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ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS Unboxing And Initial Review: Finally, A Gaming Notebook As Powerful As A Desktop

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While gaming notebooks have increasingly become powerful over the years, it’s a generally accepted fact that you’re still trading off a good chunk of potential performance when you go mobile, since mobile versions of the most important part of a gaming rig, the GPU, isn’t quite as powerful as its desktop counterparts.

Well, that was until NVIDIA’s new Pascal-powered GPUs came along. Now the promise of desktop-grade performance on mobile isn’t just marketing hype anymore – it’s a reality. Today we’ll be unboxing one of the newest notebooks to come with the new GPUs, the ASUS Strix GL502VS.

ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS

  • Intel i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz (3.5GHz boost)
  • NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5)
  • 16GB DDR4 2133 MHz
  • 15.-inch full HD IPS panel, G-SYNC, 1920×1080
  • 256GB M.2 SSD, 1TB 7200 RPM 2.5? HDD
  • 1x HDMI, 1x mini-DisplayPort, 3x USB 3.0, USB3.1 Type C (gen 2), Ethernet: 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.1 (Dual band) 2*2
  • 180W AC Adapter

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Packaging and contents:

When you fork over around 150K for a gaming notebook, you expect a certain amount of freebies to come with your purchase. That’s why when you get the Strix GL502VS, you get a massive box that contains the notebook plus a few ROG goodies thrown in.

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Aside from the box that contains the notebook itself, you’re also getting a spiffy Cerberus headset and a nice looking, ROG branded backpack (we use the exact same one for event coverage).

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Going through the box that actually holds the notebook, you’ll see the massive notebook itself, an equally massive power brick as well as a freebie ASUS gaming Sica mouse, and documentation including the warranty card.

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Initial impressions: A GPU as fast as the desktop version

As far as gaming notebooks go, the Strix GL502VS doesn’t deviate from the normal gaming asthetic. The GL502VS has a metallic chassis with red-orange accents all around, with the trademark Republic Of Gamers logo dominating the lid. While we’ve seen bigger notebooks in the past (ASUS’ dual GPU GX700 comes to mind) the GL502VS is not what you’d call a slim notebook. Weighing in at 2.2 kilos and having an overall thickness of 30.1mm, it’s on the chunky side, but to be honest considering the internals, that’s easily forgiven.

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Opening the lid, you’ll see the generous 15.6-inch full HD IPS display. There’s a 4K version as well, but that particular version will hike the price of an already expensive notebook even further.

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Since the notebook is so large, you’re getting a full QWERTY keyboard complete with a number pad. The most commonly used keys for PC gaming, WSAD are highlighted, and the entire keyboard is backlit. There’s a generous and responsive trackpad right below the keyboard, but to be honest you won’t be using that much once you’re gaming.

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Keyboard travel is alright, utilizing scissor-switch type keys with around 1.6mm of travel. Key spacing is good as well.

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Because of the overall size of the notebook, there’s more than enough space for more than a few ports and connectors. You’re getting 3 USB 3.0 ports, a single USB Type-C port, mini Display Port, an SD card reader, full-size HDMI port, a 3.5mm jack for either a headphone or microphone and an Ethernet port.

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No optical drive here, but really, who still uses an optical drive in 2016?

3DMark Firestrike Ultra preset
3DMark Firestrike Extreme preset

Like we said earlier, the new Pascal GPUs for notebooks are as fast as the ones made for notebooks. In fact, the GTX 1070 that’s inside the Strix GL502VS actually has more Cuda cores (2048) than the desktop version, which comes in at just 1920. It has a lower baseclock though (1442MHz vs. 1506MHz) but the boostclock is almost the same (1645MHz vs 1683MHz). It uses the same 8GB GDDR5 memory as the desktop version as well. What all of these technical mumbo jumbo means is that the GPU in the Strix GL502VS is virtually identical to the one in the reference version of the desktop GTX 1070. And considering that the GTX 1070 is a pretty powerful card on its own, it simply means that the GL502VS will make short work of ANY game you run with it.

Firestrike 2

The rest of the package is quite impressive as well. The CPU is an Intel Core i7 6700HQ processor paired with 16GB of DDR4 2133MHz SDRAM, which can be expanded up to 32GB. A 256GB SATA drive keeps OS loading times fast, complimented by a 1TB HDD. That’s seriously impressive hardware under the hood, and when paired with the NVIDIA GTX 1070, means that the notebook is more than capable of tackling almost any game you throw at it.

Our 3DMark Firestrike Extreme benchmark gave us a score of 5878, while the normal Firestrike preset gave us a score of 10016. Those are impressive numbers from a notebook, of course actual performance in games would be the best indicator of a notebook’s graphical prowess.

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First off, Battlefield 1. Playing the beta on the highest resolution possible (full HD) with everything set to Ultra but with DX12 off, we were getting frames as high as 100. The game’s overall framerate never dipped past 57 frames. Similarly, Rise Of The Tomb Raider’s Very High Preset in the same resolution, DX12 off returned frames as high as 92, with the lowest frames coming in at 26 for an average of 57 FPS. Those are impressive numbers from a notebook, and we’ll be putting the GL502VS under stress in more games during the review process.

The ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS is priced at Php 149,995 in the PH.

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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