ASUS ROG GX700VO Review
Serious PC gaming is not always about desktop PCs, it’s also about laptops. These portable machines have evolved over time to match their bulky counterparts in terms of power and features. One good example of such machine is the ASUS ROG GX700VO – the world’s first water-cooled gaming laptop.
Design and Construction
If the MSI GS60 6QE Ghost Pro we reviewed a few weeks ago features a stealthy look with its all black body, the ASUS ROG GX700 is quite the opposite and won’t apologize for stealing your attention. It sports an all-metal body in brownish gun metal color and brushed-metal finish.
We’re inclined to think that ASUS ROG designers intend to apply all types of “metal” design cues for the GX700 to make it look premium. And premium it is, as it looks like an alien took the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber and pimped it. It’s beautiful, edgy, and intimidating at the same time.
Looking at the lid we have the ROG emblem placed between two strips of plastic. The emblem and the strips are backlit and glows red which makes it look badass. You will also see here, towards the rear orange metallic piece of plastic printed with “Republic of Gamers” and a pointer that will help you align it to the cooling dock. More on that later.
On the left we have the Kensington lock, speaker, two USB 3.0 ports, mic and audio jack, and the SD Card reader.
On the right we have the speaker, Ethernet port, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Type-C, mini DisplayPort, and another USB 3.0 port.
At the back you will see vents that resemble the rear of a sports car and ports where it will connect to the cooling system and laptop’s power connector (center).
Open the lid and you will be greeted by a 17-inch display. The GX700 has up to 4K UHD resolution but the model we have on hand has Full HD. Still, it’s not that bad. Placed above the display are the webcam and mic.
Down below we have the speakers on the left and right-hand sides, and the full-sized keyboard with red backlighting which is a joy to use whether it’s gaming or productivity. It features anti-ghosting with 30-key rollover technology so up to 30 keystrokes can be instantaneously and correctly logged. It’s very quiet with just the right amount of tactile feedback, and has dedicated buttons for the XSplit GameCaster, programmable MacroKeys, and ROG Gaming Center.
The trackpad, on the other hand, is large and responsive even at the edges. It is then accompanied with relatively large left and mouse click buttons with textured finish. It’s soft and tactile but feels flimsy.
Now for the rest of the keyboard area, it is matte with plenty of room for the palms and good in repelling smudges and fingerprints.
ROG-exclusive Hydro Overclocking System
Now for the cooling system, ASUS calls it the ROG-exclusive Hydro Overclocking System which helps the GX700 cope with the heat generated by the overclocked GeForce GTX980 GPU. ASUS claims that the you can get 20% more performance when using this system. We’ll discuss that later.
For first-timers, the whole system feels weird and scary to operate, but once you get the hang of how it works, especially the moving connecting parts, it’s actually pretty cool. All you have to do is mount the laptop on the dock, making sure it’s aligned with the help of the pointer, and the metal pins will keep it in place to avoid sliding.
The coolest part is when you connect the cooling ports. Just press down on the lever and it will slide right into the laptop with a feel similar to plugging a plug to a socket. The mechanism will also activate two latches at the base which lock the laptop in place. Pushing the “Push” buttons will then eject the connectors.
Powering the device is quite different as well. When just using the laptop, you can use the small 180-watt power supply and connect it to its own power port. However, when docked to the cooling system, you will need to use the bigger 330-watt power supply which you can plug at its side. The Cooling system will then provide juice and recharge the laptop.
Packaging and overall build
When we picked up the GX700 it came in a luggage. Yes, that kind of luggage you use when you’re traveling outside the country for more than 5 days. We thought it was a joke, but when we saw the components we realized it was a necessity.
First of all, the whole system is heavy and bulky, something you might not want, and certainly not capable of, transporting in a backpack. The laptop, which fits in a bag, weighs in at 3.6 kg. The dock, at 4.8 kg. That’s a total of 8.4 kg for the two components alone.
Add to that the two power supplies and the included ROG SICA Gaming Mouse, so that’s a lot of gear. Not to mention you need to make sure it’s not going to be damaged when transporting as it is really expensive.
The good news is, the luggage looks pretty badass as well. ASUS calls it the ROG Command Case. So when someone invites you over to a LAN party, just bring this over, prop it on the floor, and open it like you’re the El Mariachi in Desperado.