The Asus ROG Mothership Is an Overpowered Surface for Gamers

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

When I heard Asus was bringing a laptop called the Mothership to CES 2019, I knew I had to see it. Actually, calling it a laptop doesn’t quite do this thing justice, because it’s one part 2-in-1, it’s one part gaming machine, it’s loaded up with more RGB lights than a UFO, and I absolutely love it.

Comprised of a tablet-style body with a fold-out kickstand and a detachable keyboard, the ROG Mothership GZ700 appears to be a giant Surface for gamers, but it’s so much more than that. Just on specs alone, the Mothership makes other high-priced gaming machines seem weak, as it comes with a brand new Nvidia RTX GPU (with 8GB of VRAM), a 17.3-inch 144Hz G-sync display (with 3ms response time), and a six-core Intel core i9-8950HK CPU.

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Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

And if that’s not enough, the Mothership can be specced with up to 64GB of RAM and three 512GB PCIe SSDs that come pre-configured in RAID 0, you know for that extra bit of speed. All told, the Mothership is a system with more horsepower than most people would know what to do with.

But the Mothership isn’t just giant convertible with a ridiculous design and specs for no reason. By making its keyboard detachable, it allows users to offset they keyboard to one side or angle it however they want instead of having it bolted onto the system. That might sound like a small thing, but if you’ve ever watched any kind of esports, you’ve probably noticed almost no pro gamers sit with their keyboard dead center in front of them.

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On top of that, while the keyboard can be used wirelessly, for those that care, it also includes a USB-C port so you can connect it to its tablet body using a cable to ensure you don’t suffer from any lag. Meanwhile, the Mothership’s upright body also allows it to draw in more air to help keep internal temps under control, instead of being forced to suck air in through rear or possibly even less effective bottom-mounted vents.

And as you’d expect from a gaming machine this ridiculous, the Mothership comes with a bounty of ports including a Realtek 2.5G Ethernet hookup that supports multi-gigabit speeds, HDMI, USB-A and C, and 802.11ax wifi.

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Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

The Mothership is so powerful, it even includes dual AC ports. And while you won’t be required to plug both in all the time just to use it, if you care about getting everything out of that new RTX 2080 GPU, you will have to lug around both of the Mothership’s power bricks. That said, the Mothership can run off battery power if needed, though with all those high-spec parts, it’s not going to last too long. And if you’re really desperate or just don’t plan on gaming for a bit, Asus says the Mothership does feature a GPU switch that disables the system’s discrete graphics so you can get some work down or watch some movies I guess. But where’s the fun in that?

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Lastly, I’d be remiss not to mention all of the mothership’s configurable RGB lights. Naturally, its keyboard features customizable per key RGB backlighting. But there’s also RGB lighting in the vent beneath where the keyboard attaches, more lighting behind the adjustable kickstand, and yet more lighting inside some of the ports on the right side of the system. Asus’ Mothership is an exercise in ridiculous gaming excess, and it’s an absolute delight.

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)
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But what might be the potentially best part about all this, is unlike a lot of wild CES products companies like Razer have shown in the past, the Mothership ain’t no one-off tech demo. Asus plans to put this thing on sale sometime this quarter, and while the company hasn’t released any pricing info just yet, it’s one of those cases where if you even have to ask, then buying a Mothership probably isn’t in your future.

Follow along with all of our CES 2019 coverage here.

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About the author

Sam Rutherford

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.