The Bottom Line
Apr 17 2012 - For those looking at a fairly well rounded desktop system for under $500, the ASUS CM1740-US-2AF does a pretty good job. It's quad core AMD processor may not be as fast as Intel offerings at this price range but it does just fine for most tasks and has a bit extra headroom if the memory is upgraded. The inclusion of wireless networking and a fast terabyte hard drive also set it apart from many other AMD A6 based desktops. The only real downside is that those wanting to buy this and upgrade it into a low cost gaming rig will be disappointed with the low wattage power supply that restricts what video cards can be used with it.
- Quad Core Processor With Improved Integrated Graphics
- Wireless Networking
- USB 3.0 Ports
- Processor Slower Than Many Intel Core i3 Systems At This Price Point
- Power Supply Limits Video Card Upgrades
- AMD A6-3620 Quad Core Desktop Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 24x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- AMD Radeon HD 6530D Integrated Graphics
- 7.1 Audio Support
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Two USB 3.0, Six USB 2.0, HDMI, DVI, VGA, 6-in-1 Card Reader
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - ASUS CM1740-US-2AF
Apr 17 2012 - ASUS desktop offerings have been fairly uncommon but the company is looking to change that with the very affordable CM1740-US-2AF which can be found for just over $450 (list price $500). They achieve this price by basing it upon the AMD A6-3620 quad core processor. This is certainly much more affordable than an Intel quad core based desktop but this processor does suffer, often being slower an Intel Core 3 dual core processor in many tasks. Only in multitasking does the AMD benefit more but it is restricted by just 4GB of memory. Thankfully, the system does feature four memory slots making it fairly easy to upgrade the memory.
Storage features on the whole are pretty typical of what one would expect in a budget class system. The hard drive provides a full terabyte of storage space which is plenty for most users. The nice thing is that the drive that ASUS uses in the CM1740 spins at the traditional 7200rpm rate compared to many budget systems that use green class drives that spin around 5400rpm. This gives it a slight advantage in accessing data. If this isn't enough storage space, the system also features two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external drives. Most Intel budget based desktops still do not feature this peripheral port. A dual layer DVD burner is included for playback and recording of CD or DVD media as well as a media card reader for using the most common forms of flash cards from digital peripherals.
The graphics for the ASUS CM1740-US-2AF relies on the AMD Radeon HD 6530D graphics core that is built into the processor. While this graphics core is still not as powerful as a dedicated graphics card, it can provide some casual PC gaming at lower resolutions and detail levels particularly with older games. It certainly is an achievement compared to the current Intel HD Graphics found in budget systems and it also has the ability to accelerate more non-3D applications. There is a PCI-Express x16 graphics card slot on the motherboard that one can use to install a dedicated card but it is going to be restricted to the most basic of budget video cards as the power supply is only rated at 300 watts. At least it can be used in a hybrid CrossFire configuration with an AMD based dedicated graphics card.
The ASUS CM1740 will likely be compared directly to the Acer Aspire AM3470G-UR10P which share the same base AMD processor but costs just $400. With the street pricing of the ASUS only $60 more, it is a much better overall value thanks to the larger hard drive but also the 802.11b/g/n wireless networking. With more and more homes featuring wireless networks, the ASUS system is easier to integrate into a home networking without having to locate the desktop next to the broadband modem or having to run long wires.