Back at Gamescom, Asus showed off a couple of concept gaming desktops with the Asus G11 and ROG G20, and we recently saw what the company can do with a gaming laptop it teased, too. At its "ROG Unleashed" event today in San Francisco, the company made good on those prototypes and promises.
The "Oculus-Ready" ROG G20CB
As many consumers are getting ready for the impending release of the Oculus Rift VR headset, so too are OEMs prepping systems bearing the "Oculus-Ready" moniker. Simply put, these systems are being built by companies in cooperation with Oculus to ensure that the market has a number of prebuilt machines ready, at a relatively affordable price, for those who want to be sure they have a system that can run the Oculus Rift.
The systems are supposed to cost less than $1,000, and although at least one of Asus' G20 versions starts at just $699, it's not one of the new "G20CB" models. These will be Intel (Skylake) based systems and will be coming out later this year. (It can't be too much later; we're running out of days in 2015 already.)
Asus did not provide minimum specs for the G20 system for other components -- just maximum, "up to" information, which you can see below:
|Processor||6th generation Intel Core i5/i7 Processor|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X 12GB|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX980 4GB|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX970 4GB|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX960 2GB|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX950 2GB|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX745 4GB|
|NVIDIA GeForce GT740 4GB|
|AMD Radeon R9 380 2GB|
|Memory||Up to 32GB DDR4 at 2133MHz|
|Storage||Up to 512GB PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 SSD (G11CB*)|
|Up to 256GB SATA SSD|
|Up to 3TB SATA HDD|
|Wireless||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi|
|Front I/O Ports||1 x Headphone|
|1 x Microphone|
|2 x USB 3.0|
|Back I/O Ports||2 x USB 3.1|
|2 x USB 3.0|
|2 x USB 2.0|
|1 x HDMI-Out|
|1 x RJ45 LAN|
|1 x 7.1 Channel Audio|
|1 x Kensington Lock|
|2 x DC-in|
|Power Supply||230 W Power Adapter|
|180 W Power Adapter|
|180 W + 230 W Power Adapter|
|Dimensions||104 x 340 x 358 mm (WxDxH)|
|190 x 400 x 592 ~ mm (WxDxH) with Carton|
|Ai Charger ll|
|*Specifications may vary, subject to change|
Although they aren't listed, we presume that you'll have plenty of CPU options to choose from. And as you can see above, there are numerous graphics cards for you to pick from (although just one is from AMD).
Note that memory configurations will run up to 32 GB of DDR4-2133 MHz, and storage options run up to, apparently, a combination of 3 TB HDD and 512 GB SSD. There are plenty of I/O ports (although no USB Type-C), and it's a little underwhelming that there's just one video out -- an HDMI port. (We hope that's just a typo in the spec sheet.)
The system does come with a keyboard and mouse, though, which is a nice touch. Also note that this machine does not have an internal power supply; instead, it uses a power cord and power adapters, up to 230 W.
Luxurious Liquid-Cooled Laptop
Asus teased both of its new laptops at IFA, but now they're real. The more intriguing of the two is a liquid-cooling beast of a thing, the EOG GX700.
If you're wondering whether the GPU itself is inside the laptop, or in that external unit you're seeing, let us surprise you by saying that it's inside the laptop. The external unit is only a cooling module, to enhance the laptop's cooling power. The notebook has a heatsink inside with two heatpipes, which transfers the heat to two drum fans as you'd typically see in laptops, but it also has a cooling loop built into it, much like we see on Asus hybrid graphics cards.
In this case, the cooling loop works with quick-disconnect fittings, allowing you to plug the laptop into the external unit, and unplug it drip-free, whenever you'd like. What this means is that you'll have a powerful laptop on-the-go, but an even more powerful laptop when it's plugged into the cooling dock, as the cooling dock alleviates the thermal limitations of the laptop's own cooling system.
If that bursts your bubble somewhat, don't let it. This is a wise strategy by Asus (and one it cribbed from MSI and Alienware), because what you get is a solid gaming laptop that isn't too difficult to schlep around, and when you're home, you can dock the sucker into that badonkadonk (sic?) GPU module, which delivers liquid-cooled GPU horsepower.
The GX700, even without the external GPU support, has burly specs, with an Intel Core i7-6820HK (the new unlocked Intel Skylake SKU) and "desktop-class" Nvidia GTX 980. (This one.)
|CPU||Intel Core i7 6820HK|
|GPU||GeForce GTX 980|
|Display||17.3-inch IPS FHD (1920x1080) G-SYNC / Optional 4K/UHD G-SYNC|
|RAM||Up to 64GB DDR4|
|Storage||Up to 1TB PCIe x4 SSD (2 x 512GB)|
|Optical||Blu-ray 6x RW|
|Networking||-Gigabit Ethernet-802.11ac-Bluetooth 4.0|
|Keyboard||-Anti-ghosting keyboard with 30-key rollover-2.5mm travel-Illuminated|
|Ports||3 x USB 3.0|
|1 x USB Type-C / Thunderbolt 31 x USB Type-C / USB 3.11 x mini-DisplayPort1 x HDMI|
The base model has a 17.3-inch 1080p HD panel, but you can upgrade to a 4K (UHD) IPS G-Sync panel. The GX700 also offers up to an absurd 64 GB of DDR4 RAM, as well as up to two 512 GB PCIe (x4) SSDs.
I/O is commensurately robust, featuring a Blu-ray RW drive, SDXC card reader, two video ports (mini DisplayPort and HDMI), several USB 3.0 ports, and two (two!) USB Type-C ports. Of those two, one supports USB 3.1 (what speed, we don't know), and one offers Thunderbolt 3 over Type-C.
The Other Laptop
Did you ever have one of those siblings who overshadowed you no matter how great you did at something? That's the case with the GX700 and the impressive, but-not-quite-as-impressive, G752 laptops.
There are three SKUs in total, and one even offers that unlocked Skylake CPU. However, they don't have the external graphics dock, you can't upgrade to the 4K G-Sync panel, and instead of the pair of 512 GB SSDs, you'll roll with a 512 GB PCIe x 4 SSD and a 1 TB 7200 rpm HDD for storage, on the highest-end model.
The G752 models have one fewer USB Type-C port than GX700, but the one they kept is the one that supports Thunderbolt 3.
|CPU||Intel Core i7 6820HK||Intel Core i7 6700HQ||Intel Core i7 6700HQ|
|GPU||GeForce GTX 980M|
|8GB GDDR5||4GB GDDR5|
|Display||17.3-inch IPS FHD (1920x1080) G-SYNC|
|RAM||64GB DDR4||32GB DDR4||16GB DDR4|
|Storage||1TB 7200RPM HDD|
|512GB SSD (PCIe x4)||128GB SSD (PCIe x4)||128GB SSD (PCIe x4)|
|Optical||6x Blu-ray RW||DL DVD±RW/CD-RW|
|Keyboard||Anti-ghosting keyboard with 30-key rollover|
|Ports||4 x USB 3.0|
|1 x USB Type-C / Thunderbolt 3|
|1 x mini-DisplayPort|
|1 x HDMI|
You can configure a G752 model with some lesser specs to save money, but none of the configs (see the spec table) are anything to be disappointed about. Even the lowest-end model will be able to handle just about any kind of gaming task you can throw at it.
This trio of laptops may not offer liquid cooling, but they are equipped with the "ASUS Mobile 3D Vapor Chamber cooling system." The company said that it "incorporates heat-pipes and dual fans to independently cool the CPU and GPU for maximum cooling efficiency." Although obviously we haven't tested the cooling at this point, kudos to Asus for trying out vapor chamber cooling in a laptop.
The G752 series starts at $1,499, and you can preorder a system now; the new G20CB models are coming soon. Although Asus did not specify what they might cost, we can deduce a bit: Current G20 models cost as low as $699, and part of the "Oculus-Ready" deal is that systems should be under $1,000.