Aug 16, 2018 Written by: Geoff_Gasior

The ROG Zephyrus S sets a new standard for ultra-slim gaming laptops

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We redefined ultra-slim gaming laptops last year with the first ROG Zephyrus. It delivered a desktop-grade gaming experience in an incredibly lean chassis just 16.9~17.9mm thick, raising expectations for what’s possible in such a slender system. The Zephyrus was a product of our desire to push the boundaries of engineering and design, and the drive that created it doesn’t rest easily. We channeled that energy into a new project, and the result is exactly what you’d expect from the Republic of Gamers: the world’s slimmest gaming laptop.

At a mere 14.95~15.75mm, the new ROG Zephyrus S is 12% thinner than the original. But we didn’t just shave down the profile. Super-narrow bezels frame the ultra-fast display, improving immersion while making the chassis even more compact. Enhanced cooling ensures the 8th Generation Intel Core i7 six-core CPU and up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with Max-Q Design GPU reach their full potential in such a confined space. And everything is wrapped in a metal chassis with sleek lines and premium finishes.

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A metal jacket tailored for a perfect fit

One of the biggest challenges with creating such a thin laptop is making sure that the chassis remains strong enough to survive life on the road. It needs to shake off everyday knocks and bumps and feel solid in your hands, but there’s little room for structural reinforcement, so choosing the right materials is extremely important. The metal body encasing the Zephyrus S mixes aluminum and magnesium alloys to strike the best balance between strength and weight.

Each lid is meticulously machined from a solid block of aluminum. This precise CNC-milling process takes five tooling stages and nearly 72 minutes to carve out all the intricate details that ensure a perfect fit, but it’s worth the effort, because the unibody lid is remarkably rigid for something so slim. It helps make the Zephyrus S tougher than you’d expect. In fact, engineering samples have already met military-grade standards for enduring jolts and vibration. The final hardware is undergoing a full battery of MIL-STD-810G tests, including being subjected to extreme environmental conditions, and we’re confident it will survive.

The tough exterior surrounds contrasting finishes with diamond-cut edges that accentuate the design. Two-stage anodizing highlights the stealthy surfaces with copper trim, while a surgical slash separates competing textures on the lid. Similar lines cut across the area above the keyboard, completing a distinctive style that turns heads. We paid attention to every little detail, right down to the new scissor-door hinges that remain hidden to keep a low profile until you open the laptop. In one smooth motion, they expose the gorgeous display and open the exclusive air intake that sets Zephyrus laptops apart the rest.

Slimming bezels without sacrificing speed

Super-narrow bezels squeeze the 15.6” display into a 14.2” chassis. They make the entire footprint smaller, allowing the Zephyrus S to fit into tighter spaces than its predecessor. The industry is moving toward slimmer bezels for more than just improved portability, though. A thinner frame more easily melts into the background, plunging you deeper into what’s actually on the screen.

Since the original Zephyrus, we’ve been working closely with panel maker AUO to ensure ROG laptops have the very best displays for gaming. The 120Hz panel on the initial version doubled the refresh rate of conventional displays, and AUO commissioned chemical giant Merck to develop a new liquid crystal structure and carrier liquid to reach even higher speeds. The resulting panel not only offered silkier gameplay by pushing the refresh rate to 144Hz, but also reduced blurring and ghosting by lowering the response time to 7ms. And then we cut the response time to just 3ms for an even clearer picture in the heat of battle.

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The next frontier is narrow bezels. While some are willing to compromise panel performance to shrink the frame, we held off until the right display was available. The Strix SCAR II and Hero II introduced at Computex are the first laptops with a 144Hz/3ms display surrounded by super-narrow bezels. The Zephyrus S brings the same technology in an ultra-slim chassis, cementing our leadership in a crucial category.

Built for more than just speed, the IPS-type AHVA panel also has excellent image quality. It covers 100% of the sRGB gamut, so in-game environments are painted with a rich palette of colors, and wide 178° viewing angles keep the picture from washing out when you’re sharing the screen. The versatile display helps the Zephyrus S lead a double life of powerful workhorse by day and hardcore gamer by night.

Staying cool inside a slender frame

Switching between work and play is easy thanks to the potent hardware under the hood. Intel’s latest Core i7-8750H Coffee Lake processor offers six cores and 12 threads of parallel processing power that’s particularly adept at slicing through demanding work like compiling, rendering, and content creation. The extra cores also provide headroom for multitasking if you want to mix gaming with live-streaming, recording, and other tasks. GeForce 10-series graphics up to the GTX 1070 with Max-Q Design boost performance in apps that support GPU acceleration. More importantly, the discrete graphics chip is capable of pumping out triple-digit frame rates in popular games, which is the best way to get the most out of the display.

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Cooling critical components is arguably the most difficult aspect of creating the slimmest gaming laptop ever. Powerful chips are of little help if they run too hot to reach top speed, so our thermal team developed the innovative Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) for the original Zephyrus. When you lift the lid, a special vent opens underneath the chassis to let the laptop inhale more cool air. Although the AAS intake measures only 5mm on the Zephyrus S, it stretches across the entire back of the body and improves airflow by 22% compared to traditional designs. Additional airflow comes in from above thanks to a keyboard-forward layout that makes more room for the internal cooling system and additional air intakes.

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Beneath the surface, five heatpipes pull heat away from the CPU, GPU, and VRM circuitry feeding them power. The CPU and GPU connect to both shared and dedicated heatsinks to ensure efficient cooling for any workload, and the power components stay under 80°C to improve long-term reliability.

Thermal energy is channeled along the pipes to four heatsinks and exhaust vents at the rear corners, doubling the number in the first Zephyrus. Each one is tightly packed with copper fins as slim as 0.1mm, which allows us to increase the surface area for heat dissipation while also reducing resistance to airflow. There are 250 fins with 110,000mm2 of total surface area. The ones on the sides are angled back slightly to direct warm air away from your mousing hand. Each outlet also has a subtle ramp that directs exhaust upward to prevent it from interfering with the layer of cooler outside air being drawn into the AAS intake below.

Keeping heatsinks free of dust and debris is key to preserving cooling performance as the hours add up, so our self-cleaning fans eject particles from the system through anti-dust tunnels. This special feature prevents accumulation on the fins to ensure consistent cooling and improve long-term stability.

With 83 blades each, the dual 12V AeroAccelerator fans have 17% more blades than in the original Zephyrus. They’re made with a special liquid-crystal polymer capable of holding its shape at high RPMs that make metal fins flex. Although we had to reduce the diameter of the GPU fan to fit inside the smaller Zephyrus S chassis, it still moves more air due to a higher blade density. Airflow is also improved by the fan’s shaped aluminum shroud, whose curved edges and raised guides help channel more air into the blades. Rotational speeds are determined by an intelligent algorithm tied to three profiles. With an easy keyboard shortcut, you can switch between Overboost mode for maximum gaming performance, Silent mode for lower acoustics, and Balanced mode that offers a middle ground between the two.

Thoughtful upgrades raise your game

Integrated RGB lighting lets you customize the Zephyrus S to suit your mood or even the game you’re playing. Four independent zones illuminate the keyboard, and additional LEDs create a subtle glow inside the AAS vent. Aura Sync coordinates colors and effects with compatible peripherals like the ROG Delta headset and Gladius II Origin mouse, making it easy to personalize your entire setup with just a few clicks. Third-party applications can harness the lighting through the Aura SDK, and we’re working with developers to incorporate support in games and applications.

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The keyboard-forward layout shifts your hands away from the CPU and GPU, resulting in cooler surface temperatures underneath your fingers. It also lets your palms rest comfortably on the table for a more desktop-like stance. Overstroke technology fires earlier in the key travel for quicker responsiveness, and the longer post-actuation distance maximizes the 1.2mm of travel to improve the overall typing feel. The durable switches are rated for 20 million presses, so they can withstand heavy use, and n-key rollover ensures each press registers precisely regardless of how many keys you’re mashing at once.

The improved tactile experience is complemented by upgraded audio. Dual front-facing speakers embedded in the hinge cover fire right at you, with no obstructions to interfere with the sound. They’re powered by smart amplifier tech that keeps the speakers within thermal and excursion limits, so you can crank the volume without distorting the output or damaging the cones. Sonic Studio III adds virtual surround sound for deeper immersion with stereo headsets, and it features a new APO injection capability that extends speaker virtualization to a wider range of gear that includes standard analog headphones along with USB headsets, external DACs, and VR devices.

We’ve completely revamped our software with Armoury Crate, which unifies ROG hardware under a single utility that puts the essentials at your fingertips. You can easily adjust system settings and Aura Sync lighting on the fly, or define preferences for both with up to four profiles that make adjustments automatically when your favorite titles load. Armoury Crate comes with a companion Mobile Dashboard for Android and iOS, and more capabilities are due in future updates.

Despite diminutive proportions, the Zephyrus S still stacks the spec sheet. The CPU is backed by fast DDR4-2666 memory and NVMe storage, while 802.11ac Wave 2 WiFi connects to compatible wireless networks at greater than gigabit speeds. Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 2 and full-size HDMI 2.0 support desktop monitors and big-screen TVs, allowing you to connect dual auxiliary displays. More USB ports are ready for essential gaming peripherals and ubiquitous external storage, and there’s a Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 2 with additional bandwidth for compatible devices.

  ROG Zephyrus S GX531GS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GS
Processor 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H
Display 15.6" IPS-type FHD (1920 x 1080) with 100% sRGB
144Hz refresh rate with 3ms GtG response time
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q 8GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
Memory Up to 24GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM
Storage M.2 NVMe PCIe 256GB / 512GB / 1TB SSD
Wireless 802.11ac 2x2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi Bluetooth® 5.0
Connectivity 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x 3.5-mm audio combo
Audio 2 x speakers with smart-amplifier technology
Array microphone
OS Windows 10 Home / Pro
Size 360 x 268 x 14.95~15.75 mm
Weight 2.1kg

The thinnest gaming laptop of them all

Amazingly slim from body to bezel, the Zephyrus S represents a new milestone for ultra-thin gaming laptops. It’s a shining example of how ROG’s expert engineering and innovative design combine with ambitious aspirations to create premium gaming hardware unlike anything else available. Gamers in the US can find the Zephyrus S at the retailers listed below. For availability worldwide, check with your local ROG representative for configuration details, pricing, and availability in your country.

  ROG Zephryus S GX531GS-AH76 ROG Zephryus S GX531GM-XH76
Specs Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q 8GB, 16GB 2666MHz, 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, 16GB 2666MHz, 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe
Price $1,999 USD $2,099.99 USD
Availability (USA) Amazon Coming Soon
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