May 30, 2017 Written by: Geoff_Gasior

Ryzen comes to gaming laptops in the ROG Strix GL702ZC

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The Republic of Gamers has been working with AMD for more than a decade. Our very first product, the original Crosshair motherboard, was designed for Athlon 64 FX processors. But we’ve never made a gaming laptop with an AMD CPU—until now. The new ROG Strix GL702ZC marries the latest Ryzen processors with Radeon RX 580 graphics to create a portable gaming machine with versatile horsepower.

A new Strix Ryzen

Few processors were more anticipated than AMD’s Ryzen series. Based on an all-new Zen microarchitecture, the chips took the market by storm earlier this year and haven’t let up since. Their strong multithreaded performance is prized by power users for providing enough oomph for simultaneous gaming and streaming, or more productive pursuits, like content creation and heavy multitasking.

The jewel of the lineup is the Ryzen 7 CPU, which crams a whopping eight cores onto a single chip. Each core can execute two threads in parallel, yielding a staggering 16 logical processors in the Windows Task Manager. Most desktops can’t compete with that kind of power, let alone laptops.

To be fair, the Strix GL702ZC is practically a desktop under the hood. The top configuration comes with a Ryzen 7 1700 CPU based on the exact same silicon as current desktop parts. Variants of the laptop will also be available with the six-core Ryzen 5 1600 and the quad-core Ryzen 3 1200. Overclocking isn’t supported, though.

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Radeon graphics meet FreeSync displays

Ryzen doesn’t waste valuable die area on middling integrated graphics, so we’ve used a discrete solution. AMD’s Radeon RX 580 GPU rides shotgun alongside up to 8GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory to complete The Red Team duo. There’s enough pixel-pushing muscle to handle the latest games and VR experiences.

The 17.3” display will be available in multiple configurations, including 1080p variants at 75Hz and 120Hz. The high-resolution option is great for content creators and gamers who play less demanding titles, while the high-refresh alternative is ideal for action-packed shooters and fast-paced play. All of them support AMD’s FreeSync tech, which synchronizes the display’s refresh rate with the GPU’s frame rate to minimize stuttering that can compromise smooth gameplay. In addition to compensating for performance wrinkles, FreeSync lowers input lag and eliminates visual tearing, resulting in fewer disruptions to your sense of immersion.

IPS-type panels ensure wide viewing angles across the board. Washed-out colors are the last thing you want when playing split-screen Rocket League or chilling with Netflix and a friend. The displays also have matte coatings that minimize distracting glare and reflections that can divert your focus from the on-screen action.

All the other boxes ticked

Despite accommodating desktop-class hardware, the Strix GL702ZC is easy to carry around town or to the next LAN party. The chassis is only 1.3” thick and weighs less than 7 lbs. While that’s still a fair bit larger than ROG’s ultra-slim Zephyrus GX501, it’s still reasonable in the context of typical gaming laptops, especially considering what’s inside.

The black exterior and brushed aluminum lid set the appropriate gaming tone. So does the red backlighting behind the keyboard and the colored caps for the WASD keys. With 30-key rollover, you can mash the keys frantically in the heat of battle and still be assured that your inputs are registered precisely. The relatively deep 1.6 mm of key travel further improves input by minimizing accidental presses.

The motherboard tucked under the keyboard sports dual SO-DIMM slots with support for up to 32GB of DDR4-2400 memory. It also has an M.2 slot for NVMe SSDs up to 512GB. Pre-built configurations push storage throughput to 2200MB/s, which is several times the speed of SATA-based SSDs. You can add one of those if you want, too; the chassis has a 2.5” drive bay ready for mechanical or solid-state drives. All told, the GL702ZC can be crammed with enough memory and storage for a potent portable workstation with a massive game library.

There’s no shortage of external connectivity, either. Gamers will appreciate the wired Gigabit Ethernet jack, which provides a reliably low-latency connection for multiplayer. The onboard 802.11ac Wi-Fi sends and receives through a 2x2 antenna that improves reception for wireless networks, while Bluetooth 4.1 stands ready to interface with mobile devices and wireless peripherals. Auxiliary displays can be powered via DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0, both of which are capable of pushing 4K at 60Hz. And there’s the requisite 3.5-mm audio jack for gaming headsets.

USB is split between four ports: three Type-A for existing devices, plus one reversible Type-C for next-gen gear. The full-sized card reader is also powered by USB, allowing photographers and videographers to easily grab shots and footage from cameras.

Pricing and availability

The ROG Strix GL702ZC will be available later this summer. Check with your local ROG representative for specifics on the configurations destined for your region.

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