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[Review] Compact and Upgradable Office PC: The ASUS ExpertCenter D7 Mini Tower


ASUS ExpertCenter D7 Mini Tower


Okay, today's review is a departure from our usual gaming gear, laptops, or even graphics cards. Instead, we'll be role-playing a mundane office worker and reviewing the ASUS ExpertCenter D7 Mini Tower, which is basically a modular enterprise-grade desktop PC.


So, instead of flexing performance and our usual flashy RGB lighting, we're going to view it in terms of practicality and upgradability, both of which are more important than flashy looks in this case (and casing - hah, geddit?)

Appearance


Being used to gargantuan gaming PCs, I found that the ExpertCenter D7 was amusingly tiny in comparison. Measuring just over a foot tall, ASUS claims that it is "37% smaller than a traditional tower PC", which greatly helps in terms of portability.

And as mentioned, the PC forgoes any edgy accents or lighting in favour of a sleek, understated casing that will look right at home in a boring board meeting.


On the front of the case, you'll find diagonal ridges on the left, and a brushed texture on the right. It's altogether unremarkable, but the diagonal ridges do a good job of concealing the optical disc drive, which is a rarity nowadays. I mean, who still uses CDs nowadays besides boring old farts? *ahem*

Although ours didn't have a handle on top, apparently you can opt to have one installed so you can carry it around more easily.

More USB ports than you can use


In case you want to plug in anything more than a keyboard, mouse, and perhaps an external hard disk, the ExpertCenter provides an extremely generous SEVEN USB ports on the front, one of which is a USB-C port. On the back, there are four more for good measure. The front ones are USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, whereas the back are USB 2.0.

By having most of them on the front, they'll always be within easy reach. You'll also get a headphone and audio combo jack as well as an SD card and smart card (hello, what era is this) reader.

And in line with their backwards compatibility, on the back you'll also find legacy PS/2 ports for ancient peripherals, as well as optional serial and parallel ports for other devices like printers and more.

In terms of displays, it supports HDMI, DisplayPort, as well as VGA connections. Rounding up the port selection on the back are an RJ-45 ethernet port, microphone port, line in and line out ports.

Future-proofed for easy upgrades


What happens if you need to upgrade your work PC? Do you throw out the entire hunk of outdated metal. or do you simply swap out the parts you need? In this case, it's the latter. ASUS has had the foresight to enable easy upgrading by providing a tool-free chassis along with a generous selection of expansion slots.

To open up the chassis, all you have to do is remove two thumb screws and slide the side panel out. The HDD and ODD can be easily pried out, and you'll have 4 storage slots and extra PCIe slots to add in a new graphics card. It supports up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, which means you could probably sneak in a game or two after office hours as well ;)

Solid and secure


Office machines tend to contain sensitive information, so it makes sense that ASUS has implemented a slew of security features to keep your data safe.