Something to look forward to: After a hectic week, CES 2019 is now over. Looking back Asus was one of the busiest and most prolific companies at the show. Despite most companies traditionally bringing awesome concepts to CES that never turn into reality (cough, Razer) the Republic of Gamers hardware lineup saw some exciting hardware innovations that will most certainly hit the market, including new RTX laptops, RTX 2060 GPUs, all-new monitors and more RGB than ever before.
There is no confirmed pricing or availability of most of the products in this list, but they’re confident they’ll all be released in the coming year.
RTX laptops in varying sizes
Asus brought seven laptops to CES, including five old designs that had been bumped up from GTX to RTX, and two new designs. By far the most exciting of the bunch is the outrageous Asus ROG Mothership (second photo below): a king among gaming laptops, and an experiment into what the future of mobile gaming might look like.
As Asus points out, the laptop form factor was not designed for the heat output of an RTX 2080 or i9, let alone both. To combat this problem, Asus shifted all the components of the laptop behind the screen, to give them “unrestricted access to airflow” and thus better temperatures. It also allowed them to shrink it down to 29.9mm, and it still runs quietly when pushed to the max.
Because it’s a flagship device, naturally, it also has to be made of overkill aluminum unibody. It takes nearly 20 hours to CNC the skeleton alone, no doubt raising the as-yet-unannounced price sky high.
If you prefer your laptops clamshell or your wallet less empty, Asus also has the ROG G703. It’s the standard desktop replacement; large and heavy but very powerful. Rounding out the high-end segment is Asus’ two new Zephyrus models, the 15” Zephyrus S GX531 which has received an internal upgrade to RTX, and the brand new 17” Zephyrus S GX701.
While the GPU is the only change to the 15” Zephyrus, its bigger brother received more than a few interesting new features.
Asus claims it’s the world’s smallest 17” gaming laptop at 18.7mm thick. Top and side bezels are very thin, so it doesn’t have a built-in webcam, instead you can plug in an external 1080p 60fps one that can clip onto the top of the screen when it’s opened. Its also got a color-calibrated G-Sync display, and an aluminum-magnesium chassis to keep it light.
|ROG Mothership||ROG G703||Zephyrus S GX701||Zephyrus S GX531||Strix SCAR II GL504||Strix SCAR II GL704||Strix Hero II GL504|
Asus Scar II and Hero II are the company’s value-oriented gaming laptops. The Scar comes in 17” and 15” variants designed for eSports (read: less demanding titles), while the Hero is MOBA-optimized and comes exclusively with a 15” screen. They can be configured pretty broadly for a variety of performance levels.
Desktop RTX line-up gets cheaper and more expensive options
Asus had four new graphics cards on display, one of which will cost more than the other three combined: the ROG Matrix 2080 Ti (pictured above). The Matrix is possibly the most powerful consumer GPU thanks to its integrated liquid cooler. Rather than relying on heat pipes and metal fins, the Matrix connects a copper waterblock, radiator and pump in a unique liquid cooling loop, cooled by three fans.
To mitigate the compromises of having such a small pump (which sits just above the ports) the Matrix integrates a copper base 2.5x the size of competing solutions with 30% more fins, according to Asus. While manufacturer’s claims shouldn’t be taken as fact, they say it “nearly matches the cooling performance of much larger 240mm radiators.” Additionally, Asus says they will test the GPUs coming from Nvidia, reserving the top 5% for the Matrix. All in all, this lets it boost performance with up to 17.5% faster clock than a standard 2080 Ti to 1815Mhz.
Asus also unveiled three RTX 2060 designs, all variants of coolers from their current RTX 2070 and 2080, which may suggest the card will run hotter than the GTX 1060. The Strix GeForce RTX 2060 is the flagship part with three fans occupying two and a half slots and support for Aura Sync RGB.
The best value will be the Asus Dual GeForce RTX 2060 featuring a twin fan design and for smaller form factors they have the Asus Turbo GeForce RTX 2060, which uses a 2-slot blower design. All RTX 2060 cards launch January 15th.
Monitors: High-refresh rate and higher resolution
With most companies still struggle to release a single high-refresh rate 4K monitor, it was surprising to see Asus announce their second. The ROG Strix XG438Q is a 43”, 4K 120Hz monster, with Freesync 2, HDR 600 and zone-backlighting. While pricing hasn’t been announced, you know it’s going to be expensive when a TV-sized monitor comes with multi-monitor alignment tools. Asus’ similarly specced 27” model costs $2,000.
Joining the Freesync lineup is the ROG Strix XG32QVR, a 32” curved 3440 x 1440 144Hz monitor, and the ROG Strix XG49VQ which is another curved widescreen panel, this time with a 3840 x 1080 resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate. Like competing solutions, its 49” size means that it’s equivalent to two 27” 1080p monitors next to each other.
On the G-Sync side, they brought along two monitors they’ve shown before, the 65” 4K 120Hz ROG Swift PG65 and the 32” 3440 x 1440p 200Hz Swift PG35VQ.
RGB soars to new heights
Asus is seriously diversifying by making bicycle equipment… (wait, what?) or so their ROG Ranger BP3703 backpack marketing material will tell you. Ever go cycling at night? The massive ROG logo on the backpack can be set to any color you want, making you impossible to miss no matter how dark it gets.
Ever need to find something in your backpack while at night? Don’t worry, it has interior RGB, too. Has your phone run out of battery after a long gaming session? You can recharge it from the backpack’s built-in battery. And if you’re concerned about your RGB showing off too much you needn’t stress, it also has an ambient light sensor that can automatically adjust the brightness to be inconspicuous. For showing off around the house, however, Asus has you covered with their ROG Chariot gaming chair and its massive RGB ROG logo on the back (ugh).
Completing Asus’ huge lineup are new gaming routers, including a few sporting draft Wi-Fi 6 specs. There’s also a new budget AIO liquid cooler with 16 RGB LEDs and still missing from this list are Zenith motherboards, gaming mice and keyboards.