Asus ROG Front Base Review
Some of us prefer a more minimalistic front panel on our cases. Most of us at OC3D have now moved away from optical drives, and in the majority of cases we prefer hard wiring fans to fan speed reducers so as to avoid having to use a fan controller on the front panel. The results of this are usually a very stealthy looking front panel and without any messy looking cables to see going to optical bays or fan controllers on the inside.
However, with Asus' new ROG Front Base, we're left with a little nostalgia where going back to the fancy front fan controllers is still 'cool', and with the ROG Front Base, it actually does look really good.
RushKit gives us a quick look around the product:
Asus have come up with a dual 5.25inch bay device which allows customisation of many features from the majority of recent ROG boards; from controlling fans, adjusting overclocks, reading POST data, and also simple readouts such as temperatures and the current time. The Front Base also comes equipped with a microphone and headphone jack, an additional front USB port, along with the 4'' display capable of showing you all the readouts from your PC.
The overall look of the unit is very much like what we see on aftermarket car radios, with speedometer looking dials. On the far left, we see the current CPU frequency, which may be useful if you're running something such as Intel speed step. The dial on the left is more for design than utility as we don't have pin that we'd usually see on a dashboard, implying that it is purely there for show, however we do have a very easy to read numeric readout in the centre which clearly show the data.
The dial on the right displays the temperatures, with a similar design as we'd see on a car's dashboard for oil temperature. This is a multifunction temperature display which can easily be adjusted to show the CPU temperature, or the temperature of the motherboard's components. this makes it easy to keep an eye on temperatures whilst gaming, rather than having to worry about flicking back to your desktop to look at your monitoring program.
The centre dial is the main one used for controlling fan speeds. Each individual channel can be set and adjusted with the silver turn dial in the bottom right and can easily be set up to give an exact RPM for each fan in your case. As we've seen from fan controllers in the past, this can be very useful if you're wanting a silent system for normal use, but wish to increase fan speed whilst gaming, or running other intensive tasks.
The ROG Front Base also has numerous audio controls. As previously mentioned, it has headphone and microphone jacks. These attach onto the HD Audio connection on the motherboard and so bypass any front panel audio ports you may already have on your case. The Front Base has options to change the EQ of the audio and so you can change the bass levels to match the scenario of the application you're running. For example, if you're playing an FPS gaming, you may want increased bass levels so you can more easily hear enemy footsteps. Also, if you're listening to music, you can change it to the music preset which should give you a more 'flat' sounding audio experience. Of course, this can be done easily in windows itself, but it is nice to have an easier, quicker option to do it.
The ROG Front Base allows for Overclocking within Windows. This takes us through the standard overclocking modes found in the Asus software and gives us two overclocking options for 4.2GHz and 4.4GHz which offer easy and safe ways to achieve a decent overclock, even if you don't know what you're doing. You can also set up custom profiles if you're wanting to get a higher overclock than the default values.
Finally, the onboard USB port also doubles as a charging port, so even if your computer is turned off, you can still charge your phone through the port. This is a really useful feature if you're without a mains charger for your phone or tablet. Even if the system is off, as long as the PSU power switch is turned on, the display will still run, meaning the Front Base can be used as a clock too which may be useful late at night if the system is off. The screen can easily be turned off with a simple touch of the built in power button.
Overall, the ROG Front Base offers a ton of useful features, and enables certain things such as overclocks and audio settings to be easily accessed from the front panel of your system. The unit itself does also look really good in the front of most cases so if you're in the market for a fan controller, or just want to add a as new toy to your system, then this may be a perfect option.
Thanks to Asus for supplying the ROG Front Base. You can discuss your thoughts over on the OC3D Forums.