Asus shows off Avalon modular case and GX800 liquid-cooled laptop

— 1:51 PM on May 31, 2016

Eight new ROG hardware devices are descending on Computex 2016 this week. Today, we're highlighting the Avalon case and GX800 laptop. The Avalon prototype is a modular computing system, similar in concept to Razer's project Christine. The GX800, on the other hand, is the follow-up to the externally-liquid-cooled GX700 laptop announced last September.

The ROG Avalon is a modular case with an integrated Z170 motherboard. The case-and-motherboard combination lets Asus offer simple plug-in modules so that builders can focus more on component selection and less on cable routing and concerns about airflow. The Avalon will support swappable PSU, SSD, and graphics adapters. The rear I/O plate is also customizable, providing a selection of ports for specific usage scenarios rather than a generic smorgasbord of one or two of every port on the back. This new approach to a design with motherboard and case as a single entity will hopefully make system builders out of Regular Walmart-PC Joes.

As for the ROG GX800, one could say Asus has taken a high-end gaming rig and stuck it into a laptop frame. According to Asus, the laptop offers the "latest" Nvidia graphics cards in an SLI setup, along with Intel Core K-series unlocked CPUs. With its external liquid cooling system, this laptop looks to be a massive yet portable workstation. When grounded on a desk, the external liquid cooling gear can be hooked up to enable "extreme" overclocking of the graphics card, processor, and system memory. Asus says there are two 330W power supplies on tap, which should provide enough power for users' overclocking efforts.

Asus' description of the GX800 offers no detailed specs. However, a quick review of the previous GX700's specs should let you know roughly what to expect. The GX700 comes with a Core i7-6820HK CPU overclockable to 4GHz, and up to 64GB of DDR4-2400 RAM that can be pushed to 2800 MT/s. The storage section offers NVMe SSDs with 256GB or 512GB capacities, in a RAID-0 setup. Graphics horsepower comes by way of a GeForce GTX 980. The GX700 is a heavy beast at eight pounds, though it has a large 17.3" anti-glare screen to boot. The display supports Nvidia's G-Sync tech and is available with 1920x1080 and 4K resolutions.

The GX800 gets a leg up on its predecessor by offering support for SLI. Asus didn't provide specifics, but the setup suggests either two internal graphics cards or a hybrid SLI setup with an internal card and the ROG XG Station 2. Regardless, there's enough processing power, graphics horsepower, and overclocking potential in this laptop to match a number of our System Guide builds. There is one big question mark, though—Asus hasn't revealed any pricing information for this machine.

Asus also fitted the GX800 with its new MechTAG keyboard, which is stands for "Mechanical Tactile Advanced Gaming." Marketing jargon aside, the MechTAG is a mechanical keyboard with anti-ghosting technology. The company says the anti-ghosting tech should cover the entire keyboard. The MechTAG joins the ever-popular crowd of RGB-colored LED-backlit keyboards, and tops that off with per-key customization. This way, instead of using dedicated keycaps, you can make your WASD keys stand out by setting them up with a nice red glow, while still letting the other keys remain visible with subtle white glow or an assortment of rainbow colors.

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