New PC Part III: ASUS ROG G20 Crashes and Burns

So I go upstairs, get dressed in something besides shorts and a t-shirt (it’s winter and cold out), and get in my car and drive 45 minutes to a Best Buy that happens to not be the closest one to my house (that Best Buy didn’t have any of these computers in stock).

Walk in the store, find it on a shelf within minutes, pick it up, check out, and I’m on my way back home.

Fast forward through me pulling my desk out and re-wiring everything behind it to go with the new PC strategy vs the old laptop strategy (this took about an hour and a half). Unwrap my shiny new ASUS ROG G20, plug everything in, and off we go.

First I should say that it came with a mouse and keyboard, which I didn’t expect. The mouse was the absolute cheapest mouse I’ve ever used, but the keyboard was nice. A lot nicer than the 15 year old Dell keyboard that I’m still using from the mid 2000s – hey, it still works, so I refuse to replace it. The unit itself was nice too. Really dense internals inside, so it was heavy. Probably not the best for thermals, but whatever. The outside felt quite premium and it had nice RGB LED lights on the front and on the bottom. I read that you can change those to whatever color you want and make them do all sorts of cool things via a utility that ASUS provides. A Windows utility. In Windows. The Windows that I would never see.

As an aside, the ROG G20 has a GIANT external power supply. It has two AC cables which go to the wall and two DC cables that go to the G20, one for the power supply and one to separately power the video card (!?). After performing cable management on this mess, I push my huge desk back in to place and hit the power button. The unit posts, shows me a giant ASUS logo, and then starts spinning the Windows 10 startup “ball of dots.” Soon after, it reboots. Then the spinning dots again. Then it reboots again. Then more dots. Then another reboot.

It does this about 15 times.

Finally it errors in to a blue screen that says “Your computer was unable to complete startup.” and provides me with a list of troubleshooting options. One of which is to run system restore, so I do that. It takes about an hour. The system reboots, and then asks me if I want to clear all of the data in the TPM module. At this point I’m scared to do so, since doing that could destroy the Windows 10 license on the machine.

After telling it “no” it begins its endless boot cycle crash loop again. In the mean time I grab a 32GB USB drive, download a Windows 10 installer image for it, and proceed to boot the ROG with that. I kill all of the partitions on the drive and install everything from scratch. The system boots up in to the Windows post-installation setup. Alright awesome. Now we’re getting somewhere.

I go through and check “No” to all of the sliders that allow Microsoft spy on your every website visit and keystroke, and am then taken to the desktop. I begin installing all of the newest, freshest drivers from ASUS’ website (I’d been preparing them on another USB stick while Windows 10 was installing). When I was done I had no “Unknown Devices” in device manager, and had all of the latest drivers. Ok great, let’s start installing stuff.

While the drivers and other things were installing I was watching YouTube videos on my AORUS. You know, the computer that I own that’s stable. I kicked off a Google Chrome install and looked back down at my laptop for 10 seconds or so, then looked back up at the ROG, which had rebooted again.

“Hmm. Maybe there was a dialog box in the background that had a timer restart or something.” After all I did just install quite a few things without rebooting.

Started the Chrome install again. 20 seconds later, reboot.

Logged in again and let it sit idle on the Windows desktop. 60 or so seconds later, it reboots itself again.

Nothing in the Event Logs that I could see for the 60 or so seconds that I was able to look at them. Turned the unit off, put everything back in the box, had a laugh at the last item to go back in the box – a card saying “Before you return this to the store, CALL US.” The Best Buy I got it from only had that one machine, so I decided to just return it.

So all in all, I wasted a whole afternoon and a quarter tank of gas in this whole endeavor, and now I sit typing this on my desk, with my stable laptop, in the same configuration that it was in this morning. After all of the crap I went through with this stupid PC today, I now like the AORUS more than ever.

I doubt all of these ASUS ROG G20s are pieces of shit like mine was, but if you spend $1200 for a machine like this (that was the sale price – it’s normally almost $1500), it damn sure better boot out of the box. If there was some sort of corruption on the disk during imaging or something, I can understand that, but a clean install of Windows 10 from scratch should have been the end of it. Given the out of the box experience, even if the unit had worked after a fresh Windows install, I would have been hesitant to trust it again. I’m just glad the problem presented itself right away, and not 2-days after my return period was up.

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