Update 18/1/2021: Added prices and availability for the laptops.
Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) is a name you will have definitely heard of if you are into PC gaming. Motherboards, graphics card, peripherals, you name it. Here at CES 2021, you can now expect a whole slew of ROG laptops featuring the latest and greatest processors.
ROG Flow X13 + ROG XG Mobile
We start off with what might arguably be, the coolest laptop ever from ROG. In our opinion, of course.
The ROG Flow X13 is the first 2-in-1 convertible ROG gaming laptop and ROG is aiming to redefine what the standard of a perfect portable gaming laptop can and should be.
The first thing to note is definitely the design. The Flow X13 is a 13.4-inch laptop which comes in at only 15.8mm thin while weighing a pretty light 1.3kg. Of course, with it being a 2-in-1 convertible, you can flip the display a full 360-degrees and use it in various modes, be it a standard laptop, prop it up in tent mode, or use it as a tablet.
It houses a 13.4-inch display in a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is certainly quite a rare sight for a gaming-oriented laptop. There will be two options for the display, either an IPS WQUXGA (3840 x 2400) 60Hz panel which supports touch, covers 116% sRGB and is Pantone Validated, or a WUXGA (1920 x 1200) 120Hz panel with support for touch, covers 100% sRGB and is Pantone Validated as well. Either option will come equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass with 4.9mm slim bezels as well as support for Adaptive-Sync.
But what makes the Flow X13 really special is the internal specifications and the additional features it comes with. It can be fitted with up to an AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS, which is an eight cores and 16 threads CPU with a 20MB of cache, based on the new “Zen 3” architecture from AMD. Being an HS designated chip, it will have a 35W power envelope but is capable of scaling up to 54W if and when thermal and power headroom allows.
It can also be fitted with up to 32B of LPDDR4X RAM running at 4266MHz as well as up to 1TB of PCIe SSD storage.
As for graphics, the Flow X13 comes equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 that is capable of hitting clock speeds up to 1255MHz at 35W in Turbo Mode with ROG Boost and can draw a further 5W via Dynamic Boost.
Despite packing such powerful hardware in a slim and light chassis, Asus claims that temperatures are well within reason and extremely well controlled. One reason for this might be because all ROG laptops now use liquid metal as their choice for a thermal interface compound which helps to improve thermal transfer from the CPU to the heat pipe, reducing CPU temperatures by up to 10°C compared to standard thermal paste.
A little bit of trivia for you guys, ROG is the first company to mass-produce laptops with liquid metal on AMD CPUs as they have managed to overcome the challenges of applying liquid metal on AMD Ryzen processors due to the presence of conductive components around the die. Way to go!
You can also expect pretty decent battery life, up to 10 hours of video playback on the Flow X13. It will support Type-C charging and comes with a newly designed 100W Type-C adapter that is almost palm-sized and weighs around 300g (10.6 oz). The laptop will also feature fast charge, capable of 0% to 50% in 30 minutes.
But what really makes the Flow X13 unique is the new ROG XG Mobile, a compact external GPU which features up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080, a custom PCIe interface, an I/O hub, and a built-in 280W AC adapter.
Weighing in at just about 1kg (2.2 lb) and measuring 155mm (D) x 208mm (W) x 29mm (H), the XG Mobile is honestly really compact, especially considering the fact that it contains an RTX 3080 GPU clocked to 1810MHz at 150W with ROG Boost. In order to achieve those clock rates, it does feature a vapour chamber cooling system working in tandem with the blower-style fan.
In order to overcome the bandwidth limitations of Thunderbolt 4, ROG went ahead and designed their own proprietary custom PCIe 3.0 x8 interface which is able to dedicate 63Gbps of bandwidth just for the graphics, which they claim will result in significantly higher performance compared to standard eGPU alternatives.
A separate USB 3.2 Gen 2 connection also adds a total of 10Gbps of bandwidth just for the I/O, which will provide four USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a full-sized SD card slot as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port. The DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0a outputs are directly connected to the external GPU. To top it all off is an integrated 280W power adapter which will power both the XG Mobile and the Flow X13 at the same time.
There will also be a special Flow X13 Supernova Edition available with the top-of-the-line AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS and will be able to scale up to 4.8GHz on a single core.
The laptop will start from S$2,498 and will be available in Singapore in February 2021.
ROG Strix SCAR Series
The ROG Strix SCAR Series is arguably one of the more popular gaming laptops of choice within ROG’s lineup, and the series is receiving its well-needed refresh in 2021.
Both the new Strix Scar 15 and Scar 17 still retain their iconic cyberpunk inspired design but with a slight revamp. It is now slightly more compact on all axes, with the new Scar 15 being 7% more compact and the new Scar 17 being 5.7% more compact compared to their previous models respectively. This has allowed ROG to achieve a slightly higher screen-to-body ratio for the display at 85%, up from 80%. ROG has also included several easter eggs within the design…? Not too sure about that one though, since we are still trying to find them.
The new design also includes customisable armour caps on the corner of the hinge. The default would be a Rubber Gray, but there will also be options for a Translucent Black and Spangle Silver. Just a touch of personality, courtesy of ROG.
Of course, RGB is part of the Strix’s design language and it has now been refined with a higher-density light bar that glows around the front edge of the chassis. There is also a new companion strip under the screen and the glowing ROG logo on the lid.
As for the display, the Scar 15 will feature a 15.6-inch IPS FHD (1920 x 1080) panel with a 300Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, cover 100% sRGB as well as support for Adaptive-Sync. The Scar 17 will feature a 17.3-inch IPS FHD (1920 x 1080) panel with a 360Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, cover 100% sRGB as well as Adaptive-Sync support. Both models will have the option to be kitted with an IPS WQHD (2560 x 1440) panel with a 165Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, cover 100% DCI-P3, as well as Adaptive-Sync support for their display sizes respectively.
Specifications wise, this is where things take an interesting turn. Both the Scar 15 and the Scar 17 can be fitted with up to an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX for the CPU, up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 for the GPU. up to 64GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM and dual 1TB NVMe SSDs in RAID 0 configuration.
As mentioned earlier, ROG has now opted for liquid metal as their thermal interface material of choice and when working in tandem with the refined cooling system featuring larger heat pipes and new ROG Arc Flow fans, the new Scar Series should perform admirably in terms of temperatures despite the new hardware.
But as awesome as the new CPUs and GPUs are, a great gaming experience can only be completed with the peripherals and accessories to match. The new Scar 15 and Scar 17 feature a new optical-mechanical keyboard. Compared to the traditional membrane, optical-mechanical switches uses a precise infrared laser beam to detect keystrokes. This eliminates the debounce delay and reduces the response time to only 0.2 milliseconds. The optical mechanism has a 1.9mm travel distance, while also being more durable and rated for 100 million presses. Of course, the entire keyboard is RGB capable and does also feature the few hotkeys above the function row.
The trackpad is also now bigger, with a 85% larger active area compared to the previous model and for the Scar 15, it also doubles as a digital numpad.
Another feature unique to the Scar Series that makes a return is ROG Keystone II.
The Scar 15 will start from S$3,598 and will be available in Singapore in February 2021, while the Scar 17 will be priced at S$3,798 and will come to Singapore in March 2021.
ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE
If you are looking for the best you can get with Asus ROG, this is it. The ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE is a special edition of the Zephyrus Duo, where it brings an upgraded 15.6-inch display as well as being kitted out with the latest and greatest processors from both AMD and NVIDIA.
As its name suggests, the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE features not just one, but two displays in a laptop. The ROG ScreenPad Plus sits on a tilting platform which elevates as you lift the lid to reveal the main display. At 14.1-inch, ROG claims this is the largest second display available in a production gaming laptop. When the laptop is fully opened, the second screen sits at a 13° angle for easy viewing and touchscreen interaction.
In Windows, the system basically treats the ROG ScreenPad Plus like a second monitor, so you are free to use it however you like similar to how you would with a second monitor on a desktop. ROG has, however, implemented quite a few tools and apps to help enhance the dual-display experience, such as multitasking with Group Tasks, support for the Asus Pen active stylus, support for XSplit Gamecaster and Overwolf and much, much more. The ROG ScreenPad Plus will be available in two resolution options. 3840 x 1100 or 1920 x 550. Both are IPS displays and will have a 60Hz refresh rate.
But the main display is where it gets a huge upgrade. The Zephyrus Duo 15 SE starts with a FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS panel with a 300Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time and covers 100% sRGB. But there will also be an option to fit it with a 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time and covers 100% AdobeRGB.
To achieve the utmost in performance, the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE can be kitted with up to an AMD Ryzen 7 5900HX for the CPU, and up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 for the GPU. It will also support up to 32GB of combined onboard and SO-DIMM memory running a 3200MHz DDR4 and up to 2TB of NVM Express PCIe x4 SSDs running in RAID 0, which can enable blistering fast transfer rates of up to 7000MB/s when paired with the Ryzen CPU.
Just like the standard Zephyrus Duo 15, the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE features the Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) Plus which improves airflow by exposing up to 10mm of space across the bottom of the laptop when the lid is opened, as well as up to 28.5mm of space between the top of the chassis and the tilting touchscreen. Further improvements have been made on the SE with a new Arc Flow fan design with radically reshaped fan blades to move more air quietly, as well as the use of liquid metal for the CPU, which if you’ve forgotten, reduces temperatures by up to 10°C compared to standard thermal paste.
Other features include a 90Wh battery along with fast-charging technology which allows it to charge from 0% to 50% in 30 minutes, Dolby Atmos with quad speakers comprising of two tweeters and dual woofers, as well as Advanced Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation for voice chat which removes unwanted sounds from both input and output audio.
The laptop will be priced at S$6,998 and will be available in February 2021.
Written by Soon Kai Hong