Thanks to AMD's new Ryzen processors, it's getting easier than ever to find a good gaming PC for under $1,000. Just look at the Asus G11DF, which packs an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and other powerful components into a sleek and compact $999 package. While some aspects of the G11DF's design feel a bit dated compared to the competition, Asus' Ryzen desktop is a very enticing value for folks who want to enjoy modern games and VR without spending a fortune.
The Asus G11DF's design remains virtually unchanged from previous years — meaning you'll get the same slick, futuristic look, but also some features that feel dated now. I'm still a fan of the G11's overall compactness, as well as the Mayan-inspired etches that adorn the front panel.
The desktop's RGB lighting, however, is incredibly lacking compared to the competition. The G11 has two customizable LED strips in the front — one that can glow any color, the other that can only glow red or be turned off. Combine that with the nonchangeable strips of red plastic all over the desktop, and the G11's lighting just seems cheap and unexciting compared to the dynamic color options you'll find on the Alienware Aurora or Asus' own G20 series.
Measuring just 17.3 x 16.6 x 6.9 inches and weighing 21.6 pounds, the G11DF won't take up a ton of space on top of or under your desk. It's not quite put-it-under-your-TV small like the MSI Trident or Asus G20CB, but it's roughly the same size as competitors such as the Acer Aspire GX, and it's notably more compact than similar entry-level gaming PCs such as the Digital Storm Vanquish.
|Asus G11DF||Our Configuration||Max Configuration|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 1400||AMD Ryzen 7 1700|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070|
|Memory||8 GB||8 GB|
|Storage||1TB hard drive, 256GB SSD||1TB hard drive, 256GB SSD|
|Size and Weight||17.3 x 16.6 x 6.9 inches, 21 pounds||17.3 x 16.6 x 6.9 inches, 21 pounds|
Ports and Upgradability
The G11's port selection makes it pretty easy for you to get plugging and playing right away. In the front, you've got two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.1 ports, an SD card reader and a DVD-RW drive, with headphone and mic jacks sitting at the very top of the PC.
In the back, you'll find two more USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.1 ports, an Ethernet jack and a USB Type-C port for connecting newer gadgets. The system's Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU houses its usual three DisplayPorts as well as HDMI and VGA connections, giving you plenty of options for connecting to monitors.
Opening the G11 up is as simple as removing two screws in the back and sliding off the side panel. From there, you can upgrade the GPU, storage and RAM — but, aside from the RAM, you'll need to remove even more screws to get the components out. It's not a terrible inconvenience, but it made me yearn for the tool-free upgradability found on machines such as the Alienware Aurora and Dell XPS Tower.
Gaming and VR Performance
Packing an Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, the Asus G11DF had no trouble playing mainstream games at high settings.
On our Rise of the Tomb Raider test (1080p at Very High settings), the G11 rendered the game's lush environments at a perfectly playable 39 frames per second. That tops the Acer Aspire GX-281 (15 fps; GTX 1050) and the Trident (31 fps; GTX 1060), while falling short of our 58-fps average.
Asus' PC did an even better job running the slick stealth action of Hitman, turning in a smooth 67 fps at 1080p with graphics turned all the way up. The G11 once again beat out the Aspire (40 fps), while trailing the Trident (78 fps) and our 84-fps average.
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The G11DF is perfectly capable of handling VR, scoring a 7.9 (which is considered "High") on Valve's SteamVR Performance Test. That tops the Trident's 7.3, but trails our 10.4 average. The Aspire's GTX 1050 isn't VR-capable.
On the 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra benchmark, Asus' desktop scored a 2,953, topping the Aspire (1,136) and Trident (2,830), while lagging behind our 4,994 gaming PC average.
Thanks to its AMD Ryzen 5 1400 CPU and 8GB of RAM, the G11DF made it easy to multitask when I wasn't gaming. I never noticed any slowdown, even as I hopped between multiple Twitch streams, juggled various browser tabs and Google Docs, and downloaded a game.
The G11 scored a 10,399 on the Geekbench 4 general performance test, landing in the same ballpark as the Acer Aspire GX (10,756, Ryzen 5) but trailing the Core i7-powered MSI Trident (12,953) as well as our 16,685 gaming PC average.
Asus' desktop matched 20,000 names to addresses in 3 minutes and 4 seconds on our spreadsheet test, outpacing the Aspire (4:29), the Trident (3:12) and our 3:17 average.
The G11's 256GB SSD copied about 5GB of files in 40 seconds, for a transfer rate of 124.3 megabytes per second. That's better than the Aspire's 1TB hard drive (27.7 MBps), but slower than the Trident's 128GB SSD (133.92) as well as our 325.8 gaming-desktop average.
Keyboard and Mouse
The G11DF comes with a standard-issue mouse-and-keyboard combo. The included keyboard has red LED lights on the sides and a handy volume knob, but it's otherwise pretty no-frills. The membrane keys are serviceable — I was able to hit 80 words per minute on a typing test with near-perfect accuracy — but they felt too mushy for my tastes.
The mouse is similarly spartan, featuring a small, ergonomic design but no extra buttons or DPI switches. If you're getting this desktop, do yourself a favor and pick up a dedicated gaming keyboard and mouse.
We reviewed the starting $999 version of the G11DF, which packs an AMD Ryzen 5 1400 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD with a 1TB hard drive and an Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU. Stepping up to the $1,399 model gets you a Ryzen 7 1700 processor and a GTX 1070 graphics card.
If you want a PC that can handle the latest AAA games as well as VR for less than $1,000, the G11DF delivers. Asus' Ryzen-powered desktop delivers consistently strong 1080p gaming via its GTX 1060 GPU and sports a compact design that won't clutter up your gaming space. And if you don't mind removing a few screws, you can keep the G11 fresh with new components, once you're ready to step up.
Folks looking for a more living room-friendly machine should check out the MSI Trident, which offers a better CPU and much smaller design for roughly the same price, but lacks upgradability.
The Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop is a better overall value if you can live with a bigger design, since it throws in a better Ryzen 7 processor and a comparable AMD Radeon 580 GPU for the same price as the G11DF. But if you're seeking a sweet spot between size, price and performance, there's lots to love about Asus' entry-level gaming PC.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide