Asus Zephyrus assessment: an Nvidia Max-Q laptop computer that hides a intelligent cooling vent

Editor’s observe: After conducting further efficiency and battery testing, we’re updating our preliminary hands-on of the Asus Zephyrus to a full assessment. 

Getting one of the best graphics in a gaming laptop computer normally means buying and selling as much as a much bigger, bulkier system, particularly if you would like Nvidia’s top-of-the-line GeForce GTX 1080. And whereas slimmer gaming laptops do exist, however they’re typically restricted to lower-end GPUs. Players have traditionally been pressured to decide on between energy (particularly the ability to drive high-end digital actuality video games) and portability, with compromises required it doesn’t matter what. 

Serving to cut back the variety of compromises required is a brand new idea from Nvidia, known as Max-Q, which mixes extra energy-efficient variations of GeForce 10-series graphics chips with thinner laptop computer our bodies. It was introduced on the 2017 Computex commerce present, the place a number of prototype designs from totally different PC makers have been showcased.

The primary real-world instance of Max-Q we have examined is the brand new Asus Zephyrus laptop computer. It is a 15-inch system from the Asus Republic of Players (aka ROG) line, which covers a variety of laptops and desktops. When you’re curious in regards to the title, Zephyrus was the Greek god of the west wind.

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The laptop computer model of Zephyrus is a 15-inch gaming laptop computer that is extremely slim regardless of its Intel Core i7 and Nvidia GeForce 1080 GPU, which is admittedly the combo you need for high-end PC gaming. It is simply 17.9mm thick and a hair beneath 5 kilos. A typical laptop computer with the same set of elements can weigh eight kilos or extra, and be a lot, a lot thicker.

However, whereas spectacular, the Zephyrus is not the tip of gaming laptop computer compromises. It is nonetheless costly; a few of its design choices, together with a misplaced touchpad, are head-scratchers; and the battery life will not get you far. 

Asus ROG Zephyrus

The Zephyrus on prime of a equally configured 17-inch Asus gaming laptop computer. 

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The principle configuration, with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, prices $2,700 (observe that our early check mannequin had 24GB of RAM). Asus says costs for different configurations and areas shall be introduced “within the coming months,” however the flagship worth works out to round £2,100 or AU$three,600.

A cooling carry

A part of the key to getting an Nvidia 1080 card in a laptop computer so skinny is a hidden vent beneath the system. Hold the lid closed, and it appears to be like like several slim midsize laptop computer. Open it up, and the whole backside panel lifts away, making a 6mm-high air chamber to assist maintain the system cool.

Asus ROG Zephyrus

The underside panel separates when the lid is open, making a 6mm excessive cooling zone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

While you flip open the laptop computer lid whereas holding the Zephyrus in your arms, it appears to be like like the whole backside floor is lifting away, and the opened panel feels flimsy, flexing simply when touched. On a flat tabletop, it feels far more secure, and until you are craning your neck on the lookout for it, the impact may be very delicate, simply lifting the rear of the system ever so barely. 

As a result of the entrance panel would not taper down like many gaming (and nongaming) laptops do, Asus additionally features a rubber wrist relaxation that matches proper up in opposition to the entrance lip. 

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