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Hardware For Gamers: Asus ROG Products On Showcase At CES 2019

Something to look forward to CES 2019 has concluded after a hectic week. In retrospect, Asus was one of the busiest and most productive companies at the show. Even though most companies bring awesome concepts to CES that never become reality (cough, Razer), the Republic of Gamers hardware lineup saw some exciting hardware innovations that will undoubtedly hit the market, including new RTX laptops, RTX 2060 GPUs, all-new monitors, and more RGB than ever before.

Most of the products on this list have no confirmed pricing or availability, but they are confident they will all be released in the coming year.

RTX laptops of various sizes

Asus debuted seven laptops at CES, including five old models that had been upgraded from GTX to RTX and two new models. The Asus ROG Mothership (second photo below) is by far the most exciting of the bunch: a king among gaming laptops and an experiment into what the future of mobile gaming might look like.

According to Asus, the laptop form factor was not designed to handle the heat generated by an RTX 2080 or i9, let alone both. To address this issue, Asus relocated all of the laptop’s components behind the screen, giving them “unrestricted access to airflow” and thus better temperatures. It also allowed them to reduce the size to 29.9mm, and it still runs quietly when pushed to its limits.

Because it’s a flagship device, it has to be made of the high-quality aluminum unibody. The skeleton alone takes nearly 20 hours to CNC, no doubt raising the as-yet-unannounced price sky-high.

If you prefer clamshell laptops or a lighter wallet, Asus also offers the ROG G703. It’s your standard desktop replacement, large and heavy but extremely powerful. The high-end segment is completed by Asus’ two new Zephyrus models, the 15″ Zephyrus S GX531 with an internal upgrade to RTX and the brand new 17″ Zephyrus S GX701.

While the GPU is the only change to the 15″ Zephyrus, its larger brother received a slew of new features.

At 18.7mm thick, Asus claims it is the world’s thinnest 17-inch gaming laptop. Because the top and side bezels are so thin, there is no built-in webcam; instead, you can plug in an external 1080p 60fps webcam that clips onto the top of the screen when it’s opened. It also has a color-calibrated G-Sync display and a lightweight aluminum-magnesium chassis.

The Asus Scar II and Hero II are the company’s low-cost gaming laptops. The Scar is available in 17″ and 15″ variants for eSports (read: less demanding titles), whereas the Hero is MOBA-optimized and only comes with a 15″ screen. They can be configured for a wide range of performance levels.

The desktop RTX lineup expands with both cheaper and more expensive options

Asus displayed four new graphics cards, one of which will be more expensive than the other three combined: the ROG Matrix 2080 Ti (pictured above). Because of its integrated liquid cooler, the Matrix may be the most powerful consumer GPU. Instead of using heat pipes and metal fins, the Matrix connects a copper water block, radiator, and pump in a unique liquid cooling loop that is cooled by three fans.

According to Asus, the Matrix incorporates a copper base 2.5x the size of competing solutions with 30% more fins to mitigate the compromises of having such a small pump (which sits just above the ports). While the manufacturer’s claims are not guaranteed, they claim that it “nearly matches the cooling performance of much larger 240mm radiators.” Furthermore, Asus claims that they will test Nvidia GPUs, with the top 5% reserved for the Matrix. Overall, this allows it to boost performance by up to 17.5% faster clock speed than a standard 2080 Ti to 1815Mhz.

Asus also revealed three RTX 2060 designs, all of which use coolers from their current RTX 2070 and 2080 models, implying that the card will be hotter than the GTX 1060. The Strix GeForce RTX 2060 is the top model, with three fans occupying two and a half slots and Aura Sync RGB support.

The Asus Dual GeForce RTX 2060 with a twin fan design is the best value, and for smaller form factors, the Asus Turbo GeForce RTX 2060 with a 2-slot blower design is available. All RTX 2060 cards will be available on January 15th.

Monitors with a higher refresh rate and resolution

With most companies still struggling to release a single high-refresh-rate 4K monitor, Asus’s announcement of their second was surprising. The ROG Strix XG438Q is a 43-inch 4K 120Hz powerhouse with Freesync 2, HDR 600, and zone-backlighting. While no pricing has been announced, when a TV-sized monitor comes with multi-monitor alignment tools, you know it’s going to be expensive. Asus’ comparable 27″ model costs $2,000.

The ROG Strix XG32QVR, a 32″ curved 3440 x 1440 144Hz monitor, and the ROG Strix XG49VQ, another curved widescreen panel with a 3840 x 1080 resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate, have joined the Freesync lineup. Its 49″ size, like competing solutions, equates to two 27″ 1080p monitors next to each other.

On the G-Sync front, they brought two previous models: the 65″ 4K 120Hz ROG Swift PG65 and the 32″ 3440 x 1440p 200Hz Swift PG35VQ.

RGB reaches new heights

According to their ROG Ranger BP3703 backpack marketing material, Asus is seriously diversifying by making bicycle equipment… (wait, what?). Have you ever gone night cycling? The backpack’s massive ROG logo can be set to any color you want, making it impossible to miss no matter how dark it gets.

Have you ever needed to find something in your backpack late at night? Don’t worry, it also has interior RGB. Has your phone’s battery died after a long gaming session? It can be charged using the backpack’s built-in battery. If you’re worried about your RGB flashing too much, don’t be; it has an ambient light sensor that can automatically adjust the brightness to be inconspicuous.

Asus, on the other hand, has you covered for showing off around the house with their ROG Chariot gaming chair and its massive RGB ROG logo on the back (ugh).

New gaming routers, including a few with draft Wi-Fi 6 specs, round out Asus’ extensive lineup. There’s also a new budget AIO liquid cooler with 16 RGB LEDs, and Zenith motherboards, gaming mice, and keyboards are still missing from this list.

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