Asus M32CD-B14 VivoPC Desktop Review

     
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While many people are after laptops, tablets and smartphones, there are a few who still value a good old desktop. They can be a lifesaver if you want some “real-deal” performance without paying too much; indeed, very often a desktop computer will be faster than a similarly-priced notebook. And if you’re looking for performance, the Asus M32CD-B14 desktop could be something that suits your use. In this review, you will find my comments about the different features and how they could be beneficial for you.

Dual Drives in the Storage Section, i7 as Processor = Win

The days of hard drive only desktops are over; solid-state drives have infiltrated the desktop market with great success. The Asus M32CD-B14 sports two drives, one 1TB SATA hard drive and one 128GB solid-state drive. I believe the OS is pre-loaded on the SSD part which, obviously, makes Windows start up quickly and also gives other performance benefits. Both of the drives can be replaced if you open up the computer. I’m not sure about adding extra drives, although there should be a free 3.5-inches slot for an additional drive. At least the mainboard supports more storage drives because it features four SATA 3 interfaces.

The processor comes straight from the Intel’s 7th generation line of CPU units. The essence of Core i7-7700 is performance and high capacity, with the processor offering a 3.6GHz operating frequency and 4.2GHz maximum turbo boost. Naturally, four cores are included in this beast, so multitasking efforts will not be in vain. Just a handful of processors will beat this in performance, and the users seem to love the i7-7700 for gaming and heavier work.

By default there is 12GB DDR4 (2400MHz) memory installed on the motherboard. That is an excellent amount to begin with; quite honestly, most users would never need more as 12 gigabytes is good for, say, Photoshop and gaming. The spec sheet lists 16 gigabytes as the maximum, and the 4GB addition would be barely noticeable anyway.

Gaming Performance Could be Questionable

Even though the engine room of Asus M32CD-B14 looks very decent, it is possibly lacking one thing: a real, dedicated graphics card. This is mostly a disadvantage for gamers since the integrated Intel HD 630 can run everything software-related, including 4K video at least on a single monitor. Talking about games, you will be able to run many (even those considered demanding ones!) on ~30FPS, but that will require low settings and 720p resolution. However, the motherboard seems to come with a single PCI-e x16 slot, which means a dedicated graphics card can be installed by a skilled user.

Video Review

A Lot of Ports; But Where is USB-C?

Desktops always have better selection of ports than notebooks, for the simple fact they are bigger and can accommodate more connectors. Talking about the front side of Asus M32CD, there are two USB 3.0 ports, a 5-in-1 media card reader (to move photos from digital camera, for example) and a microphone/headphones jack for listening music and all. DVD writer is installed in the front.

Moving to the rear panel, you will find six more USB ports (four USB 3.1 and two USB 2.0) although the newer USB-C port is nowhere to be found. Present are HDMI-output and VGA ports for connecting a display. Since there are two video ports also two monitors could be hooked up at the same time – but the integrated Intel HD 630 graphics engine might have problems running very high-resolution videos or especially games on two monitors smoothly. In addition to these, also microphone, headphones and Line in port are available for audio.

Networking is handled by a Gigabit Ethernet port, with RJ-45 port in the rear panel. It seems that the desktop also has a wireless adapter for 802.11ac standard and Bluetooth.

Miscellaneous Things to Know and Ponder

The desktop comes with Windows 10 Home, and from what I know, it should be installed on the solid-state drive part (a smart move from the manufacturer since this makes the system feel faster to use and boot up).

Like many desktop computers today, also Asus M32CD-B14 does not include a monitor. You must buy one separately and plug it in to use this computer. If you don’t know where to start, you can read this monitor buying guide and proceed from there. A little consolation, keyboard and mouse are still included.

Pros:
Dual storage drives - Not only laptops benefit from this feature; also desktops get plenty of space for files and performance benefits from hard drive and solid-state drive installed.

Processor cream of the crop - It doesn't get much better than Intel Core i7-7700 when talking about processors; the desktop feels snappy and big thanks goes to the CPU.

Cons:
No USB-C - Not a worst disadvantage, but the lack of multifunctional USB-C port might hurt this system's utility in the future.

Integrated graphics - The desktop is powerful for all software, but games are a different beast because of the Intel HD integrated graphics chip.

Asus M32CD-B14 has hardly any compromises between price and performance, yet it still brings the much-required “oomph” for everything home, business or school related. The high-end processor of Intel Core i7-7700 and quick 128GB solid-state drive form the base for high performance, while plethora of USB connectors make sure all your peripherals (printer, mouse, camera etc.) can be hooked up without effort. Keeping in mind the poorer suitability for gaming, this Asus makes an excellent desktop for home users, students and productivity work – just get a decent monitor for it and you are good to go!

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