The ROG G703GX is the Republic of Gamers’ top-of-the-line flagship gaming laptop. The G-series gaming laptops from ROG has always been all about the RAW power. The folks over at ROG basically cram all the best components they could find into a chassis they call a notebook. That’s the exact reason why ROG calls this a Chimera. Cue the music because we’re going for a crazy ride with the ROG G703GX – a beast of its own class that could take on AAA gaming titles without breaking a sweat.
ROG G703GX Tech Specs
- Intel Core i9-8950HK
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB GDDR6
- 2x 16GB DDR4-2666 (up to 64GB, 4 SODIMM slots)
- 3x 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0×4 RAID 0
- 17.3″ Full HD, IPS-level 100% sRGB, 144Hz 3ms G-SYNC
We’re just highlighting the 5 key components of the laptop and I couldn’t help but take pity of my so-called gaming desktop PC with a puny GTX 1070 & 60Hz 1080p display. Yes, my friends, the 17.3-inch display is a 144Hz high refresh-rate monitor that supports NVIDIA G-SYNC. Alongside with the powerful RTX 2080, this machine is an FPS monster that keeps churning out frames without having to worry about tearing.
What’s new with the new display option is the capability to support 2 modes – G-SYNC or OPTIMUS. So you can choose between enabling G-SYNC for screen tearing elimination or power efficiency during desktop usage. Toggling the modes would require a system restart which is not the most elegant solution from NVIDIA.
Even though 1080p 144Hz may not be as mind-blowing as the NVIDIA’s 4K 120Hz display, but still, it is still a mad system for first-person shooting, driving and general fast action games. While colour accuracy is not the most crucial aspect for gamers, we appreciate ROG’s effort to include a reasonable panel for that.
We have previously pointed out the weird marketing material that describes the display as IPS-level panel. While ROG never explained why they do so, but judging from the specs and their past history, there is a high chance it is the same case as before, it is an IPS panel.
Now, the chassis itself is not new, obviously. We have seen this similar design since the early days of the G700 series. As ROG & ROG Strix continue to release more and more new chassis designs, notably mention the Zephyrus and SCAR II / HERO II series, the Chimera’s design seems a little dated. The official explanation is for the laptop to support a beefier cooling solution for the powerful CPU & GPU which I completely agree. Then again, ROG could’ve done something crazier, like putting an 18.3-inch or 19-inch display to fill up those thick bezels.
Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.1 Gen 2, 3.5mm mic jack, 3.5mm headphone mic combo jack
SD card reader, 2x USB-A 3.1 Gen 2
2x power input, mini DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0a
That’s right, the G703GX requires TWO power brick to handle the Intel Core i9 and RTX 2080. More onto that later.
In terms of connectivity, the Chimera offers a number of high-end IO selections, especially the ThunderBolt 3 and 3x USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 ports. Our only complaint would be the 2x USB-A’s placement at the right side which gets in the way as we game with a gaming mouse.
Speaking of controls, there’s nothing spectacular with the keyboard nor the trackpad. Yes, each key has individual RGB backlit which they should have given the same treatment to their ROG Strix laptops as well. The key travel is deep and every key press gives satisfying feedback to the user. Overall, it is better than the average notebook chiclet keyboard.
The trackpad supports Windows Precision Driver for smooth tracking and gestures. That pretty much is what I could really comment regarding a Windows machine’s trackpad. The surface area is not big, given that the palm rest is humongous. Not to mention games are better with a gaming mouse, which is why ROG has included a Gladius II in the box.
Crazy Performance, Toasty Temps
The factory overclocked Intel Core i9-8950HK (6C12T) and RTX 2080 is a fearsome combination. From the Cinebench R20’s result, we can see the CPU alone is performing almost similar, if not, better than a stock desktop Ryzen 7 1700 (8C16T). Just that the CPU temperature may not be what everyone would like to see when they’re pushing the chip to its maximum limit.
Since most of the rendering and CPU-heavy applications would push the CPU to this extent, a simple change of thermal paste would be a great idea.
The triple 512GB RAID 0 setup is consists of:
- Samsung PM981 512GB
- Intel SSD 760P 512GB
- Intel SSD 760P 512GB
We are not entirely sure why ROG is mixing the drives even though technically the RAID driver would take care of it. Nonetheless, the performance is just mindblowing.
The reason why the G703GX requires dual power brick – the RTX 2080 in this laptop will pull 200W of power at full load. To put things in perspective, an actual desktop class RTX 2080 has a power draw rated at 215W. What really surprises us is the relatively well-controlled temperature for the GPU.
While you may see the CPU hitting the magical number of 100-degrees Celcius, the situation here is less severe than, let say, rendering a video or exporting a couple of hundreds of high-res photos. The reason is simple – most of the games are taxing the GPU instead of CPU. The CPU usage might spike now and then which is perfectly normal.
Users can easily access to the internal component through the D-Door. From there we can see the extra 2 empty RAM slots as well as the 2.5-inch SATA drive cage.
When it comes to battery life, it is never a concern for a laptop of this class. Yes, NVIDIA’s Optimus Technology can prolong the battery life up to 3 hours in normal usage scenarios (non-gaming). The moment you fire up the battery and switches to RTX 2080, I’d say 1 hour is the maximum time it could hold.
Some of our friends asked what would happen if we just connect a single power brick to the laptop. While it doesn’t pose any issue, but expect your battery to drain when you game.
Final Words – ROG G703GX
Last but not least, the price – RM19,999. Before you guys start pointing out how you can build a better spec desktop PC at the lower price, first of all, this is a 4.7KG laptop (excluding power bricks). It packs a whole bunch of high-performance components into a simple easy to carry package. If you can build a portable system including the same specifications, a 1080p 144Hz G-SYNC monitor, a keyboard and a mouse that you can check in as a hand-carry bag for travel, I salute you.
This kind of monster laptop is not for everyone. Gamers such as those professionals in the oil & gas, military, tourism and other industries that require them to travel would definitely benefit from this kind of desktop replacement machines. As a gamer, would you settle for an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 on a thin and light? Definitely no.
Wrapping up the review, the closest competition for the G703GX is probably the MSI GT75 Titan 8SG (i9, RTX 2080). They share similar hardware specifications albeit the MSI has a superior mechanical keyboard on it. That model, however, would set you back for a whopping RM23,999. So I would still recommend the Chimera for those aforementioned professionals if they want an uncompromising portable monster machine to rip those FPS.
- Top of the line performance
- Crazy fast storage
- Excellent display 1080p 144Hz G-SYNC (even better if 1440p)
- Superb gaming experience
- Old chassis design
- Dual power brick – Power hungry
- Not suitable for long hours CPU hungry tasks
- Noisy fans