Recent gains in the popularity of compact desktop computers do not always allow for expanding functionality. Let’s try to investigate this question, how can such contradictory requirements be combined on the ASUS solution.
When choosing a desktop, as opposed to private users, business customers place high demands on the reliability and manageability of these platforms. Among the priorities are also issues of efficiency. Recently, compact desktop computers in the Ukrainian market ASUS ExpertCenter D5 SFF (D500SA, volume 9 litres) meet these requirements.
Let’s start our acquaintance with the essential elements of the PC – the motherboard. The fact is that it is specially designed for compact desktops of the ExpertCenter D500 series. It includes a high-quality DIGI + VRM power controller to ensure a stable power supply, surge protection solutions for power supply circuits, and block of discharges on the LAN connection lines. During production, took additional measures to protect the electronics from excessive moisture to avoid corrosion. The rear I / O ports are reinforced with steel plates for improved durability.
All this in a complex made it possible to comply with the military reliability standard MIL-STD 810G. D500SA desktops have successfully passed 11 tests for resistance to such adverse factors as high humidity, high and low temperatures, vibration, etc. It is clear that in a standard office environment, where workstations are usually equipped with such compact desktop computers, whether the temperature will exceed the level of 50 ° C for a long time. But even if this happens, you can be sure that without negative consequences for the desktop installed here.
The manufacturer claims that the platform has passed thorough comprehensive testing of over 8 thousand hours, including tests for ageing, temperature and humidity fluctuations. Also tested the motherboard for compatibility with more than 1,000 peripheral devices. And in the conclusion of the section on electronic components, we note that only solid-state electrolytic capacitors are used in the motherboard, whose MTBF is much greater than traditional ones.
Vast possibilities for optimizing the platform for the needs of a particular customer are provided by the presence of a PCIe 3.0 × 16 and two PCIe x1 expansion slots in the motherboard, as well as two slots for installing DIMM memory modules up to DDR4 2933 MHz, which allows you to increase the amount of RAM up to 64 GB. There are two M.2 slots to accommodate the respective drives and one for the Wi-Fi adapter, which is optional as organizations prohibit WLAN use.
The D500SA is also highly customizable, with bays for 2.5 “and 3.5” drives and an optical drive that also works in portrait orientation. In the maximum configuration, onboard storage can include up to two M.2 SSDs up to 2TB and up to two HDDs up to 3TB.
The Intel H410 chipset used in the motherboard supports work with 10th generation Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 processors and Pentium and Celeron. We received a system for testing with Intel Core i5-10400 chips, with 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD.
Express testing of the system using the PCMark ten package showed an overall result of 4128. At the same time, 8816 was obtained in the Essentials section, 6945 in Productivity, and 3119 in Digital Content Creation. This shows the platform’s readiness to perform a wide range of business tasks, of which work with graphics lags behind a little since it relies on the capabilities of the integrated graphics Intel HD Graphics 630.
The energy-efficient desktop PSU is 80 PLUS Platinum or 80 PLUS Bronze certified and is available in 180W or 300W options. The case can accommodate a discrete graphics adapter up to NVIDIA GeForce GT1030 2GB GDDR5.
Because the D500SA is targeted at the business environment, its communications capabilities include the optional placement of serial and parallel ports required to connect specialized peripherals. At the same time, for maximum convenience, there are four USB 3.2 Gen1 connectors on the front panel and two 3.5 mm audio ports for a microphone and headphones. There may also be an optional card reader.
The rear panel accommodates two PS / 2 connectors for a keyboard and a mouse, 4 USB 2.0 ports, and three audio ports, which are rarely seen recently. There are HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort and D-sub outputs for working with displays. The RJ45 port will help you connect to a wired LAN.
The D500SA has been designed to maximize access to components for replacement or upgrades. So the side cover is fixed with screws, which can unscrew without the use of tools. And the drive bay pivots thanks to a hinge for easy drive mounting.
After getting acquainted with the hardware component, let’s move on to the software components, which are no less important since they allow you to strengthen the platform’s security and provide the ability to manage it remotely. First of all, let’s focus on the built-in security features.
So the D500SA can use a TPM 2.0 chip, which allows you to store passwords and encryption keys at the hardware level. You can protect both the BIOS and the drives installed in the PC with passwords. ExpertCenter desktops support the function of secure destruction of data recorded on its storage system.
Here you can also block access to USB drives in general or prohibit writing to them to prevent the spread of unwanted software and reduce the risk of leakage of critical business information.
The ExpertCenter PC also supports remote management functionality, including status monitoring, updating BIOS and installed software, turning on / off the system, etc. The utilities required for this are summarized in the ASUS Control Center package.
A study of the compact business desktop ASUS ExpertCenter D5 SFF shows that this device copes well with a wide range of business applications. And if it is necessary to adapt to the business environment, it can easily change the system configuration without additional tools.