ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) announced the ROG Mothership (GZ700), a new desktop replacement that redefines the form factor for gaming laptops. Instead of sitting flat, the ROG Mothership stands tall to draw more air into its advanced cooling system. Its keyboard detaches and folds to fit different scenarios, giving you the freedom to find the perfect position, and the innovative design leaves enough room to put all the speakers right below the screen.
The exquisitely machined aluminum chassis frames a 17.3” Full HD IPS-level display with a 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms GTG response time display featuring NVIDIA G-SYNC™ technology is powered by the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX™ 2080 GPU and Intel® Core™ i9-8950HK processor. Better cooling allows the ROG Mothership to push the CPU and GPU beyond stock speeds and still sustain exceptional performance with demanding workloads. The factory overclocked core is complemented by a RAID 0 array with three NVMe SSDs, plus next-generation networking that enables greater than gigabit speeds for both wired and wireless connections.
A radical internal concept made real, the ROG Mothership caters to connoisseurs who appreciate the engineering and craftsmanship that goes into premium PC hardware. This desktop replacement redefines what’s possible for portable gaming machines that take hardcore horsepower to go.
The need for improved design based on performance
Desktop replacement laptops put incredible power in a portable package that allows them to be taken anywhere. But, they also make concessions to conform to a clamshell form factor that’s unnecessarily rigid for deployment on a desk. The limiting legacy blueprint of previous designs not only limit cooling, but also locks the user into a fixed position that’s really only required for use on a lap.
Every year ASUS designers, engineers, and other experts gather for brainstorming sessions that inspire the next generation of products from the Republic of Gamers. The idea for the ROG Mothership came out of one of those meetings almost three years ago. It was clear that high-performance laptops were starved for airflow because they draw from a narrow gap between the base and the desk, and ASUS wondered how much the situation could be improved by putting key components behind the display, allowing greater airflow from the back. From tests conducted, core temperatures were much cooler with the standing orientation, which validated the idea and spawned Project Mothership to pursue it.
A revolutionary new design and form factor
Research and design then focused on how gamers use desktop replacement laptops and saw that many connect an external keyboard and display. Having the laptop occupy so much desktop area was a real impediment to achieving a comfortable position. Research also supported that gamers prefer their keyboards off to the side and at an angle, which simply isn’t possible with traditional laptop layouts. Prototypes were created that introduced a detachable keyboard with a folding design that dramatically reduced the system’s overall footprint. This granted the flexibility to not only position the keyboard as needed, but to also replace it entirely without wasting desk space.
A hinged, stepless kickstand pops out automatically from the bottom edge of the chassis when it touches a surface, allowing for one-handed deployment. The hinge allows the user to adjust the screen for different setups from a range of angles, between standing and leaning back; even allowing for a user to stand over the screen.
The main body pieces are machined from solid slabs of aluminum using a precise CNC milling process that ensures a perfect fit. The process steps through 114 individual tooling stages and takes nearly 20 hours to carve every little detail. Most of the keyboard housing is machined aluminum as well, wrapping the ROG Mothership in a protective metal jacket that’s strong enough to survive everyday knocks and bumps. Each piece is then brushed and anodized for a flawless finish.
Efficient air cooling born through design and engineering
ROG has a history of liquid-cooled laptops dating back to the GX700. Project Mothership explored something similar but ultimately decided on air cooling. Efficient liquid requires a large external radiator that compromises portability, and free-breathing intakes can draw in enough air to effectively cool a single CPU and GPU. The unique design’s efficient air cooling allowed a reduction of the thickness of the chassis to 29.9 mm—more than 10 mm thinner than the original prototype.
The upright posture makes it easier for more air to flow into the dual 12V fans, but that’s just one aspect of an intricate cooling system that directly affects users. Outlets flanking the top corners blow warm exhaust away from the user, and the placement of components behind the screen keeps the keyboard cool even after hours of continuous gaming. A special shield prevents heat from the CPU and GPU from affecting the display.
Factory overclocked chips generate a lot of heat, so they’re covered by a network of eight heatpipes that transfer thermal energy to the heatsinks at the edges. The pipes are linked to the CPU, GPU, graphics memory, and VRM feeding them power. They stretch across four heatsinks lined with 375 ultra-thin copper fins. The fins are just 0.1 mm thin, allowing placement of more fins into each heatsink without impeding airflow. Keeping the fins clean is crucial to maintaining long-term performance and stability. The standing orientation lifts the air intakes off the table, exposing them to less dust, and particles that enter the cooling system are drawn into anti-dust tunnels that shoot them out of the chassis.
Fan speeds can be controlled by expertly tuned system profiles that adapt to different scenarios using a handy keyboard shortcut. Turbo mode uses the highest frequencies and fan speeds to reach maximum performance, while Balanced mode optimizes performance and cooling to drop noise levels while gaming. Silent mode goes even further to reduce acoustics for lighter workloads and less demanding games. Custom profiles can also be created with tweaked fan speeds and frequencies that can be adjusted to the user’s preference.
Factory overclocked performance complimented by RAID memory
The ROG Mothership pushes its CPU and GPU into overclocked territory right out of the box. The Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU usually runs at up to 4.3GHz with all six cores and 12 threads engaged, but in Turbo mode, it runs up to 4.8GHz in, an increase of almost 12%. Having lots of cores with high clocks prepares the system for a wide range of heavy workloads, from rendering complex 3D scenes and effects-laden videos to pairing hardcore gaming with simultaneous streaming, recording, and voice chat.
The CPU pairs with up to 64GB of power-efficient DDR4 memory for content creators working on big projects and power users who require multitasking. It’s also linked directly to an industry-leading NVMe RAID 0 array. SSDs normally connect to the chipset, which is constrained by a DMI link to the CPU with only four lanes of PCI Express 3.0 bandwidth—the same as a single high-end M.2 drive. The three-drive HyperDrive Extreme array in the ROG Mothership hangs two SSDs directly off the CPU, bypassing the DMI bottleneck and enabling peak throughput up to 8700MB/s. All three drives are covered by a heat spreader that improves cooling for sustained storage loads.
The new GeForce RTX 2080 GPU unlocks new capabilities
Graphics duties are handled by the new GeForce RTX 2080 discrete GPU and its accompanying 8GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory. Powered by the new NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture and the revolutionary RTX platform, these processors bring together real-time ray tracing, artificial intelligence, and programmable shading. Games can leverage these hardware resources to improve the quality of lighting, shadows, reflections, and other effects that make graphics feel more lifelike. Beyond gaming, a variety of applications can also use the RT cores to accelerate a range of tasks that includes content creation, scientific modeling, and deep learning, allowing the ROG Mothership to be utilized as a portable workstation.
The GPU cooperates closely with the tournament-grade NVIDIA G-SYNC FHD display, which matches its refresh rate with the frame rate in real time. Synchronizing frame delivery smoothes out natural performance fluctuations to make gameplay feel smoother and more engaging. It also reduces input lag and eliminates ugly visual tearing that can interrupt your immersion.
Intent on having the best of both worlds, our engineers developed an exclusive GPU switch that lets you go between NVIDIA G-SYNC and Optimus modes. With a few clicks and a reboot, the Mothership transforms from a gaming powerhouse with buttery smooth graphics to a productivity workhorse with longer battery life.
Premium audio capabilities
Recalibrating the desktop replacement form factor lets the ROG Mothership offer impressive sound from four front-facing speakers positioned directly at the user. The four 4W speakers are powered by smart amplifier technology that monitors temperatures and excursion to prevent distortion and damage to the cones. This allows for louder output, more bass, and greater dynamic range.
The audio is anchored by a premium ESS Sabre DAC and headphone amp with Hi-Res Audio certification up to 24 bits and 192kHz. The output has greater range, less distortion, and a more accurate frequency response than conventional alternatives. Sonic Studio III software adds surround sound virtualization for headphones and other devices like VR headsets and even external USB DACs.
Recording is handled through a microphone input or by the array mic that sits next to the webcam. The built-in solution filters out background noise like typing and game audio to capture the user’s voice more clearly, while the webcam captures 1080p30 footage fit for streaming and Windows Hello facial recognition.
A keyboard designed for user freedom
The detachable keyboard flips down to sit at a comfortable angle for typing. In seconds, it pulls away from magnetic anchors and folds to reduce the footprint by half. Hiding the hinge inside the machined aluminum keyboard frame was one of the most difficult aspects of the project. When separated, the keyboard connects over low-latency 2.4GHz wireless for maximum flexibility or via the included Type-C USB cable. This allows the user to choose not only where to place it, but also how to connect it. This freedom is a stark contrast to the rigid keyboard positions inherent to gaming laptops.
Each key has 2.5 mm of travel enhanced by fast-firing Overstroke technology. The underlying switches are built to last and rated to survive 20 million presses. Curved caps keep the users fingers centered, while a wider space bar provides a larger target for thumbs. The function keys are separated for easier recognition, and the touchpad on the right transforms into a backlit numpad with the touch of a button.
Per-key backlighting opens up a world of options for customizing colors and effects for different games and applications. A few clicks in ROG’s Armoury Crate software are all that’s required to highlight important keys and clusters. The same software controls the RGB lighting embedded below the display and behind the kickstand; allowing synchronization of it all with compatible peripherals via Aura Sync. Matching lighting across multiple components is an easy way to elevate the look of any gaming setup.
Upgraded networking and connectivity
The ROG Mothership upgrades gigabit networking starting with a Realtek 2.5G Ethernet controller that more than doubles the speed of typical wired ports. It’s paired with next-generation Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX200 (802.11ax) technology that pushes peak interface bandwidth up to 2.4Gbps under ideal conditions. More importantly, the latest wireless standard borrows techniques from the cellular industry to improve traffic management and overall efficiency for busy networks.
Patented ROG RangeBoost tech augments the WiFi by constantly scanning the user’s surroundings and shifting between two pairs of antennas to maximize signal strength. The antennas are arranged to cover each other’s dead spots to improve reception and extend range.
ROG Mothership also allows users to connect up to three displays via HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, and Type-C USB ports. The latter comes directly from the GPU and also supports VirtualLink for next-gen VR headsets. With three USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports and one Gen 1, ROG Mothership has enough connectivity to power a complete desktop experience.
AVAILABILITY & PRICING
The ASUS ROG Mothership will be available in Q2 2019. Pricing and configurations will be announced at launch.