Asus ROG GA35 review: A great gaming PC with some clear oversights

asus rog ga35 review g35dx 07

Asus ROG GA35

MSRP $4,999.00

“A top-tier gaming PC held back by some frustrating design choices.”

Pros

  • Stays cool under loud
  • Vertical GPU looks great
  • Two front USB-C ports
  • Hot-swappable SSD drives
  • Standard sized components

Cons

  • No horizontal GPU option
  • A little loud
  • Upgrades are more frustrating than they should be

If you want one of the best gaming PCs in 2021, building your own isn’t an option. Prebuilts used to be overpriced, underpowered options compared to building your own PC, but thanks to the GPU shortage, they are downright good deals. And that’s what the Asus ROG GA35 G35DX is — a great deal for 2021.

I have some issues with it 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 pricing crisis that’s plaguing PC components right now. If I didn’t already have a graphics card from waiting in line at Best Buy, the ROG GA35 would be near the top of my list of options.

It probably quite wouldn’t make the cut, though. Small issues like poor cable management and the lack of thumbscrews hold the GA35 back from reaching the top tier of prebuilt gaming PCs. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice, especially with high-end Asus hardware under the hood.

Design

Previous G-series Asus desktops used a taller, more traditional mid-tower case design, but the GA35 doesn’t. It has a stocky case design, measuring 16.5 inches long and just under 11 inches wide to accommodate a dual-chamber design. I’m a fan of dual-chamber cases, but it doesn’t feel like the GA35 uses the space effectively.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I’ll talk more about the internal build later. For now, just know that both chambers are the same size. The back portion holds the power supply and the cable mess, and the front holds all of the beautiful RGB components necessary to any modern gaming rig. Hide the ugly, show the glitter — that’s what dual-chamber cases provide.

There are some strange design choices, though. The all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooler is installed in the back chamber, exhausting air that doesn’t have an intake. It also causes the braided liquid tubes to lay awkwardly across the motherboard, which is a trend I noticed with the internal layout of the GA35.

Airflow wasn’t an issue, but it could have been better. The only included fan is a 92mm exhaust at the back of the case, and there isn’t space to mount any other fans. The machine was a little loud during my testing, but it wasn’t anything like the Lenovo Thinkstation P620. It didn’t get too hot, either, with the CPU topping out at 48 degrees Celsius after a 30-minute AIDA64 stress test.

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

That’s mainly on the back of the open case design. There are filters staggered around the angular edges of the GA35, cleverly hidden in the nooks and crannies of the case. None of them have dust filters, so you’ll have to be diligent to keep the inside clean.

The temperature surprised me given that the GA35 uses a vertical mount for the power-hungry RTX 3090. The vertical mount does wonders for the visuals, too. The GA35 is adorned with as many ROG Strix products as possible, including the RTX 3090. The result is a cohesive, RGB-ridden PC that looks wonderful when it’s lit up.

Connectivity

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Asus makes some of the best gaming motherboards you can buy, so I wasn’t surprised to the GA35 kitted out with excellent connectivity. You get a pair each of USB-C and USB 3.0 ports at the front of the case, along with separate headphone and microphone inputs, putting even pricey machines like the Origin Neuron to shame.

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

Storage expansion is excellent, too. The case includes two hot-swappable SSD bays at the front, as well as an extra 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 wrestle with getting the GPU out to access them.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The port selection is great, rivaling the likes of boutique designs like the Falcon Northwest Talon. I like the extra storage space, too, but I would’ve liked Asus to put those efforts toward swapping other components, not adding more storage.

Specs and internals

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

CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
GPU Asus ROG Strix RTX 3090
Motherboard Custom Asus ROG Strix X570-F motherboard
Case Custom Asus ROG case
Memory 16GB unbranded DDR4-3200
Storage 1TB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD, 2TB 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 RTX 3090. This machine retails for around $5,000, which is a better deal than you might think. I configured a machine identical to the GA35, and it actually came out $100 more expensive (thanks, GPU shortage). A similarly configured Origin Neuron came out $500 more expensive, though with better cable management and more RGB.

The GA35 is a good deal on the component front. My only complaint is the PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD. Ryzen 5000 chips support PCIe 4.0, so this is just a matter of Asus cutting where it could.

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. The cable management is sloppy, component swaps are annoying at best and impossible at worse, and the case actively fights against you when you’re trying to get inside. I like the dual-chamber design of the GA35, but I don’t like how closed it is for upgrades.

It isn’t anything like the Alienware Aurora R10. You can still swap out components because everything inside adheres to ATX standards. It’s just a hassle to get there. There are extra screws at every turn, and they’re buried. There aren’t even thumbscrews to unlatch the side panels, much less a tool-less design like the HP Omen 30L offers.

A plastic shroud covers the outside of the chassis, which is as cheap as it is frustrating. I immediately broke one of the plastic tabs holding on the front cover, and I wasn’t applying enough pressure to get off. There are long plastic tubes in the middle of each piece of the shell 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 of the messy bits that you’ve been unaware of. Opening up the case, I quickly noticed ketchup-and-mustard cables going to the graphics card, an extra CPU power connector just hanging off

Go to Source