ASUS ROG GX501 Ze­phyrus

When East Meets West Wind

HWM (Philippines) - - Con­tents - By Aaron Yip

What does it take to make an ex­treme gam­ing lap­top that isn’t built with the thick­ness of a Sub­way sand­wich and quiet enough to run next to a sleep­ing baby? Ap­par­ently, NVIDIA’S unique Max-q de­sign ap­proach. In­tro­duced last year at Com­pu­tex, Max-q is the de­sign in­spi­ra­tion of some ul­tra­thin gam­ing lap­tops, one of which is the ASUS ROG GX501 Ze­phyrus.

Measuring 16.9mm thin and weigh­ing 2.2kg, the ROG GX501 Ze­phyrus looks anorexic com­pared to its ROG sib­lings. And yet, our test model comes fully decked out with an In­tel 7th Gen­er­a­tion Core I7-7700HQ CPU (clocked at 2.8GHZ), 24GB of mem­ory, 512GB SSD, and an NVIDIA Ge­force GTX 1080 8GB GPU. That’s some se­ri­ous fire­power.

The gam­ing lap­top’s “Ac­tive Aero­dy­namic Sys­tem” is a unique cool­ing de­sign where a sec­tion of the bot­tom opens when you lift up the lid. ASUS claims a 32% in­crease in cool­ing per­for­mance. While hard to quan­tify, I can say that it mea­sured just 10.6DBA on my sound level me­ter even at max­i­mum load. That’s about as noisy as a pin drop­ping.

Un­for­tu­nately, this de­sign comes back to haunt it for lit­er­ally any­thing other than gam­ing. You see, the cool­ing de­sign means that the hottest com­po­nents, the CPU and the GPU, are loaded at the back of the lap­top, while the key­board and track­pad are moved right to the bot­tom edge. This makes typ­ing sim­ply un­com­fort­able, even with the sup­plied wrist rest. The track­pad is also shoe­horned to the right of the key­board, rather than be­low. Sorry lefties.

Con­nec­tiv­ity shouldn’t be a prob­lem though with four tra­di­tional USB 3.0 ports, a Thun­der­bolt 3 USB Type-c port, HDMI, and a head­phone jack. You also get a Usb-to-eth­er­net and wire­less Xbox con­troller don­gles bun­dled.

The lap­top’s 15.6-inch dis­play sup­ports all gam­ing niceties such as NVIDIA G-sync and a 120Hz re­fresh rate, though max­i­mum na­tive res­o­lu­tion is pegged to 1920 x 1080p. I had ex­pected a more re­spectable 2560 x 1440p with such hard­ware. Still, the res­o­lu­tion cap en­sured that the Ze­phyrus per­formed fan­tas­ti­cally at every­thing I threw at it, av­er­ag­ing be­tween 90 to 100fps and above for every game.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, bat­tery life is quite a dis­ap­point­ment, scor­ing just 98 min­utes in our Pc­mark 8 run. I held out hope that the Max-q de­sign would have helped, ev­i­dently, you’ll have to keep it plugged in.

The ASUS ROG GX501 Ze­phyrus is a tech­no­log­i­cal mar­vel. It has all the per­for­mance, with none of the bulk, but there’s no hid­ing the fact that its de­sign con­sid­er­a­tions mean it’s not made for average mun­dane tasks outside of gam­ing.

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