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ASUS ROG GX700VO Review: A Beastly Notebook Like No Other

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Probably the fastest gaming notebook in the world

ASUS Republic of Gamers sub-brand is known for making gaming notebooks, but their latest release, the monster GX700VO is in a world of its own. Utilizing a desktop-glass GTX 980 video card – yes, the same video card that’s used in monster gaming rigs, 64GB of RAM and water cooling capabilities for ultimate over-clocking, the GX700VO is unmatched by any other gaming notebook currently in existence. Today we’re taking you through what it’s like to use this monster and showing you what it can do in benchmarks and gaming. Before we begin let’s take a look at the specs of this monster

ASUS ROG GX700VO specs

  • Intel quad-core Core 2.7GHz i7-6820HK
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX980 GPU, 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM
  • 64GB of RAM
  • 17.3-inch full HD IPS display, 1920 x 1200 resolution
  • 1TB of storage
  • HD web camera
  • 802.11 ac, 3 USB 3.0, 1 USB Type-C, 1 mini Display Port, 1 HDMI port, 1 Thunderbolt port
  • 3.6 kilos without the dock

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Big and brash – just the way we like it

The GX700VO borrows heavily from the design of another ROG product, the GX752. The lid of the GX700 is made out of solid aluminum, with a large ROG logo in the middle flanked by two LED strips on the side. ASUS tries to give passerbys and curious onlookers a glimpse of the monster within with the overall design of the GX700, and they’ve succeeded – more than a few onlookers approached us when we took the monster out of our backpack during our various trips abroad in the past weeks, which says something about the overall design of the product.

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The overall color scheme of the GX700VO is now aluminum and copper, with a few splashes of red thrown in strategic areas like the keyboard and ROG logo. The back of the GX700VO utilizes a design that closely resembles the rear of modern Lamborghinis. Right smack dab in the center are the ports for the power cable and the water cooling dock.

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The GX700VO is around 3.6 kilos without the dock. Obviously its sheer size makes travelling with it a challenge, though it can be done – you just need a strong back and a sturdy backpack. We’ve been lugging the thing along with us in two trips abroad and while it is a bit heavier than our usual notebook, it’s not impossible to use on the move.

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Once you open the lid of the GX700VO, you’ll see the large 17.3-inch full HD IPS display along with the spacious full QWERTY keyboard. There’s plenty of real estate on the keyboard of the GX700VO owing to its large size, so much so that there’s a row of 5 macro keys on the top of it for custom assignments. There’s even a quick launch video recording button right beside those macro keys so you can record gameplay footage whenever you want.

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The trackpad on the bottom is large and generous, but true PC gaming is done with a mouse. That’s why ASUS throws in a ROG Sica mouse in the package as well for mobile gaming. While the mouse is a bit on the small side, it’s still better than nothing, though true gamers will probably chuck that mouse and get something more substantial.

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There are multiple ports and connectors for the GX700VO, which include three USB 3.0 ports (one with fast charging capabilities), a USB Type-C port, Thunderbolt port, HDMI and a DisplayPort. There’s also space for a SD Card reader as well as connectors for both audio in and out. We love the fact that the GX700VO has multiple USB ports, both the old USB 3.0 standard and Type-C, which means that the notebook is future-proof for the next few years.

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But the real appeal of the GX700VO aside from the monstrous specs is its watercooling capability. That’s taken care of by the water cooling module that you plug the notebook in. The water cooling dock looks kind of like an oversized bug. To connect the GX700VO to it, you just have to put the notebook on the pegs on the module, line up the two chevrons on the module and notebook and press down, hard, on the lever to connect. One connected, you’ll need to utilize the bigger, power brick instead of the smaller one that’s included for travel. Once everything is connected, you can then overclock the GX700VO to your heart’s content. There’s a little bit of residual coolant that’s left on the GX700VO when you detach it from the dock, which accounts for some of the weight of the notebook.

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Because of the size and complexity of the GX700VO and its accessories, ASUS is throwing in a hard case for the GX700VO, which can fit the notebook, water cooling dock and all the other accouterments that come with it, which is pretty nice.

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Full HD is okay, but we would have like a 4K display

The GX700VO comes in both full HD and 4K variants, though our review unit was a mere full HD panel. Colors are bright, crisp and detailed, and the panel has excellent viewing angles. There’s some backlight bleed at several points in the bottom and sides of the panel, but it’s only noticeable when you start up the notebook (or when the screen is totally black). We’re a little bit disappointed that we got a full HD variant for the review as the notebook has more than enough juice to drive a higher resolution display.

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A gaming beast, can run anything you throw at it, and run it well

The GX700VO is armed with an NVIDIA GTX980 dekstop-class GPU that has 8GB of VRAM, Intel quad-core 2.7GHz i7-6820HK 6th generation skylake processor, 64GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD. Those specs are more than enough for most games out in the market right now, including several highly anticipated games like Tom Clancy’s The Division. Almost every game that we tried on the GX700VO ran super smooth at close to or on 60 FPS. Nothing slowed down, and everything just defaulted to extreme or high settings while we were using it.

Firestrike 1
Benchmark without the cooling dock
Firestrike 2
Benchmark with the cooling dock

So where does the watercooler come in? Well, if you want to squeeze every bit of performance from the GX700VO, you’ll have to attach the water cooler when you use it. The notebook’s GTX980 video card throttles down performance to a GTX980M when it’s not attached. The water cooling dock also acts like an instant overclocker, and ASUS claims that with the dock on you’ll get 43% better performance out of the GPU, 48% better performance with the CPU and 31% higher performance with the RAM. While it doesn’t really make much of a difference when you’re just playing games on full HD displays, if you want to connect the GX700VO on a higher resolution display, you’ll want to use it docked. There’s a large performance gap with and without the dock, as you can see in the benchmark tests done with 3DMark. The first Firestrike Ultra benchmark without the dock plugged-in gave us a score of 2475, while a second run with the dock plugged in gave us a higher score of 3092.

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As far as performance goes, the GX700VO is a beastly machine that can run any game at extreme settings with no problems.

Just like with other ROG notebooks, ASUS throws in a couple of applications to enhance your gaming experience. The ROG gaming center gives you an idea of how hot and fast the GX700VO is running, as well as setting several profiles depending on what you’re playing. There’s XSplit Gamecaster app that allows you to stream and record your games onto the interwebs if that’s your thing.

How about the rest of the notebook? Well, the keyboard feels wonderful to type on, and has plenty of travel and spacing which isn’t a surprise considering the sheer size of the device. The speakers are loud, and put out a fair amount of volume. The included mouse is okay but as we mentioned earlier you’d want to spring for a dedicated gaming mouse if you’re serious about PC gaming.

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Lasted longer than we ever expected on battery

Surely a gaming notebook like the GX700VO has a battery endurance that’s comically short, right? Not exactly – as we found out in our travels, the GX700VO is capable of running more than an hour unplugged with just browsing and office work – which is more than we can say for another gaming notebook we reviewed a few weeks ago. The notebook also doesn’t drop frames even when you’re gaming without being plugged in, though obviously your battery endurance is going to go down faster than Noynoy’s approval rating after his veto. You wouldn’t want to use it as your primary travelling notebook but it can hold its own if needed.

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Verdict: a wildly impractical notebook but we want it so, so bad

Truth be told, many people won’t see the appeal in the GX700VO. It’s not a practical notebook by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not supposed to be a practical machine. It’s an expression of the engineering prowess of ASUS, much like how a Murcielago is an expression of Lamborghini’s technical mastery. Both are impractical as hell, but both are insanely fun to use and own. While we don’t know the price of the GX700VO, it’ll easily surpass six digit numbers, and honestly we wouldn’t be surprised if it was priced at a quarter million pesos. But a true gaming aficionado wouldn’t mind – much like an owner of a Murcielago, all he cares about is performance – something that the GX700VO has in spades.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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