

There are some strange design choices, however. The all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooler is installed in the rear chamber and sucks air that has no inlet. It also causes the braided fluid hoses to be clumsily laid across the motherboard, which I noticed with the GA35's internal layout.

Air circulation wasn't a problem, but it could have been better. The only fan included is a 92mm vent on the back of the case, and there is no space to mount other fans. The device was a bit noisy during my test, but it wasn't like the Lenovo Thinkstation P620. It didn't get too hot either, because the CPU climbed to 48 degrees Celsius after a 30-minute AIDA64 stress test.

The GA35 is a cohesive, RGB-controlled PC that looks wonderful.

This is mainly due to the back of the open case design. On the angular edges of the GA35 there are filters that are cleverly hidden in the corners and edges of the housing. None of them have dust filters, so you need to be careful to keep the inside clean.

The temperature surprised me as the GA35 uses a vertical mount for the power-hungry RTX 3090. The vertical bracket also works wonders visually. The GA35 is adorned with as many ROG Strix products as possible, including the RTX 3090. The result is a cohesive, RGB-controlled PC that looks wonderful when lit.

Connectivity

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Asus makes some of the best gaming motherboards you can buy, so I wasn't surprised that the GA35 comes with great connectivity. You get a pair of USB-C and USB 3.0 ports each on the front of the case, as well as separate headphone and microphone inputs that put even expensive devices like the Origin Neuron in the shade.

On the back you have access to a further seven USB 3.2 ports, another USB-C port, Gigabit Ethernet and the usual audio connections. All of these ports are great, but the two front USB-C ports make all the difference to me. My personal rig, which I built with a Lian Li PC-011 Dynamic, only has a single USB-C port on the front. I'm jealous that I don't have a second now because I was able to plug both my Samsung T5 and Steelseries Prime Wireless into the GA35 without reaching around the back.

The memory expansion is also excellent. The case offers two hot-swappable SSD slots on the front as well as an additional slot for a 3.5-inch hard drive in the HDD cage. The motherboard has two M.2 expansion slots – one of which is filled from the factory – though you'll have to struggle to get the GPU out to access it.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The port selection is great and can rival boutique designs like the Falcon Northwest Talon. I also like the additional storage space, but I would have liked Asus to focus this effort on swapping out other components rather than adding more storage space.

Specifications and internals

Asus had four models of the GA35 that offer different GPU and CPU configurations. Each model has the same specifications otherwise – 16 GB DDR4-3200 memory, a custom Asus X570 motherboard, an 80 Plus Gold power supply and 3 TB total storage (1 TB NVMe SSD and 2 TB HDD).

Central processor AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
GPU Asus ROG Strix RTX 3090
Motherboard Customized Asus ROG Strix X570-F motherboard
case Customized Asus ROG case
reminder 16 GB DDR4-3200. unbranded
warehouse 1 TB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD, 2 TB HDD
Power supply Delta 850W 80+ gold
USB ports Nine USB-A, three USB-C
Networking 1Gbit Ethernet

I tested the GA35DX-XB999 which comes with a Ryzen 9 5900X and an RTX 3090. This machine costs around $ 5,000, which is a better deal than you might think. I configured a machine that is identical to the GA35 and it was actually $ 100 more expensive (thanks, GPU shortage). A similarly configured Origin Neuron was $ 500 more expensive, but with better cable management and more RGB.

The GA35 is good business on the component front. My only complaint is the PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD. Ryzen 5000 chips support PCIe 4.0 so it's just a matter of Asus where it is possible.

I like the dual chamber design of the GA35, but I don't like how closed it is for upgrades.

The GA35 has some internal problems outside of the components. Cable management is sloppy, component swaps are annoying at best and impossible at worst, and the case actively fights you when you try to get inside. I like the dual chamber design of the GA35, but I don't like how closed it is for upgrades.

It's not like the Alienware Aurora R10. You can still swap out components as everything inside complies with ATX standards. It's just a hassle to get there. There are extra screws on every corner, and they're buried. There aren't even thumbscrews to unlock the side panels, let alone a tool-less design like the HP Omen 30L.

A plastic cover covers the outside of the chassis, which is cheap and frustrating. I immediately broke one of the plastic tabs holding the front cover and didn't apply enough pressure to get off. There are long plastic tubes in the center of each part of the bowl to keep you out and that's all they're good for.

Cable management is sloppy, but you don't see it right away. It's like shining a flashlight on a dusty desk in a dark room, revealing all the messy things you didn't know about. When I opened the case, I quickly noticed that ketchup and mustard cables led to the graphics card, an additional CPU power connector hung just on the side, and several small wires for RGB and fan connections that were pressed into crevices around the motherboard. All of the chunky cables are also routed through a single channel, exposing a small bird's nest of cables in the front that only grows in the rear chamber.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The vertical GPU bracket is a welcome addition, but it's your only option. The RTX 3090 fits straight flat and the GA35 does not have a bracket for this type of configuration. It only has two vertical brackets that will keep you from upgrading to a triple-slot GPU in the future.

In terms of specs, the GA35 is as high-end as PCs have come. Asus has made some clear design choices to deter users from upgrading, even though the form factor allows for those upgrades.

Productivity performance

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Asus GA35 is a powerful machine, but the Ryzen 9 5900X is slowly showing its age compared to the best and brightest from Intel. It's still way ahead of Intel's 10th and 11th generation chips, and the single-core performance is great for gaming. However, the higher number of cores of the Ryzen 9 5950X and the hybrid architecture of the Core i9-12900K give them an advantage over the Ryzen 9 5900X.

Asus ROG GA35 Custom PC (Core i9-12900K, RTX 3090) Origin Neuron (Ryzen 9 5950X, RTX 3080 Ti)
Cinebench R23 multicore 21,907 27,344 25.166
Cinebench R23 single core 1,501 1,989 1,587
Geekbench 5 multicore 12,695 18,282 15,872
Geekbench 5 single core 1,692 1,962 1,682
PugetBench for Premiere Pro 1,115 1,283 1,088
Mixer (average in seconds, lower is better) 53 N / A 53
Handbrake (seconds, lower is better) 58 47 50

You can see that clearly in my results. In terms of single-core performance, the machine corresponds to the Ryzen 9 5950X in the Origin Neuron in Cinebench and Geekbench. Unsurprisingly, the Ryzen 9 5950X scores well above the 5900X in the multi-core tests, with the four additional cores providing an increase of up to 15%.

Outside of pure processor benchmarks, the GA35 shows more performance. It was able to score a higher score than the Origin Neuron in PugetBench for Premiere Pro, which shows the RTX 3090's slow acceleration, and it matched the Neuron in Blender. I tested Blender with CUDA rendering, so this is my most interesting result. The RTX 3090 showed no advantages over the RTX 3080 Ti.

Intel's Core i9-12900K raises this tricky comparison between the Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X. It's faster across the board, sometimes by up to 25%. However, this does not apply to older Intel chips. Go back to the Core i9-11900K, and the GA35 can mop the floor.

The GA35 does about what I expected. It's great, but I wouldn't recommend configuring it with the RTX 3090. In some cases it gives a small boost, in others it is of no use at all. That's even more true when it comes to gaming performance, which is probably why you're interested in the GA35.

Gaming performance

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The GA35 is built for 4K – and better with an RTX 3090 under the hood. I ran a number of benchmarks across resolutions, but I only recorded my results in 4K with the highest graphics preset possible. This should tie performance to the GPU and remove the CPU from the equation. But my results show some big differences.

Asus ROG GA35 Custom PC (Core i9-12900K, RTX 3090) Origin Neuron (Ryzen 9 5950X, RTX 3080 Ti)
Forza Horizon 4 147 fps 160 fps N / A
Red Dead Redemption 2 73 fps 79 fps 72 fps
Assassin & # 39; s Creed Valhalla 69 fps 66 fps 55 fps
3DMark time spy 17,356 19,511 17,937
Fourteen days 78 fps N / A 89 fps

In Forza Horizon 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2, the GA35 underperformed my custom built rig with an RTX 3090. The processors are different, but they shouldn't affect performance much. Even the aging Core i9-10900K performed better in these two games when paired with the RTX 3090.

RAM is the problem. The GA35 only comes with 16 GB of RAM, which is an odd configuration for such a high-end system. Asus does not use any branded RAM modules beyond the capacity. I was told by a company representative that the modules use Samsung, Micron, and Hynix memory. And if you know anything about Ryzen processors, you know how much of a difference these these can make.

I couldn't verify the chips used for the modules in my tester. However, I used Corsair memory in the other two machines that use Samsung B-Die modules (which are known to work best with Ryzen chips). With 16 GB DDR4-3200, Asus chose the lowest reasonable option – and it shows in my results. DDR4-3600 modules would solve the problem, but otherwise leave slightly lower performance on the table.

In fact, the RTX 3090 shows a great advantage in Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

3DMark Time Spy shows how well the device compares to the Origin Neuron. My custom rig was able to get a higher score, but that's on the back of the Core i9-12900K.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is also interesting. This game is still having issues with Intel's 12th gen platform which explains the lower scores I've seen with my custom PC. The RTX 3090 actually shows a big advantage here by sliding the GA35 over the Origin Neuron. In most other cases, the added power of the RTX 3090 was of no use.

The GA35 is a super fast gaming PC. There is no doubt about that. However, there are a couple of small issues that are mostly related to system memory. In most cases the differences are no more than a few frames. But they are there and you should keep them in mind if you are planning on losing $ 5,000.

Guarantee and support

Asus offers a one-year warranty for the GA35 as standard. Finding that out, however, was tedious. The warranty information is not printed on the warranty card and you cannot find it on the Asus website. Instead, it's listed on a sticker on the back of the device, just labeled "12M" with no context. It is frustrating that Asus encloses a copy of this sticker with the warranty card – just without the warranty information.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You can purchase insurance cover plus accident protection for up to three years. The standard warranty only covers defects and workmanship. One year is common for desktops. However, Asus could make it easier to access the warranty instead of splitting the information across three locations.

A product support card is included with the warranty information. Asus offers 24/7 phone support as well as live chat and email. For the second two, the support brochure points you to a website that is not working. I had to navigate through the Asus support site to find the right post.

Like the device itself, Asus doesn't go wrong with its warranty or support. There are just additional unnecessary steps that can make the process frustrating.

Our opinion

The Asus GA35 is a damn good gaming PC. It's packed with top-notch hardware that provides gaming and productivity without getting too hot (even though the fan is noisy). It also uses a standard form factor so upgrades are possible even though they may not always be practical.

It's just not all it could be. Thumbscrews, black power cords, and paying more attention to upgrades would put it at the top of our list of best desktop computers. I recommend the GA35, but you should know its quirks before you lose $ 5,000.

Are there alternatives?

Yes. The Origin Neuron and Maingear Vybe are the most direct competition, and the Vybe costs about $ 1,000 less. The HP Omen 30L is also a solid alternative thanks to its high-end hardware and tool-free housing design.

The Alienware Aurora R14 and Falcon Northwest Talon are also high-end gaming options, although they are both slightly different from the GA35. The Aurora R14 is more restrictive when it comes to upgrades, while the Northwest Talon uses all off-the-shelf parts and costs a little more.

How long it will take?

The GA35 is packed with powerful hardware, so what's in it should last for years. You can upgrade at any time, but the case doesn't make upgrades as easy as they could be.

Should you buy it?

Yes, as long as you considered the other options. The Maingear Vybe and Origin Neuron are both top-of-the-range gaming PCs, and the GA35 is just a small step below. It still works fine, but the options from Maingear and Origin are a bit easier when it comes to upgrading.

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