Gone are the days when a gaming laptop meant you had to carry a tank of a device with you or compromise the framerate compared to your PC-playing competition. At the international COMPUTEX 2018 event in Taiwan on Monday, ASUS announced the latest entrants in its gaming laptop line-up under the Republic of Gaming (ROG) brand: the ROG Strix Hero II and the ROG Strix Scar II.
“The two laptops are differentiated by spec and by type of gameplay predominantly played,” said Chin-Hao Kung, ASUS EMEA TPR lead.
“With the ROG Strix Hero II bravery knows no bounds, and it is designed for MOBA gameplay. With the ROG Strix Scar II precision knows no bounds, and it is designed for FPS gameplay,” he said.
The machines are subtlety different – the Hero II’s keyboard highlights the QWER keys, while the Scar II distinguishes the WSAD keys.
Differences aside, both models share impressive grunty hardware, with options providing storage ranging up to 512Gb NVMe PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD and up to 1Tb FireCuda SSHD, video cards up to GeForce GTX 1070 GPUs, RAM up to 32Gb 2666MHz dual-channel SDRAM, and the 8th generation Coffee Lake Intel i7 CPU.
Either way, it’s a desktop-inspired layout with ergonomically-designed keys with 0.25mm-deep keycap curves, 20-million-keystroke lifespans and N-key rollover to ensure no keyboard lock-ups when multiple keys are pressed.
Design-wise, the laptops feature two contrasting brushed finishes with an illuminated ROG logo, a patented trapezoid-cut lid, a super narrow bezel design that is 2.33cm narrower than previous models, an RGB lightbar that leverages ASUS’ Aura Sync technology to keep your light patterns in concert across all your ROG peripherals and devices, and an incredible 15.6” full high-definition 144Hz / 3ms panel.
ASUS says these laptops are the first to offer a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time in their display panels.
The company is also particularly proud of the trapezoid-cut lid, explaining a normal laptop lid blocks airflow at the back and may cause overheating in some instances. Its lid instead avoids this problem, improving thermal efficiency by up to 27% over traditional designs.
This thermal efficiency cannot be overstated. Just how the Death Star’s weak point was a thermal exhaust port, so too heat is the enemy of gaming. The more powerful your computer, the more heat it generates; the more heat it generates, the more likely it will overheat and shut down.
Yet, to pack so much punch in a compact and portable device, ASUS has employed its research and development smarts to bring about what it labelsHyperCool Pro — upgraded 12v fans with more blades — from 59 to 71 providing 20% faster fan speed, 42.5% more airflow and 92% more air pressure. All this means you can game at maximum frame rates for longer, and your laptop will be cooler and quieter while doing it.
The laptops also feature extended cladding for even cooling, unique heat-pipe designs, patented anti-dust cooling systems based on centrifugal fan modules with two anti-dust tunnels. The fans are ultra-thin with 0.1mm copper cooling fans, half the thickness of regular fans, offering 10% increased surface area for heat dissipation.
The fans can be controlled by the system, but the user also has direct control over them, with silent, balanced and overboots modes available, the latter providing maximum cooling.
To ensure maximum Wi-Fi performance, the laptops offer ROG RangeBoost technology with four antennas and smarts to cover Wi-Fi dead spots, overall providing 30% wider coverage than dual-antenna configurations. ASUS says these are the world’s first gaming laptops to feature multi-antenna Wi-Fi.
The laptops also deliver clear, loud and accurate audio via powerful side-firing speakers delivering immersive sound that is up to 200% louder than previous models, with increased dynamic range and bass.
Both laptops will be available from July 2018 from the ASUS Shop, Harvey Norman and select channel partners. The base model comes in at $2699 with these specs:
- i7-8750H processor
- 16Gb RAM
- 1Tb SSHD + 256 PCIe storage
- GTX 1060 video
- FHD 144Hz 3ms panel
The laptops are 36.1 x 26.2 x 2.61cm in size and weigh 2.4kg. They are festooned with connectivity options:
- 1 x USB 3.1 gen 2 type-C
- 2 x USB 3.1 gen 1
- 1 x USB 3.1 gen 2
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort 1.2
- 1 x HDMI 2.0
- 1 x RJ-45 jack
- 1 x SD card reader
- 1 x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo
- 1 x Kensington lock
iTWire has already had a chance to play with these laptops at COMPUTEX 2018; they were visually stunning, responsive and smooth, and the keyboard and touchpad were a pleasure to operate. iTWire will provide a detailed hands-on review in coming months.
The writer is attending COMPUTEX 2018 as a guest of ASUS.