ASUS' ROG brand introduces the Mothership, a Surface for gamers

CES 2019 is home to many announcements from a wide range of companies, but not many are quite as unique as ASUS' latest product in the Republic of Gamers brand. The Mothership GZ700 is the company's vision for the future of desktop-replacement gaming laptops, featuring a raised display and a design that's very reminiscent of Microsoft's Surface line on 2-in-1s.

The Mothership is a pretty impressive device all around, starting with a Full HD 17.3-inch display with a 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, and support for Nvidia G-Sync and Optimus technologies. The panel sits above the speakers, and all of the laptop's main components are hidden behind the display, which sits on its own thanks to the included kickstand.

This elevated design also allows the laptop to be cooled more efficiently, as fans are raised from the surface and have more space to draw air in. This also allows the computer to be fairly thin, at 29.9mm. There are two cooling fans on the laptop, which expel air from the upper portion of the device, keeping it cool where your hands sit. There's also a heat shield to protect the display from the temperatures of the internals.

The keyboard, which is also somewhat reminiscent of the Surface Type Cover, can be connected to the base of the display, and it's pushed down to the base of the cover so the keys are in reach and don't sit too high on the panel. However, you can also detach the keyboard and use it wirelessly, folding the empty space of the keyboard cover under the keys for extra height. The keys have 2.5mm of travel distance and include ASUS' Overstroke technology, and, of course, they're individually lit and customizable to your liking.

ASUS also boasts 16W sound output from the speakers and ESS Sabre DAC (digital-to-analog converter) for those who prefer headphones. Virtual surround sound is also included in the Sonic Studio III software. As for recording, the built-in mic offers noise filtering, and it sits next to a Full HD webcam, which also supports Windows Hello facial recognition.

Inside the device, you'll find some pretty powerful specs. There's a six-core Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU, which is factory overclocked, as well as an Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU, so real-time ray tracing is already part of the offering. You can get up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, and storage comes in the form of 3 PCIe NVMe SSDs with 512GB each.

For connectivity, there's Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 support, and a healthy supply of ports. These include and 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port, a welcome bump over the more typical 1 gigabit, and two power adapter ports, which should indicate just how much power the machine requires. Here's the full list of ports:

  • 1 x USB3.1 Gen2 (Type-C) / Thunderbolt 3
  • 1 x USB3.1 Gen2 (TypeC) / VirtualLink
  • 3 x USB3.1 Gen2 (Type-A)
  • 1 x USB3.1 Gen1 (Type A) / USB charger +
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • 1 x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack
  • 1 x 3.5mm microphone jack
  • 1 x RJ-45 jack
  • 1 x SD card reader
  • 1 x Kensington lock

With all of that packed into a fairly unique form factor for this kind of device, it's likely that the Mothership will carry a pretty hefty price tag. With that being said, ASUS didn't reveal any pricing details, so we'll likely have to wait until closer to the planned release date in the second quarter of 2019.

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