Asus' ROG GT51CA desktop blends power and panache

Asus' ROG GT51CA gaming desktop first made an appearance at CES 2016, and now it's coming to market. This high-end desktop can be configured with overclockable Intel CPUs, a range of Nvidia graphics cards, and NVMe PCIe SSDs. It also features aggressive styling and an optional NFC module that works with Asus' ROG Band wearable to trigger included system tuning and security features.

The GT51CA comes with Intel Core i5-6600K or Core i7-6700K CPUs. A "Turbo Mode" pushes the Core i5-6600K to 4.3GHz and the Core i7-6700K to 4.6GHz. Both CPUs stay frosty with an all-in-one liquid cooler. The system gets its graphics muscle from a single GeForce GTX 970, GTX 980, or Titan X. Dual GTX 980s or Titan Xes running in SLI are also available. Memory options range from 16 to 64GB of DDR4 RAM running at 2400 MT/s. Asus also offers a 64GB kit running at 2800 MT/s.

Storage options include 256GB or 512GB NVMe SSDs and mechanical hard drives as large as 3TB. Asus will also install a pair of 512GB NVMe SSDs in RAID 0 for the daring. The system also includes five 3.5" expansion bays for 2.5" SSDs or additional mechanical storage.

As we'd expect for a desktop, the GT51CA has a plethora of ports. Up front, there are two USB 3.1 ports: one a Type-C port with quick-charging support, the other a standard Type-A port. Two more USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks round out the front cluster. The front headphone jack is wired into an ESS Sabre DAC with an integrated amplifier. The rear cluster includes a 7.1 audio jack array, six USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports, plus a PS/2 port and a Gigabit Ethernet jack.

Optional wireless connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and NFC. With the NFC module installed, Asus' ROG Band wearable can enable the aforementioned "turbo mode" with assistance from the Asus Turbo Gear overclocking software. The wearable can also unlock an encrypted hard drive partition that Asus calls "Shadow Drive." The GT51CA boosts its gaming cred with four customizable RGB LED lighting zones.

Asus didn't announce pricing or availability for the GT51CA, but given the flashy exterior and high-end parts inside, we'd expect the machine to demand a pretty significant chunk of cash.

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