Jammed with gaming goodness
ASUS made quite a splash at IFA 2015 in Berlin earlier this year by announcing two new 17-inch gaming notebooks. While the simply bonkers, liquid-cooled ROG GX700 was the undisputed star of the show, the new ROG G752 is the model that most gamers would most likely purchase because of its more accessible price.
The first thing gamers would notice about the ROG G752 is its new design and colour scheme. In the past, ROG notebooks can be identified by their black and red colour schemes, but the new ROG G752 has a new colour scheme that Asus calls Titanium Armour and Plasma Copper - just like the ROG GX700. It is a nice look and we especially like the new Plasma Copper accents, which resemble rose gold and gives the notebook a very premium look.
And as befits a premium gaming notebook from Asus' much vaunted ROG collection, the ROG G752's chassis is constructed mainly out of aluminium. It feels sturdy and well put together. However, the ROG G752 is no ballerina. It measures 51mm thick at its bulkiest point and tips the scales at a hefty 4.4kg. Though the thickness is pretty alarming, the weight, however, is pretty standard fare for most 17-inch gaming machines, so it is no surprise here.
Fortunately, the ROG G752 redeems itself by making sure all that heft is worthwhile as it is packed with cutting-edge hardware and chock-full of features. To kick things off, the 17.3-inch IPS display outputs full-HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) and it supports Nvidia's G-Sync technology. G-Sync is a technology introduced by Nvidia in late 2013 that aims to reduce lag, stutter and tearing by syncing the refresh rates of the display to the draw rates of the GPU.
The display has a matte finish and does a good job of reducing unwanted glare and reflections. The colours are bright and crisp, but full-HD resolution displays are starting to look a little dated these days.
That said, it is a worthwhile trade-off as higher resolution displays would tax the GPU further which, in turn, translates to lower frame rates. Though the GeForce GTX 980M GPU is Nvidia's most powerful mobile GPU, it is not invincible - it will probably encounter some problems if gamers insist on running the latest titles today at very high resolutions with all the graphics settings set to max.
PACKED WITH SOLID HARDWARE
Inside, the ROG G752 is powered by Intel's latest sixth generation Skylake processors. Our model, the ROG G752VY, is the top-of-the-line model and it comes with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor (2.6GHz, 6MB L3 cache) and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 980M GPU with 8GB of framebuffer.
Complementing this set-up is 16GB of DDR4 RAM and hardcore users will be happy to know that the ROG G752 can accommodate up to 64GB of RAM.
There is also a 1TB 7200rpm hard disk drive, which is really out of place, given the high specifications of the machine and the fact that it is targeted at gamers. Surely an SSD is a must for a notebook that aspires to be a gaming machine for enthusiasts.
Fortunately, the storage can be customised and the ROG G752 can be ordered with flash storage, but do take note that this will come with added costs, or you could upgrade it yourself. The ROG G752 features a back panel that can be easily removed for more tech savvy users to upgrade the memory and storage. The ROG G752 has two SO-DIMM RAM slots, a single 2.5-inch SATA bay and two M.2 PCIe slots (Type 2280) that are easily accessible once the back panel comes off.
One thing that is unique about our particular model is that it has been outfitted with a vapour chamber cooling system. Vapour chambers are usually used in high-end applications, such as the Surface Pro 4 and high-end graphics cards, and are favoured over traditional heatsinks and heatspreaders because of their better thermal conductivity. Heat from the CPU and GPU vaporises the coolant liquid within the chamber, which then flows to the heatsink located near the fans where it condenses and flows back to the CPU and GPU.
According to Asus, this can help lower temperatures by 11 deg C and can improve graphics performance by up to 6 per cent. This trick cooling system is available only on ROG G752 models outfitted with the GeForce GTX 980M.
Like the ROG GX700, the ROG G752 comes packed with all the latest ports and interfaces. There are four USB 3.0 ports and a single USB Type-C port that supports both USB 3.1 (Gen 2) and Thunderbolt 3.0. USB 3.1 (Gen 2) offers speeds of up to 10Gbps, while Thunderbolt 3.0 allows 40Gbps. This is great for users who intend to daisy chain 4K or 5K displays and high speed external storage devices.
There is also a Gigabit Ethernet jack, which should be a welcomed addition for online gamers as nothing beats a wired connection. As for video outputs, the notebook has a Mini-DisplayPort and a HDMI 2.0 port. Rounding things off are the SD card reader and a Blu-ray combo drive. As for wireless connectivity, the ROG G752 supports 802.11ac of speeds of up to 867Mbps and Bluetooth 4.0.
The keyboard is well-sized and pleasant to use, thanks to its generous 2.5mm of travel. It also features 30-key rollover, a boon for fast players and typists. There are also hot-keys to quickly activate the ROG Game Centre and XSplit Gamecaster, a game recording and live streaming application. There are also five macro keys in the top left corner of the keyboard which can be configured to execute stringed commands on the fly or simply as additional short-cuts.
The trackpad is well-sized, responsive, accurate and features none of the hesitancy and erratic behaviours that we have experienced on some other notebooks.
GAMING APPS GALORE
Like the ROG GX700, the ROG G752 also comes bundled with ROG's suite of gaming applications. The first and, perhaps, most important is the ROG Game Centre, an application that lets gamers monitor their systems, configure different game profiles, keyboard profiles, macros and more. And if you ordered your ROG G752 with Intel's unlocked Core i7-6820HK processor, the ROG Game Centre can also be used to overclock your system.
That aside, the ROG G752 also gets the ROG GameFirst III application, just like the ROG GX700. ROG GameFirst III can be best described as a network manager and software QoS (Quality of Service) for gamers. It lets users monitor all incoming and outgoing connections on the notebook and gives users the option to decide which applications should get priority. Users can also make use of the preset modes for various scenarios like gaming, media streaming or file-sharing.
The final application is Sonic Studio II, a software digital signal processing (DSP) application that lets users manage their audio preferences. It can be used for things like increasing voice clarity for multiplayer chat or simply increasing the bass for music listening. This can work with the built-in speakers, external speakers or headphones.
The built-in speakers are above average for notebooks, but still no match for proper headphones or computer speakers. They are sufficiently loud and quite bassy (thanks to the built-in subwoofer), but they lack clarity and sound awfully muffled. Another thing to note is there is an additional line-out port that supports S/PDIF, so with the correct adapter, you can have a digital output to your desktop amplifer/DAC or speakers.
Based on our first impressions, the ROG G752 looks like a promising notebook for discerning gamers. It has the latest Intel CPU, a powerful GPU, a rich selection of ports and some interesting bundled software. The use of a hard disk drive instead of an SSD is a sore spot, but fortunately, the notebook is easily upgradeable.