Now that new mobile hardware from Intel and Nvidia has landed, in the form of 13th-gen Core CPUs and 4000-series GPUs, you can bet the laptop world is ready to push them to their limits. One of the first out the gate was Asus’ ROG gaming division, with a selection box of new models announced at this year’s CES.
The ultraportable ROG Flow, style-conscious Zephyrus and no-compromise Strix lines have received all updates, bringing larger, higher quality displays and more efficient cooling across the board.
15.6in and 17.3in screens are largely out for 2023, replaced in the most part with 16in and 18in ones respectively, and every ROG series getting at least one Nebula HDR option. These miniLED panels now have up to 1024 separate dimming zones and can hit a peak of 1100nits, while still topping out at 240Hz to satisfy twitch gamers.
Asus has stepped up to Conductonaut Extreme liquid metal thermal paste across the entire line-up, which promises to be up to 15 degrees cooler under load than the industry standard and should last longer to boot. The firm reckons it’ll deliver the same performance after five years. Depending on the model there are now triple-fan setups, edge-to-edge heatsinks and more vapor chambers to also keep temperatures down.
By swapping to 16:10 aspect ratio screens, this year’s Strix and Strix Scar models have larger screens than ever – but slim bezels mean they’re not physically larger laptops, and the AMD-powered models will be sticking to 16:9 for the time being. That means a bulging line-up consisting of the Intel-powered Scar 16/Scar 18 and G16/G18, plus the Scar 17 and G17 with AMD inside.
As ever, these machines are meant to appeal to gamers after the best possible performance in a portable (some might say luggable) form factor. All Scar models will support 65W versions of Intel’s 13th-gen Core CPUs and 175W graphics cards, as well as up to 64GB of RAM and twin 2TB SSDs, so won’t be short on power. The Strix series will support more mainstream GPUs, and be limited to a single SSD.
The Strix G16 kicks things off with an Intel Core i5-13450HX CPU and Nvidia RTX 4050 graphics for £1499. The Strix G17 gets an AMD R9-7845HX CPU and Nvidia RTX 4060 for £1799, and the top-tier Strix G18 can be outfitted with an Intel Core i9-13980HX and RTX 4070 for £2599.
If power is more important than price, the Strix Scar range goes even harder. Both the Strix Scar 16 and Strix Scar 18 get Core I9-13980HX processors, with the former using an Nvidia RTX 4080 GPU for £3299 and the latter getting the even more potent RTX 4080 for £3399. AMD represents with the Strix Scar 17, which gets a 16-core AMD R9 CPU and 4090 graphics for £3799.
Zephyrus steps up on style
The more design-conscious Zephyrus series also swaps to 16:10 screens, or at least the Intel-powered Zephyrus Duo 16 and M16 do. The AMD-powered Flow G15 returns, as does the Intel-equipped G14. The M16 gets a new anime matrix LED across the lid, along with an edge-to-edge heatsink and extra internal cooling fan to handle chips with a TDP of up to 140W.
The G14 gets the option of a MiniLED display, with hardware limited to a 125W TDP on account of its smaller size. There’s still room inside for a next-gen GeForce RTX graphics chip, but it only tips the scales at 1.65kg and is just 18.5mm thick.
Prices start from £1700 for the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16, which comes equipped with an Intel i7-12700H CPU and RTX 4050 graphics. The smaller Zephyrus G14 steps up with an AMD R7-7735HS CPU and RTX 4060 GPU for £1900. The Zephyrus M16 swaps back to Intel power, with an i9-13900H CPU and RTX 4080 graphics for £3300, while the dual-screen Zephyrus Duo 16 breaks the bank at £3900 with a 16-core AMD R9 CPU and RTX 4080 graphics.
Go with the flow
From the outside little has changed across the ROG Flow series. Both the Flow X13 and Flow X16 make a return, as does the Z13 convertible tablet. The Flow X13 gets a larger touchpad, uprated webcam and now supports stylus input. It also gets a 20% larger battery than the outgoing model. Displays have been upgraded across the board with Gorilla Glass DXC and 3ms response time panels.
Bigger changes are underneath, with a more powerful 130W USB-C charger able to deliver extra juice to the latest Intel CPUs and Nvidia GPUs. There’s a new generation XG Mobile external GPU, too, using the highest wattage variant of Nvidia’s RTX 4000 mobile GPU. Helpfully for existing Flow X13 owners, it’s backwards-compatible with the original from three years ago.
Expect to pay at least £1900 for the Asus ROG Flow X13, which includes an AMD R9-HS processor and Nvidia RTX 4050 graphics. The Flow Z13 will set you back £2000, with power coming from an Intel i9-13900H CPU and RTX 4050 GPU. The Flow X16, meanwhile, gets the same I9-13900H processor and faster RTX 4060 graphics.
Expect the entire Asus ROG line-up to start arriving in shops towards the second half of 2023.