Computex 2016, as with the previous years, had plenty for us to gawk and get excited about. In particular, when it comes to ASUS and its latest offerings under the ROG umbrella. Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year (hard to believe it’s been that long), it is safe to say that in 2016, ROG stole the show. At just about every corner there was something new and innovative from the Republic of Gamers product range.
Decked out in the usual red and black, we were privileged to see what the future looks like for ASUS in what remains of 2016 and possibly 2017.
First up is the new ROG GX800 notebook. ASUS once again takes the mantle for the most powerful gaming notebook on the planet even before the unit is commercially available. One shudders at the thought of the price, but the performance is sure to be equally eye-watering. Housing not one, but two GeForce Pascal GPUs under the hood (could be 1080 or 10707 GPUs) and a 4K display, this devastatingly powerful notebook will feature solid state storage in RAID, copious amounts of DDR4 memory (DDR4 2800MHz) with up to 64GB in capacity depending on the configuration and of course Intel’s latest 6th Generation CPU via the Core i7 6820HK which, if you didn’t know, is multiplier unlocked. With the ROG GX800 not only will you be able to overclock the CPU, but the memory and graphics cards as well, not that you would need to.
How all this is cooled is via the liquid cooling dock as seen on the ROG GX700 which we reviewed in April. This time however, this powerhouse comes with not one but two power bricks for accessing the ultimate in portable performance (let’s not call this 10kg in total Behemoth mobile anymore). There were no performance figures shown or details on exactly which Pascal model GPUs would be featured, but by estimates you’re looking at perhaps 8,000 points 3DMark Firestrike Ultra, which is near World Record territory. We will keep you posted on development.
For those not interested in lugging around a small child with them for their gaming needs, ASUS showed off the second generation ROG XG Station 2 (pictured above) with a host of improvements aesthetically and technically. If you didn’t know, this external graphics card housing module allows you to plug your Thunderbolt 3 supporting notebook to it and thus use a desktop graphics card for your gaming or other graphics intensive applications. In addition to housing a desktop graphics adapter, it is outfitted with Gigabit Ethernet port, and a USB 3.0 hub as well. No word on availability or compatibility, but being Thunderbolt 3 it should be able to work on just about any Thunderbolt 3 supporting notebook.
Component side, if you remember the Rampage IV Black edition then you’ll rejoice at its spiritual successor the Rampage V Edition 10, or better known as the 10th anniversary Edition. It may not be called the Black Edition but for all intents and purposes it is what that motherboard was to the Rampage IV Extreme. The ultimate refinement in what was already a great board with a whole host of features for overclockers and gamers alike. It brings all connectivity options available on the latest Z170 platform to 2014’s X99 chipset, via 3rd party chips and smart PCI-Express root complex utilization. For instance, you have dual U.2 ports, M.2 and dual USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity on the board. With full support for Broadwell-E CPUs and DDR4 3,300MHz in Quad Channel mode, the $499.99 price tag (likely over R10,000 in SA) will mean it’s reserved for those running multi GPU configurations or others who are seeking to build the ultimate in PC performance. We should have a full review on it in the near future.
Finally, we had a look at the ROG AVALON system. While ASUS has been making complete computers for some time, this is a brand new take on the Personal Computer and what we have come to expect from them. Engineered and designed with modularity, ease of access and expandability at its core. The ROG AVALON presents what just may be the most innovative PC system at the entire show. The parts which are most likely to be upgraded by the user are easily accessed at the top of the PC (CPU, DRAM and M.2 high speed storage), while slightly more involved parts such as the graphics card are located on the side of the Cube. Each compartment is easily accessed and most importantly the system by design remains neat as it does away with most cables which includes PSU and SATA cables. There have been many PCs that have sought a place in the living room, but this one may just have pulled it off and it has done so via a basic cube design.
With plenty of upgrade and configuration models available for the AVALON, it was by far the most interesting concept on display at Computex this year. All that is needed is that potential customers and all end users alike appeal to ROG and convince them to bring this to market, as right now it remains a project that may not see the light of day until demand for it is made clear. If there was anything worth pushing for at the show, it would most certainly be the ROG AVALON.
There was plenty more at the ROG ASUS booth, including a whole line-up of new motherboards and familiar ones including graphics cards (GTX 1080 Strix), gaming peripherals and of course their often criminally underrated and overlooked pre-built PCs. Unfortunately, we are not one of the regions where these are available, but if they were to be they would put many system integrators to shame. If only because of how well put together the systems are from the software to the hardware.
Overall, ASUS did a fantastic job at this year’s Computex and they have certainly left us feeling excited about what may come in the future.