Asus ROG Zephyrus

At Computex 2017, Asus unveiled its latest gaming laptop in the Republic of Gamers brand: the ROG Zephyrus. Thanks to an incredibly svelte design and highly efficient Nvidia Max-Q technology that crams in a mighty GTX 1080 graphics card, this is a machine that really is both a beauty and a beast.

In many ways the Asus Rog Zephyrus is a culmination of a number of things we’ve already seen at Computex 2017. At its initial keynote, Asus showed us that it has what it takes to make some seriously slim and powerful laptops when it announced the likes of the Asus ZenBook Flip S and the Asus ZenBook Pro.

Meanwhile, at Nvidia’s keynote, the graphics powerhouse revealed all about its Max-Q platform, which brings extensive customization of its existing graphics hardware to help create extremely thin and very powerful gaming laptops.

With Nvidia’s CEO Jensen Huang joining Asus chairman Jonney Shih on stage to help announce the ROG Zephyrus, it was clear that the close collaboration between the two companies could create something very special indeed – which our early hands on time with the Zephyrus indicates it has.

Asus ROG Zephyrus release date and price

While Asus was keen to show off the ROG Zephyrus, it was less enthusiastic about disclosing the price, as we’re still not clear how much the laptop will cost.

This may be an oversight, or perhaps Asus haven’t decided on a final price. Maybe it will be so expensive Asus doesn’t want an enormous price tag to overshadow the hype surrounding its unveiling.

We’ve reached out to Asus for clarification on the price, and will update this review when we find out how light it will make our wallets.

Meanwhile, it’s safe to assume that this will be a pretty pricey gaming laptop considering the design and specs – so you may want to start saving up now.

How long do we have to save up for the ROG Zephyrus? Well, the release date is another key fact that Asus has omitted from telling us, though at its keynote, Nvidia said the first wave of Max-Q laptops will arrive by June 27 – so it could be as soon as that.

Asus ROG Zephyrus design

The design of the ROG Zephyrus gaming laptop is one of its most compelling features thanks to Asus’ quality engineering, along with its collaboration with Nvidia to bring one of the first gaming laptops to use its Max-Q platform.

This has resulted in an ultra-thin profile that, when closed, measures just 17.9mm at its thickest end, and tapering to just 16.9mm.

That’s a far cry from the bulky gaming laptops we’ve come to know, such as the Asus ROG Strix GL502, which has a thickness of 30.48mm – and that’s considered one of the slimmer gaming laptops.

This thinness also gives the ROG Zephyrus a light weight of just 2.2kg. Holding it in our hands, we were very impressed with how light it was – meaning that this can easily be taken with you when you travel – or for bringing to a LAN party.

You can also easily hold it in one hand – not something we’d usually be able to do with past gaming laptops!

While the Asus ROG Zephyrus is impressively thin and light, it also feels pretty sturdy – though an interesting feature did give us a shock at first, and makes the laptop feel a bit delicate. When the screen is lifted up to open the laptop, a part of the bottom of the laptop’s body flexes open slightly. While this looks like a manufacturing error – or even that the chassis is damaged – it actually does it on purpose to increase airflow into the body of the laptop to keep the components cool.

We’re a bit worried this opening may be a point of weakness for the Zephyrus, and we look forward to taking a closer look when we fully review this machine.

Having a gaming laptop with such powerful components – that normally run hot – in such a small body was always going to require some outside-of-the-box thinking when it comes to cooling solutions, so this may be the price we pay for such a gorgeously slim gaming laptop. An exclusive Active Aerodynamic System (ASS) is used to keep the Zephyrus cool, guiding airflow over the components in an intelligent way.

We’ll find out how good this system works in our full review, but during our hands on time we didn’t hear any annoying fan noise whilst it was playing some demanding games – including virtual reality titles.

The cooling considerations mean that the keyboard is placed at the bottom of the chassis, rather than the top. This leaves a lot of empty space above the keyboard, but at least it doesn’t feel too uncomfortable.

While the keyboard isn’t mechanical (unlike some high end gaming laptops), and the keys are rather flat (to keep the design as slim as possible) and without much key travel, it still left comfortable enough to use when typing and playing games.

The keys are backlit with Asus’ Aura RGB lighting system, which can be tweaked using the software that comes preinstalled.

With the keyboard shifted to the bottom of the body, the touchpad is moved to the right of the keyboard, and includes a 10-key function that can be toggled with a hot key. 

The position of the touchpad may be difficult to get used to for some, but we quite like it, as we’re often accidentally hitting our traditionally-positioned trackpad with our wrist or palm when we type rigorously.

Of course, when you’re gaming you’ll likely want a proper mouse, so the position of the trackpad probably won’t be an issue.

The included display is also a stunner, as it’s a 15.6-inch full HD display with a 120Hz refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync support. This means game play is silky-smooth – and it’s really worth seeing in person if you can to fully appreciate the benefits of G-Sync.

The screen also features wide viewing angles and anti-glare coating, along with a 100% sRGB color gamut for fantastic color accuracy and image quality. While Nvidia is showing off G-Sync monitors with HDR support, there’s none of that here, but even in the less ideal environment of the launch event (held in a shopping mall in Taipei) we could tell this was a very fine screen indeed.

Despite the slim design of the body, the ROG Zephyrus comes with a USB C port, four USB 3.1 ports, a HDMI and 3.5 headphone and mic combo jack.

Asus ROG Zephyrus specs

As slim and light as the Asus Zephyrus is, the specs are also incredibly impressive. It features an Intel Core i7 7700HQ CPU, along with an Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU – one of the most powerful graphics cards in the world, and until now only really found in desktop machines,.

It also supports DDR4 RAM up to 24GB, and has four M.2 PCI ports for super fast SSD storage, as well as support for up to 1TB storage on a standard SSD.

Basically, this is an absolute beast of a machine that will handle pretty much all of the latest games at high settings – and of course it’s also VR ready. This is the machine that Nvidia’s Jensen Huang said was 60% more powerful than a PlayStation Pro 4 – though it’s likely to be over 60% more expensive.

We can’t wait to get our hands on the ROG Zephyrus to really put it through its paces with some of today’s most demanding games, as well as benchmarking the hell out of it. We did see games running on the machine though, such as Forza 3, and they looked brilliant, without any noticeable hitches or dropped frames – the G-Sync screen surely helping out there as well.

Early verdict

The Asus ROG Zephyrus looks set to be the pinnacle of Asus’ already impressive line of ROG gaming laptops, being a culmination of years of design and hardware innovation.

Thanks to a close partnership with Nvidia to bring the Max-Q platform to this machine, the Zephyrus is incredibly slim, lightweight and beautifully designed.

The fact that it holds such impressive components means you’re not making any compromises when it comes to raw gaming power.  

One compromise you will have to make is likely price – while we don’t know the exact cost of the ROG Zephyrus just yet, it’s unlikely to be cheap. Expect a premium price tag for such a premium gaming laptop.

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MSI GT75VR Titan

The GT75VR Titan is the first MSI gaming laptop to see a mechanical keyboard truly designed for a notebook. “Actually, the MSI GT80 Titan was the first,” you might well exclaim – but that was a 18.4-inch beast with a keyboard meant for a desktop.

By comparison, the MSI GT75VR Titan is an almost portable 17-inch laptop with a low-pile and tactile keyboard. It’s still a monster of a machine, with an overclockable Intel HK-series processor and up to an Nvidia GTX 1080. However, without any pricing details, it’s too early to call it a winning rig.

Design

The centerpiece of the MSI GT75VR Titan really is the newly developed SteelSeries rapid RGB mechanical keyboard. And there’s no way to miss it really, especially if the keys have been programmed to sparkle with a rainbow of colors.

Despite this not being a desktop-grade keyboard, the new rapid RBG mechanical keys offer a satisfying amount of key travel and click – they feel awfully familiar to the ones on the Razer Blade Pro.

Aside from the keyboard, though, the MSI GT75VR Titan looks almost identical to the GT73VR Titan. The only real stand-out difference between the two models – aside from the keyboard – is the new ‘pleather’ palm rest that has a peculiar diamond-shaped cut around the offset arrow keys. 

The soft material is much more comfortable than the basic plastic frame your wrists are left to hang on with most gaming laptops.

Specs and configurations

The MSI GT75VR can be specced up with the best mobile hardware on the market, including an Intel Core i7-7820HK processor and Nvidia GTX 1080. MSI hasn’t said if the HK-processor will be the CPU in the base model, but there are multiple graphics options, including the Nvidia GTX 1080 previously mentioned, as well as the Nvidia GTX 1070 in SLI and single-card configurations. 

Users can also choose between three 17.3-inch screens, the first of which is a Full HD, TN display with an 120Hz refresh rate that MSI claims can render HDR-like colors. From our initial impressions, the TN screen renders colors brightly, although we can’t yet say if they’re accurate. 

That said, if you’re really concerned about color accuracy there’s also a Full HD IPS panel option, and an UHD (3,840 x 2,160) monitor with 100% Adobe RBG coverage.

Otherwise, the MSI GT75VR Titan is designed to be a full-on desktop replacement with space for up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, one 2.5-inch HDD and two NVMe M.2 SSDs.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the GT75VR is the Cooler Boost 5 Titan Technology, which allows the laptop’s CPU to overclock all the way to 4GHz. This system essentially combines two Whirlwind Blade fans with seven heat pipes and four ventilation points.

Unfortunately, MSI has yet to say how much any of these hardware configurations will cost.

Early verdict

If you’re looking for a gaming laptop with serious hardware and a mechanical keyboard, the MSI GT75VR Titan makes a lot more sense than the MSI GT83VR Titan ever did. However, this system is also coming into a space with plenty of competition, and it’ll be hard to pick this thick gaming laptop over thinner systems like the Alienware 17 and Razer Blade Pro

After the announcement of Max-Q, it’s hard to consider a traditional desktop replacement when the Asus ROG Zephyrus and Acer Predator Triton 700 could offer the same experience in much more compact packages.

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Noctua Announces Its Next Generation 120mm A-Series Fan


After five long years in development, Noctua announced its next-generation 120mm A-series fan at Computex 2017.

These new fans feature impellers made from a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) commonly used in high-end medical and military applications such as combat helmets, bulletproof vests, and other types of body armor. According to the company, LCPs make up a family of thermoplastics with a unique set of properties that, unlike ABS or nylon, perform very well in harsh environments due to its high tensile strength, stiffness, and rigidity.


This is important because the Noctua 120mm A-series fan has an extremely tight 0.5mm tip clearance that calls for stricter tolerances, minimal fan vibration, and little to no fan creep due to centrifugal forces.

Noctua has a live demo at Computex where it claims two NF-F12 fans on a NH-U12S cooler are actually outperformed by a single new A-series fan.

Although the new A-series fan is being announced at Computex, availability is currently set for September 2017, with an estimated street price of $30.

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Asus' New 'Hero' and 'Scar' Gaming Laptops Are Spoiling for a Fight

Their names may sound like characters from “The Lion King,” but Asus’ two new gaming laptops are designed to help you vanquish virtual enemies in ways that aren’t suitable for all audiences. The 17″ ROG Strix Scar and 15.6″ ROG Strix Hero target FPS and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) fans with their responsive keyboards and colorful, low-latency screens.

Both the Scar and the Hero have “desktop-style” keyboards with key caps that are curved more like a standalone keyboard. To avoid getting your gun jammed while an enemy is coming right at you, the keyboard has N-key rollover. The keys offer snappy feedback and fairly deep travel–an Asus rep said it’s 1.8mm deep–but they don’t have mechanical switches like you’ll find on the highest-end gaming laptops.

The RGB keys looked bright and colorful when we got a brief demo at Asus’s Computex booth. The WASD keys are specifically marked so they’re easy to identify, and you can customize the lighting in four different zones.

The black, 15.6″ ROG Strix Hero has a subtle-but-attractive diagonal pattern on its matte plastic deck. At 15.1 x 10.3 x 0.9″ and 4.85lbs, it’s rather light for a mid-range gaming laptop, but not particularly thin. The laptop’s 1920 x 1080 display runs at 120Hz to avoid motion blur and promises to reproduce 72% of the NTSC color gamut.

The dark-gray ROG Strix Scar has a deck pattern that looks a lot like the checkered surface on Dell’s XPS laptops. However, Asus’ laptop is made from matte plastic, not the luxurious carbon fiber that adorns the XPS 13 and 15. The 5.95lb laptop isn’t exactly lightweight or, at 16.3 x 11 x 0.94″, compact, but it is more portable than many other 17″ laptops.

The Scar’s 17″ screen also runs at a modest 1920 x 1080 resolution, but in a step up from the hero, it’s made to reproduce 94% of the NTSC color gamut. It’s also a 120Hz panel and relatively brisk 5ms response time.

On the inside, both laptops have quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs, up to 32GB of memory, and a variety of HDD and SSD storage options. The Hero will be available with either Nvidia GTX 1050 or 1060 graphics, while the Scar will come with up to an Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU.

Asus hasn’t announced pricing or release dates for the ROG Strix Hero or ROG Strix Scar, but both should be available by the end of Q3.

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Asus updates laptop range at Computex 2017

Asus has announced a slew of new products at Taiwan’s Computex showcase, including the world’s thinnest 2-in-1 and series of rivals for Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro devices.

The company’s new flagship convertible, the Asus Zenbook Flip S, is a lightweight offering that weighs in at just 1.1kg, with a 10.9mm thickness. It features 16GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7 CPU – although this will doubtless be one of the Y-series models, so don’t expect particularly chart-topping performance.

The ZenBook Flip S is fitted with a 13in 4K screen, and features support for Windows Hello thanks to a built-in fingerprint reader. Cooling is taken care of by aerospace-grade aluminium and a ‘vapour-chamber’ cooling system; based on our previous experience with ultrathin convertibles, thermal efficiency is likely to be a key concern.

Picture: ZenBook Flip S, courtesy of Asus

Also announced was a new ZenBook Pro. Outfitted with a quad-core Core i7 processor, an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti and a 15.6in 4K display, the new machine boasts some serious business-grade specifications. To further tempt customers away from Apple, the ZenBook Pro can be upgraded to feature a 1TB PCIe SSD and 16GB of DDR4 RAM – all of which is backed up with an impressive 14hr battery life.

Picture: ZenBook Pro, courtesy of Asus

Similarly, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe seems calculated to undercut Apple’s MacBook, with a svelte 12.9mm frame and a weight of 1.1kg, twinned with a 1TB PCIe SSD, a Core i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM.

Rounding out the announcements is a new VivoBook S, a fairly unremarkable entry aside from the fact that it manages to pack a Core i7 CPU, GeForce 940MX graphics card and 4K screen into a device that costs just $US799. It’s also got expansion options including a 2TB HDD and 16GB of RAM.

With such a strong lineup, Asus could provide an increasingly attractive alternative to Apple for price-conscious CIOs.

Main image: Zenbook 3 Deluxe, courtesy of Asus

This article originally appeared at itpro.co.uk

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Hands-on: Asus ZenBook Flip S review

Hands-on: Asus ZenBook Flip S review

There’s no shortage of new laptops at Computex and we’re in Taipei to see them for ourselves. Just about everyone is making so-called ‘convertibles’ these days (see our comparison of the new Microsoft Surface Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Book for two of the latest rivals), but we’ve rarely seen a device as attractive as the new Asus ZenBook Flip S. Here’s our hands-on review.

Although plenty of ROG gaming devices will be announced, Asus has introduced a range of new ZenBooks for those who like a nice shiny laptop. The ZenBook Flip S is also known as the UX370UA.

Recently we reviewed the ZenBook Flip UX560.

Asus ZenBook Flip S price and release date

We don’t have UK-specific information but the Asus ZenBook Flip S will go on sale in September and has a starting price of US$1,099.

Should the laptop make its way to Blighty, we can expect a similar price in sterling – perhaps £999 at the cheapest, we think.

The firm also announced the ZenBook 3 Deluxe and ZenBook Pro which start at an extra US$100 and $200 each, respectively.

Asus ZenBook Flip S review

Asus ZenBook Flip S review

Asus ZenBook Flip S design and build

As you might expect, the new Flip S looks and feels a lot like ZenBooks that have gone before it. Asus has created a unique and recognisable style for the range which is highly regarded.

So it has a metal build with that circular spun brushed effect which we’ve loved for a long time. The Flip S looks particularly nice in the blue option complete with gold trim.

The main drawback here is that the surface attracts and shows up smudges and prints all too easily.

Provided you don’t mind giving it a clean every now and then, the ZenBook Flip S is an extremely thin and light convertible laptop. At 10.9mm, Asus claims it as the world’s thinnest and 1.1kg is very impressive for a 13.3in metal laptop.

This is partly due to a new 0.3mm ‘liquid-crystal-polymer’ fan to keep the device cool.

Asus ZenBook Flip S ErgoLift hinge

Asus ZenBook Flip S ErgoLift hinge

It’s a compact 13in laptop thanks to tiny ‘NanoEdge’ bezels and while other ZenBooks have a fingerprint scanner in the corner of the trackpack, the Flip S’s is cleverly hidden in the power button on the side.

As you would expect from the name, the screen on the Flip S can rotate all the way around thanks to 360 degree ‘ErgoLift’ hinges.

This kind of convertible is far more on the side of a laptop than a tablet since it doesn’t detach from the keyboard but the different modes can be useful at times.

Asus ZenBook Flip S screen

Asus ZenBook Flip S screen

Asus ZenBook Flip S specs and hardware

As usual, we’re looking at the high-spec version so the ZenBook Flip S will go up to an Intel Core i7 (7th-gen) with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.

It appears that a lower-spec model will have a Core i5 and 8GB of RAM but we don’t know about storage – presumably it drops to 512GB.

You will get an impressive 13.3in screen with a Full HD or 4K resolution (3840×2160) which is touch enabled and you can use it with a new Asus Pen which we believe is an optional extra.

Asus ZenBook Flip S specs

Asus ZenBook Flip S specs

The sacrifice when a laptop becomes this thin is the ports you get. Instead, you get two USB-C ports and a headphone jack. Luckily a bundled Mini Dock gives you an HDMI port, USB 3.1 and a USB-C port that supports fast charging. 

Other specs include Harmon Kardon certified speakers and a battery life quoted at up to 11.5 hours. The Flip S can fast charge via USB-C with reportedly 60 percent in just 49 minutes.

We’ll bring you a full review as soon as we’ve had a chance to properly benchmark the Flip S.

OUR VERDICT

It’s not a laptop most people need but if you’re looking for a attractive convertible with decent specs and high quality build then the Asus ZenBook Flip S, on first look, appears to be a great option.

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EVGA Guarantees Its GTX 1080 Ti K|NGP|N Edition Is Capable Of 2,025MHz OC Speeds

EVGA has once again collaborated with extreme overclocker Vince “K|NGP|N” Lucido to develop the new EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti K|NGP|N Edition. In order to guarantee each card can be to be overclocked to a minimum 2,025MHz, the company starts with pre-binned GP102 GPUs. This card shares all the features you’d expect from a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti video card, such as 3,584 CUDA cores, 11GB GDDR5X, 352-bit bus, 224 texture units, 28 streaming multiprocessors, 88 ROPs, and a 250 TDP, but that’s where the similarities end.
 
EVGA uses a fully custom PCB designed to withstand the rigours of overclocking. The card features a 15 phase digital VRM system with dual 8-pin power connectors on the right edge for better cable management. You will also find the EVGA Evbot connector next to the power connectors on the rear of the card. The PCB features nine temperature sensors: three for memory, five for PWM, and one for the GPU. All of these temperatures are monitored independently within EVGA’s Precision XOC software. When it comes to display connectivity, there are three Mini-DisplayPorts 1.3, one DVI, and a single HDMI 2.0 port all in a row, making it possible to create a single-slot graphics card when used with a water block.

The heatsink shroud has a very similar look to EVGA’s FTW3 edition video card. Integrated into the black plastic shroud you’ll find three large dual-ball bearing fans pushing air through interlaced copper-plated fins bonded to six copper heatpipes (three 6mm and three 8mm) that are attached to the copper-plated baseplate. A large metal backplate spans the entire length of the graphics card, adding rigidity and structural strength to prevent it from bending under the weight of the heatsink. The card also has accommodations for LN2 overclocking.

EVGA’s Jacob Freeman tweeted a picture from Computex showing the GTX 1080 Ti K|NGP|N Edition running cool as a cucumber at 2,404MHz. The company said the card will be available in July. No price has been announced yet.

 Product EVGA GTX 1080 Ti K|NGP|N Edition
GPU GP102
CUDA Cores 3,584
Clock Speed Guaranteed 2,025MHz
Memory Size 11GB GDDR5X
Memory Data Rate 11 Gbps
Memory Bus 352-bit
Transistors 12 Billion
Texture Units 224
Streaming Multiprocessors 28
ROPs 88
TDP 250W
Power Input 2 x 8-pin
Availability July 2017

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