When the folks at Republic of Gamers, the gaming subsidiary of ASUS, contacted us and asked us if we were keen to try out one of their latest PBA (Powered by ASUS) AMD gaming builds, we didn’t just jump, we leaped at the opportunity (just picture the iconic moment when Jonty Rhodes ran out Inzamam-ul-Haq in the 1992 Cricket World Cup)...

A PBA is basically a pre-built high-performing gaming machine with ROG’s stamp of approval on it…so you know every part is optimized to work well together for the best graphics, frames and visuals you can get, not to mention the RGB effects you can play around with and customize to your liking. Let’s dive in to check the components and my thoughts on using this unit for two weeks. 

Let’s start off with the case containing this beast, the ROG Strix Helios. Although ASUS and ROG are more well known for their hardware, the ROG Strix Helios is packed with the most features I have ever seen on a case. A chassis designed for ease of use, fantastic cable management, good storage options, and downright terrific looks as the side and front panels have been fitted with tempered glass. The RGB ROG styling is quite noticeable, combined with a configurable RGB front panel logo you can tag any color design that suits you the best, as an RGB lighting controller is housed inside the chassis as well. One of the features I loved about the case is the velcro strap laced over the top panel, ostensibly an “ergonomic and stylish” handle for carrying the system but it’s worth noting that the case is 18 kg’s on its own so not ideal for moving around too much! 



Next, let’s look at the motherboard, the ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme. If you have a Ryzen 9 CPU (we had the Ryzen 9 5950x), this motherboard is going to output the absolute best performance you can get and is a match made in heaven. Unlike a lot of other X570 motherboards, the Crosshair VIII Extreme packs a lot more features which adds considerable value to your gaming and pc experience. Some noticeable features for the motherboard is support for 2000, 3000 and 5000 AMD chipsets, the ability to install up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM at speeds of up to 5GHz (2.5GHz x2), two PCIe 4.0 x16 slots with full support for NVIDIA and AMD dual-GPU configurations, five M.2 slots (three on the board and two on the expansion card), three of which are capable of running at PCIe 4.0 speeds, 2.5Gb and 10Gb LAN connections for more network bandwidth as well as WiFi 6 technology which was a game changer for me personally with a desktop PC. 


The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is one of the key features of any solid gaming desktop, and the ASUS ROG STRIX Radeon RX 6800 OC graphics card doesn’t disappoint. While its big brothers, the RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT excels in 4k gaming or content viewing, the RX 6800 has placed itself quite nicely in terms of performance and price and can run at maxed-out gaming performance in 1440p while still able to handle 4k quite nicely. The RX 6800 is based on AMD’s new RDNA2 graphics architecture which can handle DirectX 12 Ultimate, which includes real-time raytracing standardized under DirectX Raytracing which adds a new level of graphics realism to games through effects like reflections, shadows, and global illumination at real-time frame rates. I had no issues whatsoever playing the latest game titles at well over 144 FPS on the highest setting with 1440p, every game ran smooth as butter without any overheating issues. The ASUS ROG STRIX Radeon RX 6800 OC is also visually stunning to look at with full RGB on the side which adds a nice touch to the aesthetics of the case.




Finally, the Asus ROG RYUJIN II 360 CPU Cooler and ASUS THOR 850W Platinum ATX Power Supply. The Ryujin II is an AIO (All in One) cooler that boasts a 3.5″ full-color LCD screen that can be fully customized through Armory Crate which lets you play around with the display contents quite easily. You are able to show a number of stats for the PC, as well as time, dates, etc but I really liked the option to play GIFs on the panel. The Rjujin II is painted in a matte black finish with ROG branding on the sides which I found a really nice touch. I never had a problem with the fan sound on the Ryujin II and cooling for the CPU had some excellent results, even when playing Resident Evil: Village on max settings at 1440p. The ASUS Thor 850W PSU (power supply unit) was another eye-catching and unique component that came with this rig…it’s the first PSU to feature an integrated OLED panel, offering the user a real-time display of the power draw so you can see how much juice your rig is using at any given time…now that’s impressive! It’s an extreme performance PSU that screams quality and styling that was built for a gaming desktop. 

Gaming on a console is great, but gaming on a PC and specifically a ROG AMD PBA unit takes it to the next level 

Gaming has grown quite considerably over the last few years, billions of US $’s are pumped into titles such as Call of Duty, Resident Evil, Grand Theft Auto, Assassins Creed, Cyberpunk and the likes and they all break sales records upon release which is a testament to how many people game and what price they will play for a great title. On top of this, gaming is no longer limited by age or sex, we can’t stereotype a gamer anymore, which is a beautiful thing in my opinion. 

Gaming on a console is great, but gaming on a PC and specifically a ROG AMD PBA unit takes it to the next level where you are getting max performance on anything you throw at it. Given, one of these units is not cheap, it’s going to most likely set you back well over R50,000 on the lower end of the spectrum, depending on how you customize it, but it’s going to give you 5 years plus of playing the latest game titles on high settings without any stuttering or visual compromise, on top of it, its cool AF and it’s not so bad when you consider how much entertainment it’s going to deliver over the coming years. Having said this, the ROG PBA units are not just for gamers, they are ideal for content creators, video editors, or any professional who requires a lot of power and performance in their rig to perform their tasks effectively and efficiently. 

I will say one thing, I literally cried when I had to part with this machine, I was filled with emotions as I booted up my personal desktop and suddenly everything seemed so underwhelming and slow, I had grown so used to ultra-fast response times from the PBA that everything was snail pace compared to it. 


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