Ultra-thin gaming laptops face a difficult proposition. The thinner they get, the less room they have to cool the chips inside. Shaving off millimeters also reduces the space for the display pumping out frames per second and the inputs connecting you to the machine, resulting in a gaming experience that’s compromised on multiple fronts. But what if it didn’t have to be? The new ROG Zephyrus melds cutting-edge components with innovative cooling to bring desktop-grade gaming and VR to an ultra-thin notebook that easily tucks under your arm.
Innovative cooling for higher performance and quieter acoustics
At just 17.9 mm thick and 2.24 kg, the Zephyrus is portable enough to take across town or around the world. Despite being the thinnest ROG gaming laptop we’ve ever made, it’s also among the most powerful. Configurations will be available with up to an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics. The CPU has quad Kaby Lake cores with sufficient muscle for power users and content creators, while the GPU brings a whole new level of gaming prowess to this class of laptop.
Keeping those high-end chips running at top speed inside such a svelte chassis presents a difficult challenge, but our talented engineers and designers developed a unique cocktail of features dubbed the Active Aerodynamic System (AAS). When the laptop lid is lifted, the bottom panel flexes to create a 6-mm opening for deeper breathing. Air is sucked in through the gap and through tiny holes above the keyboard before being pumped out of vents in the edges of the chassis. The laptop’s raised profile works with slight ramps in the exhaust ducts to help direct warm air upward, away from the cooler layer of intake air. These improvements help reduce the temperature of air flowing into the fans by about 10°C compared to typical laptops.
Airflow is generated by blower-style AeroAccelerator fans with their own enhancements. The housings are carefully shaped to accelerate intake, and the blades are 33% thinner to push more air with each rotation. Slimming down the blades lets us squeeze 71 of ‘em into each fan—more than any other gaming notebook we’ve seen. Although we experimented with making the blades out of metal, they were too floppy at speed, so we switched to a special liquid-crystal polymer that’s much stiffer. We pursued a similar path for the radiators. Their fins are only 0.1 mm thick, which allowed us add more, increasing the thermal dissipation area while still lowering air resistance. Since pure copper is too flimsy at that thickness, the radiators are made of a stronger alloy with similar thermal conductivity.
The CPU and GPU each have a dedicated blower, radiator, and heatpipe. Because it consumes more power while gaming, the GPU has another radiator all of its own. Both chips share two more pipes that distribute the cooling between them to improve overall efficiency. Another heatpipe handles the power circuitry that feeds both chips, keeping throttling at bay under strenuous loads.
The cooling is managed by fan-control intelligence that uses CPU and GPU temperatures to determine the speed of both fans. The blowers spin in tandem even if only one of the chips is active, which allows lower RPMs and accompanying acoustics. This approach, along with all the other AAS enhancements, combine to make the GX501 surprisingly quiet across a wide range of workloads. Even when gaming, noise levels are under 40 decibels. And, more importantly, we haven’t sacrificed temperatures or performance to lower the acoustics. Airflow improvements reduce the laptop’s component and surface temperatures compared to competing designs, and the cooling is powerful enough to keep the CPU and GPU from throttling even when both are loaded.
Ultra-smooth visuals with responsive controls
The Zephyrus’ formidable engine can pump out incredibly high frame rates. To translate that performance into smoother gaming, the 15.6” G-Sync display is available with refresh rates up to 120Hz. The high refresh rate combines with the 1080p resolution to enable a true 120-FPS experience that’s perfect for first-person shooters, driving sims, and other games with fast-paced action. The 120Hz panel also cuts input lag, making games feel more responsive—and granting an advantage in competitive play. G-Sync keeps the display synchronized with the GPU to eliminate distracting visual tears and minimize stuttering from natural performance fluctuations, further heightening the immersion.
Games look their best on the IPS-type panel, which produces vivid images that retain their colors over wide viewing angles. The display covers the full sRGB color gamut, so it can even work for professional and prosumer pursuits like photo and video editing.
While the display bombards your visual cortex, the keyboard provides a crucial tactile link. We tuned it for gaming, starting with moving the keys closer to the front edge to create a more desktop-like position for your hands and better cooling for the internals. The key switches have been tweaked to move the actuation point closer to the tactile bump in the stroke, which improves the overall feel. And anti-ghosting tech tracks up to 30 simultaneous presses with reliable precision, so you can trust the keyboard to keep up when things get heavy.
Aura RGB keyboard backlighting adds customizable visibility, complete with a wide range of colors and effects, plus separate QWER and WASD zones for MOBAs and FPS games. The keyboard isn’t the only thing that lights up, either. With the touch of a button, the trackpad transforms into an illuminated numpad for convenient data entry.
Well-connected with the latest interfaces inside and out
Cutting-edge I/O fills out the ROG Zephyrus’s well-rounded spec. The machine can be loaded with up to 24GB of DDR4-2400 memory and an insanely fast NVMe SSD capable of pushing speeds up to 3500 MB/s. The solid-state drive offers up to 1TB of storage for massive game libraries, and it loads them at warp speed.
We gave the machine a diverse array of connectivity for maximum flexibility. The reversible Type-C port pushes up to 40Gbps to Thunderbolt devices, unlocking a world of possibilities for external gear. It can also drive ROG gaming monitors via DisplayPort over USB Type-C, providing an easy way to hook up a larger—and even faster—display at your home battlestation. If you really want to supersize your gaming, big-screen TVs can join the party via an HDMI 2.0 port capable of carrying 4K signals at 60Hz.
Four Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports provide plenty of places to plug in all the devices you already own, including VR headsets and their accompanying motion trackers. The Zephyrus’ underlying silicon is VR ready, so it’s only appropriate that the rest of the machine is too. You can hook up an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and transport yourself to another world in no time at all.
Lithe and lethal—and available now
The ROG Zephyrus is designed for professionals and enthusiasts who want an ultra-portable gaming laptop that runs cool and stays quiet. It debuted at Computex today and is coming soon to an ROG retailer near you. For more details, check out the product page or hit the PR link below. Ask your local ASUS representative for specifics on the configurations that will be available in your region, and see below for North America.
The Zephyrus is available now starting at $2,699 USD for the GX501VI with GTX 1080 graphics and $2,299 USD for the GX501VS and GTX 1070. The GX501VI is also available in Canada for $3,499 CAD. Look for it at the North American retailers listed below, and check with your local ASUS ROG representative for details about configurations, pricing, and availability in other regions.