ASUS ROG GX501 Ze­phyrus

HWM (Singapore) - - Contents - By Aaron Yip

ASUS ROG Strix GL503 ASUS ROG GX501 Ze­phyrus SteelSeries Ri­val 310 Mi­crosoft Xbox One X Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Sony Bravia A1 Canon Pixma TR8570 Fit­bit Ionic Oppo R11s Wolfen­stein II: The New Colos­sus Se­cret­lab Omega (2018)

Ex­tremely thin and pow­er­ful, this Max-Q poster boy redenes de­sign and style for ded­i­cated gam­ing lap­tops.

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 Over­watch next to a sleep­ing baby? Ap­par­ently, NVIDIA’s unique Max-Q de­sign ap­proach.

At 16.9mm thick and 2.2kg, the ASUS ROG GX501 Ze­phyrus looks anorexic com­pared to its ROG sib­lings. . And yet, our test model comes fully decked out with a 7th-gen In­tel Core i7-7700HQ Q CPU (clocked at 2.8GHz), 24GB of mem­ory, a 512GB SSD and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GPU. That’s some se­ri­ous re­power.

Its “Ac­tive Aero­dy­namic Sys­tem” is a unique cool­ing de­sign where a sec­tion of the bot­tom opens when you open the lid. ASUS claims a 32 per­cent 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 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-toEth­er­net and wire­less Xbox con­troller don­gles bun­dled.

Its 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 1,920 x 1,080. I had ex­pected a more re­spectable 2,560 x 1,440 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 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 Ze­phyrus is a high tech mar­vel com­pared to reg­u­lar DTR lap­tops. It has all the per­for­mance, with none of the bulk, but there’s no hid­ing the fact its de­sign con­sid­er­a­tions mean it’s not made for av­er­age mun­dane tasks out­side of gam­ing.

When you open the lap­top’s lid, the bot­tom ex­tends as well, to pro­vide ad­di­tional cool­ing ven­ti­la­tion to the Zypherus.

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