The G701 can come with a 4k monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate. My review unit only has a normal HD screen, but this comes with a refresh rate of 120Hz. Either format screen is a 17.3″ LED-backlight screen with anti-glare properties, which work very well in my very sunny living room. It’s also G-sync enabled like several other ROG computers with Pascal architecture NVIDIA GPUs. Since I did not experience any screen tearing even with some intense testing, I would say it works rather well.
RAM in this PC can go all the way up to 64GB, which is what this review unit has. Most gaming these days requires at least 8GB unless you are pushing the very limits of your PC, so this is much more than you would ever need. So long as you can replace the processor and GPU, this machine will see you through until 2020 at the very least. It would also make it viable as a designer’s laptop, were it not for the placement of the keys.
The final few features all come together as making it easy for any budding gaming YouTuber. The ergonomic keyboard includes dedicated buttons to access the ROG gaming centre start splitcasting, which is Nvidia’s answer to game capture and game recording. Both of these buttons are easy to reach and don’t come in the way of more used keys. I didn’t try out the capture, but the game centre takes just a single button press with almost no latency. From here you can monitor fan speed, temperature and control memory usage. The options are quite simple but enough for anyone who wants to play about with overclocking without accidentally doing serious damage to their computer.
When all is said and done, the G701 runs like a charm. Thanks to running exclusively on M.2 SSDs, bootup is a simple matter of seconds, and nearly every application loads nearly instantaneously. Only steam gave me any issues, and that is more a fault of Valve’s platform than this computer. Even Edge was no issue to startup and use. Likewise, any games took mere moments to boot up and ran like an absolute charm.
Over a longer period, there wasn’t any significant drop in performance, but I could tell that the G701 needed some time to rest. This isn’t something to be concerned about for most users because turning off your PC after you’re done with playing is good practice. However, if you wanted to use it for say rendering or video uploads, this might be something to consider. The performance drop was minute but still perceptible.
I ran two benchmark tests, the first using 3Dmark to see how it handles modern gaming physics and the second with Attila: Total War. With the former, the GPU handled the intense graphics very well indeed, maintaining a high average of 43 to 44 FPS throughout the benchmark. It struggled on the extreme or ultra settings, but that is to be expected for any non-SLI computer.
During the Total War Benchmark, there was greater fluctuation with an average of about 27FPS. You would expect this to be bad, but is a very admirable performance for a gaming laptop with a game series that is notoriously unforgiving for even the higher-end graphics cards. There has also been a history of poor Nvidia driver support with the series. Overall, this is one of the better performers during benchmarking.
To see how well the PC would do with more intense use, I put it through the wringer a bit to see how well it could take it. 3Dmark’s stress test shows that the platform is incredibly stable, with a score of 98%. Less scientifically, leaving the laptop running for five days straight with quite intense gaming sessions was absolutely nothing to this computer, even in Singapore’s muggy environment and no air conditioning. The only sign of any wear and tear was the aforementioned slowdown, and a quick restart cleared that up. This laptop passes the stress test with flying colours.
I have some trouble picturing who this PC is for. Asus have focused on how thin the G701 is for the heavy duty components it’s carrying, but the weight and dimension still make it ungainly to carry around. Furthermore, the PSU is one of the most cumbersome things I have ever had to use. Portable is not, but then why get a laptop instead of a tower? In Singapore, where space is at a serious premium this PC can fit a rather large niche. With a price tag over S$3000 however, this is far from an impulse buy.
One final point that hasn’t been covered is that the G701 is VR capable, which is very commendable. However, the VR scene is still in its nascent stage so was not reviewed. Should VR become more prolific, this feature will be revisited, but for now, it’s just a neat extra.
The G701 is a marvel of engineering and a lot of fun to use. Battery complaints aside, I had a lot of fun with this laptop, and so will you so long as you don’t plan to lug it around everywhere. Benefiting from the GTX 1080 and an insane amount of Ram, this portable PC will keep you gaming well into 2020. Not the cheapest laptop around, but just an all round amazing machine.