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  1. #1
    ROG Member Array
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    My feedback on the future of Asus ROG Laptops.

    So, for a long time I've used Asus laptops now, my first being the G74Sx, and my current being a slightly broken G751JT. Please excuse possible typos or missing letters due to the fact that my G751 keyboard is malfunctioning. I'll try and fix typos and such if I see them.

    Keyboard Layout
    When I moved from the G74 to the G751, I noticed that Asus deleted a key I liked to use in one of my games. Insert. They combined it with the Delete key forcing me to use the FN key to use the key, which made it useless for my game to rotate and look around. Delete was for looking left, Insert was for looking right, in an RTS world (Starcraft 2). I was looking for a new laptop now, but it seems Asus deleted even more keys. Page up, Page Down, End. All these keys are just thrown in with the number pad. The number pad is for NUMBERS, not for these keys. I don't want to hit num lock every time I want to swap between numbers and functions. The laptop size hasn't changed, its still 17.3", why is the keyboard getting less and less keys? Stop deleting my keys. I don't want the world to function like my crappy TV which has a single button. Press once to open menu, press again to cycle right, press and hold to activate that option. One button that does 10 things. NO! This is a keyboard, it should have all the keys I need and use. If you want to get rid of a key, get rid of hat useless Asus key that does nothing when clicked. Or that steam key which opens Steam in big picture mode and is pretty much useless too. Or that record key which also does nothing because nVidia's software updated since you came out with the button. Perhaps you should stop including buttons that stop working after 6 months because of software updates. I like the M keys to an extent, but your specialized keys suck. If you're going to have special keys that depend on software, put them up where the M keys are, and keep our keyboards as full of keys as we used to have.

    Media Keys
    One thing I miss in the old days, was that we used to have media keys on the front of our machines, or separate from our buttons. I had a Dell as my first laptop, and I could close the lid and still press the media buttons which means, I could play a movie on my tv via HDMI, and press the media buttons without opening the lid to pause, skip, stop. With your new FN media keys, it takes two hands to change volume, to skip, stop, etc. Literally. Hell your keys don't even tell me which ones skip and such, I had to google to find out it was the arrow keys. I miss physical media keys, they always worked through OS updates and such. Even using Linux and such, the operating system could just figure out what the keys do. There's no excuse for not including them. I've taken apart a laptop before and seen the layer between keyboard and physical buttons.

    Keyboard Protection
    Now, I use my keyboard a lot, 8-16 hours a day. You should see my keyboard. In fact, I will include a picture of it after this block! My Dell didn't have a keyboard that lights up, so I know that these keyboards that light up are different and more integrated, however, I do think with some creative work, they can be improved in two particular ways.

    1) Things fall under the keys like dust, bits of dirt or whatever, cat fur, etc. There's no way at all to get this stuff out of the keyboard. The keys can't be removed to be cleaned. My Dell laptop, and I could simply pop a piece of plastic off the surface, unscrew 4 screws, and pull the keyboard out, without even shutting the machine down. After that, I would hold the keyboard sideways, tap on its back and everything would just fall right out of the keyboard from behind the keys. I used compressed air to further improve cleaning it and I would put it back in a few minutes later and not have to reboot or anything. Perhaps, Asus can either work on a removable keyboard design, or putting some kind of protection over the keys that prevents anything from getting under the keys. These keys permanently break if you try to remove them, so there's no point allowing them to be removed.

    2) As I said above with my old Dell laptop having a removable keyboard, I would ask Dell for a new keyboard every time it got old and worn out and they would just mail me one for free because of the warranty and all. I popped the plastic, undid the 4 screws, slid the old keyboard out, slid the new one in, all without rebooting the machine, shutting it down, or anything. It didn't need to download keyboard drivers, it just instantly knew it was a keyboard and worked. A removable keyboard is a great thing because you can easily replace it when its time.

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    Sensors & Monitoring
    I like having stats on my machine. I use hwinfo and rainmeter to provide me with information about the machine's current status, however I've noticed that Asus laptops don't report their fan speeds. This should be changed, the hardware should report as much diagnostic information as possible. It helps us self monitor our system to get our own stats. Fan speeds are particularly important. I've tapped into a sensor I shouldn't have that caused glitches for a while and saw my fan speeds, while monitoring the speeds, there was a time when one fan appeared to have shut down for a duration of time and my CPU hit 205F/96C, but I don't know if the temp happened at the time the fan shut down, as I wasn't watching at that time. Now imagined the system would tell me if my fan shuts down, but it doesn't. Which is why we need the sensors to be accessible, without causing hardware issues.

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    (Used to have several months of uptime, bad battery causes frequent power failures)

    Batteries
    Batteries are the weakest part of a laptop. They will always go out first, if the laptop is built well. They need to be easy to remove and replace. The G74 was easy, they just popped right out. I watched a video of replacing the G751 battery, and it requires you to take a part the entire machine down to the very last screw to replace the battery, which funny enough is its own self contained shell that simply unplugs. Hell, you could have just made the back where the battery is a simple hatch and designed the battery hatch to open and the battery to slide right out but nope, you designed it to be as hard to replace the battery as you possibly could for unknown reasons. I am under the impression that this was designed this way to make average users just buy a new laptop instead of a new battery especially since your laptops are several thousand dollars and people would rather just get a new battery normally. My laptop may be years old, but it still plays all the new games just fine. I don't need 4k 240 frames per second like the new kids who call everything less "litarly unpluyable!1!!1!!!!". I grew up with Windows 95 as my first machine, I'm fine with 25 frames per second as my lowest speed at 1080p. I don't need to upgrade my laptop every year to have the latest and greatest games at omega super qualities. I don't think there are that many people out there that would want to upgrade their laptops yearly for that same purpose either. Repairing them should be easy for users for the most common failed parts.

    RAM Upgrading
    I've been told that my current machine maxes at 32GB of RAM, but I've wanted to be able to upgrade to 64GB. I've tried looking for these stats on other machines as well but it seems like the motherboards on those machines are often maxed at 32GB. Perhaps is time to start designing all motherboards with the capability of handling more? Just because you have 4 slots doesn't mean you should max the motherboard at some low amount. There are times when I've gone over 32GB and my system crashed as a result. I know that 16GB sticks exist, I just can't use them from what I was told, based on the motherboard design. I'm unsure if this is true however. This also brings to surface the other reason keyboards should be easy to remove, because often I've seen the other ram slots under the keyboard. Please make sure you place your two ram sticks that come with any machine under the keyboard first, as it allows the easy to access empty slots to be upgraded later by the user. I remember that this machine came like that which is good. Thank you.

    New Laptop Power Supply
    Some of the new machines I've been looking into from Asus are for some reason designed to come with two power bricks and to be plugged in twice. This bothers me, I don't think many people want their machine to come with two whole power cables just to use it. Please find a way to make the power supply in the machine capable of handling more, replace that useless optical drive in machines if you must get more space. Give us thicker cables if required. A single power brick even if it needs to be a bit bigger is fine. With the optical drive gone, you have more space to put the other hardware and move everything over to fit bigger battery or power supply and such. I've not upgraded my machine yet because of all the stuff I see on the Asus site now, mostly because of everything in this post that puts me off buying a new machine.

    Installation / Recovery Software
    Remember when laptops used to come with optical disks for installing Windows and the drivers and everything? Now they just come with some crummy recovery partition with all the information on it. You know, why its crummy? Because what happens when your drive fails? Like mine did. Whats that partition going to do now? Sit there and do nothing? I had to download my drivers and such again from the Asus website for my model, but it was all the wrong stuff, it didn't match my original machine install. It didn't feel right when trying to use my machine again so instead I created a clone of my drive when upgrading to an SSD which resulted in some other incidents that I won't go into. So we've moved beyond the age of optical disks. Now we have cheap storage space in the form of USB 3.0 flash drives. 32GB flash drives barely cost anything. I can get a 128GB USB 3.0 flash drive for $30 and its smaller than a dime. Why not put your recovery method on a flash drive and ship that as a recovery flash drive with the machine? That way, if your machine's drive dies, you can plug the flash drive in and reinstall on a new flash drive, back to factory default with all your original drivers and everything!

    Hell, why not go further and include software to create a new version, with your current drivers and everything so you can make new recovery drives for your system using new flash drives! I'd like to actually be able to clone my drive state every month so I can restore from a clone if anything goes wrong but there's no good easy software for that. CloneZilla does damn good compression so I can fit my 500GB drive clone into less than 60GB, which is great, but I'd like software that has a UI and helps me understand what I'm doing. But of course, this paragraph goes beyond what I was saying above for this block so I'll end here.

    Final Thoughts
    I don't mind having a thick and semi heavy laptop if it is reliable. I realize that you can't make a durable and powerful machine if you make it thin. It needs that space for the hardware and cooling systems. I find that anyone who demands thinner lighter machines doesn't actually understand this fact and need to be educated to the fact that thinner means weaker and less space. You can try for thinner, but you shouldn't cater to people who don't understand how things work, you should be educating them that it simply isn't possible to have the power of a desktop in the size of a tablet.

    I really hope that Asus considers at least some things here, particularly in the keyboard and battery areas. Especially the part about preventing things from getting into the keyboard.

    I recon some people here will come troll me a bit on my thoughts, its the nature of people who disagree with things to attack those who they disagree with, but I did read the main pinned thread here that said people won't be allowed to do such, so who knows. I don't mind, I ignore stupid people after all. Now you can disagree in a professional constructive way, thats not bad at all, I don't have a problem with disagreement. Its how people learn and exchange ideas and views.

  2. #2
    New ROGer Array
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    Sort of on the subject of sensors: I'm a new owner of a GU502 and the embedded controller can't be read, at least not by third party software. It seems it also can't be written to, which means it's impossible to use Notebook Fan Control. The only way I can keep the laptop quiet is through Armoury Crate running 5 extra services/processes to do something a hobbyist was able to figure out with a simple light-weight app years ago.

    I had an Asus N550 before this and was able to read/write the embedded controller no problem.

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