Asus P2-M3A3200 HTPC ReviewZertz - November 6, 2008
» Discuss this article (5)
Panels are made out of aluminum and painted matte black which doesn't look bad, but isn't great either. One side has a single air intake for the processor while the other side gets Asus' logo etched into the bottom back portion of the panel. Also, the sticker on the component side feels really out of place, especially that everything on it is printed in what is most likely Taiwanese. It's not a killer, but sticking it inside or at least on the back would be a good way to streamline the silhouette.
The front side of the case looks decent with the right half having a leather textured plastic and the other half featuring a glossy finish, but that's pretty much where it ends. The main three buttons, power reset and eject, are well placed - vertically and right where you want them. Unfortunately, they are hard to press and have a cheap plastic feel to them. There is also an interesting array of inputs, including two USB ports, a FireWire port, microphone input, and sound output. Above those, two memory card slots are found, one of them supporting Sony's Memory Stick and MS Pro along with SD and MMC while the top most one is dedicated to CompactFlash cards. Those are hidden behind one of those push to open plastic doors which I am not too fond of since they always end up breaking and don't even work so well out of the box.
Now on to the back side of the case is where all the power supply and primary outputs are found. Notice how the power supply occupies nearly half the total height. While I am at at it, be very careful before plugging it in the first time, my sample had the voltage selection switch set to 230V. Standing on top of the others are the six audio outputs, for a total of eight channels. While most of the time they are awkward to connect properly, those ones all clearly labeled and easily accessed which greatly helps during initial setup. Right below are two legacy mouse and keyboard connectors, four USB ports, a lone Ethernet port, and an optical SPDIF. The other half features the video outputs which includes a VGA port a warmly welcomed HDMI connector as well. A serial port is found at the bottom, trying not to catch attention and be forgotten for good. Finally, those who will opt for the optional video card, Radeon HD3450, will get a DVI output and another VGA port.
It is now time to tear it apart and have a look inside.