ASUS RoG Ze­phyrus GX501

A FIRST LOOK AT NVIDIA’S MAX-Q SPEC

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ BO MOORE ]

THANKS IN A large part to Nvidia’s Pas­cal ar­chi­tec­ture (the GTX 10-se­ries GPUs), which of­fers ex­cel­lent per­for­mance at lower tem­per­a­tures than gen­er­a­tions past, the lat­est crop of gam­ing lap­tops of­fer su­perb power in a shell that’s thin and light, free from huge, bulky fans. At Com­pu­tex this year, Nvidia re­vealed its new Max-Q de­sign phi­los­o­phy. In short, Max-Q is cen­tred around find­ing the right bal­ance be­tween power and ef­fi­ciency, in or­der to put high-per­for­mance graph­ics cards into the thinnest note­books pos­si­ble. ASUS’s RoG Ze­phyrus is the first Max-Q lap­top we’ve tested, and it de­liv­ers on that prom­ise of quiet, pow­er­ful gam­ing, while mea­sur­ing just 20mm thick when closed.

What it loses out on in raw power, the Zeph makes up for in size and sound. It’s much qui­eter than any gam­ing lap­top we’ve seen. More im­pres­sively, all of these other ‘thi­nand-lights’ have mostly sported GTX 1060 (or be­low) GPUs, so even if the Zeph’s GTX 1080 is un­der­pow­ered com­pared to a desk­top GTX 1080, it’s still vastly more pow­er­ful than ev­ery­thing else called ‘thin and light’. To keep tem­per­a­tures cool (and stay quiet), the Ze­phyrus has a some­what awk­ward key­board lay­out that gives way to a rather in­ge­nious cool­ing so­lu­tion. The key­board is lo­cated right at the front of the chas­sis — where the touch­pad and wrist rests are nor­mally sit­u­ated — with the touch­pad smooshed over to the right. This leaves the top half of the chas­sis free for a meshed ven­ti­la­tion area. A num­ber of fans sit here, suck­ing in air to cool the GPU, be­fore spit­ting it out the back through a gap that opens up when the lap­top is open.

The key­board lay­out is a lit­tle awk­ward to use (the unit comes boxed with an ex­ter­nal rubber wrist rest to im­prove things a lit­tle), but is far from un­us­able. It does mean you’ll sit­u­ate the Ze­phyrus a few inches fur­ther back on your desk than a nor­mal lap­top, which might be an is­sue if you lack desk real es­tate. Sim­i­larly, it’s even more awk­ward to use on your lap.

In ad­di­tion to the Max-Q GTX 1080, the Ze­phyrus has all the stan­dards of a cur­rent-gen gam­ing lap­top: In­tel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM. It also fea­tures a 15.6-inch anti-glare wide­view panel, with a 1080p res­o­lu­tion, 120Hz re­fresh rate and Nvidia’s G-Sync tech­nol­ogy. Those fi­nal two bits are the most im­por­tant, be­cause aim­ing for a higher frame rate at 1080p is a much bet­ter use of GPU power than at­tempt­ing to run games at higher res­o­lu­tion.

As for per­for­mance, it out­per­forms the GTX 1070 lap­top in gam­ing tests by about 5–10%, but falls short of the full-size lap­top or desk­top GTX 1080 sys­tems by 10–15%. The trade-off in per­for­mance is more than made up for by the Ze­phyrus’s sleek frame.

Of course, all that great­ness is not with­out draw­backs — pri­mar­ily cost. The Ze­phyrus starts at $4,999, which sounds like a lot for its level of per­for­mance (by com­par­i­son, the RoG Strix GL502VS that it barely out­per­forms is roughly $2,000 cheaper). But in this case, you’re pay­ing for the con­ve­nience of a sleek, tiny frame, and the engi­neer­ing re­quired to keep ev­ery­thing cool and quiet.

ASUS ROG ZE­PHYRUS GX501VI $4,999 www.asus.com/au CRIT­I­CAL SPECS 15.6-inch 1,920x1,080 matte 120Hz G-Sync screen; In­tel Core i7-7700HQ @ 2.8GHz; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080; 16GB DDR4-2400; 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD; four-cell Li-ion bat­tery; 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Blue­tooth; USB 3.1 Type C, 4x USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm head­phone/mic combo jack; 37.8 x 26.1 x 1.5cm; 2.2kg

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