This was just a bad decision of mine apparently, trying this system as a replacement for my home theater PC. I've not been this disappointed and disgusted with a PC for more years than I can remember.
What can I say - the overwhelming theme with this beast is Poor Performance, and yes, the caps were intentional. Such a slow boot time. I understand there was no SSD in it, but even my HP Pavilion Mini that this replaced, with half the RAM and an i3 processor, booted more than 4 times faster with a spinning drive.
Next fail - what kind of company would take the 1TB drive and partition it into multiple data partitions for the user rather than letting it be just one? Even worse - if you want to get into disk management and delete the large unneeded second drive, and extend the C partition to use all that now freed up space - you CAN'T because they threw the recovery partition RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THEM.
15 different versions of Office installer stubs are installed, in multiple languages. And of course three of them would *NOT* uninstall, I had to actually get into the registry and delete things from the uninstaller section, and then manually delete files on the drive. Not ideal. In four hours of trying to clean out the junkware (something that even on junkware laden HP's only takes 15 minutes or so) I finally realized it was probably time I gave up. This just isn't worth it. If it's this horrible to just get through the out of box experience and get it to the point that I can actually START SETTING IT UP, then there is no way I'm going to suffer with this as a PC I use every day (since my media PC runs just about everything for my TV use).
I tried to do the system recovery to see if somewhere in this Asus Business Manager driven app it would offer to create an image, either ISO, DVD, or USB. And it sat with the C drive at 100% showing "recovery drive please wait" and a progress indicator (not a progress bar, just the moving bar showing that at least the CPU can still draw the screen) and after 60 minutes, I gave up.
Reboot - from the BIOS screen - *NOT* from when I hit "reboot" in the OS, but AFTER it's shut down (so no shutdown delay is involved) it is slightly over THREE MINUTES from BIOS at power on to seeing the desktop with autologon enabled. THREE minutes. Even my non SSD HP Pavilion Mini can do it in about 30 seconds with Windows 10.
The performance on the hard disk, C and D (the two partitions on the 1TB unit it ships with) never dropped below 100%. I never saw anything other than service host background processes there. I even removed the junk McAfee they had installed on it, so it wasn't doing any virus scans. Resource monitor didn't shed any more light - the image using the most disk was "system". Gee, thanks for nothing.
There are no Asus updates found, Windows is all current. So it's not background downloads or anything going on. I don't even see anything unexpected or unwanted in any of the startup locations. I simply can't figure out what is destroying the drive's performance and using it 100%.
This is without a doubt the absolute worst PC I've ever owned, and the worst performer I've seen in years. I have clients still running XP on Pentium machines that boot and operate faster than this junk. And it's almost all due to the drive. I wasn't sure whether the entire subsystem is that poor, or a faster drive would have improved things.
Which is too bad since I liked this, physically. The specs *SHOULD* be decent. Discrete graphics - sure, it's not going to compare to my Asus ROG system I have for my Oculus, but for what I need in a home theater PC, this SHOULD have blown anything else I ever had out of the water. Instead, it's an absolute hot mess of horrible, horrible EVERYTHING.
With NOTHING else running, when I installed my Logitech Alert camera software, something that normally takes about 40 seconds on the last sevearl media center PC's I've used (Dell Studio Hybrid, three various models of bootcampmed Apple Minis, Alienware X51, HP Pavilion Mini), and here it ran for almost *FIVE MINUTES*.
I finally was fed up and ready to return this, but thought I'd try one more thing. So I removed their hard drive, put in a 250GB SSD, and did a clean install of Windows 10 Creator edition. The install was insanely slow still. Clearly there's something that is just poorly designed here. This is an SSD, the install should have taken about a quarter of this time. Even doing a clean Windows 10 install on my HP Pavilion Mini with the i3 processor took a fraction of this time.
This is without a doubt the worst excuse of a PC I've seen since leap from 16 bit PC's to 32 bit PC's. It's as if any way I turned to look at something here, there was a problem of some sort.
The clean install to the SSD finally finished and I figured I would download the drivers from their website. Oddly enough, the LAN driver (a Realtek device) wasn't even recognized by the Windows 10 installer, but fortunately the wireless LAN driver was, otherwise I'd have been unable to easily get the drivers off of the Asus website. But wireless at least worked, so I was able to download all the drivers. Screen suffered from some serious overscan with my 65" 4K Sony TV though.
Chipset installer - failed, even with running as admin, and any type of compatibility I tried. Bluetooth said there are no bluetooth devices, so it wouldn't install. BIOS was newer than what they posted on the support site. I was saving the Nvidia driver for last. That install went fine and cleared the last unknown driver in device manager. It then asked to start the Geforce experience after the install was finished, and that failed and crashed.
Another odd thing - during the Nvidia install, I was given a status message of "updating 6th gen Intel CPU" but this is supposed to have the 7th gen. It reports as the i5-7200U CPU in system properties though.
Rebooted. This time, with my SSD and a clean install, from BIOS splash screen to desktop was 30 seconds. Still sad for an SSD but better than the 2 or 3 minutes it took with their default install on their spinning drive. And of course, now the realtek was in an install loop, every boot would uninstall the existing drivers, say it needs to reboot, then uninstall again, reboot, repeat... The reboot is supposed to let it then do the install of the drivers - it never got there, kept uninstalling.
Even after reboots, nvidia experience kept failing. I could get nothing to indicate that I could actually use it as opposed to the integrated Intel graphics.
This was the point I finally said enough was enough, and determined I would return the unit. Nothing is worth this much headache. Nothing should EVER have to make the end user go through THIS MUCH JUNK to at least TRY to get a usable system. Asus did great with the cool system I use for my Oculus, but for this? A complete and utter fail. I tried a few drives, and clean installs as well as recovery installs from the Asus media I had finally let it create after waiting forever one night to see if it would ever progress, and nothing made this work well at all.
I had hoped the SSD would make a difference. But clearly there's more here causing it to be so horribly slow than just the junk drive they picked. It didn't improve much with the SSD. Poorly engineered, slowest system I've touched in years, I'd definitely tell everyone to avoid this like the plague.