High-stakes matches can be decided by split-second reflexes, so esports PCs need to be impeccably responsive to meet the demands of professionals. The Strix GL12CM ensures games run at top speed on up to an Intel Core i7-8700K processor that’s factory overclocked to 4.8GHz across six cores and 12 threads. Coffee Lake’s extra cores help sustain smooth frame rates when you’re streaming with software-based encoding or performing other background tasks while you play.
Only the best chips make the grade for the overclocked version of the GL12CM. We test each one at the factory to confirm that it’s comfortable when pushed so far beyond the 4.3GHz stock frequency for all-core loads. Then we add liquid cooling to reduce temperatures and prevent thermally induced slowdowns from hitching your gameplay. The closed-loop CPU cooler is supplied by the experts at Asetek, and it’s the same unit used in the ultra-high-end ROG GT51 desktop.
The GPU is the most important factor for gaming performance, so the Strix GL12CM uses graphics cards from NVIDIA’s latest GeForce 10 series. These cards support G-Sync, which pairs perfectly with the ROG Swift gaming monitors used in major esports tournaments. The flagship GL12CM has a GTX 1080 that pumps out enough FPS to saturate the ultra-high-refresh that pros favor, like the 180Hz ROG Swift PG248Q and 240Hz PG258Q. And all configurations with GTX 1060 or better graphics include dual HDMI outputs that make it easier to connect VR headsets.
An internal crossbar secures the graphics card to guard against damage from the unavoidable knocks and bumps that can happen when systems are shipped across the world for big gaming events or taken across town for local LANs. This reinforcement holds the card level, eliminating the scourge of GPU sag that plagues so many custom gaming desktops.
The graphics card uses a Turbo-style blower that exhausts warm air out the back of the chassis. It’s complemented by a smart internal layout that supports up to three internal fans. Cool air enters the chassis through a 120-mm intake up front. It flows into the lower chamber, which houses the storage bays, and into the main compartment with everything else. Liquid-cooled versions of the Strix GL12CM affix their radiators to a 120-mm exhaust in the top of the chassis, and there’s room for a 90-mm fan in the back.