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This is the ASUS Desktop S500SA – yes, that’s the official name of this product – and this desktop is… well, who is it actually for? Should you buy this desktop or should you get a laptop instead? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about here today. We’ll also weigh in the price difference between a laptop and the ASUS Desktop S500SA.

Let’s start off with the design first. The entire ASUS Desktop S500SA is slim and tall. It’s only at 9 liters of volume and in my opinion, ASUS overengineered the chassis of this desktop’s case. It’s really robust, and how the motherboard and the case are built to work with each other, is just fantastic.

ASUS Desktop S500SA

And since this whole desktop is so solid, you can lay it sideways and put your desktop monitor on top too. And since this desktop is considered low-powered, covering the CPU intake partially isn’t going to affect anything at all.

ASUS Desktop S500SA

Now, speaking of “low-powered”, the specs of this laptop here is as follows:

  • Intel Core i5-10400
  • 8GB RAM
  • 1TB HDD

And that’s it. You can upgrade to 16GB RAM by just slotting in another 8GB RAM stick since there’s a blank slot there.

ASUS Desktop S500SA

You can also slot in another 2.5-inch drive or an M.2 SSD – albeit in an awkward and very unconventional way.

ASUS Desktop S500SA

But that aside, why does the ASUS Desktop S500SA exist?

Great question! Well, for a lot of reasons, actually. For one, if you buy this desktop, you get both keyboard and mouse together – this monitor isn’t part of the package, by the way.

So let’s start with the obvious – for offices. Particularly some departments in the offices. Okay, let me tell you a story. During my days when I worked at IBM, these types of desktops were laid all across the office aisles because while we do have laptops, these desktops are dedicated machines to access the client’s PC environment.

ASUS Desktop S500SA
WiFi module is included, too.

I should explain that “environment” here means like a company’s ecosystem of PC software suite – let’s just say a bank, where all branches require them to run the same suite of software across all PCs and all of them are connected in a network, hence “environment”.

Essentially, the desktop is now a thin client – a low-powered device mainly used to access another high-powered VM or client PC.

ASUS Desktop S500SA

Actually, even other companies need desktops like for certain departments – like finance or HR, because that information are sensitive and should not be brought out of the office. These desktops are also great for laboratories – like chemical-synthesizing labs that I used to work in, because we do need a PC for inventory, CNC mill controllers, all those stuff.

Focusing on the home environment?

For homes, ASUS already hinted to us on what target demographic this is ASUS Desktop S500SA. Just take a look at ASUS’s own website. It shows a grandma using a desktop hooked up to the ASUS Desktop S500SA – which is a completely valid target demographic.

It can also be a Netflix machine, granted that your monitor has speakers or use your own earphones/headphones. I mean, since this laptop is so small, you can even lay it somewhere and hook it up to your TV – making that TV of yours the smartest it can be.

ASUS Desktop S500SA

You can also use it as a home family PC, but during this human malware season, that makes this desktop a little difficult to recommend since everyone requires their own personal device to do work or attend classes and whatnot.

Differences between the ASUS Desktop S500SA and a laptop

We need to work from home – and we need to do meetings, attend online classes, all that stuff. Now, given the price, it might be better to get a laptop instead of the ASUS Desktop S500SA here because of a few reasons.

  1. A laptop has a built-in webcam
  2. A laptop has a built-in microphone – but some earphones/headphones have a microphone anyway
  3. A laptop has a screen (no matter how bad it is, still usable)
  4. A laptop has a battery so you can take it anywhere you want (no matter how bad the battery life is)

Should you buy the ASUS Desktop S500SA then?

Considering the value, upgrade path, and all of those aspects – getting the ASUS Desktop S500SA is actually better. Because – hear me out here – the desktop that we have here is priced at RM2,339, comes with an Intel Core i5-10400 with 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD.

I don’t recommend you to buy this configuration, actually. I recommend you to buy the RM1,959 variant with an Intel Core i3-10100 with 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD.

That’s a way better deal, honestly. And let’s be honest here – you don’t need a Core i5 to scroll Facebook, watch YouTube, or do some simple Excel. What you do need is at least 8GB RAM and also an SSD for the operating system.

ASUS Desktop S500SA

Now, doing some napkin math, the ASUS Desktop S500SA at RM1,959 for the Intel Core i3-10100 – we can get some upgrade to make it even better.

  • Some random 240GB SSD @ RM165
  • Let’s say this monitor from ASUS – the VZ239HR @ RM389
  • Since the monitor doesn’t have a speaker, we’ll add some random set of speakers or headphone/earphone for RM100 or so.

That totals up to about RM2,613 – which is a surprisingly good deal compared to laptops at this price. Also, you can choose whatever monitor you want to use with the ASUS Desktop S500SA – maybe the ASUS ProArt monitor? Maybe an ultrawide monitor at that.

ASUS Desktop S500SA
This whole setup and more, for less than RM3,000.

My point is, you’re only paying for the particular thing that you want and you’re not paying for anything else that you won’t use at all.

And yet the ASUS Desktop S500SA occupies such a tiny footprint, it’s a great alternative to a laptop – especially since we can’t go anywhere now anyway.

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