Why would you consider the ASUS M32BF—a big tower of a desktop PC—for your next home computer? It makes more sense than you might think, and here’s why.
Desktop PCs Make Great Home Computers
It’s really easy to understand the appeal of laptops. You get the computer itself, the keyboard, a trackpad and the monitor all together in a single, compact and portable package. There are no wires to worry about (other than the power cable) and no messing around with plugging in accessories and peripherals is needed to get the computer up an running. In fact, some people I know go with a laptop purely because they find the idea of setting up a desktop PC a little intimidating.
That’s too bad because despite the ever growing popularity of laptops, desktop PCs still make great computers. Sure, they’re bigger, but in return you get lots of advantages: beefier processors, more ports, easy accessibility and potential for future upgrades among them. There can also be a definite cost advantage. Miniaturizing everything to fit into a laptop case and including the display comes at a cost.
When it comes to a new family PC, desktop computers make an excellent choice. They’re typically a lower cost solution than a laptop and you get excellent performance for the price. If it’s a computer to be shared between family members, you may want it stay in one place for easy access, so portability is less of an issue. As you’ll see in my ASUS M32BF review, you can even set it up in the family room and use your TV instead of a computer monitor.
ASUS M32BF Unboxing and Setup
The ASUS M32BF is a great example of how easy it is to get a desktop PC up and running. You don’t need to have an IT background or any tools to do it—that kind of tinkering only comes into play should you decide to open it up and start upgrading components. But that’s an option, not a requirement as this PC should cover off all your home computing needs as is, out of the box.
Speaking of which, unpacking and setup is a breeze. The computer itself is held in place by a bit of styrofoam, but pulls out easily (it’s a lot lighter than it looks). Take off the protective cover and a nice, brushed metal front panel is revealed. Also in the box are a full-sized USB keyboard and a USB mouse. Nothing fancy, but perfectly serviceable for daily use. Oh, and there’s a power cable. That’s it. Plug the keyboard and mouse into USB ports (front or back, take your pick), connect the PC to your monitor (HDMI cable is the usual method), plug it into a power outlet and push the power button.
From there, it’s maybe 15 minutes of onscreen setup, which ASUS walks you through.
ASUS M32BF Specs, (as tested)
For additional details, see the ASUS M32BF product page.
Proof it’s a Great Home Computer: I Set up the ASUS M32BF in My Family Room
Remember when I said setting up this desktop PC was a piece of cake? Well that statement came back to bite me a little during the course of the review—but it’s not something most people would run into. My monitor is a little on the vintage side, which means it does not accept HDMI (almost anything bought in the past few years will). I don’t have a D-sub cable in my collection and with holiday shoppers filling stores, I didn’t really want to venture out to pick up an adapter.
So I picked up the computer (it actually weighs just over 8kg, so it’s much lighter than you might think), carried it down to the family room and set it next o the TV. With the brushed metal front, it actually fits in there nicely. I connected the PC to a spare HDMI port on the TV and everything was good.
I once saw an interview with an author who wrote while sitting in a lounger in his living room, with his computer connected to a big-screen TV. With the ASUS M32BF connected to the big display, I could definitely see the appeal. All you’d need to do is swap out the wired keyboard and mouse for Bluetooth versions and you’d be golden.
As it was, the setup worked great. And I could see it working well for a family computer. Windows 10 looked great. The ASUS isn’t intended to be a high performance machine, but it’s got plenty of power on tap for productivity software like Microsoft Office—so homework and catching up from the office are covered off. The location is also a great fit for the Netflix app or streaming YouTube video so everyone can watch. And while the integrated AMD radeon R7 graphics aren’t on par with a discreet video card, they are powerful enough for some light duty PC gaming. The more powerful onboard graphics capabilities is actually one of the advantages of going with the AMD A10 CPU over the Intel equivalent Core i5 processor …
Desktop PC = Easy Upgrades
Closing the circle on why a desktop PC may make a better choice as a family PC than a laptop, there’s upgradability—the laptop’s Achilles heel.
The ASUS M32BF is probably all most families need, out of the box. It already has 16GB of RAM and there’s a massive 2TB hard drive.
But should you decide that you’d like a little more performance, remove two screws, slide off the side panel and you have full access to the PC. You could add an SSD for speed on top of that bulk storage. You could also upgrade the power supply and add a discrete video card for improved gaming performance. And when/if this PC finally outlives its usefulness, any accessories—keyboard, mouse and monitor—can continue to be used with its replacement.
For the price, I thought the ASUS M32BF would make a great family computer. Try it out for yourself at Best Buy.