The Bottom Line
Feb 19 2013 - ASUS markets the CM1855 as a multimedia center and this is a fairly good description. The system does a great job at general purpose and desktop video work thanks to its eight core processor and 16GB of memory. It can even overtake many of the Intel systems in these areas. Those hoping to get it for a PC gaming platform will be disappointing though. It comes with a modest graphics card that is capable but it falls behind most Intel based systems and the limited power supply makes upgrading to even faster graphics less plausible.
- Eight Core Processor Useful For Video Work
- 16GB Of Memory
- Processor Falls Behind Intel Offerings For Gaming
- Low Wattage Power Supply Limits Graphics Upgrade Possibilities
- AMD FX-8300 Eight Core Desktop Processor
- 16GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Burner
- AMD Radeon HD 7770 Graphics Card With 1GB Memory
- 7.1 Audio Support
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Four USB 3.0, Six USB 2.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, Two DVI, Memory Card Reader
- Windows 8, Office Starter
Review - ASUS CM1855-US003S
Feb 19 2013 - The ASUS VM1855 differs from many of the other desktop systems on the market. While it does offer some good performance, it is based around the AMD FX platform rather than the AMD APU series processor which are more recent in design. This means the system is a bit more geared for performance but the technology behind it is a bit more dated.
The AMD FX-8300 is the lowest of the FX-8000 series processor. Now this has eight dedicated processor cores which is twice as many as the Core i5 processors found in this price range but in some tests it falls behind the i5-3570K but in others it is faster. For those looking at gaming, it is slightly slower as they are less reliant on the total number of processing cores while desktop video editing is slightly faster thanks to the extra cores. It still falls short of the Core i7-3770 in every test. The processor is combined with 16GB of DDR3 memory which means it is unlikely one will ever need to upgrade the memory and it is really helpful for demanding tasks like desktop video work.
Storage features for the ASUS CM1855-US003S are pretty typical for its price range. The primary storage is handled by an one terabyte hard drive that provides a good amount of space for applications, data and media files. It uses the traditional 7200rpm spin rate for some good performance but still nothing like those that use solid state drives for caching. Users needing additional storage space will find four USB 3.0 ports (two on back and two on the top) for use with high speed external storage devices. A dual layer DVD burner handles playback and recording of CD and DVD media.
Since the processor uses the AMD FX processor, there is no built in graphics like there is on the Intel Core processors or the AMD APUs. Instead, the graphics are handled by a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 7770 graphics card with 1GB of memory. This is a decent performing graphics card that can support 3D gaming up to the 1920x1080 resolution typical of most monitors although some more demanding games will likely require lower detail levels. It does also supply some acceleration of non-3D applications which is beneficial for those that might be using Photoshop or digital video work. Unfortunately, the system only has a single graphics card slot so it isn't possible to add a second for CrossFire setups. In addition, the power supply is limited to 350 watts peak which means that it can't really handle any more powerful graphics cards.
The pricing of the ASUS CM1855-US003S is $900 list with street pricing closer to $800. This makes it a bit more affordable of the mid-range systems. There are a couple of competitors at this price point including the relatively new Avatar Gaming A1077 and HP ENVY h8-1430. Both of these range from around $800 to $850. The Avatar uses the AMD A10-5800K quad core APU which has a bit less performance and a similar storage and graphics setup. The big difference is that it has a more powerful power supply for better upgrade potential. The HP ENVY h8 uses the Intel Core i5-3550P processor that is comparable but offers double the storage space and wireless. It sacrifices graphics performance though with a less powerful GeForce GT 620 graphics card.