ASUS ROG just announced two new laptops – the Zephyrus S (GX531) and also the new 17.3-inch Strix SCAR II (GL704). Both of these gaming laptops offer something unique to the table, so let’s take a look at what’s new.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S (GX531)
Building upon what ASUS has developed for the original Zephyrus that was launched last year, ASUS has trimmed down some thickness and upgraded the hardware. It now is now 14.95~15.75mm thin and 12% slimmer than the original Zephyrus (GX501).
In terms of hardware, it is equipped with the latest Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics. It also has super-narrow bezels and squeezed a 15.6-inch display with 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time into a 14.2-inch laptop chassis.
Zephyrus S (GX531) is also using the IPS-type AHVA display panel that offers excellent image quality, covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut and wide viewing angles keep the picture from washing out when viewed in split screen.
Just like the original Zephyrus, the new Zephyrus S (GX531) also has the Active Aerodynamic System (AAS). When the lid of the laptop is lifted, a special vent opens underneath the chassis to let the laptop draw in more cool air. Similarly, the AAS intake measures 5mm on Zephyrus S, stretching across the entire back of the body to improve airflow by 22% compared to traditional designs. Additional airflow comes in from through the keyboard, and the keyboard’s forward layout makes more room for additional cooling throughout the system.
Within the chassis, the Zephyrus S contains five heat pipes that pull heat away from the CPU and GPU, and also the VRM. ASUS claims the components can be cooled under 80°C as it has five heatpipes and four heatsinks to dissipate the heat.
The Zephyrus S (GX531) also has Aura Sync and there are a total of four independent zones illuminate the keyboard, and additional LEDs create a subtle glow inside the AAS vent. The Aura Sync can also be used to synchronize the lights with compatible peripherals
Then we have the new Armoury Crate. Essentially, it’s the ROG Game Center remade. It unifies the ROG hardware with a single utility that makes essential functions easily accessible. System settings and Aura Sync lighting are easily adjusted on the fly, or a user can define preferences for both — with up to four profiles — that make adjustments automatically when the selected titles load. Armoury Crate comes with a companion Mobile Dashboard for Android and iOS, and more capabilities are due in future updates.
The Intel Core i7-8750H CPU in Zephyrus S is backed by fast DDR4 2666MHz memory and NVMe storage, while 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi connects to compatible wireless networks at greater-than-gigabit speeds. USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C and full-size HDMI 2.0 ports support desktop monitors and big-screen TVs, allowing users to connect dual auxiliary displays. More USB ports are ready for essential gaming peripherals and ubiquitous external storage, and there’s a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port offering additional bandwidth for compatible devices.
17.3-Inch ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II (GL704)
We recently reviewed the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II (GL504) and that is actually using a 15.6-inch screen. Today, ASUS is bringing the laptop to a whole new size – 17.3-inch screen.
The new 17.3-inch Strix SCAR II (GL704) puts an industry-leading 17.3-inch display — with a 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, and complete sRGB coverage — into a 15.7-inch chassis.
The Strix SCAR II (GL704) is the first 17.3-inch laptop under 400 mm wide, a feat made possible by the super-narrow bezels surrounding the display on three sides. The 7.05mm borders are up to 50% narrower than those found on other 17-inch gaming laptops on the market.
Externally, Strix SCAR II is designed with FPS gaming in mind, with contrasting Kevlar and camouflage textures created with an eight-stage IMR process. A hairline finish brushes across the Gun Metal lid, while the copper cooling fins provide flashes of color through the vents.
Through AURA Sync, RGB lighting can be customized across seven zones: four for the keyboard, two located within the light bar stretching across the front edge, and the last one within the ROG logo on the lid. The lights can then sync to Aura Sync-enabled peripherals such as the Strix Fusion 700 headset and the Gladius II Origin mouse.
The keyboard on Strix SCAR II has a desktop-style layout, with a wider space bar and separated blocks of function keys to make shortcuts easier to execute. The keyboard’s switches are rated for 20 million key presses, and Overstroke technology allows them to fire halfway through the 1.8mm key travel for a faster response than traditional designs that actuate lower in the stroke. These features ensure that the Strix SCAR II keyboard retains a comfortable typing feel for years to come.
In addition to up to six cores and 12 threads in the powerhouse Intel Core i7-8750H and the gaming prowess of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, the Strix SCAR II (GL704) comes with Intel’s latest 802.11ac Wave 2 WiFi uses faster frequencies for link speeds up to 1.73Gbps with compatible routers. It also sports four USB Type-A ports, a reversible USB Type-C (USB-C) port, a Mini DisplayPort connection that supports G-SYNC gaming monitors, and an HDMI 2.0 port that can drive 4K UHD monitors and big-screen TVs at 60Hz.
Internal storage is split between a speedy M.2 NVMe SSD that loads games and applications in the blink of an eye, plus an optional secondary 1TB solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD) for that growing collection of games.
The Strix SCAR II (GL704) also features HyperCool Pro cooling system that spreads heat across three heatsinks and two fans. One heatsink is linked exclusively to the GPU to handle the additional heat produced by typical gaming loads. The other two are shared to ensure optimal cooling performance with a wide range of scenarios, including situations where the CPU is doing most of the work. Each heatsink is lined with incredibly thin copper fins that enables more fins, giving increased surface area for heat dissipation while at the same time reducing resistance to airflow. Patented trapezoid cuts in the lid ensure that the flow of warm air out the exhaust vents at the back is not impeded.
As ASUS is now unifying all ROG laptops to use the same utility, the Strix SCAR II (GL704) also uses the new Armoury Crate software. It currently covers system settings and Aura Sync lighting, and users can save changes to one of four profiles that automatically load their preferences for specific games and applications. Like the original ROG Control Center, the Armoury Crate also has the companion Mobile Dashboard extends the interface to Android and iOS devices, allowing remote monitoring and adjustment without alt-tabbing away from games.
Armoury Crate has five different system profiles with different performance and acoustic targets. Turbo mode is best for serious gaming, Silent mode cuts noise output for watching movies or surfing the web, and Balanced mode occupies a middle ground between the two. There’s also a default Windows fan settings mode and a manual mode to allow users to make their own adjustments. Modes can also be toggled on-the-fly without ever leaving the game by hitting Fn + F5 to cycle through the options.