Asus claims in its marketing literature that it is ‘in search of incredible.’ Judging by the performance of the Asus VivoPC VM42, the search is not yet over.
Built around an Intel Haswell Celeron running at 1.4GHz and packing just 2GB of RAM, it is not exactly the beefiest PC in the market. That is acceptable considering that the VM42 is aimed squarely at the media streaming home theatre market.
Featuring an in-vogue brushed aluminium case, the VivoPC is a sleek little box which can be tucked away behind a stack of books or a DVD collection. Despite its diminutive size, it packs plenty of connectors at the back including four USB, a HDMI, DisplayPort, card reader and mic in connectors. In addition to the built-in Wi-Fi adapter, there is also a networking port. As befitting a media streaming box, it has an optical out for digital audio as well as a stereo analog out.
This version of the VivoPC is upgradeable as far as storage is concerned. If you find the enclosed 2TB hard drive too small for your media needs, you can add an additional 2.5 inch hard drive using the expansion bay provided by Asus.
Strangely, our test unit came with Windows 8 installed instead of Windows 10. The VivoPC’s performance is adequate for media streaming or some light office work. It has no problem playing video at full HD resolution, but the Intel HD integrated graphics does not ramp up as far as modern games are concerned. With the added restriction of 2GB RAM, the VivoPC can manage only single digit frame rates in modern games at HD or full HD resolutions.
In our benchmarks, including the newly added Unigine Heaven and Valley benchmarks, the VivoPC struggled to display over five frames per second. So do not expect to play any of this year’s or even last year’s games by hooking it up to a TV or projector.
Overall, being small, quiet and upgradeable, the VivoPC is perfect for the media streaming home theatre market it is aimed at.
Dimensions: 190 x 190 x 56.2 mm
Processor: Intel Celeron 2957U 1.4 GHz
Memory: 2GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
Ports: 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x RJ45 LAN, 1x Kensington Lock, 1x DC-in, 1x Optical S/PDIF out, 1x Display, 2x Audio Jack (Mic in/Headphone out)
3DMARK 11 529
UNIGINE HEAVEN 110
UNIGINE VALLEY 145
Verdict: A quiet PC for all your media streaming needs.