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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s this non-static time speed that might upset buyers of Max-Q laptops, as opening will change too. We’ll cover this after in a opening section.
The shade itself is 1920×1080, a ideally good fortitude that’s looking ho-hum usually since of a consistent one-upping of arrangement resolutions during a high end—at a cost of opening and battery life, it contingency be said. The GX501’s arrangement is glorious for many uses and has decent off-axis viewing, improved than what we saw with a Alienware 15 R4’s panel. The GX501’s liughtness unhappy us slightly, though, attack a limit of usually 284 nits. What’s substantially critical to gamers is a panel’s support for G-Sync—and not a yawner 75GHz G-Sync panel, yet an eye-catching 120Hz G-sync model.
One pain point: The GX501 facilities usually one M.2 slot, so buy a largest SSD choice for a GX501 that we can afford. Our examination territory came with with a Samsung 512GB SM961 drive, that gave us reads in a 3.4GB/s operation and writes in a 1.6GB/s operation in Crystal Disk Mark.
A final, critical pattern note: Opening a GX501 isn’t for a gloomy of heart. To get inside, we initial mislay a bottom by unscrewing 4 screws. You’ll afterwards have to mislay another 10 or so Torx screws. At this point, we indeed chickened out with a disassembly since we were greeted by during slightest 3 badge cables and a motherboard mounted directly to a bottom image we had usually pulled out. Let’s usually contend serviceability of a GX501 ain’t great.
The GX501’s pier preference is decent. There’s a sum of 4 USB 3.0 Type A ports on a any side, and an analog combo audio jack, full-size HDMI 2.0 and a 40GBps Thunderbolt 3 port, and a Kensington lock.
Keyboard and mouse
The GX501 facilities a Chiclet-style keyboard that’s a tiny on a tear-jerking side. The plcae of a keyboard is certain to means a stir, as it’s been changed to a front of a laptop to make space. Old-timers will commend this as something all laptops used to do in a 1980s. Asus is wakeful of a miss of a wrist-rest, so it includes a tiny one in a box.
The miss of per-key lighting, while not a deal-breaker, is a bit of a buzz-kill. In a good mainstay though, this means there’s zero comfortable underneath your wrists, and a trackpad to a right of a keyboard offers glorious palm rejection.
The trackpad plcae isn’t new, of course. Razer as good as MSI have finished this before. As a last-resort process to play games it suffices, yet zero can reinstate a good mouse. The trackpad also facilities a practical 10-key underline that seemed flattering neat initially, yet genuine bean-counters will never use it.
The ROG Zephyrus GX501 is a initial possibility to see either Nvidia’s Max-Q record can assistance this five-pound, super-thin laptop hang with traditionally designed (larger, fatter) gaming laptops. To find out, we ran it by a gauntlet of tests.
Cinebench R15 Performance
Our initial exam is Maxon’s Cinebench R15. It’s a pristine CPU exam and loves threads. Generally, we don’t design surprises, and we don’t get any from a GX501. it’s flattering many a three-way tie with a 4 Kaby Lake quad-core chips, that means all is operative as it should.
Our second exam uses an comparison chronicle of a giveaway Handbrake encoder and is also mostly focused on CPU performance. Unlike Cinebench R15, that takes rebate than a notation to render, Handbrake can take about 45 mins to run on a quad-core CPU. Here we can see that it’s flattering many dead-even between all of a Kaby Lake laptops, and a Skylake laptops also cluster adult together. The GX501 and it’s each bit as quick as a other Kaby Lake laptops on CPU loads.
3DMark FireStrike Extreme Graphics Performance
No disregard to a CPU, yet a star of this uncover is a GPU, and we wanted to see how a GX501 and a Max-Q chip does in a pristine graphics test. For that, we used Futuremark’s comparison FireStrike Extreme and usually pennyless out a graphics sub-score that ignores CPU performance.
The outcome is substantially a thing that will keep people tossing and branch during night, wondering either a GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q is unequivocally a equal of a GeForce GTX 1080. In this one test, a answer is No. In fact, a GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q partial indeed marks many closer to a opening of a GeForce GTX 1070 in a Alienware R15 R4 laptop.
For what it’s worth, that Alienware R15 R4 is fast, noisy, and did we discuss fast? Compare a measure of a Alienware R15 R4 to a likewise versed HP Omen 17 to see usually tough Alienware is pulling a tools inside a R15 R4.
Rise of a Tomb Raider Performance
Good opposite a fake benchmark is one thing. Good opposite a game? The initial we spooled adult was Rise of a Tomb Raider during 1920×1080 regulating a Very High default setting. Here a GX501 indeed does utterly well. On a one hand, it shows what a GTX 1080 Max-Q gives adult compared to a GTX 1080 using during full speed. It also, however, does unequivocally good opposite a Razer Blade Pro’s GTX 1080, that was tuned down to run in a thinner shell.
That advantage a Alienware 15 R4 had in a fake benchmarks vanishes because, for a many part, it’s using some-more like a GTX 1070 in a HP Omen 17.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Performance
The one exam where a story got unequivocally engaging was Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, where a GX501 ran neck-and-neck with a many incomparable GT73VR. This appears to uncover that a GX501 and GTX 1080 with Max-Q can run with a large dogs sometimes.
If you’re wondering what a locate is, it’s battery life. When we jam a quad-core CPU and a GTX 1080 into a laptop along with all a hardware to cold it, you’re going to give adult something. Asus tosses a battery ability overboard. The GX501’s battery is roughly 50 watt-hours. Compare that to a Gigabyte Aero 15, that has a 94-watt-hour battery, and a Dell XPS 15, that has a 97-watt-hour battery.
With a GTX 1080 Max-Q, Core i7-7700HQ, and 120Hz G-sync panel, a GX501 has what would substantially be satisfactory to call deplorable battery life. We don’t unequivocally lane gaming laptop battery opening that closely, since 99 percent of a time, they’re on AC. But for a units we have tested, and laptops in a same circuit as a GX501 (like a Aero 15 and XPS 15), it’s usually ugly. In fact, it’s a misfortune we’ve seen from a laptop. Yes, now we know since we indispensable to review to a finish before creation a shopping decision.
Conclusion: Why a GX501 still rules
If you’re now scratching your conduct wondering usually what is a indicate of a unequivocally powerful, unequivocally unstable laptop that has gloomy battery life, you’re substantially not alone. But take a step behind and hear me out.
Are there people who wish a five-pound, ultra-slim laptop that is infrequently scarcely equal to a opening of a laptop that weighs twice as many and is roughly 3 times as thick? Yes.
And as many as a battery life stinks on a GX501, a law is it’s terrible on all gaming laptops if we indeed play a game. You’d be propitious to get some-more than an hour and a half personification games on usually about each gaming laptop today.
You roughly have to consider of a ROG Zephyrus GX501 as a laptop for those who typically would buy a big, fat gaming laptop since it was a usually approach to get opening in a semi-portable device. The GX501 lets those folks finally have a opening they crave yet a weight and bulk penalty.
But let’s be positively clear: If you’re looking for a opening laptop that can be unplugged for many of a day, this isn’t it. But, if you’re looking for a thinnest, lightest, many absolute gaming laptop and don’t give dual damns about battery life, it’s going to be tough to find something improved than a Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501.
Correction: A prior chronicle of this story contained charts that had a improper GPU information on a GX501. PCWorld regrets a error.