Desktops have long been the primary computing device for most people through the years and even though a lot of us spend most of our time using our smartphones, nothing can replace the comfort of using a good desktop PC. Come what may but desktop PC’s will be used by millions of people for many years to come. In light of this fact, ASUS has a huge profile of computing products at its disposal and the M51-AC which is their new pre-built desktop tries to add more features to the traditional PC. The M51-AC has been used by us for over a month now and we’ve covered pretty much everything when it comes to this desktop’s specifications, features and performance. It doesn’t end here as features and performance are not the only factors involved in making a desktop complete because manufacturers tend to add a few of their own software and utilities to their products and take it one extra mile. Most of the times, these bundled utilities end up being bloatwares but some of them are not. The M51-AC comes with its own set of bundled software and utilities and we tried out all of them and were quite impressed with what they had to offer. Let’s take a look at them individually.
The desktop on the M51-AC looks like any other Windows 8 desktop but if you take a look at it closely, you’ll see that ASUS has included a pull down dock at the top of the screen where you’ll find all of the pre-installed utilities bundled with the desktop. All of these softwares and utilities are categorically divided depending on their area of use like Cloud, Entertainment, Settings and Favourite. First in the Cloud submenu is ASUS WebStorage, ASUS’s very own cloud storage service that offers a free storage space of 5GB and an ability to gain upto 10GB overall free space if you refer ASUS WebStorage to others. Apart from online backup, ASUS WebStorage also offers file sync, share and data encryption functionalities. Not only that, you can access your data from anywhere using the ASUS WebStorage app for mobile devices like your phone and tablet. You can get more features like One Time Password(OTP) if you pay for an account.
Using ASUS WebStorage on the M51-AC is very easy because it can directly be accessed through the dock at the top of the screen. Setting up the WebStorage account on the system is effortless thanks to a step-by-step process and ASUS Sync Agent.
Next feature-rich utility in the cloud submenu is ASUS @Vibe. @Vibe is an online multimedia platform that provides music, games, radio, live TV, videos (news, drama and movies), e-books (magazines, newspapers, books, comics), audio books and online learning materials from all the service providers of @vibe. You can enjoy a variety of high-quality online multimedia content on @vibe. ASUS @vibe is designed very well and content is divided into well-laid lists with an option to add stuff to something called as “My Collection” that holds everything that you may have seen or favourited while using @Vibe. @Vibe is an organised platform and it’s easy to find and add something that you’re looking for. We tried this service and were happy with what it offers as a whole. If you are looking for a one-stop place for all your content, @Vibe is a nice place to take a look at.
We as humans need to keep ourselves entertained and so we come up with various methods to do so. A typical desktop user consumes much more multimedia content than anything else and so the the next submenu in the ASUS M51-AC is Entertainment. This menu houses ASUS Video Easy and ASUS Music Maker. Both these software suites are designed well and they offer so many different features and functions and it would be no surprise if a user shifts his primary audio and video editing software to these. ASUS Video Easy has an easy to use layout with the video preview pane on the left, the timeline exists at the bottom and to the right you’ll find the video effects and editing submenus. Separate tabs exist for Set Object, Title and Text, Audio and Video effects. The video effects tab has to be one of the best features of the Video Easy software suite as it comes with a ton of different filters and effects for your video.
Next in the Entertainment submenu is ASUS Music Maker. The ASUS Music Maker is a comprehensive software suite for all your audio related needs. You don’t need to learn to use it as it has an easy to understand layout with a huge timeline at the centre that divides each music file into various segments depending on the type of instrument used in the background. We tried the Music Maker by editing the default music files that come with the software and saw that it was child’s play to use it. Dragging and dropping music segments, cutting and replacing parts and dividing the instrumental parts is very easy to do using the Music Maker. The audio options are in a completely new window called the “Audio FX Rack”. This control pad has options to tweak settings like reverb, delay, compression and distortion.
Finally we have the settings menu that features the ASUS AI Suite II. The ASUS AI Suite II is a software utility that has many different utilities under its umbrella. The AI Suite II is primarily a system bar that can be placed anywhere on the screen or made to stick out from the side as a pull-to-use bar. AI Suite II has options such as Tool, Monitor, Update, System Information, Support and Settings. The most extensive option is Tool. Tool has various tools like Dr.Net that lets you run diagnostics on your wireless and wired network.
Next is EPU which accounts for the power saving functionality of the M51-AC. EPU has different modes like Auto, High Performance, Maximum Power Saving. There is also a smart bar on the tool that gives you information about reduced CO2 emission, Current CPU Power.
Another extremely useful tool is Probe II which relays real time information using various sensors of the components installed inside the M51-AC. You can easily take a note of the voltage, temperature and fan speed. You can also use the Monitor Submenu to find out information about the CPU frequency.
The ASUS AI Suite II Settings menu lets you select the applications that you may want to enable or disable inside AI Suite II. There are many more useful options inside the AI Suite II and any power user would be happy to use this utility.
Finally we have the Waves MaxxAudio audio wizard. Primarily the MaxxAudio utility is a control center that let’s you control every single aspect of your audio experience on the M51-AC. The Waves MaxxAudio has a Master utility built into it that lets you efficiently tweak your equaliser settings.
So, these are all the pre-installed softwares and utilities bundled with the ASUS M51-AC and we must say that all of these utilities will appeal to most people as every utility has a unique function that somehow improves your overall desktop experience.
To conclude with our 30-days with ASUS M51-AC campaign, we would like to say that we are happy with the overall performance of the M51-AC. According to its specifications, it works very well, and can be used in most scenarios like work, casual gaming or media consumption. We also feel that some of the features of this desktop are very innovative and must be included with every pre-built desktop in the market. Especially, the multifunction ASUS Power Pack that works like a mini-UPS for the desktop as well as a portable power bank for charging mobile devices. We also believe that other manufacturers should take a cue from ASUS and add features like the included wireless charger on their desktop PC’s which would make an efficient use of the top part of the cabinet. All in all, the ASUS M51-AC is a well rounded desktop and would be a nice option to consider for anyone who is going for a pre-built desktop PC.
You can also take a look at the video below to see the bundled software utilities that come with the M51-AC in action. If you may have missed out on our previous coverage with this desktop, you can find all of it here