The ASUS ROG towers all have a common theme: a gorgeous, LED-heavy tower that purs along quietly. From our hands-on time with the ASUS ROG Strix GL12CM, we found that this trend has continued in full. Of course, there’s more to a tower than what it has on the outside – so does the inside of the GL12CM have what it takes, too?
The GL12CM model we reviewed was backed by an Intel i7-8700k processor, 16GB RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080. This is ample firepower for gamers who are satisfied with playing most games on high settings, and should handle most VR titles on a 1080P display. We put the GL12CM through the paces in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, XCOM 2, and Far Cry 5 with a 4K display and found the rig capable of a consistently high 50-60 framerate. There were some occasional dips below this, but gamers plying their trade on a 1080P display should be absolved of almost all of them.
Many consumer-facing computer manufacturing companies overlook the importance of ports, but ASUS covered all of the bases with the GL12 series. The front of the tower has a hot-swap bay for a single SSD drive, which is a fantastic touch for gamers or professionals who need ways to quickly transfer content with an SSD drive. The front also sports 4 USB ports (split evenly between 3.1 and 2.0), an SD card reader, and an audio jack. There’s a further 8 USB ports on the back, with 6 of them in the USB 3.1 range and 2 more 2.0s. Suffice to say, gamers will be hard-pressed to find enough accessories to utilize all the ports at once – the GL12 series comes ready for USB peripherals aplenty.
The tower itself is beautiful, with plenty of LED strips on the front ensuring an impressive visual presence. The architecture of the case is bold in nature, with many progressive lines and a modern brutalist look. The review unit came with a glass siding case attached by 4 magnetic screws, an option we immediately chose over the standard siding. Popping this siding on or off can be done in a matter of seconds, so gamers who like to tinker with the inner-workings of their rig will have quick and easy access.
ASUS has exercised fantastic cable management for the interior of the case, with most of the wiring hidden from view. The GL12CM runs quietly, too, with fan noise only noticeable during extended periods of high graphics gameplay. The GL12 comes with liquid cooling to keep the CPU purring along, though it should be noted that the GPU isn’t covered by the liquid system. Still, we found that the Strix GL12 never had any issues with overheating even when under stress, and that’s thanks to the great many air intakes complimenting this liquid cooling system.
The GL12 series has more high-performance rigs on the market, which may tempt gamers to upgrade for the likes of an RTX 2080 graphics. Much like the GL12CM, however, these come at a price point that puts them firmly on the upper-side of mid-range. To that end, gamers intent to build their own computer will end up seeing a price difference for their efforts, but they’ll lose out on the slick pre-fabricated LED design and some great bonuses like the hot-swap SSD tray. It’s hard to make towers stand out in the crowded PC market, but these extra thoughts from ASUS will certainly give pause to consumers on the fence – especially those vested in eSports.
The ASUS ROG Strix GL12 series comes packed with plenty of positives: it has an excessive amount of ports, quiet fans, a great design, and it performs well in high-intensity environments. It’s a little on the hefty side in terms of its price point, but for gamers who find items like a hot swappable SSD bay handy, this is a great pickup. For a tower with an eSports focus, the GL12CM has more than enough hardware to satisfy its users.
The ASUS ROG Strix GL12CM is a solid choice for gamers shopping on more than a minimal budget, and it’ll ensure quiet and capable performance for years to come.