Gaming hardware giant ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) announced a top-to-bottom update of its entire gaming laptop family, and have invited members of the media a sneak peek at an exclusive event in New York last week.
The ROG Spring 2019 collection is a mix of models with refreshed systems to deftly balance price and performance required by gamers, content creators, and power users with the convenience of creature comforts that enhance everyday use.
There are laptops costing upwards of $4,000, all the way down to much more affordable models, all capable of providing a good gaming experience through the use of mid to upper level performance processors.
Use this guide as you read the details: S-class laptops offer a premium experience fit for professionals, while M-tier designs scale back slightly to find the sweet spot for savvy users. The new G series focuses on core essentials with affordability for gaming newbies. The one thing they all have in common is smart and effective cooling, something most laptops lack.
ASUS ROG crystal ball of gaming laptops of the future
At 4.8kg the ROG Mothership (GZ700) is the ultimate rival to a desktop and rightly so. It is ASUS' answer to the current laptop style ROG G703, a massively heavy and expensive $3,600 gaming machine no lap can tolerate. Three years in the making, instead of a flat laptop, the Mothership has an upright chassis with kickstand that draws more air into its advanced cooling system. That is key as the Mothership can cool its components much more efficiently than traditional desktops. This means more CPU and GPU overclocking for smoother gaming experiences at the highest resolutions. Its detachable RGB backlit 29.9 mm thin keyboard with 2.5mm key travel folds to fit different scenarios, giving gamers the freedom to find the perfect position. When separated, the keyboard connects over low-latency 2.4 GHz wireless for maximum flexibility or via the included USB Type-C (USB-C) cable.
The ROG Mothership is a cross between a laptop and desktop
The Intel Core i9-9980HK factory overclocked at 4.7GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080, 144Hz overclocked to 1880MHz at 200W becomes an amazing gaming powerhouse. A metal thermal interface for CPU, four heatsinks with 375 ultrathin 0.1 mm copper fins, anti-dust tunnels, and intelligent fan modes cool down this new form factor beast. A HyperDrive Extreme RAID array for 8.7GB/s read speeds and up to 64GB DDR4 RAM befits the ROG Mothership name. It's available in two 17.3-inch displays. The faster FHD 144Hz with a 3ms response time or the 60Hz 4K UHD panel with detailed images and screens have 100% Adobe RGB displays with G-SYNC. It also lets video editors view full-size 4K UHD footage at native resolution. An innovative design leaves enough room to put all four front-facing speakers right below the screen. They are powered by smart-amplifier technology that boosts the total output to an effective 16W. Loud! The premium ESS SABRE DAC and headphone amp with Hi-Res Audio certification up to 24 bits and 192kHz pumps out a greater sound range, less distortion, and a more accurate frequency response than conventional speakers. The included Sonic Studio III software adds surround sound virtualization for headphones and other devices like VR headsets and even external USB DACs. Availability and pricing is coming in Q2.
ASUS showed a laptop of the future
The ROG Zephyrus S GX502 sports a 9th Gen Intel Core i7, up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU NVIDIA GeForce RTX clocked up to 1540MHz at 115W with ROG boost in Turbo mode, and 240Hzdisplay. Its PANTONE Validated display ready for professional content creation, and a GPU switch that toggles between smoother gaming with NVIDIA G-SYNC. Considering the processing power, the eight-hour battery life is impressive. It weighs 2kg and features a super narrow bezel, and runs cool with the Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) with n-blades and multiple fan modes. Wi-Fi, and audio: USB-C charging, ROG RangeBoost with four Wi-Fi antennas, ESS Sabre audio and High-Res Audio certification make for a sweet package. Availability and pricing in Q2 2019.
The Zephyrus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 will appeal to mainstream gamers
The third ROG Zephyrus G GA502 Z is expected to be a more affordable laptop bringing gaming to a wider audience. It features an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H APU, NVMe SSD, up to 32GB RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with gaming ROG Boost. It, too, has a self-cleaning thermal module, anti-dust tunnel fans, 33% thinner blades for up to 17% improved airflow, fan scenario profiles and modes. It has a smart amplifier and HRA certification, earlier actuation with ROG Overstroke, N-key rollover, HDMI and USBC with DisplayPort. Availability and pricing in Q2 2019.
The ROG Zephyrus G GA502Z features an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H APU
The ROG Zephyrus M GU502 is an ultra slim gaming laptop, about 45% lighter than the average 15" laptop, that balances power and grace and straddles the high-end competition and professional needs styling with a hint of ROG DNA. Its light and strong magnesium alloy chassis is key to its weighing in at 1.9 kg weight. The machined and die-cast palm rests with fingerprint-resistant soft-touch coating impresses. A "powerful enough" Hexa-core Intel Core i7-9750H running up to 4GHz with up to 32GB DDR4 RAM and up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060. This GPU runs a slim bezel PANTONE Validated display available with a 240Hz refresh rate for fast gaming and colour accuracy for creators. The GPU is based on the new NVIDIA Turing architecture, which combines upgraded CUDA cores for programmable shading with new RT cores for ray tracing and Tensor cores for AI acceleration. Dual NVMe SSDs in RAID 0 provide lightning fast hard drive performance while the HiFi DAC, USB PD charging in and out, Gigabit LAN and Wi-Fi make for a classy laptop. Availability and pricing in Q2 2019.
A light and strong magnesium alloy chassis makes the ROG Zephyrus M GU502 weigh only 1.9 kg
The ROG Strix SCAR III and Hero III "fight till daylight" laptops are serious mobiles for professional game players with up to Intel 8-Core i9-9880H, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070, and up to 32GB DDR4 RAM. Both are available in two screen sizes. The ultra-slim bezel 15.6" IPS Full HD display up to 240Hz refresh for the fastest gaming screen and the 17.3" Full HD up to 144Hz refresh. Weighing in at 2.57kg and 2.85kg respectively, and ROG Keystone capable (a USB-like sized key that docks to the laptop carrying your game laptop preferences, system settings like lights settings and access to a secret Shadow Drive that hides and encrypts important files, communicating with the laptop via NFC.)
Geoff Gasior Director of Product & Technical Marketing with the NFC-based ROG Keystone, which transfers gaming and setting information for ROG laptops.
Each has a different futuristic persona thanks to a collaboration between ROG and the BMW Designworks Group. The sculpted surfaces echo a key element of the Face Off concept that resulted from the collaboration, with raised ridges that artfully accent the ventilated 3D Flow Zone at the back. The asymmetrical cut below the display also borrows a design cue explored during brainstorming workshops for the final concept. With that power these laptops position themselves for gaming and professional work. They have smart cooling like self-cleaning thermal module, anti-dust tunnel fans, 33% thinner blades for up to 17% improved airflow, fan scenario profiles and modes. Smart amplifiers. HRA audio and earlier key actuation with ROG is standard as is HDMI, USB-C with DisplayPort. Availability and pricing in Q2 2019
The ROG Strix Hero III is for serious gamers
The ROG Strix Scar III is the product of a collaboration between ROG and the BMW Designworks Group.
ROG Strix G will attract avid gamers who want fast hardware but with a mindful budget. The 15.6" Strix G G531 and 17.3" Strix G G731 wrap key elements of great a gaming with up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTXTM GPUs with 144 Hz refresh rate. Tuned for a wider gaming audience the Strix G has the latest Intelligent Cooling technology and a comfortable keyboard tuned for gaming, stronger Wi-Fi via ROG RangeBoost, and easy personalization with Aura Sync RGB lighting. It has a balance between professional feel and an eyecatcher. Hinges swing out when the lid is open for ventilation and swing back in when closed. Dual drive bays allow users to enjoy the best of both worlds even on a tight budget. The M.2 SSD slot slot can be configured with the fastest NVMe SSD that loads games in a snap and ensures the system stays responsiveness, even under heavy loads. There's also a 2.5" bay with options for a more economical standard 1TB hard drive or an SSHD with an integrated, flash-based cache that accelerates access to frequently used data. Nice! You don't choose between work or gaming with this laptop. You choose both! Availability and pricing in Q2 2019
Last, the ROG TUF Gaming FX505 15.6" and FX705 17.3 laptops using the perfect pairing of AMD Processors and NVIDIA GeForce GPUs deliver the biggest bang for the buck delivering triple digit frame counts in popular games. They feature the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 120Hz refresh rate, 32GB of DDR4-2400 memory and up to a Ryzen 7 CPU with quad cores and eight threads. You still get value with a smart cooling system with warm air vents out the back under a patented trapezoid cut in the lid that ensures exhaust escapes unobstructed, even with the screen tilted back. Special anti-dust tunnels on the edges of the fan housings catch and direct particles out of the laptop to prevent them from clogging the heatsinks and fans.
The ROG FX505 is the most affordable gaming laptop with three digit frames per second.
Fan speeds adapt automatically to component temperatures, but a quick keyboard shortcut can switch between three operating modes that mix different cooling and performance profiles. "Turbo mode" delivers maximum performance and fan speeds for intensive tasks, while a "Balanced mode" optimizes speed and acoustics for the best gaming experience. A "Silent mode" backs off to reduce noise for lighter loads like day-to-day productivity, web surfing, and video streaming. The desktop-like keyboard is well laid out distinguishing between Two chassis variations bring different looks to the TUF Gaming laptops. Gold Steel skins the lid with Gunmetal Grey aluminum and adds customizable color through Aura RGB lighting in the keyboard. Highlighted WASD keys clearly identify the home row for gaming, while a wider space bar provides a larger target for thumb presses. Availability and pricing in Q2 2019.
Steve is a consumer technology writer and can be followed at www.techuntangled.ca.
(At top) Invited members of the media attended a sneak peek at the ASUS ROG new gaming laptops in New York last week.