Asus ROG Zephyrus M GM501 review

Laptop Ratings & Reviews

The Good This second-gen model of the Asus Zephyrus retains the creative raised cooling vent, lowers the worth, provides a brand new six-core Intel Core i7 CPU and fixes the poor touchpad placement within the authentic.

The Bad The followers nonetheless get fairly loud, battery life is brief, there is a thick display bezel across the nontouch show, and there isn’t any built-in Ethernet jack, which is vital for downloading massive sport information.

The Bottom Line Asus provides Intel’s highly effective new six-core Core i7 CPU to the slim Zephyrus gaming laptop computer, whereas fixing a number of the authentic’s design quirks and even decreasing the worth.

8.4 Overall

  • Design8.0
  • Features9.0
  • Performance9.0
  • Battery6.0

Asus has a brand new gaming laptop computer that is not solely highly effective, inventively designed, and intensely moveable, it is also one of many very first programs with a brand new wave of high-performance laptop computer CPUs from Intel.

Inside the Asus ROG Zephyrus GM501 is the Intel Core i7-8750H, which is a six-core processor — the primary one we have examined — up from the same old quad-core. No, it is not one of many coming-soon Core i9 CPUs, but it surely’s undoubtedly a large step up in efficiency over even current chips from final 12 months, no less than in response to our preliminary benchmark exams.

It is sensible that Asus ought to put this new part know-how within the Zephyrus line, because it was initially used final 12 months to debut the Nvidia Max-Q graphics card design, which inserts extra GPU energy right into a smaller, thinner laptop computer, to spectacular impact. But right here the highlight is reserved for the six-core Core i7 CPU, because the graphics have moved from a Max-Q GeForce 1080 to a regular GeForce 1070.

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How does a laptop computer that is simply 19.9mm thick (and weighs about 5.5 pounds) slot in a high-power graphics card and six-core CPU? Asus calls the cooling answer an Active Aerodynamic System, or AAS, and it is a backside panel that lifts up when the laptop computer’s lid is open, exposing a hidden vent used for cooling. This vent rises up about 9mm out of your desk, which is 2mm greater than the earlier Zephyrus. It’s a reasonably refined impact, lifting the rear of the keyboard up barely.

There are much more adjustments from the original 2017 Zephyrus (named after the Greek god of the west wind, in case you are curious). The worth of the 2017 model was about $2,700 within the US, whereas this new model is $2,199. That’s particularly notable as a result of though the 2018 model was a lot quicker in efficiency benchmarks and nearly tied in 3D and gaming benchmarks. Asus says on-line retailer NewEgg can even carry a model that drops the GPU to a still-decent Nvidia 1060, for $1,899.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M GM501

Price as reviewed $2,199
Display dimension/decision 15.6-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel show
CPU 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
Memory 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz
Graphics 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
Storage 512GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac wi-fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)

The non-touch 1,920×1,080 show will get tweaked as effectively, transferring as much as a 144Hz refresh price and help for Nvidia’s G-Sync know-how, which matches GPU output to the refresh price of the show, leading to smoother-looking video games.

The new Zephyrus will begin delivery within the US on April 16.

Even though there’s a new CPU inside, a better cooling system and a lower price, that’s not why I like this new version so much better than the original. The 2017 Zephyrus suffered from one of the most unfortunate touchpads in recent history. Not so much because it was unresponsive, but because it was shoved over to the side of the keyboard, and doubled as a backlit number pad. As I’ve said for (many) years, it’s hard to overcome decades of muscle memory, and you mess with the traditional touchpad setup at your own risk.

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Here, the keyboard and touchpad are much more traditional, and perfectly functional, which is more than I could say last year. If that all feels too square, at least the keyboard has a multicolor backlit keyboard that can mimic some of the lightshow functions of keyboards from Alienware or Razer.

Intel inside

As part of Intel’s spring update to its current eighth generation of Core i-series CPUs, it includes the very first six-core laptop processor we’ve tested. Intel says these new chips, such as the Core 2.2GHz i7-8750H used here, are targeted for gaming, VR and content creation on high-performance laptops.

Intel also says the new Core i7 CPUs should give you a boost of about 2.7 times in gaming and 88 percent in overall performance, versus a similar three-year-old laptop (which is about how long you’d want to keep a gaming laptop before replacing it).

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Of course, this is not the very top of of the line for Intel’s latest additions. A new designation, called Core i9, is coming to some high-end laptops soon, so keep an eye out for laptops with the 2.9GHz Core i9-8950HK.

In our hands-on testing, there was a definite boost in CPU-intensive tests, comparing this eighth-gen chip to a variety of gaming laptops with seventh-gen Intel Core i-series CPUs, including the Core i7-7700HQ, a common CPU in high-end gaming laptops. At least in our initial testing, these new processors deliver great performance.

In games and 3D tests, there wasn’t a big difference between this new Zephyrus and the original model. That makes sense, because we’re swapping the previous Nvidia 1080 Max-Q (which prioritizes efficiency) for a standard Nvidia 1070 (which prioritizes performance). The end result is a near tie, but certainly fast enough to any new game at high detail settings and full 1,920×1,080 resolution. For example, the PC version of Far Cry 5 ran at high settings and FHD resolution at 83 frames per second.

Stepping up

The first-generation Zephyrus was an impressive engineering feat with a sky-high price and some annoying design compromises. This sequel keeps the overall slim look and feel and improves on performance (while swapping some components around), and thankfully hits the reset button on the unfortunate experiment in touchpad placement.

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There are still a few missteps. Battery life isn’t great, the display is merely OK with a basic 1,920×1,080 resolution, and there’s no dedicated Ethernet jack on board, which is important if you’re downloading 30GB-plus games on the regular.

Still, it’s a big step in the right direction. The original was fun, slick-looking and powerful, but felt more like a proof of concept than something practical. This reworked Zephyrus adds just enough mainstream tweaks to make it a legitimate recommendation for a super slim gaming laptop that can work as your main non gaming machine, too.

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