Gaming

ASUS ROG Strix G review: Power that’s just ice cool

Looks pretty damn good in Glacier Blue

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I normally get gaming laptops in some matte black finish. Something about that color screams “gamer” to me, especially with its subdued vibe. Getting it in any other color just draws too much attention, especially when you want to game in peace.

Then I turn to the ASUS ROG Strix G G531, and no the “G” does not stand for “Glacier Blue. It comes in two colors: the usual black finish and a special Glacier Blue variant — which I have. Let’s face it, underneath this icy cold Glacier Blue variant is one powerful machine from the hardware to a wide selection of ports.

But is this really all for show?

This particular unit comes in a special Glacier Blue finish

It comes with an NVIDIA RTX 2060 inside

It has an RGB-lit system, from the bottom to the keyboard panel

Connectivity, display and power input ports are placed at the back

Power beneath aesthetics

As expected, overall performance for the ASUS ROG Strix G is phenomenal. For working professionals like myself, 16GB of RAM is already a huge luxury to have. All that power enables greater productivity, especially when you need multiple applications opened all at once. It’s an excellent choice for productivity enthusiasts.

Coupled with a 512GB SSD storage plus 1TB of added storage further bolsters this machine. All that storage can handle applications for professionals, content creators, and gamers alike. Fast read times on the hard disk complements the 16GB RAM nicely. Basically, I get to open 30 tabs of Google Chrome, Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro, and the system is still fast enough to run.

Gaming with ice in your veins

It’s no surprise that an NVIDIA RTX 2060 is powerful. I don’t even have to go into detail just how great its power can be. On this device, however I have mixed feelings over it. First off, it plays your usual graphic-heavy games pretty well. Fortnite: Battle Royale records close to xx FPS set on Epic, while Apex Legends peaks at 57 FPS set close to maximum. 

Even on games with minimal graphical power required, the GPU performs above and beyond. Frames load smoothly especially during high leverage moments when you’re really into the game. My eyes kept up with what’s happening every time I get into some intense build battle with sweaty players online.

However, I felt that the RTX 2060 could do more with other hardware present. This laptop only comes with a 120Hz refresh rate, which is pretty decent. However, it literally caps a lot of your games to a threshold for your frame rate. ASUS actually has laptops similar in hardware to the ROG Strix G that offer displays with higher refresh rates. It would have been nice to offer a 144Hz refresh rate to this laptop instead of just to its 17-inch brother.

Properly cooled so you don’t accidentally burn yourself

With gaming laptops like the ROG Strix G, a great cooling system is a must. I’ve tested a lot of cooling systems for gaming laptops in the past, so I’m already expecting a hot mess. Except that, well the ROG Strix G actually proved me wrong.

The dual-fan cooling system blasts hot air at the back and at the right side (the side without any ports). The device heats up as expected when you’re going full on gamer mode or when you open heavy duty applications. What I found great about it is that the moment you stop using those applications, the device cools down relatively fast.

On most gaming laptops, I waited for an hour to an hour and 25 minutes before I wouldn’t accidentally burn myself a bit. With the ROG Strix G, it cools down in a matter of 30 to 45 minutes. Furthermore, only the top portion of the main chassis heats up, leaving your keyboard to remain cool. It stays as cool as its Glacier Blue color suggests, and to me it’s fantastic that ASUS designed it this way.

Other features that are either red hot or ice cool

For this device, anything cool is preferably how you want it. For example, I’m personally a fan of the way they integrated RGB into the laptop. From the keyboard to the three sides of the device, this device demands attention. Not everyone would like it, especially when you’re out in a Starbucks somewhere. You can dial the colors down — as long as you get the black one.

Another thing I liked about the ROG Strix G is its overall build. Putting all the display, power, and connectivity ports at the back of the device was a nice touch. To me, it keeps a lot of the wires out of the way on a normal desk setup. Also, I love the way they did the hinge for the lid and body.

But, there is one thing that proves to be red hot, it’s close to being a red flag — the laptop’s battery life. I only got around close to five hours for productive use, with that time cut in half when gaming. I literally need to bring the charger around if I want to work for longer hours. 

Putting it all together

At PhP 99,995, the ASUS ROG Strix G G531 in Glacier Blue fuses aesthetic and performance together. Performance-wise, this gaming laptop provides just the power you need for any task. Gaming on it full time is where it truly excels, all thanks to the NVIDIA RTX 2060 inside.

On top of all of that, it cools down faster after playing for a long time, something not a lot of gaming laptops possess. The overall build supplements proper cooling for the device so you don’t have to worry about things heating up unexpectedly.

Overall, this is one wonderful device to have for productive and gaming use. If you don’t mind adding a little style to your gaming habit, consider getting this cool Glacier Blue variant.

Gaming

The ASUS ROG Mothership: A mega review

Do you really need an overkill gaming machine?

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A 10-kilogram package arrived at my office one day, and at first I couldn’t believe it. I was expecting something big to come in, but a 10-kilo box that looks like a PUBG supply crate was out of the picture. Little did I know, I received ASUS ROG’s next big thing — and it’s quite literally big.

Announced back in CES 2019 (as of writing, how timely), the ASUS ROG Mothership GZ700 is the company’s next innovation in gaming laptops. I distinctly remember one famous YouTuber by the name of Linus Sebastian dubbing this the “Surface for gamers.” It comes in a form factor that I didn’t think was possible for a gaming laptop, with arguably the most powerful lineup of hardware included.

But should you be spending your hard-earned money on a monster like this? Let’s take one full tour of the ROG Mothership.

Let’s talk about the package first

Unboxing the entire package was relatively easy, except for the fact that it’s insanely heavy. Inside the one big box are two more boxes and the large ROG Backpack that almost looks (and feels) like a shield. Apart from the ROG Mothership box, you also get the ASUS ROG Cerberus V1 headset for free! I think ASUS ROG really wanted to deliver the full gaming experience, and adding a gaming headset was a nice touch.

Removing the backpack and the headset, the big ROG Mothership box has the device and another box inside of it. It’s no joke when I tell you that the ROG Mothership is close to five kilograms in weight, which is half the weight of the entire package. Of course, the other box contains the rest of what you need for the device: the two big charging bricks, documentation and stickers, and the ASUS ROG Gladius II.

If ASUS really wanted to give you one full gamer package, to me this sort of did it. It’s basically the equivalent of getting a full-fledged gaming PC complete with all the peripherals in one box. Although, ten kilograms is just a lot of heavy-lifting that it mirrors carrying weights in the gym. Nonetheless, once you open up the box, you’re definitely in for the gaming experience of your life.

One stacked spec sheet

Before we go any further, here’s a rundown of what the ROG Mothership offers.

The ROG Mothership comes with a 9th-generation Intel Core i9-9980HK processor coupled with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card. To maximize the potential of a powerhouse combo, ASUS slaps in 64GB of RAM and three 512GB NVMe SSDs (in RAID 0) inside. What you get is the most powerful, quickest, and deepest gaming desktop setup, but for a laptop.

The laptop’s display comes in two options: a 4K one and a 1080p one. The unit for review was a 4K UHD 17.3-inch panel with thick bezels and a huge chin underneath. ASUS claims that the display emits rich and crisp color with a 100 percent Adobe sRGB color gamut. Also, the display supports NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology for a smoother gaming experience.

On paper, I can tell you that this machine is straight up overkill. On my first time using it, everything just seemed too quick, it’s unfair. Opening up applications, playing RAM-consuming games, hardcore video rendering — this device can handle all of those, and it hasn’t maximized all of its RAM yet.

Is it really a gaming laptop?

When I first saw images and videos of the ROG Mothership back in 2019, I couldn’t believe that ASUS was marketing it as a laptop. The build quality of the device matches that of any 2-in-1 desktop, while throwing in the hefty graphics card. The entire body is encased in CNC-machined aluminum, which is basically thick layers of metal preventing heat from spreading to other components.

Yet again, ASUS claims that it is a laptop for its portability and design. The RGB-chiclet keyboard detaches from the base of the display, and connects wirelessly upon detachment. If you like wires, the keyboard also connects via a USB Type-C cable and charges it in the process. The device itself has a kickstand at the back, almost similar to that of any Microsoft Surface.

To be quite honest, this kind of setup doesn’t feel like a laptop — and it’s not just because it’s five kilos. The metal kickstand feels a little uncomfortable, that after 30 to 40 minutes you will be looking for any flat surface. I also found it a little difficult to manage because the keyboard is in an awkward position when it’s on your lap.

Gaming that’s just extreme overkill for a “laptop”

The ROG Mothership is one massive gaming machine, and I’m not exaggerating. ASUS made the bold yet proper choice to slap in the NVIDIA RTX 2080 inside if they wanted the full gaming experience. Gaming on the device felt buttery smooth and every intense moment felt too easy to handle. But that wasn’t after I had to tweak things a bit.

For starters, gaming on a 4K panel is great and all. But the flipside is that this display only clocks a 60Hz refresh rate, which to pro-gamer standards is slow. I understand that you grab high quality images and colors while playing some video games. For the most part, you have to deal with a 60FPS cap which isn’t bad, but an RTX 2080 wasn’t built for that.

Dialing the in-game resolution down was the best workaround I could find, and it worked wonders. Shadow of the Tomb Raider sneaked in above 60FPS at its highest possible settings, while battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends poured in 140 FPS. In-game details remained accurate all throughout 30 to 40 minutes of gameplay, which is what you expect from a 4K panel.

If you do plan to get this monster, I highly recommend switching to the 1080p display option. The added benefit is the fact that the 1080p option comes with a 144Hz refresh rate, rendering images significantly faster. While you sacrifice a little bit of image quality, I think it’s a worthy trade off.

An overkill gaming PC needs an equally overkill cooling system

Cooling the ROG Mothership is one hefty task, and the way ASUS did it was ideal. Apart from separating each component through CNC-machined aluminum sheets, eight heat pipes push hot air to the top and sides of the device. Through careful calibration on the ROG Armoury Crate, the fans inside will pump out as much hot air as possible to keep major components cool.

Based on my experience, it did a fairly good job with that. The device didn’t seem to experience any drastically high temperatures during prolonged activity. Although, if you plan to maximize or even overclock your CPU and GPU, you will experience that. It happens to a point of near uncomfortability, in that you wouldn’t be able to store the device for 30 more minutes.

The fans also tend to get unbearably loud during gameplay that I’m glad they included the headset with the package. Even while idle, the fans tend to kick in and force a ton of air out which shouldn’t really happen. But again, if it’s meant to cool all the heavy components inside then it’s alright.

Expected short battery life

The ROG Mothership, as powerful as it is, doesn’t last very long. As with most gaming laptops, battery life isn’t necessarily their strongest feature and this device confirms it. On most productivity uses, I got an average of three hours before completely depleting the battery. To me, that doesn’t seem too appealing by any laptop standards.

When you’re gaming full time, it actually gets much lower than that. On average, I got around two hours before having to plug one of the two charging bricks. These show that this was clearly better off as a full-fledged desktop instead. If there’s any great takeaway, it’s that one full charge is relatively fast. Using just one brick fully charged the device in three hours, while using both bricks saves about 45 minutes. 

Finally, is this your GadgetMatch?

Here’s the thing: the ROG Mothership is a beast. It’s got every piece of gaming hardware anyone could ever ask for, in a form factor you wouldn’t expect it to be in. The package itself is just complete for anyone aspiring to take gaming seriously. For the most part, everything about it checks out.

But for US$ 6499.99/PhP 399,995, I feel like you would need to shell out a kidney to get this device — and it’s not worth it. Honestly, you could get every piece of hardware, or even just go for SATA SSDs and slap them into a gaming rig for way less. Heck, you could even get the same peripherals and I feel you would still be spending less than the Mothership.

All in all, the ASUS ROG Mothership is one heavy, beefy monster of a gaming laptop. The power it possesses truly fits those who want to dream of the best. But if you’re anyone who doesn’t earn one million a year, it’s best to invest in a gaming PC instead.

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Gaming

Razer’s Deathadder and Basilisk get an upgrade

Faster and more control than ever before

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Razer continuously markets innovation when it comes to its gaming peripherals. With that in mind, the company launched the Razer Deathadder in late 2006 while the Razer Basilisk in 2017. Since then, these two iconic gaming mice has seen various options and innovations for the modern gamer. Now, Razer is bringing these two mice back, better and faster than ever.

The Razer Deathadder V2 features an ergonomic design and upgraded sensors for all gamers. It features Razer’s Focus+ Optical Sensor, elevating any gamer’s speed and precision during intense moments. The mouse perfectly suits those who prefer a palm grip while providing sweat-resistant coating and rubberized side grips.

It also comes with eight programmable and fully customizable buttons for all your macros and secondary functions. The mouse’s on-board memory supports up to five different profiles, expanding your range for any game. Also, it has Razer Chroma RGB support so you can personalize the mouse and even sync it with other Chroma-supported devices.

Meanwhile, the Razer Basilisk V2 receives an upgrade from its predecessor similar to the Deathadder V2. This mouse now houses 11 programmable buttons, allowing full flexibility during gaming. It also offers a customizable scroll wheel resistance so gamers can adjust it to suit their playing style. All of these comes with the upgraded Razer Focus+ Optical sensor.

The Razer Basilisk V2 retails at US$ 79.99 (~ PhP 4,000) while the Razer Deathadder V2 retails at US$ 69.99 (~ PhP 3,500). The company will roll out the two gaming mice starting January 15 (January 14 in the United States).

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Gaming

Final Fantasy VII Remake release date moved

Minor setback

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Fans who have been waiting so long for Final Fantasy VII Remake will have to wait a little longer. Square Enix just announced that the game’s release date will be moved to April 10, 2020.

In June 2019, It was announced that the game would be released on March 3, 2020. But Square believes it’s in everybody’s best interest to delay release of the game.

In a statement, the game’s producer Yoshinori Kitase said the move was necessary to “deliver a game that is in-line with our vision, and the quality that our fans who have been waiting for deserve.”

“We are making this tough decision in order to give ourselves a few extra weeks to apply
final polish to the game and to deliver you with the best possible experience,” he added.

Kitase closed the statement with an apology: “I, on behalf of the whole team, want to apologize to everyone, as I know this means waiting for the game just a little bit longer. Thank you for your patience and continued support.”

SEE MORE:

Final Fantasy VII Remake: Features and mechanics
FFVII Remake new screenshots: Chocobo, Classic mode, and more
FFVII Remake screenshots: Sephiroth, an improved Midgar, and learning Aerith

 

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