If you thought Asus wasn't going to show up to today's eighth-generation laptop announcement party, you were dead wrong. The company is placing Intel's latest and greatest mobile silicon into sockets and soldered ball grid arrays all over its portable posse.
The highlight is probably the ROG Zephyrus M, a machine Asus claims is the slimmest gaming laptop packing a non-Max-Q Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card and a six-core, 12-thread Intel Core i7-8750H processor in a 0.78" (2.0 cm) profile. The manufacturer claims a scant 3-ms GTG response time for the 15.6", 144-Hz, 1920x1080 panel. Asus also developed a feature that lets users choose between a battery-saving Optimus mode and a more power-hungry mode that enables the Nvidia G-Sync technology baked into the display. This handy little trick is needed because Optimus and G-Sync can't get along together. The machine's cooling system folds out when the lid is opened in a fashion similar to past Zephyrus laptops, but the keyboard sits closer to the screen.
Buyers looking to trade away some performance in exchange for an even slimmer (0.7" or 1.7 cm) package can lay eyes on the ROG Zephyrus GX501GI. Asus says this notebook is the slimmest gaming laptop with the oh-so-fast Intel Core i7-8750H processor and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q graphics chip. The machine's 15.6" screen has the same 144-Hz refresh rate and claimed 3-ms response time as the Zephyrus M. The company didn't mention the Optimus-vs.-G-Sync with respect to this model, but it does Nvidia G-Sync adaptive refresh-rate tech on board. The Zephyrus GX's motherboard has 8 GB of memory soldered in and a single SO-DIMM slot for expansion.
The Asus ROG G703 is a freshened-up desktop replacement behemoth for those that care not about battery life or portability. This beast's 17.3" screen has a 1920x1080 resolution, a claimed 3-ms response time, and Nvidia G-Sync technology. Buyers can augment the overclockable Core i9-8950HK processor with up to 64 GB of 2666 MT/s DDR4 memory and as many as three 512 GB NVMe drives. If more storage throughput is needed, those three drives can be configured in a RAID array with as much as 8700 MB/s of claimed read performance. Even with a 74-Wh battery, the machine probably still needs regular nearly-hourly appointments with a wall outlet if the CPU and GPU are asked to work hard. As for weight, ROG G703 owners will have to be willing to lug around 10.4 lbs (4.7 kg) if they want to game on the go.
The first-person-shooter-player-targeted ROG Strix Scar Edition and MMO-optimized ROG Strix Hero Edition laptops have also been touched with the sparkling eighth-generation Intel wand. Instead of becoming real boys, these two gaming laptops get Core i7-8750H six-core, 12-thread processors. As before, the Scar Edition packs a speedier GeForce GTX 1070 and the Hero Edition gets a more efficient GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Either way, the Nvidia GPU chucks pixels at a 15.6" TN display with a resolution of 1920x1080 and a claimed 3-ms response time.
Asus didn't provide any pricing or availability information for this range of new notebooks. The old version of the Zephyrus GX501 started around $2000 with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q and existing ROG G703 laptops trade in the $3500-$5000 neighborhood depending on configuration. An ROG Strix Scar Edition with a GeForce GTX 1070 and a seventh-generation Core i7 sells for a little more than $1800 and the Hero Edition starts around $1100. We would expect models with eighth-generation processors to come in a little more expensive, particularly the Zephyrus models with the new 144-Hz displays.