An ultra-thin 2 in 1 notebook for gamers, an upgrade to external VGA and previous models were also on the table.
Although CES has moved into cyberspace this year, ASUS ’player-focused division started the year with product dumping similar to last year. A special feature could not be left out of the presentation, which can also be understood as an improvement on last year’s Zephyrus G14. It’s called ROG Flow X13, and it’s perhaps the world’s first ultra-portable 2-in-1 notebook for direct gamers.
In terms of key specifications, the 13.4 ”display features a state-of-the-art AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS processor, GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile GPU, 2x16GB of memory and a 1TB NVMe SSD. For the 16:10 aspect ratio panel, you can choose between 1920×1200 or 3840×2400 pixel models – the former offers a 120 Hz update with 100% sRGB, the latter with 116% sRGB, but you need to reach 60 Hz -Target. In both cases, the color reproduction is Pantone-certified, the touch-sensitive surface that can also be used with pens is protected by Gorilla Glass, and the power button has an SSO fingerprint reader. The X13 will also feature a special edition of SuperNova, with processors selected by AMD.
In addition to the 62 Wh battery, the ultraportable designation is justified by its size of 299 x 222 x 16 mm and weight of 1.3 kg. The notebook doesn’t work badly either, ASUS promises 10 hours of video playback and 18 hours of minimum load. Although the design is similar to the ZenBook Flips, the design is more robust and due to the more powerful hardware, a more serious ventilation opening appears alongside the ErgoLift hinges. The corrugated surface of the cover is called Gravity Wave. On the sides we can enjoy one Type-A and two Type-C connectors (each offering USB 3.2 Gen 2 speeds), an analog combo audio port and a ROG XG mobile interface that provides (also) a PCIe 3.0 x8 connection and is primarily designed to with XG Mobile eGPU, the computer can communicate with 63 Gbps instead of the 40 Gbps offered by TB4.
Obviously, the basic GeForce GTX 1650 can no longer be called strong graphics in 2021, so if we take the game seriously, we’ll have to rely on this particular XG Mobile. The 1 kg, 155 x 208 x 29 mm unit features a GeForce RTX 3080 Mobile with a boost clock that can be raised to 1810 MHz. Its internal power supply is 280 watts. Cooling is provided by a phase-change vapor chamber solution. There is an additional 10 Gbps USB connection between the notebook and XG Mobile, through which a port replicator built into the latter communicates, offering four USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Type-A) ports, an SD card reader and gigabit Ethernet, and the notebook also charges if needed. DisplayPort and HDMI are available as video output. If you connect the XG Mobile to the X13 and you don’t need the GeForce GTX 1650, the notebook can turn it off and take advantage of the potential released in the cooling system to raise the CPU TDP from 35 to 45 watts.
Of course, it’s not just the Flow X13 that’s new: the Zephyrus G14 and, of course, the ROG Strix Scar have been given a blood refresh. In terms of general innovations, the refresh rate of displays will continue to rise, this year at 360 Hz in Full HD, 165 Hz in WQHD and 120 Hz in 4K. The Zephyrus Duo’s secondary ROG ScreenPad Plus panel will also be updated, becoming “half 4K” and “half FHD”. In addition to 100% DCI-P3, color calibration is also provided by the factory calibration for IPSs (with the exception of the basic 60 Hz Full HD model). New VRM units will be added to the machines this year, which will allow higher TDP to be achieved due to better efficiencies. The performance of the power supplies has also improved, so we get smaller bricks for notebooks. Moreover, in some cases, a larger, full-power power supply and a smaller Type-C power supply may be available for ROG machines.
Common innovations include the Single Sign On fingerprint reader power button, already mentioned in connection with the X13, which will appear everywhere in 2021 except the Zephyrus Duo, as well as Dolby Atmos and bi-directional AI noise reduction.
Turning now to the models, the ROG Strix Scar has been given 15 and 17 new designs, made noticeably smaller thanks to the thinner display frame, and more easter units hidden in the design. The sample is laser-burned into the screen cover, and a small section is made removable from the back next to the hinges on the right and left, which can be replaced to customize the look of the notebook somewhat. We get three such “bumpers” at the factory, in matt gray, glossy gray and translucent black.
Of the input devices, the size of the touchpad was increased in all directions, with a total surface area of 85%. The keyboard has a customizable backlight for each key and is based on optomechanical switches. In the 17-inch version there may be a panel capable of the mentioned 360 Hz update, in the 15 ”version the 300 Hz peak is left. If this is not required, we can choose the WQHD resolution at 165 Hz. Slower panels offer 100% DCI-P3, faster ones offer 100% sRGB. As a processor, the top models can include the Ryzen 9 5900HX, which can be supplemented with 2×32 GB of RAM, 2×1 TB of storage and GeForce RTX 3080 Max-P (what is Max-P? This indicates to ASUS that it is not Max-Q.). The batteries have a capacity of 90 Wh, and the connectors will include four USB ports and gigabit Ethernet.
The specifications and changes are similar for the G series (Strix G15 and G17), but there will also be cheaper models here, for example, the Ryzen 5 5600H will currently be the entry-level CPU according to the list. With VGA, we will be able to choose between the RTX 3070 Max-P and 3060 Max-P, and the RAM will also be up to 2×16 GB.
The Zephyrus G14 / G15 doesn’t stay the same either: an updated design (with an iridescent layer under the display holes, for example), 2021 hardware will be included as it fits.
Prices are not yet known, but arrival is expected in the first quarter.
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