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Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 review: Nvidia Max-Q creates it impossibly skinny and powerful

The  Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) Zephyrus GX501 had us during “GTX 1080 graphics in a five-pound laptop that’s roughly as skinny as a MacBook Pro 15.” Pound for pound, this is a many absolute unstable gaming laptop on earth today. But to get this many opening in a laptop this portable, some large compromises have been made.

IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

How thin? That’s an Alienware 15 R4 on a left with a Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 in a center and a Dell XPS 15 on a right.

What’s inside

Inside a GX501 is zero other than Intel’s 7th gen Core i7-7700HQ. For RAM, Asus versed a examination territory with 24GB of DDR4/2400, yet note that U.S. versions will indeed max out during 16GB of RAM.

The prominence of a GX501 is a GPU: Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q technology. Max-Q technology, that Nvidia introduced during Computex, is finished to wring some-more opening out of a laptop GPUs with rebate feverishness and energy output, interjection to clever program  and hardware tuning. A GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q has a TDP as low as 90 to 110 watts, for instance, while a customary GeForce GTX 1080 can put out adult to 150 watts of heat. That’s a critical rebate in a feverishness outlay (and energy consumption).

More alleviation comes from pattern facilities such as a bottom row that opens adult when a lid is opened. This allows some-more cold atmosphere to be sucked into a laptop yet impacting pier placement.

We should discuss that as many as some will boot a tilt-out bottom as a gimmick, a GX501 is an unusually still laptop for a volume of opening it packs, even underneath GPU loads. If WhisperMode (which Nvidia also announced during Computex) creates it into a GX501, it should be even quieter.

IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 facilities a bottom that pops open to improved assist cooling of a GTX 1080 and Core i7-7700HQ inside.

You don’t usually put a GeForce GTX 1080 into an 18mm-thick support yet a compromise, though, and Max-Q imposes a flattering high one adult front: time speeds.

A customary GTX 1080 will typically facilities a bottom time speed of 1,556MHz with a boost time adult to 1,773MHz. A GTX 1080 with Max-Q  has a bottom time of 1,101MHz to 1,290MHz.


Although Max-Q tools give we a same memory interface and CUDA cores, a time speeds take a large strike depending on a GPU load.

Nvidia’s boost clocks might usually be guidelines, though. We found that underneath light loads, a GX501 could indeed strike a same clocks as a customary GTX 1080. Under distant heavier loads, though, a boost surfaced out next a max during 1,290MHz.

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