rog gx800 review

Introduction

When ASUS released the ROG GX700, it was during a time where the performance between desktop and mobile were slowly closing their gaps and the GTX 980 for Mobile was the fastest card of its class. But during Computex 2016, ASUS already had the first prototype of the GX800 on display sporting the world’s first SLI-capable GTX 1080 for mobile months ahead of t

he launch of both technologies. That said, the concept of putting multi-GPU solutions on notebooks is no stranger for high-end flagships of any brand but while everyone else is relegated to traditional blower style cooling, ASUS has adopted liquid-cooling for its flagship GX800. Today we pit the performance flagship of ASUS against the big boys of MSI and Acer as we review the ASUS ROG GX800 liquid-cooled gaming notebook.

Specifications

Dual GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics in SLI liquid cooled by ROG Hydro overclocking dock, powerful performance even when undocked

Unlocked 7th-Gen Intel Core i7-7280HK Processor, Overclocked 2800 MHz 64GB DDR4 RAM, 1.5 TB (3x 512GB PCIE G3x4 SSD NV Me RAID 0)

18.4″ 4K 3840 X 2160 G-SYNC Display with 178-degree viewing angles (ASUS Exclusive)

ROG MechTAG Customizable RGB Backlit Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboard, Dual extra-large thermal copper pipes to cool CPU and GPU independentlyrog gx800 review

Powerful battery rated 74WHrs, 4S2P, 8-cell Li-ion Battery Pack, Illuminated Chiclet Keyboard, ROG luggage carry-case

Closer Look

We actually had the entire ROG GX800 retail packaging with us but due to the gigantic size of the box we decided not to fetch the retail box from ASUS’ office. Inside the box is the custom-branded luggage with a certified TSA lock which houses the two 300w power bricks and watercooling dock unit as well as the free ROG Gladius gaming mouse. Unlike the ROG GX700 prior, the ROG GX800’s luggage’s partition does not house the laptop anymore although if you had the same foam you could probably mold one yourself but the default package now includes a ROG Shuttle II backpack for the laptop itself.

Like many ROG laptops of this generation, the premier models are usually clad in a champagne gold metallic chassis with brass highlights and trims. The ROG GX800 laptop is a relatively large model, but certainly a touch slimmer than the Predator 21x and the GT83VR Titan, both of which we’ll be including in the benchmarks in this review. The top shell of the GX800 has the standard LED-lit accents in the center complimenting the ROG logo.

The bottom cover of the chassis is one of the more intricate we’ve seen from the ROG flagships. The chassis shares many details like the G752 but is a completely original mold. The bottom has many panel line accents accompanied by grills for venting in key areas for cooling. There’s also a translucent panel cover for a slight peek in the underchassis’ internals.

The front edge of chassis shows us a good idea how thick the GX800 is with the bottom shell elevating the upper portion by quite a bit. From the read its a bit more obscured with the fan grills and docking interface making up the entirety of the GX800’s rear edge. The extreme left and right holes are the locking connectors with the ones between those are the quick-disconnect fitting female connector and the center port as the main power connector from the dock.

If you know how big a USB port is, you’ll now have an idea how thick the GX800 is. The entire venting grill itself as thick as most laptops and that’s to guarantee ample cooling to its powerful components. The right side of the ROG GX800 has an SD card slot, USB3.0 ports and an antenna port (yes, antennae included.) On the other edge we have the proprietary power port, RJ45 port, HDMI port, mini DisplayPort, two Type-C ports: a USB3.1 Gen2 and a Thunderbolt3 port. Finally we have another USB3.0 port, a mic input and audio output port. There’s a Kensington lock notch on the left corner just beside the hinge.

Performance Testing

The ROG GX800 has a couple of profiles accessible via its ROG Gaming Center app. By default, the unit will run in Optimized mode which clocks in the CPU at 3.6Ghz. This is similar to the Standard settings which is also clocked in at the same rate but increases GPU clocks a bit for more power when plugged in. This is for laptop-only mode, for docked mode you have access to all modes including Extreme (default for docked) and Manual which lets you manually set all the clocks yourself. In Extreme mode, the GX800 ramps to 4.2Ghz and the GPU receives their full speeds. Finally in Manual mode we have the capacity to increase CPU multiplier to 48x, the memory XMP profile activated for DDR4-2800 speeds and the GPU core and memory overclocked as well. rog gx800 review

While ASUS openly advertises the overclocking capability of the ROG GX800, you’ll need some basic knowledge of what can and can’t be done with the limitations of the laptop form factor. While thermal limits is easily resolved by the liquid-cooling system, dissipation is still not as optimal as custom counterparts but it is still by and large more efficient than standard air cooling solutions on other units. We’ve went ahead and completely enabled Manual mode to see just how far we can go with the GX800. Going by our desktop settings, we immediately tried a 4.8Ghz CPU clock with XMP-2800 enabled. The system would refuse to boot mostly with this setting so we explored a bit via Intel Extreme Tuning utility. Do note that ROG Gaming Center will block Intel XTU and configuring via XTU will cause the BIOS to report settings incorrectly prompting a recurring error message on screen. Once we figured that out, we went on and tried to apply a bit more voltage via XTU and managed to hit 4.8Ghz boot and SuperPI32M stable. Multi-core benchmarks refused to load as well as gaming loads so we dialed back down to 4.6Ghz and got a stable system.

After testing the stability of 4.6Ghz we reconfigured the system to the ROG Gaming Center again, completely removing XTU and defaulting the BIOS to remove the prompt. At 4.6Ghz with XMP DDR4-2800 enabled, we’ve gotten really significant improvements coupled with a bit of increase on the GPU clocks.

With our maximum overclock, we were able to reach the score above. To give you an idea how that fares, we managed to overclock an MSI GT83VR Titan to its maximum 4.2Ghz (its highest multiplier) and only received a score of around 21k which in itself is not bad, but given the flexibility of unlimited overclocking on the GX800, it pales in comparison.

At $6000 or Php369,000, there’s no going around the fact that this is one expensive piece of kit. The ASUS ROG GX800 also doesn’t do much to justify the cost from a purely performance perspective. The argument will always exist that at that price and given its weight and bulkiness, you can compromise on going with a desktop. But there’s also the other side of that argument, wherein you may have the space adequate for an office setup but you always move around, you always need to shift locations and but you can’t lug around a monitor and a desktop then it becomes quite clear you’ll want a powerhouse laptop. Gaming aside, the CPU performance of the ROG GX800 is uncompromising thanks to its liquid cooling dock making it a viable choice for professionals that need to work on the go and want the utmost power in any venue they’re in.

We barely touched on battery life on Rog Gx800 Review because you’d really want this laptop plugged in and given its weight you’ll be hard-pressed to bring this to a school or business presentation. That said though, at only 30 minutes gaming time and abelow

With with the announcement of a Ryzen laptop in the horizon, the CPU performance crown may soon be taken from the ROG GX800 but as long as it holds the complete system specs to still deliver incredible gaming performance, it will still be the more viable option in terms of a portable gaming station. Sure you’d need to bring a luggage with you but as I’ve said, would you travel around with a monitor in tow or rather go with a laptop form factor?

Once all that sinks in, you’ll realize the value of the ASUS ROG GX800 is not with its performance but rather the flexibility you get in how you use it: even an ITX system with the same FPS horsepower will need at least twice the footprint the GX800 requires but with this one, you can just put at the side of your table and still have enough desk space to do other things without a monitor hampering your freedom.

Unless you really fit the description of the ASUS ROG GX800 customers, you won’t realize how practical the concept is and arguing the price is ultimately a cost vs. value scenario wherein you may feel its overpriced but some people will feel otherwise. Fact of the matter is, the ASUS ROG GX800 delivers excellent performance above all mainstream laptops right now and it brings the best of what ASUS has to offer in a laptop.rog gx800 review