When all’s said and done, the ASUS ROG GX700 manages to combine mobility and performance quite successfully. Its performance, even while docked, may not quite reach that of the dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M notebooks, but its trifecta of an overclockable mobile processor, desktop-class GeForce GTX 980, and liquid-cooling is really hard to beat. Furthermore, the 75Hz G-Sync display might even help to compensate for the slightly lower graphics horsepower (compared to the GeForce GTX 980Ms in SLI). Because G-Sync synchronizes the display's refresh rate with the frame rates the card is pushing, you'll get an overall smoother gaming experience, even with lower frame rates. In fact, you might even experience screen tearing on the SLI notebooks as they lack G-Sync displays of their own.
ASUS was treading a fine line in creating this beast of a notebook. Instead of striving for sheer performance at the expense of portability, it opted for the detachable dock that would allow it to slim the notebook down and still retain the ability to achieve desktop-equivalent graphics performance.
And now for perhaps the most important aspect of all – price. ASUS didn’t go to these lengths to create an affordable solution for the masses, and the ROG GX700 is a premium, luxury product through and through. At S$6,198, the GX700 isn’t something you just go out and buy on a whim. It’s not even likely to appeal to the vast majority of consumers, who will reason that they could build a much more powerful desktop system for that price. However, do note that this price actually applies to the top-end model available locally, which comes with dual 256GB SSDs in RAID 0 for a total of 512GB of storage. Our review unit has double that capacity with two 512GB SSDs, but it is not available locally, which is why we don't have a price for it.
Nevertheless, all these gripes and grouses about the price miss the fact that the GX700 isn’t alone in its stratospheric pricing. In fact, it isn’t even the most expensive notebook here. That dubious honor goes to the MSI GT80 2QE Titan SLI and its S$6,599 price tag. And that doesn’t even come with a desktop graphics card or overclockable processor! Of course, it does have two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M cards and posted higher numbers in most of our benchmarks, but the GX700 is arguably more suited for the enthusiast and overclocker. Just how overclockable is it? We'll be working on a second article on that, so stay tuned.
Yes, the dual GeForce GTX 980M notebooks may be more powerful. One of them, the Aftershock Titan v2.1, is also cheaper at S$4,208. But that notebook is thicker (38.5mm vs 49.7mm) and heavier (3.6kg vs 3.9kg) and doesn’t offer the same compelling mix of an overclockable processor and desktop graphics, not to mention the liquid-cooling capabilities and RAID 0 storage. Furthermore, while the S$4,499 MSI GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro G does come with the same overclockable Intel Core i7-6820HK processor, the lack of liquid-cooling capabilities means that you probably can't squeeze as much performance out of the CPU.
We’ll be realistic here. The GX700 is a great piece of engineering and hardware, but we’re not advocating that you, as the average gamer, run out and buy it. But frankly, its price is not unjustified because of what it brings to the table. Everything is top of the line, even down to the mind-boggling 64GB of DDR4 RAM and all the latest interfaces, including one USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-C port and one Thunderbolt 3 port. Our unit also came with a 1080p display – although there are plans to release one with a 4K display as well – which means that you should have no problem running just about any game title you care to buy. This freedom, combined with its liquid-cooling support and relative mobility while undocked, is nearly unprecedented on a laptop of this class and size.
Even if you can’t afford it, it’s worth just stepping back and marveling at what ASUS has created. If you can, well, maybe you’re already out on your way to get it.
Then there's the ROG G752, which is a much more representative sample of the vast majority of gaming notebooks on the market. At S$2,898, it is also over three grand cheaper than its bigger brother, the GX700. Taken on it's own, it's actually a fairly strong performer in our gaming benchmarks, more than matching up to other NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M-equipped notebooks. Pair that with the top-end Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor (2.6GHz, 6MB L3 cache), 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 75Hz G-Sync display like that on the GX700, and you have quite a high-end machine.
However, the thing that really drags the G752 down is its lack of an SSD. Its 1TB HDD feels markedly slower, even in regular activities like launching programs and browsing files. The laptop also took a much longer time to boot, compared to the dual 512GB RAID 0 SSDs (or dual 256GB SSDs for the top local model) in the GX700, and it feels a lot more sluggish compared to any other laptop with an SSD. This was borne out in its overall lower scores in PCMark 8, especially in the Storage and Applications benchmarks. Fortunately, the storage drive can be easily upgraded after popping off the bottom panel, so you won't be stuck with a whirring HDD forever.
The G752 also features all the latest ports and interfaces, including a USB Type-C port that supports both Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 (Gen 2). So if you want to use the notebook as a desktop replacement and hook it up to a series of 4K displays, there's nothing stopping you. All in all, it's a very capable notebook, albeit one which you won't really want to take around with you.
Ultimately, we feel it would be unfair to compare the ROG GX700 and G752. Both may be high-end gaming notebooks, but they cater to quite a different crowd. The GX700 is without a doubt for those who want the best possible laptop gaming experience, and who are willing to pony up whatever is needed to get it. On the other hand, the G752, while not cheap by any means, is a more reasonable option for gamers who want a high-end machine, but don't see the need for liquid-cooling or bleeding-edge performance.
|ASUS ROG GX700||8.5||9.0||9.0||7.0||6.5||8.5||$6,198|
|ASUS ROG G752VY||7.5||8.0||8.0||7.5||6.0||8.0||$2,898|