Asus Ze­phyrus M GM501GS

THE ZE­PHYRUS CLAIMS TO BE THE KING OF PER­FOR­MANCE NOTE­BOOKS. BUT IS IT?

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - NICK ROSS

Asus’ ROG Ze­phyrus was one of the first note­books that was de­signed to be svelte in size but a beast when it came to gam­ing. This black beauty, with its sharp lines and glow­ing de­tails sure looks great, al­though hav­ing ‘Repub­lic of Gamers’ brand­ing all over it will make board­room brethren sus­pi­cious.

Open­ing the Ze­phyrus’ lid fa­mously si­mul­ta­ne­ously opens up an ex­haust port at the rear of the base for en­hanced cool­ing. While this sounds cool, in re­al­ity a plas­tic flap opens to re­veal a heatsink. If it doesn’t sit on flat sur­faces it bends and dis­torts.

But is this a gam­ing beast? The lat­est ver­sion comes with a Cof­fee Lake hexa-core, Core i7-8750H which of­fers a 2.2GHz stock speed, 3.9GHz Turbo Boost (which can push to 4.1GHz on a sin­gle core). There’s a 512GB NVMe SSD, 16GB RAM and a 1TB hy­brid hard disk for stor­age. Nvidia’s GTX 1070 GPU pro­vides gam­ing grunt. This should amount to top-tier per­for­mance, but, com­pared to sim­i­larly-spec­i­fied ri­vals, we were dis­ap­pointed.

Firstly, you need to en­sure the fans op­er­ate in ‘Over­boost’ mode to achieve the best per­for­mance. How­ever, even then the tem­per­a­ture can ramp up – es­pe­cially the CPU. We tor­ture-tested it with cryp­to­min­ing and both CPU and GPU hit 78oC, which isn’t ter­ri­ble, but the CPU shouldn’t get so hot when it’s hardly be­ing used.

In 2D bench­marks it was 11 per cent slower than MSI’s Raider, which has a sim­i­lar spec. This trans­lated into games, too, where it was 5fps slower than MSI in Ghost Recon and sev­eral fps slower in Warham­mer 2. It’s cer­tainly qui­eter than the Raider but at full pelt the Ze­phyrus still emits a very-au­di­ble whoosh with a hint of high-pitched whine. The ROG Gam­ing Cen­ter mon­i­tors ev­ery­thing but no­tice­ably of­fers no GPU over­clock­ing abil­ity – not sur­pris­ing when it strug­gles to con­sis­tently hit stock speeds due to ther­mal throt­tling.

In terms of gen­eral us­age, we’re big fans though. The key­board is well-laid out, plus travel and stiff­ness ap­proach per­fec­tion. There’s a num­ber pad and ev­ery­thing has RGB back­light­ing; the track­pad feels good and re­spon­sive.

The speak­ers are su­perb; de­liv­er­ing well-rounded au­dio and punch­i­ness to tre­ble and bass-rich mu­sic alike. The speak­ers also point up­wards, which coun­ter­acts muf­fling.

Con­nec­tiv­ity is a mixed bag, though. There are four USB-A ports, one USB-C plus a 3.5mm au­dio jack. There is an HDMI port but nei­ther a Dis­playPort nor (and this is an is­sue for gamers) wired Eth­er­net.

The 15.6-inch screen is very crisp, uni­formly lit and dis­plays ac­cu­rate colours. It’s also 144Hz for smooth gam­ing.

In terms of porta­bil­ity, we strug­gled to get it last­ing more than 100 min­utes un­der any task, which was dis­ap­point­ingly low. At least the 2.2KG weight is keeps it por­ta­ble.

This ROG Ze­phyrus is al­most a great note­book, but its ther­mal throt­tling per­for­mance is­sues are real no mat­ter how im­pres­sive that ex­haust looks. If you’re go­ing to pay close to four grand for a note­book there shouldn’t be any lim­its but lim­it­ing is what this note­book’s per­for­mance is mostly about.

“The key­board is well-laid out, plus travel and stiff­ness ap­proach per­fec­tion”

KEY SPECS

In­tel Core i7-8750H (up to 3.9GHz) • 144Hz IPS G-Sync screen • GTX 1070 8GB GPU • 256GB PCIe SSD + 1TB SSHD • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz • 1x HDMI, 1x Thun­der­bolt 4x USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen2), 1x USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen2) $3,599 • www.asus.com/au

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