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ASUS ROG Zephyrus Quick Review: The Razer Blade Pro Killer

We go hands-on with the ROG Zephyrus!

The gold standard for thin and portable gaming notebooks, Razer’s Blade, is dead. Holding the bloody knife is ASUS’ Republic of Gamers Zephyrus gaming notebook, the newly announced, thin and light ultraportable unveiled in Taipei last night. It’s the recepient of new tech from NVIDIA as well as clever engineering – the result is a notebook that’s only as thick as an ultraportable but is faster than most gaming rigs out in the market today.

Initial impressions: unbelievably thin and light, despite having a NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU inside

We’re no stranger to thin and light notebooks – we’ve reviewed our fair share of skinny notebooks in the past, but none of them holds a candle to what’s inside the Zephyrus. The notebook measures in at 16.9mm when closed, which is far thinner than Razer’s Blade Pro, which comes at 22.5mm. But despite its skinny dimensions the Zephyrus holds an NVIDIA GTX 1080 discrete graphics in its frame – no mean feat when you consider the usual bulk that notebooks with that particular GPU come with.

So how’d ASUS manage to fit a desktop-class GPU inside such a tiny space? Well, they didn’t do it alone – NVIDIA’s new Max-Q design for their GPUs is the primary driver behind the miniaturization process that the Zephyrus enjoys.

But even with NVIDIA’s engineering know how, ASUS still had to tackle another problem: heat. Top-tier GPUs generate a lot of heat, and cramped spaces suck at dissapating said thermal waste. ASUS’ answer to that is simple – the bottom of the Zephyrus extends a few mm creating more space in the inside to purge the heat generated from running the notebook full tilt during gaming.

The rest of the specs for the Zephyrus isn’t too shabby either – a 7th generation Intel Core i7 7700-HQ processor and up to 24GB of RAM. The full HD, 120Hz display with G-Sync. The keyboard sports the same Aura lighting tech on the company’s motherboards, GPUs, keyboards and mice. The touchpad can also quickly transform into a numpad with a push of a button.

We played a little bit with the Zephyrus during the ROG event, playing Forza Horizon 3 on the highest setting possible. Gameplay was generally smooth, though we did hit a few rough spots here and there. We’re going to attribute that to the beta software drivers running in the Zephyrus during the event. ASUS Reps assure us that final software drivers will be used when the unit ships later this year.

No price has been set for the Zephyrus as of yet, though you can bet that it’ll cost a pretty penny when it starts rolling out in stores.

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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