CES 2019 has descended upon Las Vegas, blanketing the city of lights with the next generation of PCs and components. Our CES showcase is packed with all manner of hardware for gamers, from powerful desktop replacements and massive gaming monitors, to next-gen graphics cards and some of our newest peripherals. Some of them refine existing designs in pursuit of perfection, while others explore new territory with innovative designs and concepts that challenge conventional thinking. There’s a lot of brand new ROG gear landing over just a few days, so we’ve summarized the highlights the handy digest below. Click the individual product links to go to in-depth stories with more details on each new product.
ROG Gaming laptops get new models and an RTX redux
Gamers have among the most demanding requirements, but we have a wide range of systems that exceed them, including a new lineup of ROG gaming laptops based on NVIDIA’s new GeForce RTX 20-series GPUs. The family is led by the ROG Mothership, an innovative desktop replacement that completely rethinks the form factor to improve cooling and ergonomics. Its CNC-machined aluminum chassis stands tall rather than lying flat, which dramatically improves airflow for its factory-overclocked Core i9 CPU, and the keyboard detaches for wired or wireless operation, allowing you to position it exactly where you want. Add cutting-edge components like the GeForce RTX 2080, a three-drive NVMe RAID 0 array, and both 2.5G Ethernet and 802.11ax WiFi, and you have a truly next-generation system inside and out.
At the other end of the spectrum, the all-new Zephyrus S GX701 expands ultra-slim gaming with a 17” display that fits into an amazingly compact chassis just 18.7 mm thin. Super-narrow bezels make the display feel larger than life, and the Pantone-validated panel is calibrated at the factory to guarantee color accuracy for professionals who want a more serious gaming machine. Our innovative GPU switch lets the GX701 go between G-Sync mode for an improved gaming experience and Optimus mode for longer battery life, while Type-C charging support lets you run lighter workloads using a smaller 65W adapter or even top off the battery using a portable USB power pack. Our proprietary Active Aerodynamic System provides more airflow to the six-core Intel Core i7 CPU and up to GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design graphics.
These all-new laptops complement existing models with updated RTX graphics. The 15” Zephyrus S GX531 is even slimmer and more portable than its 17” counterpart, yet it’s still available with a top-of-the-line GPU. Although we’ve redefined the desktop replacement form factor with ROG Mothership, the G703 provides a clamshell alternative with the same factory-overclocked components in a more lap-friendly format. The Strix SCAR II and Hero II reprise their roles as more mainstream gaming laptops optimized for esports competition. They’re available with more affordable GPUs down to the GeForce RTX 2060, which still has plenty of power to play popular games.
All of our new ROG gaming laptops are available with super-fast 144Hz/3ms displays that let you experience true triple-digit FPS. For years, we’ve been working closely with panel maker AUO to ensure that we’re on the cutting edge of display technology. That collaboration allows us to debut at CES 2019 the first HDR displays for gaming laptops. The panels use brighter backlights, local dimming, and support for 10-bit color to bring greater dynamic range without sacrificing the refresh rate or response time. They’re also not alone. In addition to demoing HDR, we’re showing a new 4K screen with slim bezels and full Adobe RGB coverage for serious content creators. It’s joined by the world’s fastest display for gaming laptops, a impressive 240Hz panel available with both slim bezel and brilliant colors.
Going big on cutting-edge gaming displays
ROG’s leadership with gaming laptop displays is complemented by a diverse lineup of desktop monitors that continues to push the limits of what’s possible. The new ROG Strix XG438Q blurs the line between desktop display and big-screen TV with a massive 43” panel that’s equally at home in a battlestation or living room. The 4K panel boasts a 120Hz refresh rate augmented by FreeSync 2 HDR technology that helps to smooth out performance fluctuations with compatible graphics cards, an especially important feature for such a high resolution. Visually stunning from every angle, the VA-based panel meets VESA DisplayHDR 600 requirements, supports 10-bit image processing, and uses local dimming to intelligently modulate backlight brightness across different regions of the screen. A monitor-grade TCON combines with our GameFast Input Technology to ensure the low input lag required for serious gaming.
While the XG438Q sticks to a conventional aspect ratio, the curved ROG Strix XG49VQ stretches an ultra-ultra-wide 32:9 panel across an expansive 49” diagonal. The double-full-HD resolution extends deep in your periphery for extra immersion, and FreeSync 2 HDR tech keeps the refresh rate synchronized with compatible Radeons all the way up to 144Hz. The Strix XG32VQR completes our FreeSync 2 HDR lineup with a curved 32” display that takes its WQHD resolution up to 144Hz with wider 94% DCI-P3 coverage. We’re also showing coveted ROG Swift G-Sync displays, including the jaw-dropping PG65 with its high-refresh 65” 4K panel, and the PG35VQ, an ultra-wide 35” display with DisplayHDR 1000 certification and a peak refresh rate of 200Hz.
Graphics get liquid cooling at the high end and RTX down the middle
Keeping up with the latest high-end displays requires hardcore graphics power. The new ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti obliges with the fastest GPU in the 20-series lineup, but that’s only the beginning. We spent over two years developing the first completely self-contained liquid cooler for graphics cards. The fans, radiator, pump, and all the plumbing squeeze into just three slots, allowing the Matrix enjoy superior liquid cooling without requiring an external radiator or custom loop. We pair the cooler with cherry-picked Strix PCBs chosen for their ability to run at higher speeds, making the new Matrix the most powerful single-GPU card ROG has ever produced.
While the Matrix stakes our claim to the best high-end graphics card on the market, the new GeForce RTX 2060 enables a lineup of more affordable cards based on the same NVIDIA Turing architecture. We’ve deployed the mid-range GPU across a trio of graphics cards led by the Strix GeForce RTX 2060, which uses the same advanced MaxContact cooler as the Strix RTX 2070. This model has all the bells and whistles, including Aura Sync RGB LEDs to match your system lighting, and FanConnect headers that let GPU temperatures control system cooling. The ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 2060 puts cooling above all else with a 2.7-slot design comprising a massive heatsink with dual fans. If you prefer something smaller, the ASUS Turbo GeForce RTX 2060 is a better fit for really compact builds. Despite squeezing into only two slots, its blower-style cooler has multiple upgrades to improve airflow, including a larger 80-mm fan, fewer obstructions around the rear exhaust, and a carefully shaped shroud that helps direct more air into the fan when the card is in cramped quarters.
Raising the stakes for high-end desktop motherboards
High-end DIY desktops enter the next generation with all-new ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha and Rampage VI Extreme Omega motherboards. Nearly identical twins based on AMD X399 and Intel X299 platforms, these EATX monsters are loaded with PCIe slots for multi-GPU configs and NVMe slots for SSD RAID arrays. Both boards can run dual triple-slot graphics cards with a full 16 lanes of bandwidth each, and they have integrated heatsinks for at least three M.2 SSDs. The rest of the specs are as stacked as you’d imagine, with support for up to 128GB of memory across eight slots, loads of USB connectivity, and both Gigabit and 10G Ethernet built in. Each board also features premium extras like a LiveDash OLED display, exquisite aluminum armour, and our new Node connector for external devices. The Fan Extension Card II included with each board uses the Node interface to further expand the already generous assortment of cooling and lighting headers on the PCB.
The Alpha and Omega draw inspiration from the ROG Dominus Extreme, which takes high-end desktop motherboards to a whole ‘nother level for 28-core Skylake-X processors. Its massive 14” x 14” EEB form factor is populated with 12 memory slots with support for up to 192GB of DDR4 RAM, dual DIMM.2 modules with room for two NVMe SSDs each, dual U.2 ports for additional SSDs, and quad PCIe x16 slots spaced for a stack of dual-slot cards. More impressive than the sheer number of components is how they’re laid out, with connectors neatly clustered and lined up along the edges to help you create a clean-looking build. That includes the astonishing nine EATX power connectors, plus the 32 power stages arranged along the top edge. The Dominus Extreme is on display at CES 2019 inside a beautiful build guaranteed to turn heads.
Hands-on with the latest peripherals
Our peripheral lineup is getting bigger but also smaller. The new ROG Strix Carry mouse has diminutive dimensions designed specifically for mobile use. It fits easily into a bag and weighs only 120g, but we didn’t skimp on features or performance. You get the same Pixart sensor as the ROG Pugio, complete with a DPI switch for changing the sensitivity instantly on the fly, and the main buttons are backed by swappable Omron switches rated to survive 50 million clicks. Support for both 2.4GHz and Bluetooth LE wireless connections lets you choose between lower latency for gaming and lower power consumption for other tasks. Even when connected via 2.4GHz, you can still get more than 200 hours of run time from a pair of AA batteries.
On the desktop, the ROG Strix CTRL keyboard puts a full-sized layout inside a compact frame. The left Ctrl key is notoriously difficult to reach on conventional keyboards, so our Xccurate design enlarges it and adds stabilizers for easier crouching and walking in-game. We also tweaked the function row to give media shortcuts priority by default and added a new feature for F12. Otherwise known as Stealth, this shortcut automatically mutes your audio and hides open applications, putting privacy easily within reach at all times. Each key sits on top of a Cherry MX RGB switch, and versions of the keyboard will be available with a full range of MX flavors, including Silent Red and Speed Silver.
The Strix CTRL ships with a set of silver WASD keycaps that break up the all-black look, but we’re making separate caps as well. The ROG Gaming Keycap Set replaces the QWERASD keys with textured caps that have a grainy surface with extra grip, making them easier to find by feel alone, and reducing the chance of your fingers slipping off in the heat of battle. Plastic construction ensures similar weight to conventional caps to avoid affecting actuation, but the Esc key sits off on its own, so we added an aluminum housing with a diamond-cut ROG eye. The metal skin is wrapped around a plastic core to prevent damage to the switch underneath, and the set is compatible with standard Cherry MX switches.
Like the rest of our gear, the caps use familiar ROG colors, but we know that some gamers have different tastes. The new ROG PNK LTD line goes in a completely different direction with a combination of warm pink and cool grey. Available on special versions of the ROG Strix Flare keyboard, ROG Strix Fusion 300 headset, ROG Gladius II Origin mouse, and ROG Sheath desk mat, this limited-edition colorway brings a whole new look to the Republic of Gamers while retaining the technology and features that define those peripherals.
RGB even more of the things
After introducing our first liquid coolers at Computex last year, we’re filling out the lineup with an entry-level ROG Strix AIO cooler. The more affordable design is based on the exact same Asetek technology as the ROG Ryuo, and it’s available with the same Wing Blade fans and 120-mm or 240-mm radiator options. The only difference is the absence of the LiveDash OLED found on our other coolers. Instead of using this integrated display, the Strix lights up the CPU block with 16 addressable LEDs diffused to a bright, even glow.
One might say that we’ve become somewhat obsessed with RGB LEDs, but it’s hard not to love a technology that lets you customize, match, and change colors so easily. At CES 2019, we’re extending RGB lighting to furniture with the ROG Chariot gaming chair, which features a backlit logo behind the headrest and an illuminated infinity mirror over your shoulders. The automotive-inspired design adjusts to accommodate different body types, and we selected materials that are both supportive and cool, so you can sit though marathon gaming sessions without overheating.
RGB lighting adds a new functional twist with the ROG Ranger BP3703 backpack. The illuminated ROG logo and slash improve visibility for cyclists and anyone else who needs to be seen in the dark. An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness to match your environment, but you can crank it up with a dedicated Android app that also controls colors, effects, and up to seven profiles. Power is provided by a standard USB power pack, an RFID-blocking pocket protects your wallet from skimming scams that target RFID-enabled cards, and interior lighting helps you find things inside the main compartment.
Networking brings it all together
Customizable lighting is even extending to networking. The ROG Rapture GT-AC2900 offers an Aura Sync-compatible glow, but that’s not all. The dual-band design employs four antennas, one of which is hidden in the body and dedicated to 5GHz traffic. Packets are prioritized by Adaptive QoS that can be programmed to send traffic from specific applications and clients to the front of the line, and free access to the Gamers Private Network optimizes your connection to select online game servers. The router also includes a special mode that’s being optimized for NVIDIA’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service, allowing you to stream games at up to 1080p resolution and 60 FPS.
While the GT-AC2900 is based on 802.11ac technology, we’ve got a a full family of Wi-Fi 6 routers including the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, RT-AX88U, and AX6100 Wi-Fi system. These routers use 802.11ax, otherwise known as Wi-Fi 6, which leverages techniques from the cellular industry to more efficiently manage traffic on busy networks. Maximum throughput is higher, too, thanks to 1024-QAM modulation and support for 160Hz channels. Like the GT-AC2900, they support AiMesh, which allows you to mix and match routers to form a mesh network that blankets your home in Wi-Fi.