Asus ROG Mothership full review
Asus has been a name to watch in the high-performance gaming space for a while now, producing some of the best hardware that you can have on your desk or in your lap. The ROG Mothership continues this trend in force with a powerful spin on the 2-in-1 style form factor.
If you’re having a hard time picturing this - think about a Microsoft Surface 2-in-1 that hits the local gym hard for its new year's resolution, discovers the weights room and decides it wants to do nothing else.
With specs that look remarkably similar to the Alienware Area-51m that we took a look at, the Mothership is certainly running in the same race but does have a few obvious key differences.
Make sure you take a look at our gaming laptop chart if you're in the market for something slightly more reasonable.
Price and Availability: Start saving
We don’t have a price for the Mothership at this point in time but we do know it’s going to be rather spicy. We’re expecting well over the $5,000 mark for this craft which is actually fairly understandable considering the power and form factor.
While we don’t have an exact date for its release, we do know it will be in Q1 of 2019 so you won’t have to wait too long for the invasion to begin.
It is worth noting that, as far as we know, there won’t be much wiggle room in terms of specs. We believe this has a lot to do with the incredibly intricate way in which these things are put together, with such powerful specs jammed into such a confined form - however, if you’re planning on dropping 5 large on this then you’re probably going to want the fastest version anyway.
Design and Build: Aggressive and flashy
The design of the Mothership is certainly an interesting one to unpack.
The feel is very ROG, as you would expect. It’s matte black and RGB lights as far as the eye can see, which is the staple gaming design - personally I don't mind the aesthetics because I can't really think of another product that looks quite like this.
It vaguely reminds me of an iMac Pro that grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, has ‘seen some things’ over there, and is now here to laugh at any gaming tasks you throw at it. The aluminium frame supports a 17.3in FHD screen at 144hz for that snappy, reactive feel - and while it does have a chin that Rocky would be envious of, it’s not unattractive but it won’t be winning any beauty contests either.
Asus told us it was looking for a more ergonomic design with this product, and with the detachable keyboard and various different angles at which you can rest the screen with the clever little stand, they’ve certainly done that.
Speaking of the keyboard, it’s very high quality as you would expect. I personally prefer a more mechanical feel on the keys as the tread is a little shallow for me, but that’s very much my preference. The board attaches via magnetic anchors, and connects via 2.4Ghz wireless or through a USB-C connection - it also folds in half to reduce the amount of desk space it takes up which is nifty.
One of the larger ‘invisible’ benefits to standing vertically as opposed to flat on the desk like a laptop is a much improved opportunity for airflow intake - and this thing will want to suck in a whole lot of air to keep itself cool. The cooling system on display showed heat-pipes that draw heat away from the GPU and CPU in four different directions - making for some very efficient cooling that will hopefully mean the machine won’t have to throttle its speed in fear of over-heating.
Specs and Features: Unlimited Powerrr!
The Mothership thinks your little Core-i7 processor is just adorable as it sits there gloating with it’s monstrous Core i9-8950HK. This is backed up with Nvidia’s latest and greatest consumer card, the RTX 2080.
Both of these components will be factory overclocked to really ensure that no game ever drops below the magic 144 FPS that the screen can support.
You’ll also find 64GB of fast RAM here, which is overkill in every sense of the word unless you’re planning on doing some extremely heavy duty video editing. Overkill is certainly the name of the game here though, so no surprises.
Storage will be taken care of via three SSDs in a RAID supported setup, and you’ll find a nice wide array of ports too including Thunderbolt, USB-C and HDMI ports. You can also connect up to three displays if you decide you want to pilot a real mothership. That would be very meta of you.
You will also find a 2.5G ethernet port on this thing if you feel like downloading most of the internet overnight. If you’re using the Wi-Fi the machine houses 4 antennas at various locations, automatically using the two that have the strongest signal.
The Asus Mothership is certainly a sight to see. One of the most powerful gaming products ever made with an innovative design giving users the option to lay out their gaming space as they see fit.
Its striking look may be fairly polarising but it's certainly a ROG product, that much is very clear. This isn't going to be a top seller due to the incredibly high barrier to entry on price, but those who do pick one of these up will probably not be disappointed.
The real key here is that this is a relatively unexplored design for gaming purposes, so the chance of seeing something more reasonably priced with this design could see a wider shift away from traditional clamshell laptops.
Asus ROG Mothership: Specs
- 17.3in FHD (1,920x1,080) IPS-level panel, 144Hz, 3ms, 100 per cent sRGB, Optimus, G-Sync Windows 10 Home Intel Core i9-8950HK processor Nvidia GeForce GTX 2080 8GB GDDR6 VRAM DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM up to 64GB 512GB SSD, 3x M.2 NVMe, 4x PCIe 3.0 90Wh battery USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-C)/Thunderbolt 3 USB 3.1 Gen2 (TypeC)/VirtualLink 3x USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-A) USB 3.1 Gen1 (Type A) / USB charger + HDMI 2.0 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack 3.5mm microphone jack RJ-45 jack SD card reader Kensington lock Detachable keyboard with wired or wireless modes 4x 4W speakers with Smart Amp technology Array microphone 802.11ax Wi-Fi Bluetooth 5.0 410x320x29.9mm 4.7kg