There used to be a time, and not so long ago, when playing games on a PC demanded the power and performance of a desktop.
Not anymore. These days, buying the right laptop can deliver a gaming experience that’s potent enough to play Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Star Wars: Battlefront II in 1080p without dialling down any graphics settings.
In fact, a machine like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus (GX501) can outpace some desktop systems, providing a tempting and portable alternative to a traditional gaming rig.
At its largest, the GX501 is just 17.9mm high and it weighs in at 2.2kg — not light, but still easily luggable. Yet despite its skinny dimensions, it doesn’t compromise on performance. As TechRadar points out: “you could be forgiven for thinking that such a slim gaming laptop couldn’t slug it out with the big hitters – but you’d be wrong, this plucky, 15-inch machine actually decimates the most powerful systems we’ve ever tested.”
How? Because under the brushed metal hood of the Zephyrus, there’s a 2.8GHz Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ processor, which can be accelerated up to 3.8GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology.
As Laptop Magazine wrote: “Need to write a review in Google Docs while streaming Twitch, checking TweetDeck, doing research on a few vacation spots and running a full-system scan? The Zephyrus’ 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor with 24GB of RAM can definitely handle it. All in all, I had 20 open tabs in Google Chrome and never experienced any lag.”
The pursuit of performance
While the GX501 comes with 16GB of DDR4 2400MHz memory as standard, it can be fully loaded with 24GB in the pursuit of extra performance. The final core component is an NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU, which can drive the 15-inch, Full HD display at up to 120Hz.
As PC Gamer explains in its review of the Zephyrus, going for a 1080p screen gives gamers what they crave most: high frame rates. “Aiming for a higher framerate at 1080p is a much better use of GPU power than attempting to run games at higher resolution”.
Despite its hefty desktop-a-like specification, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus is surprisingly quiet. ASUS has gone to great lengths to make sure that its laptop can keep itself cool. Its Active Aerodynamic System means that, with light loads, it stays quiet thanks to clever fan positioning, plus the fact that the system lifts slightly from its base, delivering improved airflow.
One of the slimmest gaming machines around
The rest of the specification is just as classy, including a 512GB PCIE Gen3X4 SSD, a USB Type-C/Thunderbolt connection, four USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI interface. The illuminated chiclet keyboard, meanwhile, is perfect when you’re playing games in the dark.
Not only is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 one of the slimmest gaming machines out there, it’s arguably one of the most powerful. Of course, all this power in a portable machine doesn’t come cheap — the GX501 is available with a NVIDIA GTX 1070 Max-Q configuration for around £2,499, while the GTX 1080 variant will set you back £2,699.
Gaming on the go with no compromises? This is how you play it cool.